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Shut It Down, Don’t Tolerate

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Since July of 2010, my family has had zero tolerance for sickness. That means if we sneeze, we rebuke it in the name of Jesus. If we have allergies, we rebuke them in the name of Jesus. If we have pain, we pray over it immediately. We don’t just sit down and tolerate it. We war over it. We join together. We turn everything in our house from whatever we were doing to playing the Bible, playing messages of healing and testimonies of hope, stories of God’s children being redeemed and restored. 

We stop and pray over one another throughout the day. We constantly have our ears open and our hearts going, and we listen for discouragement. Even when we are away from each other, we are praying for each other. All day, we pray in the Spirit over each other. We don’t stop. We don’t cease.

However, the person who is fighting or warring can sometimes take ownership of the illness that has come at them, taking it on as part of their identity. They can begin to tolerate it bit by bit. Instead of seeking help right away, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s only a sniffle. I just need to blow my nose. It’s not that big of a deal.” We need to realize sickness is always the beginning of death. You shouldn’t tolerate it for a second.

Way back in 2016, I sustained a neck injury by being super-silly. No alcohol was involved. It was my daughter’s birthday, and our family was over. I guess I liked the spotlight. I like to dance and have fun. I simply enjoy living. So, I walked on my hands, and I did the worm or the centipede. I did handstands against the wall. Well, I fell out of a handstand and onto my head and injured my C-1 and C-2 vertebrae. I had crammed my cranial arteries up into my skull, which messed up my blood flow. It made me want to pass out. I felt horrible. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t lift my head without blacking out.

I stayed in bed until two. During that time, I couldn’t do anything about my condition. I was simply weak. I wept, unable to war. My family began to war over me. As I lay there, fear began to creep in. Thoughts of, “What if I can’t walk? What if I’m not okay? What if this doesn’t stop? What if…?” filled my mind and kept me from focusing on what kind of glory God was going to get when my miracle happened and everyone saw how He worked it out this time.

He had worked it out before for me. He will work it out again. He is the God who gives good and perfect gifts. He cares for me. He loves me. He is not against me. He is for me. This might be a weapon that was formed against me, but it couldn’t prosper. Instead of rebuking all the symptoms and words against me, I was agreeing with them. I wasn’t agreeing with the truth. I was agreeing with those words against me. I began tolerating it. The more you tolerate something, the more it sets into who you are.

I had to come to a point where I drew a line in the sand and decided, “I’m not going to bed until I have this turned around.” Fear is not from God. He says in the Bible, over 365 times, “Do not fear.” Yet I was in fear. So I decided, “God, I am going to surrender everything no matter what it takes.” 

I began repenting and surrendering and truly confessing everything I was struggling with. I had not been sleeping well, and I spent the night in about eight hundred positions. I was up a million times in the middle of the night. But every time I felt any symptom whatsoever, I simply said, “No. In the name of Jesus, I cut you off.” And every time, it left immediately because I have been given authority over my body and I began to use it. Because of that, I put my foot down and stopped tolerating this weapon that had been formed against me. 

You have to decide early on, if there is a weapon formed against you, whether you are going to tolerate it or not. Some people will think this is so stupid because it’s not that big of a deal, but it is a big deal. Every weapon has the opportunity for fatality. I’m not finished with my work on this earth, and I know I am not. So in Jesus’ name, I can stand on God’s promises He has for me and not tolerate something, not the slightest bit.

Check your own life and see if you are tolerating any weapons that have held you up. Are you tolerating any mental what-ifs that have kept you from moving forward? Shut them down today and stop tolerating them, in Jesus’ name. 

The Compounding Effect of God

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How do you make a big impact in the kingdom of God?
                       
In Nehemiah, they rebuilt the wall that had been torn down for 150 years. They had actually tried to repair the wall but failed. Have you ever embarked on a really large project that was bigger than you and anything you could have imagined? Did you start working on it, but it ended up being too big for you to overcome?

