Focus on the Family Broadcast

Getting Real With God and Finding Salvation For My Family

Getting Real With God and Finding Salvation For My Family

Sometimes we have to get out of the way and allow God to intervene in a situation. Author Sharon Jaynes has seen this truth played out in many ways, especially in her parents’ tempestuous relationship, which went from rocky to restored. Tune in for an inspiring message that illustrates God’s power to work in our lives.
Original Air Date: August 7, 2023


Sharon Jaynes: You know, there’s some parts of my story that I did not want to tell, and God said to my heart, “Would you rather them think well of you or well of me?”

Audience: Yes.

Sharon: And I said, “Lord, I want ’em to think well of you.”

End of Preview

John Fuller: Oh, what a great perspective on what can come when you share your life story with others. Our guest today on Focus on the Family is Sharon Jaynes, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, we often want to hide the failures of our past, or perhaps the less than ideal circumstances that our family of origin was about, but if you want to know how far a person has come, uh, you need to see where they’ve been. And that’s why we love featuring stories like the one you’re about to hear from Sharon Jaynes. Sharon has been on this broadcast, I think twice in the past, and she’s a highly regarded Bible teacher and the author of over 20 books. That’s pretty prolific.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, she’s also the former Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. But I think, uh, she would say her two most important credentials are wife and mother.

John: Hmm. Well, here’s Sharon Jaynes speaking at a Women’s weekend, uh, sponsored by Sandy Cove Ministries in Northeast Maryland on today’s Focus on the Family.

Sharon: I grew up in Eastern North Carolina in a little town called Rocky Mount. Anybody heard of Rocky Mount?

Audience: Yes.

Sharon: Why (laughs)? You were on 95, right? And you just passed it, right? You don’t need to stop, you know. But a little town called Rocky Mount, um, North Carolina. And it’s a, it’s a pretty little town. I mean, we lived in a ranch house and a, they have lots of real tall pine trees and Rocky Mount azaleas that bloom in the spring. And we lived in a nice neighborhood in a nice ranch house. I’ve had a very typical family, uh, had an older brother, five years older than me, mommy and a daddy. But there was a secret behind that pretty door. What went on behind that door was not pretty.

See, both of my parents, um, had jobs. My dad, um, what, worked at a building supply company, my, he did very well. My mom had her own business. She had a little craft shop took, taught painting classes. But my father, even though he was successful, he had a very, a very difficult, very traumatic for us, drinking problem. And when my father came home drunk, he would start fights in my home and it was terrifying. And when he would start fights, my mother would fight back and he, they would throw things, he would hit her, she would hit him back, and she would wake up the next day with bruises and cuts and there was broken furniture thrown around our home. And I remember as a little girl hearing words that I didn’t know what they meant, but I knew how they made me feel.

And some nights I would go to bed and I would pull those covers up and just pray I could hurry up and go to sleep to shut out what was going on in that next room. Some nights I would run and get in bed with my brother and stay in there with him because we were both so terrified. And the next morning it would be the same. My dad would be at the kitchen table. He would be crying and saying, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. This will never happen again.” But it did happen again. And it was a cycle in our home with the alcohol and the violence. And there was gambling. My dad had affairs in her little town, and it was a cycle in her home. And I grew up feeling like, “You know, there’s something wrong with me.” You know, that’s what kids think when some of that stuff’s going on in their home. “There’s something wrong with me. I’m just not a good enough daughter. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not pretty enough. Something’s wrong with me.”

And when my mom said, “What’s wrong with you?” Which we’ve probably all said to our kids at one time or another, I remember thinking as a little girl, “I don’t know, but there’s something, something’s just not right with me.” And I did think my, my parents loved me. And if your parents can’t love you, who would? Right? The truth was they just didn’t know how to love me. You know, our stories are not a standalone volume. They’re a part of many, many books in our family. And my parents had their own struggles. My mom was a middle child of 12. You know, you talk about middle child, and that’s always a joke. But the middle of 12 in one of the poorest counties in North Carolina. My dad’s father died when he was five.

Now, here’s a little tid but I’ve never told this. My mother’s mother got married when she was 14 and was pregnant 22 times. And she died when she was 56. So picture that. My dad’s mom had six children, and my father’s dad died when he was five. And, and she almost lost the kids ’cause she couldn’t keep ’em herself. And then one of my dad’s brothers got hit by a truck, not killed, but injured. And the insurance money allowed her to keep all the kids. Now these are two people. This is the kind of families they had. And then these two teenagers at 19 get, at 18, get married, and then they have a child a year later and they’re supposed to figure out how to do family and how to do life. They had no idea. They had their own struggles, their own heartaches, their own disappointments, their own hard scrabble stories to try to figure it out.

