Category Archives: From The Labyrinth

The Gift

Juni Desireé Hoel’s story The Gift was published recently in our 2021 anthology The Labyrinth and other stories of life. It is about the her struggle to make friends when she moved to a new town. Feeling despondent, she sat at the beach when she received an unexpected gift. She shared the photo above with us and wrote:

I love this picture because it captures how God spoke to me through this little boy and his present. He was a complete stranger who answered my prayer. I’d only just written in my journal if I should keep putting myself out there. I wanted to be an encouragement to people but I always felt so socially awkward and had a fear of rejection. Then this little boy sat opposite me and he awkwardly brushed sand off the table and didn’t look at me or say anything when I said hi to him. And yet he reached out in his own way and gave me a seed, ‘a present.’ It showed me that God was saying: ‘Yes, keep putting yourself out there even though it’s awkward and scary. Because it just might give someone something they need.’ Just like this boy gave me what I needed. The encouragement to keep putting myself out there like he did. 

From us at Stories of Life to you: May you daily experience God’s goodness and have a hope-filled new year!

Lord, Help Me be a Mother

I wrote Lord, Help Me be a Mother when I was asked to share my story with a group of ladies during a Fellowship Day fifteen years ago. I prayed for guidance from the Lord to help me show everyone what an awesome God we have. I hoped that by the end of my talk they would see how God had touched and still touches my life in a very special way and how blessed I am because of it!

I have always been encouraged to write my story down so it could reach others facing that unknown direction in their lives. Stories of Life gave me the opportunity to share that one glimpse of God’s beautiful plan for me.

Sherry Thompson

This is Orion, aged around 17 months when we travelled to the US to meet his new aunts, uncles, and cousins who adore him.

Sherrie’s story was published in the 2021 Stories of Life anthology, The Labyrinth and other stories of life

An Unseen Guide

Craig Chapman’s story, An Unseen Guide, was published in The Labyrinth and other stories of life. Thank you Craig for sharing these pictures of your hike, as well as this bit of backstory:

In April 2021, I joined a group of mates in the latest of a series of high country hiking adventures. On this occasion we hiked for six days across a remote part of Kosciuszko National Park known as the Jagungal Wilderness. We explored spectacular terrain including several of the highest peaks in Australia, crossed multiple rivers and enjoyed secluded high country huts and camping spots. The dominant feature in this amazing landscape is Mt Jagungal, a peak of over 2,000m in elevation and accessible only after a difficult approach off the main trail. We had steeled ourselves for many months in order to be prepared for this challenge.

The story describes how we battled difficult conditions and self-doubt to reach our goal. Amid the excitement of getting to the summit, and even more so on reflection, we realised how God had led us and encouraged us in unexpected ways. In particular, it seemed that God had used a wombat to provide some of that inspiration!

Hikers on snow-laden path to summit.
Following the wombat trail.

As expected, our hike proved to be challenging, exhausting and exhilarating, with day 4 (J day!) possibly the standout highlight. We created many treasured memories and experiences and, as always, gained great insight from being immersed in God’s wild and stunning creation.

Craig Chapman

The feature photo is of Craig and his mates at the summit of Mt Jagungal. To read Craig’s story and many more short stories of faith, get a copy of The Labyrinth delivered to you or send it as a present to someone who enjoys good writing and great stories.