Well, the only way to accomplish a huge project is to break it down into the smallest of baby steps that anyone could carry out. That’s what Nehemiah did. He had people repair the wall outside of their own homes. 

The city walls are torn down. Repairing the whole thing looks like a huge undertaking. But what if each of us repairs the portion of the wall between his two next-door neighbors, one to the left and one to the right? What if we just work on that bit? That doesn’t seem so bad.

What they found out is the enemy doesn’t like restoration. The enemy doesn’t want us to repair broken-down people or repair and take away strongholds. No, the enemy wants us with our defenses down so we are easy to attack. He wants our neighbors to stay in bondage. To that end, he sends obstacles and threats and all kinds of barriers into our path.

Nehemiah knew they needed to find a way to fight against the enemy who was trying to come in and also keep working at the same time. A lot of times, we are either all throwing down in fighting or all working. We need to do what Nehemiah did. He made sure three hands were holding a weapon and fending off the enemy so the worker could keep busy with his free hand and continue the work (Nehemiah 4:16–18). For every four hands, three hands defended against the enemy, and one hand did the work.

If we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in our world, we need to have three hands holding swords and one hand doing the work. What that means for us today is in our session praying, those people who are praying continuously are holding back forces of darkness we can’t see in the spirit realm for those doing all the labor. They are clearing the roadway, if you will. Let’s say your car is stopped on an interstate because there’s a major traffic jam, but you can’t actually see what the problem is. That’s like the spirit realm. There’s a traffic jam, and the only way to clear it is through prayer because God’s angels will come and push back that darkness.

When we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in the things we are doing, we need to assign people who are called, gifted, and equipped with prayer and have them intercede on our behalf while we are doing the work.

Someday Your Feet Will Be Carried, Too

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Youth is celebrated.
Yet, everyone ages.
Everyone dies.

A new, baby tree is so cute and beautiful. It’s flexible; it bends to the ground in a heavy wind. It’s short, unable to see the horizon over older trees. The bark is youthful and smooth, without many marks or deep grooves. The bright-green, tender leaves are small and dainty.

The older tree climbs far above the new tree. The trunk is thicker. The bark is rough and deeply grooved. It’s apparent that it has had much wear and tear over the years. The trunk is strong and stable. Its branches can hold the weight of climbing children and homemade swings. It can stand firm through strong winds. It towers over the other trees, giving it a perspective many others cannot see. Its leaves are dark and thick, veiny and tough, even coarse. Each mark and groove tells a story of a storm weathered, a season endured.

My precious grandma stayed in a nursing home. My daughter said, “Mom, nursing homes are like orphanages for old people. They are mostly alone, with visitors few and far between. People come in for an hour to visit once in a while, and then they’re gone again.” It crushed her heart.

Youth is idolized in our nation, and older people are devalued. 

Getting old isn’t glamorous. 

What’s the …
Newest trend?
Best youth-restoring moisturizer?
Coolest thing to wear?
Latest diet?

People look to plastic surgery to lift it, tuck it, change it, keep it youthful.

Everyone wants to stay young. But it’s in growing that we gain wisdom to live by and share. It’s the storm survival that makes us like that tall, sturdy tree. Our marks are testimony to our endurance. We gain perspective and can have peace in the storm because we know we will make it through, even if we lose everything. We know there’s a circle of life and we are just a tiny part of it.

The life that once seemed larger than life when we really thought we were somebody now seems so small, like we haven’t left enough of a mark.

Will anyone remember me?
How long until I am forgotten?
What more could I have done?
All those years I wasted, believing I was invincible.

Everyone ages.
Everyone dies.

Someday your feet will be carried, too.

One day you will be like the very people you see no value in now. You may end up alone in a nursing home, wondering whether anyone will remember who you are in 100 years.

When you are on your next trip in nature, remember to look at the trees. The most beautiful ones are large and weathered, with the thickest trunks and intricacies in every branch. Their leaves are larger than your hands. Their branches stretch to the heavens.

