Spiritual Autobiography and Childhood Memories 

Emerging:

My spiritual autobiography, or spiritual memoir, includes my childhood memories. I can't separate the stories of my past from my faith story today. I have found that faith stories have roots in the past that you just can't circumnavigate.

Flowers in Garden

My faith story includes certain people and memories from my childhood. I remember how, in junior high school, I made a new friend named Maureen. Maureen’s parents liked me. Maureen's mom took me under her wing. She became my spiritual ma ma. My parents didn't mind if I went to church, but they didn't want to go themselves. My new friend’s mom and dad picked me up at my house on their way to St. Boniface some Sunday mornings. I liked to go to church with them. It’s was a treat because I got to decide if I wanted to go. No one made me go to mass. I went because I was curious.

Maureen's mom talked to me about God when we sat around her kitchen table. She read her Bible all the time and told me that Jesus was her friend. I didn't know how she got to know Jesus like that, but I hoped Mrs. Clark could help me know Him like that too. Going to church with Maureen's family seemed like a good place to try and find Him, so I was glad they all let me tag along.

Tagging along with Maureen's family changed my spiritual life. It wasn't just the action of going to church that changed my spiritual life. Hanging out with Mrs. Clark had a huge impact on me. Being with a family that was concerned with spiritual things had a huge impact on me. It was the relationships, not the act of church going, that really made the difference. Maureen's house was full of people who showed me how to find God.

My good childhood memories, and not so good memories, are mostly connected to relationships. When writing my spiritual memoir I had to consider how childhood memories and childhood relationships impacted my story. As you reflect on your journey consider the people who impacted you, changed you or first revealed God's presence to you. How did they change the direction of your journey or help you emerge as the person you are today? Do these individuals have a place in your spiritual autobiography?


Sharing My Journey
 

Writing about my childhood memories:

Returning home from my date felt odd. It was very late. I quietly slinked in the back door. I thought my dad might tell what had transpired by the look on my face and the hour of my return. I was a little embarrassed and hoped to dodge him. Dad was waiting, though. He was patiently waiting my return. I found him nodding off slightly in his rocking chair in the T.V. room. He smiled and greeted me. Then he went off to bed. I noted the generosity in his readiness to let me grow up. I noted his willingness to let me face the perils and perks of becoming a woman. “He knows,” I thought. “He knows that I’ve been kissed.”

I went to bed excited and relieved. When I woke up I actually woke up refreshed. I noted that I actually slept through the night. I recalled that it had been two weeks, maybe more, since I had slept through the night. I stretched, yawned and crawled out of bed to face a new and more hopeful day. 

I paused, on my way to the bathroom, to look out the window. I noted that the view was cause for pause. It was beautiful. I saw the 6 big apple trees in my backyard. They were full of green leaves and apples. I saw big open spaces full of sunshine, green grass and bright yellow dandelions. There were apples falling to the ground everywhere. A deer and some rabbits had come to eat them. What I saw reminded me that there was a God because what I saw was so fantastic. I knew it had to have been made by an awesome God. “I like my home,” I thought. “There’s no place else like it.” I knew that one day I’d have to live someplace else. I saw that I couldn’t live like a child, in my parent’s home, forever. “I’m growing up,” I said to myself. “I wish I could grow up but still live in this beautiful place.”

I try to make a picture that captures the beauty of what I see from my bedroom window. The beauty is starker than usual. It’s starker against the backdrop of the wonder and hope sparked by my first kiss and the possibility of being loved. I notice that, in little bits and pieces, I’m outgrowing this place called my childhood home. I know that I want to remember this day, and this beautiful view, when the day comes that I have to leave. I feel both sad and exhilarated as I paint. I want to keep what I see. Yet, today, I’m a little more ready to let it go.

View from Window

No Place Like It

Age 12

Journaling

Sharing Your Journey

Writing about your childhood memories:

Who influenced (positively or negatively) your adolescent years? List the names of these people in your journal. Choose one person from your list and write about them. Consider how this relationship influenced your teenage years. Explore how this individual has impacted your spiritual journey. Pray and ask God to reveal the ways this person has become part of your story. Write down what you discover.

Remember that all early memories are not good childhood memories. As you use these ideas for writing about childhood, don’t be discouraged by what you discover. Instead, explore what you find in your journal with a friend, loved one, capable counselor, pastor, mentor or support group. You don’t have to walk your journey alone! Reach out for help. Don’t be surprised if asking for help with your journey helps someone else. Don't be surprised if what you discover ignites your spiritual memoir!

Testimonies: The Power of Inspirational Christian Stories was formerly titled Dancing in the Doghouse. This spiritual autobiography has been renamed and redesigned to better reach its audience.


Latest Work!


Peacock Collage,
Age 46

I remember the peacock feathers. As a child, they were a source of total fascination for me. I loved to touch them and play with them. I am now drawn to them when I see them. A simple peacock feather can spark memories that bring me all the way to being a toddler. It is amazing that something so basic can take me places I haven't been for 45 years.


Past Work!
 

Angel with Trumpet

Angel and Children
Musical Miracle,
Age 40

When the day to pick an instrument for the school band came my daughter was excited about choosing the flute. To my surprise she came home with a trumpet. When Craig came home from work that day, he was as shocked as I was. "Why the trumpet?" we asked. "The music man tested me and he said I'd make a great trumpet player." she replied. Then Emily opened up her trumpet case and assembled her instrument. Craig descended to the basement and surfaced with a banged up, tarnished gold, twenty year old trumpet. My two trumpeteers sat side by side, moistened their lips and began to blow. Emily's inexperience with her trumpet was obvious next to Craig's six years of trumpet playing as a junior high and high school band member. Still, the combination of sounds was, and still is, so beautiful to me. It's the sound of father and daughter connecting. It's the sound of a musical miracle. In my home a flute would have been nice but trumpets are so much more wonderful. 

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