Beth Robertson’s story ‘Stolen but not robbed’ was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. Beth also recorded her story at the LifeFM studios and her story was played on the airwaves in Adelaide.
We’re pleased to be able to bring you the recording of her story.
Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.
Last year, the Stories for Life competition motivated me to actually stop and reflect on God’s love and nearness during a mentally challenging time. This year, it was a week before entries closed and I had no idea for a story. In desperation, I pulled out last year’s anthology, and re-read the title story, about God speaking through a gecko. It reminded me how often God uses objects or animals to preach sermons more powerful than human words. Then I saw the tallboy in my bedroom, and remembered how God had used the tallboy to finally break through my low self-esteem. Suddenly I had the ending to my story. I found some old reflections and an unpublished article I had written a year ago about going through the SA school system as a student with a disability. The storyline came together quite quickly.
So, I don’t know what I’ll write about next year, but expect something! Because everybody has more than one story. It’s just a matter of finding it (And knowing what to leave out!).
Three Dummies in a Dinghy and Under the Frangipani Tree by Ester de Boer
Three Dummies in a Dinghy
The two stories I entered into Stories of Life this year really are as different as chalk and cheese. You’d think they were penned by two different people, although of course the subject matter of each required a different style and pace of writing.
Without realising it, I had kind of given my testimony- a before and after snapshot of myself. I am vague about dates during that period of my life because, frankly, I lived a bit of a crazy existence! I do know, however, that Three Dummies took place about a year before I came to the Lord. It was one incident in a chain of events that got me exactly where God wanted me- like an unwitting piece in a really cleverly-played chess game.
I have photos from this stay, but none that I really care to show! (me wearing skimpy clothes with a gun on my hip is not a good look for someone who is now a primary school teacher)
On that Rockhampton road trip (that turned into an extended stay due to the flood), I had a few hard reality checks that told me that it was time to get my act together- God was pulling on my heart.
While trapped by the flood, I stumbled upon an article for a fashion design course in Brisbane for $99 over just three weeks, so I planned to get to Brisbane to do it. Through a series of equally crazy experiences involving hitchhiking and even a yacht (!!!) I finally got down to Brisbane only to discover that it was a misprint. The course was actually $990 and went for nine weeks! Plus by then I had only five dollars left. Thankfully, someone handed me the number of a lovely Christian woman who took in street kids and she took me in. I also got my first job in Fortitude Valley, and almost all my work mates decided to start going to church as well (since when does that happen?) So, I was the victim of a setup- God’s a great strategist!
Under the Frangipani Tree
I came to the Lord a very messed up, hurting girl. The moment I was saved, though, I (a little naively) thought “oh great! Everything’s going to be fine now!” I started going to a youth group with a lot of other young people my age but really feeling like I was from another planet- our experiences of life were so different and I felt like I was so much older than them in experience but so much younger in readiness to face life. Two by two they paired up into smug, neat little Christian couples, while I felt like the one every boy’s mother had warned them about! I jumped into the first possibility of a Christian boyfriend I found and predictably found myself in an abusive relationship that confirmed my sense of worthlessness. That was the backdrop for this story. Where I worked, which park it was in, are irrelevant really- It was just a moment that God reached out to me to show me that HE treasured me. It wasn’t a moment of instant change. Healing took years. It’s something I have never shared until now, frankly because it risks sounding pitiful and a little too imaginative. But it’s mine.
Uprooted by May-Kuan Lim
Hedges and new roses six years after the events described in ‘Uprooted’, story by May-Kuan Lim. May-Kuan also helped her dad write and publish his story, Fish in the Well, a memoir of aspiration and faith.
Accepting submissions until 31 July 2019