We sat in the movie theater as the ending scenes of "Saving Mr. Banks" played out on the big screen.
My husband and I were both moved to tears as Emma Thompson, playing P.L. Travers, the pen name of the author of the Mary Poppins books, watched the premier of Walt Disney's version of her book.
After a twenty year battle she had finally relinquished the rights to her story to Walt Disney, and in doing so, she experienced a great amount of personal inner healing.
The movie impacted both of us greatly, but for my husband it became a quest. He wanted to know how much of the story was true. He wanted to know more about P. L.Travers, more about Walt Disney. For weeks he researched and read. His research led him to the conclusion that "Saving Mr. Banks" is a pretty accurate depiction of both people and their stories.
For my husband, the movie didn't just spark his curiosity. He became convinced that God had used this movie to speak to him and that God had given him a message that he was to share.
The first Sunday of 2014, when the people of our church entered into the church sanctuary they noticed a very large multicolored kite with a long tail hanging from the ceiling, and kites of various colors mounted here and there on the walls, a reminder of the song, "Let's Go Fly a Kite" that was a pivotal moment in "Saving Mr. Banks" and in the Disney movie, "Mary Poppins". That Sunday, my husband began a series of messages called, "The Happiest Place on Earth". The first in the series of messages was, "Who has the rights to your story?" He used the movie as an illustration. He reiterated how for years, Mrs. Travers fought Walt Disney refusing to relinquish the rights to her story, fearful of what he would do with it. My husband compared that with us being fearful of giving God the rights to our story, of not trusting what He will do with it. However, just as we saw in the movie, in the relinquishment of her story, Mrs. Travers found healing from long ago wounds. My husband said, as we relinquish the rights to our story God wants to use our own story to heal us and set us free.
I was on the front row that Sunday, in my usual pastor's wife seat, saying my amens to what he said. I believe it with my whole heart. For here, in this little place online, I have let God have my story, and when He has said to share it, I have. In that process, healing has come not just for me, but for others who have read my story and related to some of the things that I have written about.
God doesn't waste our story. He doesn't waste the good parts and He doesn't throw out the bad parts. He doesn't waste our wounds. Everything, our highest highs and our lowest lows, He truly does work together for our good. Just as a delicious chocolate cake has the blandness of flour in it, the savoriness of salt in it, the bitterness of baking cocoa in it, and the sweetness of sugar in it, yet all mixed together it is something delicious, in the same way God mixes the sweet and the bitter of our life into something wonderful. First though, we have to let Him. We have to trust Him with the rights to our story. We have to trust, that like Walt Disney did with P.L. Traver's book, that God's glorious imagination will do more with our story than we could ever ask or think.
Today, (in)courage is asking you to join in and register for an (in)Real Life meeting in April. This is a meeting where you will hear women sharing their stories, and where you can share yours. Last year's (in)RL was life changing for me and the group of women I watched it with. I heard stories from women I have known for almost two decades that I had never heard before, stories they finally relinquished the rights to, and in doing so we all experienced the healing touch of God.
Who has the rights to your story, friend? It's a story we all need to hear.
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