You know, that’s where my story begins. And I hope yours didn’t begin like that with a, a violent father and a very bitter, angry mother. But, you know, if it didn’t start out that way, and again, I hope it did not, um, there’s always something in our past. There’s something, and the devil’s gonna use that. We’ve all got some kind of pain from childhood that we tend to bring into adulthood. But God did not leave me that way. When I was 12 years old, now y’all tell me if I get this wrong, ’cause you’ve heard it like 20 times (laughs). But when I was 12 years old, there was a woman in my neighborhood and her name was Mrs. Henderson. It was my best friend’s mom. And I loved going down to the Henderson’s home. It was something different about them.

And one thing was that Mr. and Mrs. Henderson loved each other so much. And I had never seen married people act that way. And Mrs. Henderson, uh, she was a little strange because she went around the house singing little praise songs when she did her housework. And she talked about Jesus like she knew him personally. Now, here’s something I want you to know, in my home with all that, we went to church on Sundays. Do you know, you might have people in your church that are just like that.

Audience: That’s right.

Sharon: If somebody comes in your church with a smile on their face, that means one thing, they do not have paralysis of the facial muscles.

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: That is all it means. And we would walk in that church and, and the people would say, “How are you today?” And what did we say?

Audience: Fine.

Sharon: Fine. We were anything but fine. But let me tell you something, we looked good. Well, I started going to church with the Henderson’s. And she was so weird that she talked about Jesus like she knew him personally. And then I went to church with them and I saw a whole group of people that talked about Jesus like they knew him personally. Now listen, this is not a denominational issue I’m talking about right here. These were the same denominations. One was very political, one was very biblical, and there’s a big difference. And one talked about having a religion, one talked about having a relationship with Jesus-

Audience: Yes. Yes.

Sharon: … and it was very different. And I wanted what they had. Well, eventually I told, um, Mrs. Henderson about what was going on in my family, and we began to pray for my family. I went to church with them. Now, I’ll tell you, when I was 14, and she sat me down and asked me if I was ready to accept Jesus as my savior. Think about her just mentoring me for two years. Is that not precious? But with the knowledge that I did have, the ma- one of the main things that really struck me as a 14-year-old was, I have a daddy who loves me.

Audience: Yes. Yes.

Sharon: You know, all little girls want a daddy who love ’em.

Audience: Yes.

Sharon: They do. I was terrified of my father, but I still wanted a daddy who loved me. And she let me know that I did. That my heavenly Father loved me so much that he sent his son Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, gave his life of Calvary Cross for me. And the moment I accept him as my Lord and Savior, that dead spirit came to life. Now, that’s a hallelujah moment. Okay? Let me teach you little Girlfriends of God thing. Y’all, some of y’all have been to Girlfriends of God, some of you haven’t. Mary, one of my, my ministry partners, her son, when he, grandson, thought it was very boring to say amen at the end of a prayer. So what he would do, he’d say, “Amen. Hallelujah. Woo woo.” Okay, let me see y’all do that. You ready? Amen.

Audience: Amen.

Sharon: Hallelujah.

Audience: Hallelujah.

Sharon: Woo woo.

Audience: Woo woo.

Sharon: Okay. Feel free to use that all weekend.

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: So my mama gave my, I gave my life to Jesus that night. Amen.

Audience: Amen.

Sharon: Hallelujah.

Audience: Hallelujah.

Sharon: Woo woo.

Audience: Woo woo.

Sharon: But the problem was I had to go back home, back home in that violent environment. And my mom thought, oh, it’ll pass, it’ll pass this religious phase. But we began to pray for my mom, my group of 14-year-old friends. We started a Bible study. Mrs. Henderson led 14-year-old girls praying for my family. Three years after that, I had an opportunity to go out of the country for the summer to study with my French teacher and a group. And I, I told my little friends, I said, “I can’t do it because who’s gonna take care of my parents?” See, when my parents got in a fight, I broke ’em up. I would get in there and break ’em up. I was really the parent. They were like the kids.

My brother got her on his bike and rode away. Then he got in his car and rode away. But I would try to break him up. I said, “I can’t leave. Who’s gonna break ’em up? Who’s gonna take care of my mom?” But my group of 17-year-old friends, they said, “We have prayed about it and we think that you should go.” So I’ve decided I would go. And the night before I left, they came over and we, we were so awesome, y’all. We walked around that house, prayed the blood of Jesus over that house.

