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Storytelling: Laura Story finds blessing in the story gone different

Caroline Lusk
Saturday, May 07, 2011

Storytelling: Laura Story finds blessings in the story gone different

Caroline Lusk

“It’s hard for me to separate our story from the album,” says Laura Story. “It’s really our story put to song.”
The album is Blessings. The story is the one Laura shares with her husband, Martin. And, of course, with God.
Blessings has been a synopsis of everything God’s been teaching me, the things He’s been doing in my life and my heart in the past five years,” she continues.
To listen to her voice, see her expression and take in the smile that stretches from ear to ear nearly all the time, one might assume that the last five years have been a season of abundance, ease and peace. To listen to her songs, one might hear the truth of the trials that tell their story.
“My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor four to five years ago,” she says. “He’s gone through an enormous amount of healing,  but at the same time there are some things that haven’t fully healed like vision and memory. We’re learning what life looks like with disabilities.
“At first you just look and say, ‘Why? Why didn’t you just fix it, God? You’re all powerful and all loving… just fix it.’
“I’ve spent so much time shaking my fist at God, but I feel like He keeps grabbing that hand that I’m shaking at Him and peeling back my fingers and saying, ‘Laura, you need to release it into my hands. I’ve been faithful to you. And now just because you don’t understand what I’m doing, you’re starting to doubt me?’
“We still have so many more questions than answers,” she says. “’God, how is this all going to end?’ We don’t know, but we trust that the things He allows into our lives are filtered through his loving hands. We hold onto the promise of scripture, ‘When you walk through the valley, I will be with you.’ We’ve gotten to experience Him in a deep and more intimate way.”
Martin and Laura were both 28 when the tumor was diagnosed. It wasn’t cancerous, but was growing aggressively and invasively inside his brain. At the time, they’d been married less than two years.
“We did the premarital counseling and they told us how to balance our checkbook and to say you’re sorry even when you don’t mean it,” she says with a small laugh. “But no one tells you how to respond when one of you is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
“I thought it would all get back to normal,” she continues. “Here’s the road… we’re gonna take a detour. About a year into it, my sister said to me, ‘You know, I think the detour is actually the road.’”
In her disarmingly honest way, she adds, “It’s been a hard road. We’re learning that when someone is living with chronic illness or disabilities, it’s getting adjusted to a completely new normal,” she says. “And then, “But I can’t say it hasn’t been without joys. We spend an enormous amount of time together. He probably gets so annoyed with me! But how many couple do you hear saying at the end, ‘Man, I wish I’d spent less time with my spouse.’ It’s never that,” she says. “Spending time with Martin obviously makes me happy, but it makes be a better person. That’s the blessing of it.”
And that’s what courses through the tracks on Blessings. Like finding joy in the time together or growing stronger in the gift of empathy, Laura has managed to find that one spot of light or that one glimmer of  hope or peace and translate it to song.

“A lot of my songwriting isn’t an idea or concept that I’ve mastered,” she says. “It’s something that I need to hear for myself every night. I need to constantly be reminding myself that there is a peace in the storm if we keep our eyes on Jesus.
“Romans 12 says we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds Scripture affects our minds. And when I’m writing, I find that what really connects with people is not just reminding them of God’s promises, but how those promises fit into every day life… like losing a job or being diagnosed with an illness. How do we praise God—because He’s worthy of it—when we don’t feel like it?
Blessings is just a bunch of songs about worshipping when life is hard. And whether it’s connecting with God on a Sunday morning or in your car when no one else is around and you need a little light to shine into your soul, I hope Blessings can be that.
“And I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, look at what happened to Laura and Martin…’ I think God has a platform for everyone. You know we thought Martin would just have hands laid on him and be healed of all these disabilities and we would travel the country telling about all these healings, but that’s not the story God wants us to tell…
“And even though it’s not necessarily what I wanted, I can’t argue with the fact that we have come to trust God in a much deeper way. So, you can see that the album really is our story put to song, which really isn’t our story anyway. It’s the story of God’s grace.”

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