Real Life

  • Free Like An Eagle

    IMG_1612
    One of my favorite things to do is to go for a long ride on the back of Todd’s Harley.  In our first year of marriage Todd took off every Friday and most often we went on the bike.  Best times ever!  There’s something freeing about getting out on the open road. It’s exhilarating riding along with the sun shining and wind in your face.   The sights and smells are amazing. When you’re driving in your car (which I also love to do), you don’t realize how different places smell. Some good and some well, not so good! I love it when we pass someone cutting grass. The best smell ever was just a little while ago when lilacs were in bloom! I love the feeling when I put my arms out and the wind rushes over my skin. It’s such a freeing feeling. No wonder Harley Davidson uses the Eagle with wings spread wide-open in their logo. The Eagle symbolizes freedom.  Riding the motorcycle makes you feel free like an eagle! If either Todd or I am feeling stressed-out, worn-out or burnt-out we need to get-out on a Harley ride. It’s amazing how true the saying “Live To Ride, Ride To Live” is, and how much this iconic saying made into the buckle below reminds me of scripture!live to ride ride to live

    He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. 
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.
    Isaiah 40:29-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

    water_bookThe second chapter in my book, WATER IN THE DESERT focuses on breaking free from bondages.  It’s proving to be a real help to anyone who is trying to break free in their life.

    BACK UP

    God desires for us to be free. He has said it in His Word and He means it. If He didn’t He wouldn’t have said it so much! Here’s just a few of the many times God encourages us to “live free like an eagle“!

    So if the Son has set you, free you are free indeed.
    John 8:36 (NIV)

     It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free.
    Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

    Live as free people.
    1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)

    So, what helps YOU  to live free?

    Comment below and tell me what it is for you, or what you feel you need to do to, live free like an eagle?
    ~Sherry Lynn

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  • Divorce and Remarriage

    wedding cake in halfThis past Sunday my pastor preached the best sermon I’ve ever heard on the subject of divorce and remarriage.  He’s preaching a series called “Cow Tipping”.  The analogy is tipping over things that are taboo to talk about in the church.  I like how my pastor, Nathan Albrecht isn’t afraid of having an opinion, but he’s always making sure that it lines up with the Bible.  He must study hard for his sermons as he gives so much historical detail that helps me and many others “get it” on a continual basis.  Pastor Nathan isn’t afraid to hold up God’s ideal for marriage that should be our goal as Christians and yet present what he feels is God’s word on how to manage when our lives fall short of God’s ideal.
    As a divorced and remarried person I have struggled hard with both these issues.  I never in a million years saw myself ending up in either category!  Neither did my wonderful husband.  Both of us have experienced the heartwrenching pain of divorce but, thankfully we’re experiencing the wonder of love in our second marriage together.
    I have never been one to try and make scripture fit my circumstance and really don’t like when people do.  I want to know what the Bible says, even if it makes me uncomfortable!  This sermon truly is the best Biblical message on the topic of divorce and remarriage that I’ve ever heard.  Any sermons that I’ve heard in the past have only centred on one scripture that leaves divorced people like me, feeling like the woman in this cartoon below.  We’re forced to drag around a ball and chain for all to see our past failure…especially when we go to church.  All too often this is why divorced people avoid the church or stop going entirely.
    divorced woman at altar
    When I was going through extreme marriage issues in my first marriage, we were seeing an amazing Christian counsellor who helped me not feel like the woman in the cartoon.  He was very much against divorce and tried for years to help us not have to walk that road.  As the years went on and divorce was inevitable, this counsellor brought to my attention other scriptures in the Bible that discuss divorce and remarriage.  Ones other than the lone verse I had heard in church.   Never before had I noticed these verses and I surely hadn’t understood them when I read them.  God used these scriptures to help me understand His complete word on divorce and remarriage, yet never diminishing my belief in God’s ideal for marital relationships.  marriage-divorce-remarriage-ring on Bible pagePastor Nathan used many of these scriptures in his message.  It was the first time that I’ve heard from the pulpit a sermon that truly brought healing to my heart in this area.  There was even one scripture at the end that I had never noticed before that Pastor Nathan quoted.  It helped me understand God more and to learn that He “gets me” way more than I ever imagined.  He really is a God who can sympathize with our sufferings.  To understand, you just have to watch the sermon (Link Below).  I hope you listen to the end because it will revolutionize the way you think about what the Bible has to say regarding divorce and remarriage.  If you feel like the woman in the cartoon…you can be set free!  Let your spirit drink in the truth of God’s Word as it drowns out the opinions of others!
    FGT Church Sermon Video of Pastor Nathan Albrecht on “Divorce & Remarriage
    Check out the FGT Church Website For Other Great Sermons

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  • Tough Tattoo

    TOUGH TATTOO
    “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous.” (Joshua 1:6)
    Last week my daughter graduated from High School.