That same stunning beauty can be found in the wrinkle lines, spotted hands, thick trunk, and hunched back of an elderly person. They carry their stories in their bodies and their minds. They will mesmerize you if you just ask.

Just ask.

Maybe you will find some wisdom to help your tiny new leaves weather some future storms.

You know they’re coming.

Love, 
Sheri 

How I Get Stuff Done

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How do I get stuff done?

I think the number one thing I hear from my friends is, “How do you get so much accomplished? How do you do it? How do you get stuff done?” How about I share my secret with you?

First of all, I dream. I dream big because I know my God can do more than I can ask, think, or imagine. The dream He gave me is to give Him glory.

Second, I act. A dream without action is only a fantasy. But a dream with action is achievable.
Third, I commit a portion of my day, every day, to my dream. For example, if I am writing a book, I write ten to fifteen minutes every day. Even if it sucks and I have to throw it away, I write every day.

I think a lot of people look at what they dream about with the end in mind instead of realizing it takes being faithful in the tiny everyday steps. It takes trying, failing, trying again, and continuing to try. Before you know it, you will have sixty thousand words on a piece of paper. It doesn’t happen overnight, but there is beauty in the process. It’s through the process of us remaining faithful in finishing as strong as we started that we can endure the success on the other end. It develops in us the character to be able to be successful. Working hard in the secret place where no one ever knows or sees what you are doing and being faithful every single day yields beautiful fruit.

Out of college, I was a consultant. I went to work for a company, and I was their internal consultant. After interviewing people in the company, I would come up with ideas that would reduce our expenditures. Some of my ideas back then were huge. I wanted to achieve the sky.

The sky was the limit, in my opinion. All things were possible. I remember the CFO I worked for said, “You know, Sheri, the pie in the sky is great, but it’s impossible to implement the pie in the sky in stage one. We have to break down every idea into stages. We start with the baby stage, and then we increase from there. We continue increasing until we get to where we want to land.” 

That was extremely difficult for me to swallow. I’m like, “Oh, whatever. We can knock this out of the park. This is a grand slam. A home run.” But looking back now, I can see all those years ago, I learned how to take an idea and implement it step by step, even if it’s hard. I learned how to walk through difficult doors, overcome hurdles, and attain high impossibilities to finish the race strong. It built character in me. So it’s no surprise that today I am still doing it.

There was a man who worked at that company. I remember him saying that my husband and I were either all in or all out. There was no middle ground. I think this is true. If we are going to do something, we are going to be all in. Just like with our fitness—we were all in. When we go to write a book or pursue a dream, we are all in. We started a ministry a few years ago, and we are all in. It doesn’t mean it is accelerated or fast and furious. It means we are not going to stop. It means we are committed, loyal, and are staying in the course, trusting God to bring what we need. He has been faithful thus far, ever shockingly, replacing everyone who was lost and replacing the loss with gain. That is awesome.

It’s a process. You do a bit every day. That is my little secret of how I get big things done.

I’m praying for you today that you would begin in the little things and continue to chip away until big things happen.

Heart vs. Outward Appearance

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Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

It’s incredible how a woman can look when she rolls out of bed and slams on her clothes to travel versus when she spends time fixing her hair to wear it down, applying a little bit of makeup, and putting on a cute outfit. Some women are actually not recognizable because they look significantly different.

I recently saw a video of a girl who posted pictures of herself on Facebook without any makeup. People made awful comments: “You’re disgusting.” “How gross.” “No one should ever date you.” She took time and applied gorgeous makeup, and she started to get these sorts of comments: “You’re so beautiful.” “You’re perfect.” Then she started getting comments that said: “You’re wearing too much makeup.” “You’re nasty.”

This recently happened to me. My cousin was getting married, and I had the opportunity to meet her groomsmen and ushers—new people I hadn’t met before. I showed up with my jeans on, a T-shirt, and my hair in a crazy bun. I barely had any makeup on. Honestly, probably none. I met a bunch of different people, helped her pack for her trip, ate some junk food, and left.