Audience: Amen. Amen.

Sharon: We were something. We were something. So the first night I left, the first night I left, my dad came home drunk, started a fight. I wasn’t there. She ran to Mrs. Henderson’s house. ‘Cause I told her, “If something happens, you go see Mrs. Henderson, she’ll take care of you.” She ran to Mrs. Henderson’s house, and my mama gave her life to Jesus that night.

Audience: Yes. Woo woo.

Sharon: Now I tell, I tell mama sometimes, you know, sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our kids’ business-

Audience: Yes, yes.

Sharon: … protecting them and their business. We, God can’t do what he needs to do. And for me, I was so wrapped up protecting my parents all the time that God had to get me outta the country to deal with my mama. So anyway, when I came back, that was way long ago. There was no internet. I mean, there was no cell phone and we had to go to the post office to place a call. And I started getting letters from my girlfriends and they said, “Your parents are coming to church.” What happened was, my mom sh- listen to me. I want you to hear me clearly. I am never suggesting that a woman stay with a man who is abusive.

Audience: That’s right.

Sharon: Amen?

Audience: That’s right. Amen.

Sharon: You need to be safe. But my mom came home after she gave her life to Jesus. And she told my drunk father, she said, “I gave my life to Jesus tonight. I’m gonna forgive you for everything you’ve done, and I’m gonna love you.” And my father never drank again.

Audience: Amen. Woo woo.

Sharon: Now (laughs). But he, so when I came back and I heard they were going to church, my father said, “Sharon, I’m gonna go to church with you, but I could never be a Christian. I’ve done too many things in my life, God could never forgive me.” And of course, I told him exactly what he would tell him. None of us could be good enough. Amen?

Audience: Amen.

Sharon: None of us could be good enough. If we could be good enough, Jesus would not have had to die on that cross. But he could not understand that kind of grace. So you know what we did? We prayed and God was working in the meanwhile.

John: You’re listening to Sharon Jaynes on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. And we’ve got Sharon’s book on this subject called When You Don’t Like Your Story. Uh, we’re making that available to you for a gift of any amount to the ministry today. And we’re also going to include a free audio download of her entire presentation, which includes some extra content. Donate and request those at or call for details 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Let’s return now to more from Sharon Jaynes.

Sharon: Jesus said this in John 5:17. He said, “My father is always at his work to this very day, and I am working to.” He said, “I, God is always working. He’s constantly working on our behalf to bring about our better good.” You know, I remember when my husband and I, we were in college, we got married in college, we were very poor. We had a yard sale to take a honeymoon. We had, um, I think we made $200 or something and we didn’t get very far.

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: But, um, we had a lot of school loans. And so when it was his senior year, he, he was a dentist. He just retired. But so, and my degree in college was in dental hygiene. And, um, so we were praying, “God, where do you want us to go?” All year, praying, fasting, “God, where do you want us to go?” And then, um, his senior year, came up a, a dental sales rep said, “There’s a, a dentist in Pineville who is looking for a young partner to come in and help him.” So we went and met him. Everything was great. We thought, “Thank you Lord. Thank you. This is where, where, you’ve answered a prayer. This is where we’re gonna live.”

And, and so the, a couple weeks before Steve was to go and start, he went in to make sure everything was okay. And Dr. Atkinson said, “You know, I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t wanna partner in here after all, good luck to you son.” And Steve came home and said, “He changed his mind.” So here we are, we have school debt. We’re in a city I don’t know, jobs we don’t have. And I’m thinking, “Lord, we prayed and fasted about this for a year and you gave us this answer.”

Audience: Mm-hmm.

Sharon: And I’m like, “What are you doing?” And I was not a happy camper. So Steve worked on Friday and Saturdays in another office where a guy only worked Monday through Thursday. We made $2 and 50 cents our first day at work.

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: And, um, I worked for, I helped him and I worked at another dentist during the week. And I, Steve said, “Sharon works six days a week and cries on the seventh.” And, um, that’s about how it was. But you know, we said, “Lord, what are you doing here?” And then, um, the dental reps, they’re the ones that kind of help you find situations. One came three months later and said, “There’s a practice in the best part of town and he is looking for a young dentist to come in and rent some space. Would you be interested?” So we went over there and looked at that and it was Ephesians 3:20 and lab coat white.

Audience: Nice.

Sharon: And we went in and started. And that was 40 years ago.

Audience: Wow.

