The “Short” Story
Three years after writing it for the first time, I find myself re-writing my bio for this web-page. What a fun exercise — to see what God has been doing since I first composed it.
I am …
I loved teaching junior high and high school Englishfor six years before ‘retiring’ to raise children.
Now I love teaching conferences, retreats, and other events on learning, living, and loving the gospel story, anywhere, anytime.
In addition to writing the devotional blog here, a great new Bible study that’s being published by P&R, some articles in Discipleship Journal and a contribution to a chapter on story in Dan Allender’s To Be Told, I tweet! (actually not that often b/c how can one tweet and write and live life:)?!) (but you can find me @elizturnage for my updates on blog posts.)
I employ all my strengths of listening, challenging, brainstorming, motivating, encouraging, intuiting, and envisioning on behalf of people seeking to live their story intentionally.
a lifelong learner
Not only have I earned a Masters in English Education from Augusta University, an M.A. in Christian Studies from Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, a coaching course certificate, I learn and grow daily by actively engaging in real life!
a wife and a mom
I’ve been married to intimate ally Kirby Turnage III for 28 years, with whom I parent by grace (and sin and redemption) four wondrous children aged 21 to 15.
a gospel-liver, gospel-lover
In everything I do, whether coaching or cooking, discipling or disciplining, I continue to discover daily the great good news of the true and transforming gospel story!
If you’re a savvy reader, and a long-time follower, you’ll recognize I haven’t updated the following interview yet. But stay tuned. Some changes are coming, although the basics about repentance and passion remain the same.
Get to know her…Elizabeth answers a few questions…
Okay, we’ve got the basic facts. Now tell us who you are.
I’m – well, let’s start with real. I know how wonderful I can be in my fully glorious moments, but I know how monstrous I can be in my most inhumane moments. Being married for 27 years and a mom for 19 years has utterly humbled and redeemed me. I love to tell humbling stories about real life, like the time I started ranting about being sick of driving the “darned” car after a long afternoon of driving my little ones around and my
youngest piped up in his innocent, raspy five-year-old voice, “I’ll drive
the ‘darned’ car!”
So what you mean is you know how much you need to repent?
Yes. That’s a weird word – ‘repent’ which
often makes people think of two guys in slender ties standing
on a street corner holding a sign and a large Bible and
screaming. But in the Greek it means “to turn around.”
I find myself going in the wrong direction, usually the
one where I have decided in my ‘ultimate’ wisdom I want
to go, and the Lord graciously brings someone or something
into my life and says, “Turn around. Come back to me. Rest
in me.” I need that all the time.
Why did you found Living Story?
“It is like a fire within my bones;
I cannot hold in…”
Jeremiah’s words describe what I feel…
Living Story: My passion for broken people is borne out of my own broken
story. I begin telling my story with “When I was 7, my parents got divorced.” In that moment, my secure world was deconstructed, and I began to find ways to bring security and significance to my life. Many of those ways ultimately became idols that I relied on and fed to make my world work. Graciously, God has entered my falsely constructed worlds to draw me back to him.
Calling to the Abused: Out of the woundedness of my story developed a calling to those who have lived stories of abuse and abandonment.
Calling to real people: We all struggle with life in a fallen world. For too many
years, I labored to become a model Christian, and God graciously allowed me to wear myself out. Now I can share the news of gospel freedom and hope with men and women who can’t seem to pull off the perfect Christian pose.
The common thread in all of my stories is that I am made for beauty, fallen in sin, and redeemed for glory. I need to know the transforming work of the gospel in my life every day. That is the only story worth living. It is also a story worth telling, and I want to tell it to people in a way that they will learn it, live it, and love it as much as I do. That’s what Living Story
is all about.
What do you like to do for fun?
You mean, besides laundry? I like to read theology. Really. Practical theology, or at least theology that I can make practical. I am always thinking about how these big ideas about God and the gospel work out in real life situations – like laundry (“He will wash me whiter than snow?” : ). I also like to play tennis and watch golf and cook great feasts for great friends.