I never imagined that Dave would be the reader in our family. When I first met him in 1994, I had read hundreds and hundreds of books. Dave, not so many. I think Cliffs Notes were more his style. Yet today, Dave is the one who has a book in hand and is always on the hunt for something new and inspiring to read.

Recently Dave bought Donald Miller’s A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. We had already watched Donald’s Let Story Guide You lecture and have been haunted by the question, “If your life was made into a movie, would you want to go see it?”

Is the story of our lives about our own comfort, ease and pleasure? Is our story one of buying and collecting for ourselves? How are our lives meaningful? Most importantly, what story are our children a part of?

There is one chapter in A Million Miles In A Thousand Years that really, really hit me. It’s called How Jason Saved His Family.

Donald meets up with his friend Jason who is having major problems with his 13 year old daughter. Jason finds pot hidden in her closet and she is dating a real mess of a guy. Jason and his wife try grounding her but things get worse. Donald suggests something that gets Jason’s attention. He tells Jason that his daughter is living a terrible story.

Jason asks what he means and Donald explains that the elements of a story involve a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. He tells Jason, “She’s just not living a very good story. She’s caught up in a bad one.”

A couple of months later Donald runs into Jason and asks about his daughter. “She’s better,” he says to me, smiling. And when I ask why, he tells me his family is living a better story.

After Jason and Donald first talk, Jason goes home and thinks about the story his family is living and the role his daughter is playing inside that story. He realizes he hasn’t mapped out a story for his family or provided a better role for his daughter. So his daughter chooses another story. A story in which there is risk and adventure, rebellion and independence.

Jason decides to stop yelling at his daughter and create a better story to invite her into. He researches on the internet and decides that his family is going to focus on orphans. He finds an organization that builds orphanages around the world. He calls a family meeting and tells his wife and daughter that their family is going to give the $25,000 needed to build an orphanage in Mexico. And he tells them that he has already committed to building it.

Jason mistakenly fails to mention any of this to his wife ahead of time and she is rightly upset with him. They have no money and just took a second mortgage on their home. That night they are lying in bed and he explains the whole story thing, about how they aren’t taking risks, aren’t helping anybody and how their daughter is losing interest. The next day Jason’s wife says she is proud of him.

Jason’s daughter decides she wants to go to Mexico to meet the kids. She breaks up with her boyfriend. She gets involved in the new story.  As Jason says, “No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her. She knows who she is. She just forgot for a little while.”

Dave and I have been wrestling with and praying about all of this. What are we intentionally doing to create a great family story, one that our children will want to be a part of? Right now caring for Carmen is a major part of our story. Her very existence is an amazing story. But, Carmen won’t be here forever and then what?

At this point, we are fairly certain that our story will center around helping orphans too. To be honest, we didn’t have grand visions about helping orphans when we chose to adopt Carmen. But Carmen has impacted us so greatly that our hearts are drawn to helping more children. But we’re not exactly sure how.

What story do you want your life to tell so that your life is worthy of a movie?

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Betty Short, NY Grandma's Friend

    This is what makes this community so connected. You’re making us think and take a look….. God, lead me to Your will and help me live it. When that revelation is illuminated, I’ll tell you my story…… Thanks, Lana for making me listen for His call…..

  2. Joe Jordan

    Hi there, I agree with Betty. I will try to tell you how it is with me right now. I think you all know my wife left me a few months ago and as in every divorce children suffer most, my son (Isaac)is no exception. He is the #1 focus for me and I pray very much. I have very limits to talk well or help him with home work and see little of him since he is busy with school, wrestling, and JROTC. He is confused and torn especially now that my ex has a boy friend he really likes a lot. Last night Barry (I forget his name)was comming over to watch Monday night foot ball with Isaac and wants to come watch him wrestle. Isaac was very nervous to tell me this so I told him “It’s cool” and told him not to worry I would be hurt, that I am glad he likes Barry and they have fun togather. Barry got Isaac to quit dressing “Getto” and can help him with school. My ex has to take me to see Isaac wrestle and I told her to make sure Barry sits with us so Isaac doesn’t feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t God’s will I got hurt or we got divorced, to me it is Satan trying to destroy what is God’s will but if we choose to sit in the back and let God work Satan will lose in the end and my son will be a strong, caring, man who knows I put him first and I pray will love God. OK, I hope this is good, you guys know the deal :o) God bless. In Christ, Joe

    1. NY Grandma

      O, Joe –

      My heart aches for you! However, I need to tell you, in my opinion as an educator, you are doing everything the right way. I have seen too many parents put their children in the middle of their divorces, anger, etc. – and the children DO suffer. When I see children who are happy, stable, and ‘OK’ it is ALWAYS when the parents have put aside their differences and got along in front of the children. It sounds like you and your ex- are doing this. Allowing Isaac to “like” Barry will go a LONG way in helping him adjust to his “new” life. I am proud of you both for being the adults in this. Your son will love and, eventually, appreciate what you are doing for him. You are allowing him to have a positive relationship with you and his mom. You are also modeling what a godly man does in adverse situations!!

      Keep it up, brother! God will bless in the end – and it already looks like he his 😀

    2. debbie

      Hi Joe,
      Just wanted you to know that I will be praying for you. I am so sorry for all your struggles.
      You are an amazing person. And you are being an incredible example to your son. I don’t know if I could be that strong and set aside my hurts the way you are.
      Bless you Joe.

      1. Joe Jordan

        Hi Debbie, You are so sweet. When I look back at all the things God has forgiven of me and the changes he made in me and especially the suffering he endured for me it is pretty easy to do as he asks and forgive others. Not that I don’t have my moments :o) Thank you so much for praying for me.

    3. Lana

      Hi Joe, I am from a divorced family. I can’t quite imagine how different and how much better things would be if all parties involved could get along.

      I am sure that God will bless you for putting Isaac first. And, Isaac will someday thank you.

  3. debbie

    That is a beautiful story. I love that you make me think.
    I’m not sure what my life story is, it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for several years. I now know it involves Guatemala and orphans and my girls. I can’t wait for the story to unfold. I can’t wait for the Lord to tell me what the next chapter is. I am waiting on Him for answers.

  4. Convergence DVD

    I saw Donald Miller on tour and I was surprised by how insightful and thoughtful he was.  He didn’t just try to entertain us, he enriched us.

    If Dave liked The two project you mentioned, he should definitely check out Donald Miller’s next project: Convergence DVD. You can also follow his Twitter: @convergencedvd — where they are posting thoughtful quotes from the series, and links to free videos.

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