Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Power of a Story by Eileen Rife

Reader holding Laughing with LilyShe stood against the wall, waiting. For a moment our eyes locked, and then I shifted my attention back to the woman talking with me. When she left, the wallflower approached.

“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book, Laughing with Lily,” she said, the fluorescent light casting a sheen on the top of her gray head.

I drew upon my trained response. “What stood out to you in the story?” I’m always eager to know what strikes to the heart of individuals in various seasons and walks of life.

Her gaze flit to the ceiling then rested on me. “The part about the nurse rescuing the baby.”

She definitely had my interest, and I leaned in to listen closely.

“You see, thirty-five years ago, while working as a surgical nurse, the doctor informed the team that he’d be performing a routine hysterectomy. To my shock, when he opened the woman, he lifted out a baby and placed the little one in a metal pan.” Tears rimmed her eyes, but she pressed on. “One nurse reached out to touch the body, but the doctor said, ‘No! Don’t touch that!’”

My heart hurt for this dear woman who in the sharing was reliving this tragic episode in her medical profession, a profession she’d obviously entered to save lives, not take them.

“I watched the baby take a shallow breath,” she continued, “and then the child was gone.” She sighed. “I’ve thought about that day many times since. The baby was about two pounds; he might have survived with the proper care.”

What could I say to this dear reader? My story had obviously reopened old wounds that had never quite healed.

When I opened my mouth to offer a word of comfort, she said, “Thank you for writing Laughing with Lily.” Then she walked away, leaving me to wonder about her healing journey.

Had God placed my book in her hands for such a time as this? Even thirty-five years after the horrible scene she’d witnessed?

In God’s sovereign order of things, I believe so. Prayerfully, my words struck a chord in her soul, and like the one leper out of the ten healed, she returned to say, “Thank you.”

Has God used you to offer clarity, conviction, or comfort in another’s life? If so, did anyone ever come back to say, “Thank you?” What did that feel like? Were you able to offer more words of encouragement or direct the person in a certain way? Share about your experience. Let us encourage each other, AND you’ll be entered into the drawing for our lovely gift-basket give-away filled with:

Laughing With Lily and Second Chance by Eileen Rife;Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson;  In the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss; Yesterday’s Promise, Jewels of the Kingdom and A Cowboy’s Christmas and two beautiful jewelry pieces by Deliah Latham Sweet Freedom With a Slice of Peach Cobbler by numerous authors, Heaven’s Prey by Janet Sketchley; and Enemy in the RoomTen Lies, Ten TruthsOn the Edge, andThe President by Parker Hudson.

Why I Wrote Laughing with Lily


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmkRZQEEkko]


Eileen Rife, author of Laughing with Lily, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story! www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com, www.guardyourmarriage.com.



  1. This story touched me on many levels. As an ex-nurse I also worked in gynaecology for some years and found it upsetting to witness the spark of life prematurely snuffed out in this way. On the wards we fought hard to give early born infants a fighting chance, whereas in theatre we were often witnesses to their demise. Yet nursing can also provide wonderful opportunities to meet with people in great need and offer a word in due season.
    As a poet/writer I found great encouragement here in recognising the power of story to change lives. And as a mature woman in the autumn of my life, it inspires me to believe that my own words might make a difference too, in the here and now, and leave a legacy in years to come.
    Thank you for interesting me in your books, Eileen, and the responses from readers which help make it so worthwile to write them. Blessings on your future creativity! :)

  2. Poetry joy, how painful that must have been!

    And amen to your comment about your words making a difference, regardless your stage. It's never too late or too early to make a lasting impact, is it? :) Blessings to you and your writing!

  3. Joy, thanks for stopping by! I teared up as I read your entry. God bless you for supporting life in every season. I know God will use your witness and words to encourage others!

  4. Joy, Thank you so much for sharing. May you continue to touch others in mighty ways. Blessings as you write!

  5. Thanks so much for this heart-wrenching post. It's good to be reminded how important our service as writers is to this world. I love how God can use our stories to reach people at their core, to remind them how much they need Him.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Medazmr! Sounds like you're a writer also. Be encouraged. God does use our words when we commit the process to Him. Sometimes, it's easy to get discouraged when we don't receive the response we'd like, but then He faithfully sheds light on how He is using our writing. Yesterday, a woman pulled me aside and shared feedback on my devotional, Tranquil Moments, based on my experience in Maui. She said through tears, "Your entry on 'feeling stuck' really resonated with me. Just the encouragement I needed for that day. You see, my husband's been out of work for a year." Praise Him for His faithfulness! He gives us the ideas and strength to write, so He will use what He has gifted.

  7. As a new teacher, I tried to choose my words carefully when I talked to the parents. I was only 21 the first year when I taught, and I'm embarrassed now by some of the naive "advice" I gave to the parents. But, 43 years later I have reconnected with one of my most precocious students on facebook. Just last week, she repeated a comment that I made to her mom in 1971! It was another reminder to me of how important our words are. We sometimes throw them out too casually, not realizing how the recipient is hanging on to them...and even storing them away. Thanks for your important reminder in this post, and in your book

  8. Audrey, I didn't know you were a teacher! I adore, adore teachers! They have such a huge impact on our children, and are not thanked nearly enough. I try to thank our daughter's teachers often, and to share how they have/are impacting her life, but even still, I probably only share maybe 5% of the impact I've seen.

    Have you heard the song, "Speak Life" by Toby Mac? I love it! The lyrics are powerful reminders to speak love, hope, and life.

  9. Since words compose stories, how vital they be encouraging ones. After all, we can never take them back once written or spoken. Thanks for dropping by, Audrey!

  10. What a heartwrenching post, Eileen! Yet what a blessing to know your story touched this woman who is so haunted by that horrific event. Who knows? Maybe God places a story on a writer's heart to impact only one other soul. Maybe our books accomplish God's purpose even if they are never published. Perhaps a manuscript reader--a friend, a critique partner, an agent, or an editor--is the only one God has planned for our story to reach. After my novel Delivery was released, I received a touching email from one of my first readers, thanking me for writing a story that helped her understand what her adult daughter may have been struggling with prior to her tragic death. I knew then that if I never received a single royalty dollar, all the effort of writing and seeking publication had been worth it.

  11. I teared up when you mentioned the reader offering feedback on your novel, Delivery. Wow! God knows best how His work is to be used in readers' lives.

  12. I had the same reaction when I read your touching post, Eileen--and when I watched your video. I look forward to reading Laughing with Lily, and yes, we serve an awesome God whose grace is sufficient for us all.