December 7, 2016
This story first posted in November 2013
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Sharon Surrency, First UMC Hawthorne
I am so blessed to be able to share my story in hopes it will bless someone else.
As a child I experienced physical and emotional abuse and struggled for years to make sense of it all. I was raised in the church, so I knew God loved me and was my protector and accepted Christ as my Savior at age 14. It was not until 35 or more years later that I came to realize that God's prevenient grace was protecting me even as a child.
Long story short, I came to realize forgiveness through the love of God and of a wonderful husband and his family; then finding my birth family and connecting with them; and, through the help of spiritual leaders and laypersons that God placed in my life at different points over those 35 years.
A major turning point was in 1996 when my father (adoptive) was passing away and I was taking care of him. I am a RN, so I was with him night and day. During the night, I experienced what I later learned was the Shekinah Glory and my life was forever changed. I sought God in a deeper way and grew spiritually over the next many years. I came to know that it is no coincidence that I became a nurse and work with children and families that are chronically ill and abused and neglected. I was equipped at an early age to understand their needs. It was no coincidence that I am able to speak before people (preaching and teaching) when as a child I stuttered so badly that I could not say anything understandable.
More situations continued to happen that seemed like coincidences, but I know that God was paving the way for me to continue to be able to serve him. He tells us that He does not call the equipped, he equips the called. I 'happened' to see a class offered in Washington DC through the General Board that teaches people how to be Health Care Justice Advocates. I answered and God provided people to go with me and a smooth trip and upon return helped us start Igniting for Health Care Justice to educate people about the injustices in our health care system that keep people from receiving the care they need in one of the most health care-rich countries in the world!
He just keeps opening doors, providing insight, making paths clear through people that are in my life and are building disciples for Christ...and I am evidence of that! I am currently discerning a call to full time ministry seeking ordination in the track of Deacon to continue serving God in my profession in an even deeper way.
Up Next Week…
Rachael Sumner, First UMC Titusville
“I feel like God has put this call on my life to build relationships with young adults and talk about the issues they are facing in their churches. I have gone to Him many days, not knowing what next step to take. God has shown me clearly that this isn’t about saving The United Methodist Church; it isn’t about self-preservation. We need to be about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ because every person matters to Him and every single soul is worth pursuing.”
This testimony was first posted in December 2013.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011