Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Building Community Through Our Stories

Well, I was going to try writing some catch up posts because I am still about a month behind, but my photo sharing site is down right now so I thought I would share my story instead.  This Sunday, we had our first small group meeting in our home and met a couple of wonderful couples and their cute kiddos.  Our church is trying to help us build a sense of community like the old days when folks gathered together on front porches at night and shared the stories of their lives.  I thought this was a great study for us to begin our small group.  At church, we are following along with the story of David.  For the first meeting, we were to write and share the beginning of our stories.  I have shared my story in the past here, but my story has progressed quite a bit since then.

"Our stories of worthiness - of being enough - begin in our first families."  ~ Brene Brown

I guess I have battled with my sense of worthiness all of my life, and it does begin at the beginning.  I wasn't born into a traditional loving home with a mother and a father to care for me.  I had a single mom and an older brother and a father who would occasionally visit but didn't really ever support us.  He had a whole other family.  My mother tried her best to show us love, but she was battling her own demons of depression and loneliness with no family for support.  Eventually, she couldn't defeat the demons and care for her children so we lived in a succession of homes:  foster, an aunt's and uncle's, and eventually an orphanage.  Luckily for us, after only a couple of years, we had a chance to have the traditional family when my house parents chose to adopt an 8 and 14 year old.  For a few years, life was great with a new mom and dad and lots of family.  Holidays were the best.  My brother finished high school and went off to college.  My dad decided to re-enter the ministry and pastor a church.  My best friends were church friends.  Then, in my early teens, my mom's health began what would become a long downward spiral that would take her from the supportive role I needed as she was in and out of hospitals for the next almost two decades.  She was there but not in the capacity a teenage girl needs.  Relocating halfway through my high school years brought additional challenges for a teen girl, but I completed high school with honors and went off to college here in Raleigh (Meredith College) where I met the love of my life.  He graduated from N.C. State University to begin his career in forestry, and we married two years later after my own graduation.  We struggled for years with not much family support but welcomed our first child, Evan, in 2007.  Shortly thereafter, we relocated to Charlotte for hopefully better opportunities for us all.  I found a new job I liked and eventually headed to law school at night to hopefully bring better things to our future.  We had big dreams for the future.  I went through two pregnancies while going to law school at night and working full time.  We celebrated the arrival of our second son, Brody, in 2011.  I graduated in May, 2013 with the pending arrival of our first baby girl in June just after our 10 year anniversary.  That summer had so much hope and promise of a bright and exciting future, but little did we know that life would take an unexpected turn the night of June 30, 2013.

We will be sharing the next part of our story about an obstacle we faced and then our stories of hope and our hopes and dreams for the future.  I look forward to diving deeper into our story and learning about the stories of others.  I hope that through our stories, our family can begin to develop roots here in our new community and build lasting relationships with our neighbors.

3 comments:

  1. Of course I am looking forward to reading about all of your October adventures, but I'm kind of glad your photos weren't working so you had time to do this "bonus" post. It was really special and beautiful.

    I'm so glad to hear you are building community through your church in your new town. That's so important. And this sounds like a really meaningful and still fun way of getting to know others and having others get to know you. Like I said in my other comment, I knew some of the details of your childhood, but not the entire story. You blow me away with your strength.

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  2. I'm am so glad that you have the opportunity to build your community through church. We started going to our adult Sunday school class a few weeks ago. It's exciting to get to know people and for our kids to know their children. I finally feel like we have found the missing pieces in the church experience that we need for ourselves and want for our kids. I'm glad that you are there too.

    I didn't know all of your story, but I feel honored that you would share this part with us all. You have such amazing strength.

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  3. Like Tracy and Natalie said, I think I knew parts of this story but not everything. You are an amazing woman Sherry. You have overcome so much and you still have such JOY! You are beautiful, inside and out, and I am so blessed to be able to call you a friend.

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