For the last month I have been spending the better part of each week studying, praying and preparing to travel and speak. Speaking is something that has been a call on my life since I was a young girl. God threw me a curve ball when He also told me to write two years ago. I love His curve balls…it is fun to stretch, run and catch them…(obedience), then you really get to see HIS HAND!
The call to speak came when I was 11 years old. I can remember speaking at GA (Girls in Action) camp. I was asked to share my “young testimony” in front of 200 campers at the closing service of camp week. I was the only camper asked to speak. I was terrified but willing. It was the first time I had ever spoken in front of a group. It was at Marietta Baptist Camp that I felt God’s call on my life to “Speak Publicly” for Him and about HIM.
I can remember sitting in the camp’s prayer garden talking to my counselor, Laura Bennett, about my fear, anxiety and inadequacy. She said, “Sherry, the God you trusted to be your Lord and Savior two years ago will give you the words.” I had enough experience even at 11, two years of being a young Christ follower, to know that God would show up and help me and He did. From that experience I had no doubts about God’s provision in the coming months.
From that Saturday on, God placed that call on my life. I have had many opportunities throughout life to speak. Looking back, I can definitely see so well God’s hand, over the years, preparing me for Back 9 Ministries. From being at Clemson and being a cheerleader to being crowned Miss South Carolina….all platforms which He orchestrated hundreds of opportunities for me to speak–in churches, women’s groups, schools, universities, businesses, the South Carolina Baptist Convention and smaller stages as well. After being named first runner up to Miss America and getting national attention because of my unique clogging talent, the stage grew. I traveled and spoke over 250 times in that one year. I was on the 700 Club twice that year with Pat Robertson, Denuda and Ben Kenslow and appeared on other TV shows.
After that year, I was hired to do a television show with Bret Dillard called, “Kid Sizzle,” which was on CBS in Greenville, SC. That experience was such a great and teachable time. I continued to travel and speak the year after being Miss South Carolina almost as much as the year before. I was married by then and when we started having children, God called me to be home.
NO regrets there….having children…being a wife and mother for 25 years has been God’s training ground and classroom to teach me more about His love and His character. Not until I became a parent, could I relate and fully understand how much God must love me. He also taught me much about continual surrender to His will and not mine.
That path has had the MOST BUMPS and LESSONS…especially with our kids. When Thomas was diagnosed….God’s hand over Thomas’ life was very APPARENT….what I mean by this is that…so many times God intervened and I saw the supernatural. It was not in my control or strength or Bill’s. It was in God’s hands and I saw it clearly. Disease brought about God’s glory and still does.
Being home and being a parent also matured me in ways. I don’t know if I could have matured any other way. Kids teach you so much about yourself–the good and the not so good. Training ground for me for sure. When our kids started playing golf is when God took this “cheerleader,” who knew nothing about golf, and kept me quiet for hours at a time…watching…learning…praying……and growing.
Yes, life on the fairways has grown me spiritually….in ways I would have never grown. I have been put in countless situations of sharing my faith one-on-one with strangers. When you walk four hours with someone and you are a talker and you can’t talk to your kids (the players), you talk to the others watching. I also did a ton of listening to people which taught me much and made me very aware of people who don’t know Jesus. God also increased my territory….in the people I know all across America and other countries.
Another avenue God has used is AdvoCare, nutritional products sold through direct sales. Bill started sharing AdvoCare over 12 years ago and I became involved as well. God has used it to groom me, teach me and expand me to the place that HE has me currently. I am once again traveling as I did during my days as Miss South Carolina but now I have the opportunity to speak about HIM, His love, His character and the many things He has taught me. The difference today is more wisdom from a Holy God and much training ground and experiences.
Probably the hardest training ground has been the recent experience of watching my mother die. Going through that inevitable walk of life of saying a temporary goodbye to someone who has been lifeblood to me has not been easy but it has reminded me that this world is not my home. I do not grieve as those without hope, spurring me on to share Jesus Christ with others. I Thessalonians 4:13-14, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
I want to close today’s post by saying…..I feel that Back 9 followers are my extended family. I wanted to share this next step in ministry with you. I know God is going to show up and show out as long as I stay out of the way but obedient. Please pray with me over….the times I will travel and speak….that it would be ALL GOD. For God to prepare the hearts in the room, and for spiritual fruit…..not just in others’ lives but mine as well. I want to be able to give reports to you like the ones found in Acts 17:11, “…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Paul talks about his use of his freedom in ministry in I Corinthians 9:22-23, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” What I take from this is the importance of getting out of the way for the sake of the gospel.
I desperately want people to know Jesus and what it is like to surrender to God…and allow Him in every part of their lives. I realize at 52 not everyone has the fertile Christian ground that I was raised in….that allowed me to grow in Christ. There are some days I feel I should be stronger just because of my background…but I know God can do anything with anyone and that is the mission I have been assigned. To encourage people to “Guard their hearts” and the very best way to do that IS to give their heart to Jesus….and if they have…then daily…get before God and allow Him to direct their paths.
The first place I will be speaking this fall will be in Greenwood, SC. I will be speaking at the most amazing place where God has performed miracles for many years. It is called “A Place for US Ministries” and was started years ago…by a mother, Tammie Price, who became pregnant as a teenager. I have just finished her book, “The Story Matters” and it should be a best seller.
I am truly amazed at the countless miracles God performed when Tammie answered God’s call to open a home for unwed mothers…..It is even further evidence to me of how God shows up and shows out when you OBEY FULLY and Completely. I will post all along the way…I am expecting God to give me much to write about as you join me on this journey… I know when God is involved, there are going to be God Moments and Miracles.
Thank you in advance for praying!