First let me introduce the idea of this project, and then I will tell you the story of how it came to be.
The Basic Idea
If you have a story about what God is doing in your life that you would like to share publicly with anyone under the sun, send it to StoriesofGod@gmail.com. When I get a few of these together, I will put them into an email and send it out to anyone who wants to hear the stories. If you want to receive these stories of God at work in people's lives, send me an email at StoriesofGod@gmail.com and let me know and I'll be thrilled to add you to the list.
If you want, I can send you just a sample email before you decide to sign up. (Although you can also unsubscribe at any time, and receiving the emails does not commit you to actually read any or all of the stories if you're too busy! And it's free, of course, so signing up is a no-pressure thing.) :)
The Story of Stories of God
I wrote up an "invitational edition" with three stories in it, to send out to all the 114 people that ended up on my contact list. (I excluded various non-believing people.) The third story was the story of how this project came to be, which I include here.
It started in a conversation with my dad, Colin LaVergne. He said that one of his latest favorite ideas was of a newsletter that would share with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal all the successes that are still happening there. That was Hint #1. Hint #2 came in January of 2011, when my charismatic prayer group asked for ideas on how we could grow as a group. Many of the responses asked for stories; stories of inner healing, stories of listening to God's promptings, stories from other prayer groups, etc. The theme of "stories" really struck me.
As a follow-up to the request for stories from other prayer groups, I thought I ought to take the initiative to offer to contact my dad and see if his community in Minnesota could supply some. I felt a strong reluctance to do this, though. I took it to God in prayer to find out why. I realized that I was afraid that if I asked my Dad to share stories from his community, that he would suggest I start the newsletter myself, and I didn’t want another task to handle. So I turned to God, looking for reassurance that my fears were completely silly and nothing of the sort would happen. If I had to put into words the sense I got in response, it would be, "No, actually, do that." I was very taken aback. "You want me - me - to start a newsletter?!" But He gave me a strong sense of peace to go with the idea, and I began to get excited about it.
The next Sunday, at Mass, my parish priest gave a homily encouraging us to let our light shine out and make our faith more attractive to others. If that wasn’t enough of a confirmation, he then started sharing this story of a saint, a simple monk, whose superiors ordered him to keep a written record of the miracles that were happening around him. As the priest related this story, I felt like God was hammering it into my head “Yes, I want you to do this.” So here it is. :)
It's a good thing he did hammer it into my head, because it turned out to be more difficult than I was anticipating to get it started. I might have given up several times if I wasn't so thoroughly convinced that God wanted me to do it. Some things, though, did come together just right, like the three stories for the invitational edition. I was blessed to see how nicely the three stories complement each other by showing three different things that God offers: physical healing, healing from addiction, and daily guidance.
Finally, today, I am sending out the 114 invitational emails. (I was saving them as drafts, as I wrote them up. Do you know how long it takes to write 114 emails, even given that I was copy-and-pasting some of it?) Now I get to see how many people actually respond.*
*When I pitched the idea to three mom friends one day, two said no and one said yes. I'm wondering if that's the response rate I'm going to get overall.