By Sharon Feryance
I grew up in the 1940s. At that time, a child born to unwed parents carried the stigma of being identified as an “illegitimate.” I never knew my father, and my mother was in and out of my life. Thankfully, my grandmother raised me, but my early years were colored with loss and abuse. We moved around quite often, and I attended multiple grade schools — some for only a week or two. I felt alone and unprotected. This environment provided little opportunity for my intellectual and social development.
In high school, I had been told I was not college material; but, in my 30s, God provided a way for me to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work. During those college years, I became aware of how my social development had been stunted. Again, God opened doors to restore those lost opportunities. I was able to develop social skills by participating in professional therapy groups and in church activities.
Before I did the Listen to My Life maps, I saw myself as “self-made.” I believed much of the healing I experienced was the result of professional therapy and my own self-determination. As a result of sharing the “My Life Story” map, I realized the truth — I am not “self-made,” I am “God-made”!
As I worked through the “My Life Story” map, God brought to mind many scriptures. Upon reflection, I realized I had a distorted view of Him. I came to recognize that I was really not alone and unprotected as a child. I learned, in fact, that God was My Champion! He had fought major battles throughout my life and continues to redeem, protect, restore and transform me.
The members of my Listen to My Life group were key to my discoveries. After sharing, I asked for observations, questions, scripture, and for someone to record feedback. As I meditated on this, by going back and forth from the big picture to the small snapshots of my life, a space was created that allowed me to see how God had championed over the evil that had impacted my childhood.
I am thankful for Jesus Christ’s redeeming power that assures me of eternal life, and for how that same power has brought victory over the evil of my childhood and restored much of what was lost. Through this process,
One of my favorite passages that sums up “My Life Story” for me is Psalm 103:1-5
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits --- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your redeeming power that is both for “the now” and for “the forever.” Thank you Lord Jesus, that you are greater than he that is in this world. Lord, I ask in the midst of difficult circumstances for your help to recognize your presence as my protector, defender and champion. May I not forget all you have done for me. When times of pain and suffering enter my life, may I remember you love me and the same power that raised you from the dead is at work in my life. Amen.