The next day, I showed up at the wedding. I took the time to look presentable for her on her wedding day. By the way, when the bride is taking the time to get all dolled up for her wedding day, honor her by dressing up. So I washed my hair and blow-dried it. My cousin flat-ironed it. It looked really good. It looks so much better when someone else flat-irons your hair, so I do that sometimes. I put on a darling jumpsuit I got from Fabletics, which I love. It is so cute. It just shows my muscles so well. It’s so comfortable. It feels like you’re wearing your PJs. You’re dressed up with your pajama-feeling outfit on. It is the bomb dot-com!

I fixed my makeup, threw on a long, awesome statement sweater, flew into the wedding, and saw some of the gentlemen I had met the night before. I said to them by name, “Hi , how are you today?” Literally, two of them stopped in their tracks and followed me. One of them said, “Hey, what’s your name again?” I said, “I met you last night. My name is .” It was literally as if he had never seen me before. But I could tell there was a difference between the way I looked the day before and the way I looked that day because his response was jaw-dropping.

At my age, I don’t have that effect very often anymore at all. The majority of the time, I have my hair in a big, gigantic mess of a bun anyway, so no one even knows what I actually look like outside of my gym clothes, sweaty body, and crazy hair. But it was pretty incredible to see the difference a little bit of time spent can do and how differently people can react to you. I wondered if I should set my own example, spend the day and go around in my crazies and then go around dressed up to note how differently people treat me.

Let’s be people who look at the heart and not the body or the hair. Let’s not judge each other, thinking we are lazy, inconsiderate, or rude just because we are not all fixed up. Have you ever had this happen to you before? Did people treat you differently? I would love to hear your story.

Sheri

My Faith Is Weak—I Need More Faith

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We all have the faith of Jesus Christ. That’s what Scripture says. You cannot come to God without Him. He actually gives you the faith to believe in Him. The faith you have isn’t your own. You didn’t muster it up. You’re not some great person of faith. Yes, sometimes He gives people a spiritual gift of faith, but it’s still from Him. He is the author of it.

If you and I have the same faith because God gave it to us so we could know Him and love Him, then how do we make our faith work more effectually? Some people have more effective faith than I do. I look at them and think, “How is that? How is that possible?” I believe it comes from their relationship with God. They’re seeking Him and pursuing Him. They’re reading His Word, chomping it up, ingesting it, and believing what it says with childlike faith. It stirs them up.

I received a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a candle. I don’t burn candles in my home. I haven’t burned them since I had kids. I don’t want to risk the accidental knocking over and fire or wax in the carpet. It was a gift my friend gave to me, but it’s never really been used. It just sits there. I think that’s what faith is like. God gives it to you, and you either light it and use it, or you don’t and it just sits there.

So how do we light the candle of our faith? I believe the answer is in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). I believe hope is the fire for your faith. Hope is your part, and faith is God’s part. God gave you the faith; now, can you keep up your hope? Can you keep yourself focused on the promises of God? Can you keep yourself focused on this amazing promise: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV)?

Jesus also said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NIV). He wouldn’t give you a command you could not keep. I believe that when you let your heart be troubled, you lose your hope, and it’s not there to spark your faith. We need to learn, remember, and put our hope in the promises of God. 

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP)

I keep my eyes on this truth. It keeps stirring me up. It builds up my hope. It makes my hope grow and become active and alive so it can light the candle of my faith—the faith that God has deposited in me. It’s not really my faith, so I cannot boast in it! I refer to it as my faith, but it’s really not. It was a gift given to me by God. It’s His. He deposited it. When I place my hope in Him, it lights and connects. The faith He has given me ignites, and sparks fly!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Jump into your Bible. As you read, your hope in the Lord will grow and SOAR! 

Love, 
Sheri 

3 Types of Struggles

There are three types of people when they are in the midst of struggling. The first are those who struggle in the public eye. The second are those who struggle all alone. The third are those who struggle amongst their inner circle.

