Sheryl Griffin, wife and mother now author and speaker discusses her views on mothering, faith and how they impact each other.
Q. Who did you admire when you were young? Who do you admire now?
A. When I was young I admired my Aunt Sylv. She was always stable and secure. She showed me unconditional love. I still admire her for all she has been through in her life. I also admire women who are willing to take off their masks and be real with each other.
Q. What was it like for you growing up?
A. My childhood was dysfunctional. After a stormy marriage, my parents divorced when I was five. Each parent remarried a year later. My dad gained custody of me. My step mom had two son’s from a previous marriage. She and my dad had three children together. My dad and my mom are both alcoholics. As a child I rarely saw my mom and step dad and younger sister. We met twice a year; a week the day after Christmas and two weeks in the summer.
Q. What inspired you to write your book?
A. I was diagnosed in 2007 with post traumatic stress disorder and panic/anxiety. I started writing in my journal to piece things together. I did not intend to become an author or a speaker. God has since given me the courage and passion to share my story.
Q. Tell me how you named your ministry.
A. A Scarlet Cord of Hope is the name of my ministry and part of the title of my book (A Scarlet Cord of Hope….My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope). I feel God gave me the title as a way to show myself and others there is HOPE! And that hope is in the “scarlet Cord” – the love of Christ for us. It winds its way through the Bible and through our lives.
Q. Did your childhood experience embitter you against marriage?
A. No, I think marriage is wonderful…if you included God in your marriage and if you and your spouse are on the same page a deep trust and faith grows. When both spouses are willing to love and serve one another, it makes the commitment stronger.
Q. Can you share about your marriages?
A. My first marriage was unhealthy. We married young. We were both looking for someone to fill needs and voids in our life that could never be met by anyone outside of God. That marriage was abusive (physically, emotionally, and verbally). After nine years my husband left me and our young daughter. I was a single mom for two years. I married Doug sixteen years ago. Our relationship did not start with God, however by God’s grace He became the center of our marriage and family right before we married.
Q. How does your faith impact your mothering?
A. My faith has played a vital part of my mothering. Even though as a 22 year old mother with my first child my relationship with the Lord was very different than it is today. I had faith and hope but it was not with the depth and understanding that I have now. I have always prayed for my children (I have two children- a married 23 year old daughter and our 13 year old son). I have tried to live my life openly and honestly before them. I realize as much as I love them, God loves them more. He entrusted me with them. I take that honor and responsibility seriously.
Q. How has your ministry positively impacted your children?
A. I am grateful to be a mom! When my husband Doug and I realized God was opening a door for ministry for me we discussed it with both children. I did not want my children to overhear a conversation or have someone innocently make a comment and catch them off guard. They needed to know the truth about my ministry and how it might impact the family and to hear it from me.
Q. How has your faith guided your life choices?
A. I KNOW my faith has brought me to the place I am at now.
Q. Have you ever experienced depression or abuse?
A. I was in abusive marriage for nine years. I was not abused as a child although patterns of guilt and shame took root very early on in my life that primed me for an abusive relationship. Even so I take full responsibility for choices I made.
Q. What major decisions made by others shaped your life?
A. When I was fifteen years old I chose to leave my dad’s home and live with my mom and stepdad. Unbeknown to me, at the time, I was pregnant. I was told I had to have an abortion. Three years later, when I was married (at age 18) I intentionally got pregnant six months into our marriage. I thought having a baby would soften my then husband and complete us as a family. I was wrong and was told for the second time to have an abortion. I would never allow others to make those choices for me now, I have repented of my actions and know I found Amazing Grace.
Q. How have your views on life, depression and faith changed with time?
A. My views on life and faith have changed….more so with a deepening and desire to truly know God and honor Him in all that I do. As for depression, I know my view has changed over time with that as well. I don’t think I could ever fully understand depression, panic/anxiety, or even alcoholism, until I or a close family member experienced them.
Q. How have your views on how a person is valued changed over time?
A. My biggest problem was not that I did not value other people in my life, I did not value myself. I did not realize the depth of the roots of this until my diagnosis in 2007. I have worked hard to overcome this. It’s still a daily process for me. I am a work in progress.
Q. Do you have any regrets?
A. Of course I do! However, I also accept without those “regrets” I would not be where I am today. I am grateful God’s mercies are new every morning!
Q. What advice would you give to wives and mothers struggling today?
A. I have three things I like to share:
1. Don’t ignore red flags, because they rarely change color.
2. Don’t take responsibility for other people’s choices and behavior.
3. Don’t put anything under the rug (deal with issues head on…don’t ignore them in hopes that it will go away – the elephant in the room is still there even if you pretend he isn’t.)
Q. What advice would you give to women suffering with depression?
A. Do not be afraid to seek help. There is no shame in seeking help or in taking medication. We live in a fallen world full of sin and diseases. If we have diabetes or high blood pressure, we would not think twice about taking medication and seeking medical help. It should be the same way for our mental health. It’s also important to have a church home and friends who you can take the mask off and be real around. Surround yourself with those who will pray for you, encourage you, and motivate you. It’s also important to take responsibility for your relationship with the Lord. Have the courage to dig deep and get to the roots of your past. Don’t allow guilt, shame, and fear to keep you from HOPE! One day at a time, one moment at a time, there is always HOPE!