Sharon: And it was amazing what God has done in those 40 years. You know, that little Dr. Atkins place that we thought was what he wanted, that became a thoroughfare and that place got torn down. Now, God was doing all this stuff in the meanwhile, and I thought when I was young and all this was happening, I’m like, “Well God, why did you do it that way? Why don’t you just tell us about the good part first and we didn’t have to go through that?” But God is much more concerned about our character than our comfort.

Audience: That’s right. That’s right.

Sharon: We pray for comfort. He’s concerned about our character. And we had some lessons to learn. And God used every bit of that in our growing up, in our growing up. You know, I don’t have this in my notes tonight, but I wanna tell you another meanwhile story is, you know, for years… We have one son I mentioned he’s 38. And for years we wanted other children. And, and it didn’t happen. And, uh, we went through infertility treatment and then we stopped all that. And, and then I got pregnant. And, um, we were so excited and then the baby died.

And I was so mad at God. “God, why did you let this happen? Why did you let this happen?” But I want you to know that God used every single bit of that to grow me. One night he gave me, it wasn’t a vision, but I was lying in bed and I was thinking, I was, had been saying, “Why me? Why me?” And God said, “You need to stop saying why me, and start saying what now. What now? What do you want me to do with this lesson that I have learned?” And I had a picture of this little girl in heaven and she wasn’t sad at all, just playing at the feet of Jesus.

She said, “I’m telling other people about what it feels like to have a mommy who loves them.” And I had this beautiful picture of her and God has used every bit of that. But my medical chart says infertile on it. And one day I was writing a, wrote a book on the Song of Solomon. And I was reading it one day as if I were, uh, the Shulamite. Jesus is my husband. And the Shulamite says, “I am the rose of Sharon.” And I thought, huh, that’s my name.

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: So God told me to go look it up. And when I say, talking about God speaking to me, I’m not talking audible, I’m talking about in my heart.

Audience: Yes, yes. That’s right.

Sharon: And he told me to go look up that Sharon in my little Bible dictionary and it said, “A fertile valley in the holy land.” So my medical chart says infertile. And God was showing me that day-

Audience: Yes. Yes.

Sharon: … “I have named you Fertile Valley because that dream didn’t come about like you thought it would. That story didn’t turn out like you thought it would, but I have made you fertile in other ways.”

Audience: That’s right. That’s right.

Sharon: So just hang on to that. Hang on to that. Even though we might not get the answers we’re looking for, we can be sure of this. God is always working behind the scenes. There is always a meanwhile that will make our pain worthwhile. And I don’t know where you are right now, or maybe there’s some from your past that you’ve just lugged around with you for years and years and years and you might feel like God isn’t working. You might feel like God’s not answering your prayer. But don’t be fooled by what you see with your eyes. Don’t be fooled by what you see with your eyes. God is always preparing us for what he has prepared for us.

Now I wanna get back to my, my dad just a minute. So we got my, you know, I became a Christian at 14. My mom became a Christian when I was 17. My dad’s going to church believing, “I could never become a Christian because I’m too bad.” And honestly, he went to church and he didn’t see very many men like him. Well, about three years later when he, I was 20, my father was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He had worked at a building supply company and then he bought one with some other men and ran that. And he had a restrictive covenant. And what that means is if you work somewhere and you go to work in competition, it can’t be within a certain mile radius. And he was too close.

So they were suing him and he was gonna be exposed in our little town for honestly, God only knew what, ’cause I’m sure there was a lot. And he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Now, hold on tight. I’m gonna tell you this part fast. My mother with her craft shop, she had gone up to a craft convention in Pennsylvania. My dad’s in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He gets in his car and he drives to Pennsylvania to try to find my mother at her meeting. He cannot find her at the meeting he stops by a Catholic Church. And he said, we were not Catholic at the, at… I don’t know why he stopped by a Catholic Church, but he did, probably ’cause they had a steeple. And he stopped there and he went in and he said, “I need somebody to pray for me.”

And the secretary said, “Are you Catholic?” And he said, “No, I just need somebody to pray for me. Is the priest here? ‘Well, no, the priest isn’t here. But I know a Baptist pastor who’s out in the woods building his church, hammer nail.’” And drew him a little map on a scratch piece of paper. My dad got back in his car, followed that map on the scratch piece of paper into the woods of Pennsylvania, found this pastor with a hammer in his hand, Jesus in his heart. And he said, “I need you to pray for me.” And the man said, “What’s your name? ‘My name is Allen.’ Allen, sit here on this log and tell me your story.” And for the first time, my dad told somebody his story, all of it.