The first are those who tell everyone every detail of what is going on with their life. They can appear to be dramatic. One day they are great, and the next day they are awful. So every person who can peek into their world sees their roller coaster of a life, moment by moment, from day to day.

I have witnessed some people going through trials and tough circumstances in the public eye. They have asked people to pray for life or for their loved one. I have actually heard people who knew of their circumstances pray death over their loved ones—that they would be comforted and it would go quickly. They didn’t actually listen to the heart of their loved one. They listened to their own understanding. That is a con of living in the public eye. 

The pro of this is everyone knows what you are going through and they can throw resources, food, or anything else you need in your direction. They know what is going on, so if you actually lose a battle, you don’t have to explain what was happening behind the scenes that no one knew anything about. They are able to pity you or empathize with you. They are also able to pray with you and pray over you.

When I was pregnant in 2000, I had not told many people yet because my little sister had gotten pregnant at the exact same time. Because this was my second child, I really didn’t want to upstage her. I really wanted her to enjoy the attention of having a baby. So I only told a handful of people. I hadn’t made it public yet. When I miscarried at twelve weeks, right around the time when I was going to make it public, no one knew I had been pregnant. So I didn’t have a crowd of people gather around me to grieve with me; no one understood what I was going through. They couldn’t have empathy or pity, and there was no help.

Second, for the people who are struggling all alone—no one knows their circumstance. They have told no one. It’s all internal. The roller coaster is still happening, but no one has seen it. It’s not outwardly expressed. It is completely inward. No one knows about it. No one knows how you are doing. Outwardly, you look amazing.

These people are so susceptible to suicide because no one knows how they are doing. When I was a teenager going through abuse at home, I didn’t tell my mom. I didn’t tell a single friend. I was too ashamed. Every day was like a mask. There was not a single person who knew what was truly going on in my life. I am positive that the drama I had with all of my friends stemmed from drama at home with my stepdad—and they had no idea.

It’s when you are struggling all alone and there is no one to give you a hand and lift you out that your thoughts become increasingly negative to an extreme perspective, where the negativity can make you take your own life. I cannot think of a single pro to struggling all alone. I can’t think of one.

Third, those who struggle within their inner circle—these are people who aren’t really in the public eye. They don’t tell anyone and everyone. They may share it with some stranger because they may feel their story or testimony can encourage someone. But other than that, they really have a close few who they share it with.

I think I generally fall into this category. I’ve witnessed so many people struggle in the public eye. I’ve witnessed so many people die because they have struggled on their own. For me, I have people in my life who I know will stand firm and fight for me. They will speak boldly to me and speak truth into me. I have known them and respected them long enough to receive it. I know they will be a source of encouragement. I know I can reach out to them at any time, in weakness or in strength, and they will never shame me or discourage me in any way. They hold my feet steady on a rock. 

I am so very grateful to those who hold up my arms like Aaron and Hur. It wasn’t a crowd holding up Moses’ arms. It was two people holding up his arms. Gossip can’t be stirred in amongst the few. Jesus didn’t have a zillion disciples. He chose twelve. He definitely spoke and taught the word to the masses, but He chose twelve who were drawn in and were close with Him all the time.

I am thankful for those of you who are in my circle. You know who you are. I love and appreciate you so much. I praise God for the depth of roots in the truth and your intimate relationship with Him that makes me want to draw close to you, too, because I recognize the Spirit in you.

If you are struggling through something, don’t be discouraged. The Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Struggles will come. It’s not if, it’s when. So when they come, be sure you have people around you who will remind you of the overcoming promises of Jesus, people who won’t try to explain or lean on their own understanding, people who will stand firm with you in Christ. That will be their position, and they won’t change their mind. They will remind you of God’s promises of who He is. 

