They Prayed for Me Before I Knew Them: Sharon’s Story

They Prayed for Me Before I Knew Them: Sharon's Story

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a mother. When I was five years old, I recall wondering as we passed a nearby orphanage, “Who is taking care of those children? Are they okay? Do they have someone to love them?”

My husband and I had three beautiful daughters, but we longed for more. We eventually fostered more than 70 children in our home. In 2000, we adopted a daughter and two years later, a sibling group of six – two boys and four girls. These children had suffered unspeakable abuse and neglect at the hands of their biological parents. Michael, just 7 years old, already had a thick psychiatric file. We were advised not to take him, but God made it clear that he belonged to us, and we were being called to keep these siblings together.

Michael has battled severe mental illness all his life. For more than a year, he retreated into his own world under the bed where he’d fight witches and demons and talk to imaginary people. He was often paranoid and violent. He’d climb on the roof of our two-story home and scream. He knocked holes in our walls, tore up the furniture and stopped up the toilets. He threatened to kill us all. It became so difficult to handle Michael’s outbursts in public that we started staying in more and more. Our finances were drained, and our house was falling apart. We grew increasingly isolated from the outside world. During this time, I can remember looking outside and feeling ashamed that I didn’t know the neighbors walking by.

I often confided in my longtime neighbor, Becky. She invited me for years to come to her neighborhood Bible study, but I knew I could never leave the children, even to go two doors down for a couple of hours a week. Little did I know, those women were already praying for my family and helping us from behind the scenes. In 2010, we were able to place Michael in a therapeutic foster home where he is the only child in the house, and I was able, for the first time, to attend the neighborhood Bible study. There I found a caring, supportive group of women who gathered weekly to experience God’s Word. We shared the stories of how God had worked in our lives, and I was amazed at His goodness and His perfect timing.

Now when I look out my windows, I know the precious women who pass my house. I know that God has worked miracles on my behalf through them. Just as He did not let me fully comprehend the severity of Michael’s illness while he was with us, He also did not let me know how much love I would receive from these women one day. Otherwise, I would have been discouraged by all I was missing. His timing is perfect, and I am blessed.

 

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erica roundtreeSharon’s story was written by Erica Rountree. Erica is a freelance writer and the communications director at Action Ministries Inc. She lives and works in Marietta, Georgia, where she’s a member of a neighborhood Bible study and mama to two girls who constantly outsmart her and drive her to drink sweet tea.
1 Comment
  1. wonderful story Erica thanks for sharing

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