Audience: Yes, yes.

Sharon: And then this is what my dad told me when he came home. He said, “Sharon, I told that man everything I had done. And I knew that if God could forgive him and he could be a preacher, then he could forgive me too.” And he gave his life to Jesus that day.

Audience: Amen. Yes.

Sharon: Amen. Hallelujah. Woo woo.

Audience: Woo woo.

Sharon: Listen y’all, he became one of the sweetest men I’ve ever known. It tells us in the word of God, they overcame him talking about Satan. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb. And I bet some of y’all know the rest of that.

Audience: The word-

Sharon: The word of their testimony. “They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” And this isn’t just about how you came to Christ, this is your story, the bad parts, good parts, all of it. “They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of the, your testimony.” You think about it, your story has so much power that it’s in the same sentence with the blood of the lamb.

Audience: Amen!

Sharon: Is that not amazing? No wonder the devil does not want you to tell it. He doesn’t want you to tell it. He wants you to be ashamed of it. You know, there’s some parts of my story that I did not want to tell. And God said to my heart, “Would you rather ’em think well of you or well of me?”

Audience: Yes.

Sharon: And I said, “Lord, I want him to think well of you.” And I wanna close with this. You know, I, I told you about my growing up, told you about my mom and told you about my dad. And my father actually died of Alzheimer’s when he was 66. And then my mother, um, she died when she was 84. And, um, you know, I was so blessed to be able to be with her, um, in her last six weeks of life. You know, a lot of forgiveness had to gone in my family a whole lot of forgiveness. And I don’t want you to think it was instantaneous. Um, it was very gradual. But not everyone in my family did forgive. And, and some hung on to bitterness and are still bitter even now. Um, they were like, “It’s no way I’m gonna let go of this hate.” And that person has stayed stuck in a bad story. I don’t want any of us to stay stuck in a bad story.

But my mom, she had a good ending to her story. And I was sitting with her, um, when she was dying her last six weeks that she told the doctor, “Unhook everything, I’m ready to go.” I came back in the room and I said, “Well, it looks like I’m, you’re going to get to meet Jesus before me.” And she said, “Are you jealous?”

Audience: (laughs).

Sharon: So she, she just said, “Are you jealous?” And, um, so she had that little, um, she was funny and we did laugh a lot and we cried a lot. And one day she was looking out in the window and I said, “Mama, what you thinking about?” She said, “I’m thinking it’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

Audience: Finish. Yes.

Sharon: I said, “Who told you that?” She said, “You did.” And you know what? My mama finished well, and I want that for all of us. I want us to take those bad chapters and turn ’em into something good.

John: Hmm. Some terrific thoughts about life from Sharon Jaynes on Focus on the Family today.

Jim: Isn’t that amazing, uh, what God can do in our lives when we relinquish control to him? Uh, that is the goal. As we’ve heard people say. If you think of, uh, your life as a car, the big question is where’s Jesus in the car? Is he stuck in the trunk only used for emergencies or is he in the passenger seat where you can take his advice but disregard it if it doesn’t suit your plans? Or maybe, uh, you’ve given over the keys and let Jesus take the wheel. It’s the obvious point. As Sharon explained, it’s only when we give the Lord complete control that we will see amazing answers to our prayers. And if you’d like to learn more about how to do that, uh, let me recommend Sharon’s excellent book called When You Don’t Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories? Uh, Sharon will help you find freedom from the past and teach you how to live in the restoration of the present. And we’d be happy to send that out to you when you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family. And if you can’t make a donation right now, please request the book anyway. We’ll trust that other listeners will help cover the cost of getting it to you.

John: And this reminder that when you get that book from us here at Focus on the Family, we’ll send a free audio download of Sharon’s entire message with some extra content. It’s, uh, a great way to listen again or pass this along to someone. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can donate online and request your copy of the book and that audio download at

Jim: And if you need to talk to someone about your specific story, please give us a call. Our friendly staff would be honored to listen to your concerns and pray with you. And if needed, they can arrange for a callback from one of our Caring Christian counselors. Please let us minister to you in that way if this show brought up some issues from your past.

John: Yeah, we have a great team here and, uh, we’re a phone call away. 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Next time we’ll hear from two moms who share their tips for navigating those early grade school years.

Ellen Schuknecht: The current generation of parents, I think they so badly want their kids to be successful. I try to just tell ’em to relax ’cause the kids do need to learn and they learn and let ’em learn when it’s safe, when they’re little.

Today's Guests

When You Don't Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories?

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