The last thing I want to hear is someone who is unsettled or unsure of what is coming from the enemy and what is coming from God. I can tell you right now, it will make you toss to and fro and be dramatic, up and down, all over the place. Find some people to help you remain steadfast because in the shelter of the Most High God, we remain stable and fixed, under the shadow of the Almighty. Thank you, Jesus.

Top 3 Beauty Tips

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Are any of you addicted to reading about beauty tips and secrets? Do you regularly scan through websites and blog posts, looking for ways to become skinnier and more beautiful?

If you do, don’t worry; I used to be just like you. I have always wanted to be skinnier. Every time I saw an article about weight loss or dieting, I pored through it, trying to figure out the new tips and suggestions. I tried most of the workout routines I found. It was a terrible feeling to discover that the newest fad, tip, or secret wasn’t working.

After doing this for years, I realized that most programs were more about making money than actually helping people meet their goals.

The rest of what I discovered I made into my top 3 beauty tips.

3. Our bodies are the temple of Christ.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

Our bodies are temples of Christ. We need to respect this by respecting ourselves and our bodies. This means we need to take care of our bodies. We need to learn self-control so we can regulate our eating and exercise habits. We also need to respect ourselves so we don’t abuse our bodies in any way. Take care of the body God knit together for you. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)


2. Inner beauty vs. outward beauty

Your inner beauty has more importance than you may realize. Scripture has this to say about inner beauty:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I suggest that you live each day trying to make the inner you more beautiful! Start by making sure you show the fruits of the Spirit in all you do.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Use these to guide your ways, and your inner beauty will shine the light of Jesus in the darkest of places!

 
This leads me to the most important beauty tip:

1. God looks at the heart.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

When God is looking down on us, He does not see us the way the people of the world see each other. He sees each one of His creations as beautiful!

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)


I pray that each of you realizes how special and beautiful you are. I pray that you discover and live the way God views you. I pray that you share your joy with others as you discover all the wonderful works of Jesus!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been reading my blogs!


Fearless Faith

I want Abraham’s faith.

Look at his assurance and confidence in God’s faithfulness. God told him to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:2), but Abraham KNEW that he and his son would return. He told his servants, “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5 NIV).

He had laser focus on God’s promise that his descendants would be greater than the stars. He went to the point of destroying the seed of that promise before God provided a substitute. I believe that all the way until that point, Abraham knew he and Isaac would still return. That’s faith!

In sight of even death, will you trust that God’s promises will still come to pass, or will fear and doubt make you quit early?

I want Abraham’s faith! How about you?

What Relationship Means

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Because I was a homeschool mom, I had a lot of time with my children. I was with them for hours every single day of their lives, but just because I was with them doesn’t mean I was actually engaging with them in their hearts. I can be commanding them to do things, issuing orders, telling them what to do with school, giving them tasks and challenges, but all the while, not truly connecting with them and their hearts.

The question is what is the most important, quantity time or quality time with our children? I would argue that it’s neither. Greg Gunn of Family-ID first introduced me to this concept that it’s not about quantity time or quality time; it’s about quality of relationship. When you have a quality relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter if you spend five minutes together or an hour. When you connect with each other with your hearts, that is what makes the relationship continue to be woven together and glued together thickly.

How can we relate that to God? In my own home, I have a choice with God. I can choose to spend a lot of time with Him and acknowledge Him. I can choose to have a quality relationship with Him. That’s a very different thing. Having a quality relationship with God involves listening.

I think sometimes we feel guilty about going to God and asking Him for something and telling Him what our needs are because we think, “Oh, I haven’t spent enough time with You. I haven’t read the Bible enough. I haven’t prayed enough. I don’t feel worthy to ask You this.” But it’s not really about the time; it’s about the quality of your relationship with God.

I think it’s important for your heart to bow down in thanksgiving to Him continually, like when you see the sky and the beautiful sunset or the puffy, beautiful clouds and you acknowledge the Creator. I mean, that’s quality relationship right there. It’s not a work. It’s recognition. It’s honoring God. I want to encourage you to seek a quality relationship with God and your spouse and your children.