Childhood Valley Experiences—Redeemed!

By Guest Blogger

Photo Credit: Sharon Christina

By Patty MacCarthy, onelifemaps participant

Growing up, I attended church each week with my family. In Sunday school, I was told that I was "a perfect child of God.” I never heard the word “sin” or that I was in need of a Savior. Jesus was portrayed only as teacher and healer.

As a young girl, I was often left in the care of my two older brothers. Their play was competitive and often turned into physical fighting, yelling, and rage! I would hide in fear, and wonder what they might do when they would find me. It was the perfect storm of nerves for a compliant little girl trying to be “perfect.”

That child grew up expecting to be the perfect wife and mother; however, a critical inner voice condemned the woman I had become—clearly not perfect! I married, and my husband and I began to attend a church where I was convicted of my need for a Savior. A wonderful network of Godly women and our young pastor provided fellowship and support that was so welcome. I entered into counseling with a wise older woman who guided and loved me to and through my repressed memories.

What followed was an intense three years of art therapy where I delved deep into each memory by using my hands to sculpt in clay any blocked emotions. I journaled those experiences and then reviewed them with the loving care, protection and expertise of my counselor, who had become my accountability partner. I clung to these words in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”

As I entered midlife, I was a woman thirsty for more of Jesus and for the love of Abba Father. About this time, I attended a spiritual formation conference where I was introduced to oneLifemaps. Some years later, I worked through the Listen to My Life mapping experience for myself and I began to see the sovereignty of God’s story overlaying mine. All along, He was there with me to guide, heal and redeem my valley life memories, one by one, and as I was ready. What a gracious and loving Savior!

As long as we are alive, there will be valley experiences. So, now, when I have disturbing memories, I place them before the Lord so that His truth may be spoken into them. I will walk through those memories knowing that my Savior and King walks with me. I can rest in the assurance that He will redeem those times and give me His peace. Thank you, Lord, for your amazing grace!



“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.” Psalm 73: 23-24


  1. Is there a childhood memory that continues to recur in your thoughts?
  2. Have you asked God to provide the support you need to face a past memory?
  3. What scripture or spiritual practice is your “go to” when you are facing a valley experience?


What a great God you are! Your redeeming grace continues to follow us through the experiences of our lives. Open our eyes and ears to recognize you in the very moments of our days, past and present. We thank you for your everlasting presence. Amen.

About the Author:

Patty McCarthy lives in Lake Barrington is blessed by a 43 year marriage and mother of three grown children, and nine grandchildren.  Patty serves as a small group facilitator as well as providing spiritual based backpacking trips. She is a founding member of a non for profit  foundation (Johnre) that provides biblical story telling through fine arts and song in 12 stores at Christmas and Easter.

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