Sherri McReynolds: She is my rock! My stable ground. When I need a gentle word and a steady voice, she is the one I call. God only placed her in my physical surrounding for short period of time but he placed her there at just the right time. She has been my “hiding place” (literally) and my place to go for rest. She has supported me during some pretty tough situations and never wavered in the trust she placed in God for our direction. And now that she has been many miles away from me for a lot of years, I still can hear her sweet voice and feel her hugs. I so look forward to the day when we can be in the same physical place again. My friend forever!
“I’d like you to write a post for my website….The story of your life with God. Would you do it?” “Oh my!”, was my response. It made my heart race at the thought! I had never sat down and put pen to paper about “my story”. Did I have one, I wondered? They say everyone has a story to tell, but others seem to have much more interesting stories than mine! Yet, here I sit in the quiet of an early Monday morning, strong coffee with just the right amount of cream and my Bible open. The view out my dining room window indicates fall is in full swing, and in many ways mirrors my life stage. I passed my 50th birthday this last summer along with a few more wrinkles, and gray hair masked by a bit of color.
The summer of 1966 was my grand entrance into this world. The last of five children, born in a small Texas Panhandle town, to a pretty, 28 year-old mother, and a 29 year-old handsome, young preacher. I’m told my mama had to sweet-talk my daddy into the last 3 children, and I’m so glad she did! My parents would gather us all into the living room every night for a devotional. Daddy would read scripture, we would sing “Abide with Me”, and then we would each take turns praying. God was becoming more real to me, even at that tender young age. Sundays were my favorite day of the week in that small Colorado town where we now lived. I vividly remember running into the bathroom where my mama was getting ready for church and excitedly asked her, “Do you know what my favorite day of the week is? Sunday!”. I was too young yet to understand the gravity of the struggle in the world outside in the early 1970’s…bomb threats due to racial tension that sent my older brother and sister home from high school, inflation, Vietnam, etc. My world was secure, safe, and warm. I knew nothing of the impact of sin. But then I started Kindergarten. The sweet, little 5 year-old girl found herself wrapping her beloved doll in a blanket from the play area of the classroom and standing in line to go home. The teacher asked, “Is that your blanket, Sherri?”, to which I replied softly, “Yes”. Stealing…lying…oh my! I knew it was wrong, but buried it in my young heart and kept it there. A year later, a friend named Missy, taught me how to smoke in the back alley of her house. I was a mature 1st grader, and she a 2nd grader. Why did it seem so easy to give in to temptation? Sin. I buried this guilt in my heart, too. These sins and others began to burden my heart so much, that I finally got the courage to ask my mom one Wednesday night after church, “Do you ever need to tell someone about your sins?” She took me privately into their bedroom, where I sat on the edge of the bed and confessed everything I could think of. She was so gentle, as always, and prayed with me, and hugged me as I cried. The heaviness finally lifted from my heart! Confession really is good for the soul!
When I was 11, I had a very strong conviction to be baptized. I was a private girl and hadn’t shared with my parents about the decision I had been wrestling with. But “something” took me out of that pew that Sunday morning, and my daddy baptized me into Christ. Oh, what a feeling! My sins had all been washed away! I will never forget that day. Never had I experienced that feeling of feeling so free, light and so joyful!
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8. Wait. Who? Me? Yes, me. Many times in the course of Jr. High and High School I was in a spiritual battle. More lying here, a little deception there, and covering up, and burying deep. I tried to hide from God. Shamefully, I ceased praying to Him and confessing my sin, allowing Satan to deceive me into thinking, “God isn’t listening to you!”. But Satan is the father of lies, and makes it his mission to keep us believing those lies. But God has a way of getting our attention to call us back to Him. He got my attention at that time by moving a young man to town when I was 16. I’m convinced he was placed there, at that particular time, by God. He and his family only lived there for eight short months before his parents decided that cold, little part of Colorado was not for them and headed back north to Denver. We had only been dating one month before they moved, but that was enough time for God! Matt needed Him, and little did I know that He would use me. Could God actually use me– broken, flawed, and at times living in out-right rebellion? Yes, He could and He did! God also knew that I needed to be called back to Him and used Matt to do that. It was not an immediate change for either one of us, but our relationship grew through the long distance, and after graduation I moved to Denver. We had many conversations about God, our past mistakes, and what we dreamed of for the future. He was baptized into Christ four months before we married in May of 1986. Matt and I learned to grow in Christ together as we began our married life, and had 2 beautiful children. These “children” are now nearly 27 and 24 years of age, and are my pride and joy! As they grew and were being shaped by God, He was shaping me right along with them. I, by no means, have mothered them perfectly. So many mistakes have been made. But God is always reminding me of how far He has brought me, and that His grace is sufficient for me.
Our family has been through a lot of changes over the past 30 years. Job losses, moves, deaths, divorces within our families, etc. With every one of these challenges, God has grown me more and more. He has put wonderful, godly women in my life at just the right time, along with families in the body of Christ to share joys with, as well as struggles, and to help carry one another’s burdens that living in this flesh can bring.
There is nothing more vital in this world than living a life of faith in Christ Jesus! Struggles come so that we can see God more clearly. Nothing can ever take the place of the treasure we have in Christ. Yes, even I, in this cracked jar of clay, have a treasure, “….to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from men”. 2 Cor. 4:7.
Through each season of the year, and of my life, may the LORD continually help keep my eyes on Him. No matter how much I mess up, He is faithful. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:17-18
Lord, You always have the best timing and know who we need to have. Thank you for giving me Sherri. Be with her as she ministers to those around her and help her know that she is a part of Your great story. Amen