I’d like to share a bit about my personal faith journey. If it resonates with you that’s great.  if not, no worries. We each have our own journey. I share mine not so that you will agree but so that you will know more about me as a minister of wellness. Trust is a huge factor in my work. I want my clients to know me well enough to trust me as I work with their body, mind, spirit—their energies.  

Early Spiritual Formation
Any spiritual story has a very personal beginning. I came from a loving Christian family. My mother deeply artistic and sensitive, my father an engineer by archetype more than by formal education, I am a hybrid, one who loves scientific inquiry informed by artistic expression. My parents introduced me to a loving God and Savior Jesus early in my life. Lying hidden in these early years was a trauma that would only be revealed after a major trauma in my mid 50s ushering in a life altering depth of healing.  But all that will unfold much later.  As in any spiritual journey what we are raised with must become our own. I am so grateful for the foundations of faith I was taught and even more grateful for my own discoveries along the way even to the present.

A Time of Discovery
Raised in the 70s, Christianity during my lifetime has undergone many changes, explorations and nuances. All around me, both the world and the church were in a state of transition. So was American culture. In public school I was taught Eastern Philosophies which at that time did not fit easily in the framework of my Christianity. A visit to my youth pastor introduced me to a principle not well known in my modern Evangelical American culture—Christian meditation. While others in my class meditated using Eastern principles, I began a practice of meditating on the Divine and the scriptures.

I was raised in a tradition that didn’t ascribe to miraculous giftings from the Holy Spirit. The primary way to address a need for healing was through prayer for the doctors who were to prescribe drugs and perform surgeries. Others in my life were from different traditions within Christianity and a much loved cousin told me I must have a gift of healing. This was a new concept to me but I filed it away for later.

A Wounded Healer
Years later I developed a chronic pain condition later to be named as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I was prescribed medications but my training in addiction recovery left me uncomfortable with a narcotic approach to pain. During this time I experienced a miraculous healing resulting from a time of deep confession and a study in humility and forgiveness. The chronic fatigue was eased but the chronic pain remained. New approaches were being discovered in mind/body work. I entered a pain clinic where relaxation and cognitive therapies were taught as an alternative to medications. The success of these techniques were dramatic and life changing for me. More explorations of how healing could occur became an integral part of my personal and spiritual journeys.

A Study of Gifting
I strongly believed that God could heal miraculously. I didn’t understand when or why or even how. I looked at the ways Jesus healed in the Bible. Sometimes he used elements; sometimes a word of forgiveness; sometimes he was present; sometimes he acted on behalf of another; sometimes he involved the person; sometimes he wasn’t even present with them; sometimes he asked them if they wanted to be healed. One reference to healing was about a woman who only touched his garment and he felt energy leave him. So many methods and always success. I wanted to experience the gift of healing that happened instantly. So I  kept exploring wanting to know more about how healing happens. I continued my study. One passage particularly piqued my interest. It was found where a list of spiritual gifts were outlined in the book of 1st Corinthians in the Bible. I noticed the reference to healing was mentioned in the plural: gifts of healing.

Meanwhile, I continued to study, learn, pray, process. A sensation in my hands grew during worship. When deep in worship of God I felt a warmth in my hands. So many questions. How does God heal? Why does he heal sometimes but not others? When does he involve the person? When is it immediate? When is it permanent? When is it only temporary? Where did Eastern methods of healing fit into all of this? And what was this sensation I felt? Was it from God or was it something other? How could I trust it? One friend called it “reiki hands.” Another told me that I  had a gift of healing and could feel it in my hands. She said that God had confirmed it to her through a word of knowledge that I had a gift of healing and that gift would be suited best for his use as he fashioned it in me. So I continued my journey, testing every thought, every teaching, every sensation. This led to my education in natural health at Trinity, a school that shared my Christian perspectives and allowed an open minded study of how the body could heal using natural methodologies.

A Creation/Creator Model Emerges
All along my journey I wanted answers. Sometimes answers are not definitive. Sometimes faith is required when answers are not visible. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews reference) The next step of the journey came in a dissertation. Originally intended to be a statement about what was “safe” for a Christians to access in matters of healing, the navigation between East and West, Good and Evil, but the realization that the best research papers are not worked from a predefined conclusion but from open, honest inquiry, I chose to throw out the preconceptions and began a conscious journey of discovery. How have people sought healing from the beginning of recorded history through to the present? What are the similarities? What are the differences? How is the Creator involved in this process? I got curious.

What emerged was an understanding of healing from the perspective of a Creator/creation model. The creation informs humanity about the some aspects of the Creator. We are not gods ourselves but are made in the image of God. The Creator’s imprint is on all of creation. This Supreme Loving Creator is our Source and is above all created things, including the Universe! Made in the image of our Creator, humans are creative creatures!

Years later studies have led me to believe more and more in a God who is still in the act of creating.  I have left many of my early beliefs behind as I’ve studied. Others have been more confirmed. What remains is centered in this creative, loving God who makes a way for love to win. More of the theological underpinnings of Healing Pathway will be seen in blogs.

Terri Shannon Renfro is not a medical doctor or licensed medical professional. She is not presenting information to substitute the advice and care of your physician or other medical or psychiatric professional. Please see the about us section of this site for more information about Dr. Shannon-Renfro's qualifications. These blogs are for educational purposes only. The opinions expressed here belong to Terri Shannon-Renfro or the author quoted and do not constitute treatment in anyway. Dr. Terri Shannon-Renfro does not diagnose, prescribe or treat any medical or psychiatric condition.