    This week she received her main grad gift from me. I took her to the tattoo parlor to get a tattoo! Call me a bad parent and say what you like, but this is a tattoo that had to be inked!
    Image 1Shelby has wanted to get a tattoo of the Hebrew word for “endure” this past year. You see, graduating High School and getting through life this far hasn’t been a “cake-walk” for her and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be for a while. This week the oral surgeon put Shelby on a soft-food diet for 2 months! This is to hopefully ward off her having jaw surgery! I heard someone say, “God wants us to do hard”. I agree!
    In the verse above God was empowering Joshua with His words by telling him he was going to lead these people to inherit the land, but it wasn’t going to be a “cake-walk” for them either! They would have to “endure” many battles to fulfill all of God’s plans for their lives. God had to keep reminding them to “Be strong and courageous”.  I’m so proud of Shelby! Like Joshua and all the Israelites, she has learned to be an overcomer by living out this verse, and you can too!
    PRAYER
    Father… I thank-you that you give me what it takes to endure! May I be strong and courageous in all that life throws at me, trusting you will be with me all the way to the Promised Land! In Jesus Name…Amen!
    Shelby’s Blog:  http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com 
    Shelby’s Blog that tells a bit of what she’s had to “endure”                    https://faithandlace.weebly.com/blog/what-is-your-cross
     

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  • My New Friend

    Let me introduce you to my new friend new Heather Paton.  When I met her she was all dressed up looking beautiful for the Afternoon Splash Women’s Conference in London, ON.  (In today’s picture she’s looking all tough! Ha! ) Her churches worship team was leading that day and her gorgeous daughter (that she looked too young to have) was on the keyboards.   We seemed to really connect, realized we knew a bunch of the same people and talked about how we hoped to see each other again!  After reading her latest blog I know she’s even cooler than I thought and someone I want to get to know! As I read her blog I could hear her heart more and see that we are women of like passion.  I encourage you to read her blog with the link below.  She tells all about her crazy Spartan Race and the benefit of being part of a team.  It’s amazing to me how God starts friendships and connects you with others.  I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better as I do too 🙂

    Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.12.09 AM   http://www.chosenforsuchatimeasthis.blogspot.ca

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  • Ladies' Bible Study

    Ladies Bible StudyI’m part of a trio.  The only kind I’ll be a part of!  A “Teaching Trio” with my friends Julie and Michelle.  We lead a Women’s Connection, Monday Night Ladies Bible Study group at  FGT Family Church.  Two days ago was an epic night for us girls.  It was our finale for the Season.  One of those happy/sad things.  We were happy to get together, but sad it meant we wouldn’t be meeting for a couple months during the summer holidays.  We’ve become such a close group that Monday nights are going to seem weird not being together!  We’re so close one of our members Rosie shared how we’re not just friends, we’re family.  She and her daughter left Jamaica and have no relatives here.  We are her family.  I agreed with Rose and told her we’re just the pale side of her family 🙂
    The night started off with an incredible dinner prepared for us by the Lovely Leah!  We normally do pot-lucks, but this allowed us all to relax and enjoy every part of the evening.  Eight of our sisters shared testimonies of how God has brought them “through” the desert and provided them with water in their desert.  Many while going through my book, WATER IN THE DESERT in the study.  Dawn, Michelle and Susan all shared  how the study and the group helped them when they lost their moms this past year.  Others shared about broken marriages restored by the power of God’s grace.  Kerry shared about how God used her cancer journey to restore so much to her that she is glad she went through that desert!  Powerful stories of God’s greatness in the lives of amazing everyday girls!

    We listened to the faith infusing song “I WILL PRAISE YOU” by Rebecca St. James rebecca st jameshttp://www.rsjames.com  Here are some of the lyrics:

    JOY, comes in the morning.  The sun is rising, and I wait for you.
    STREAMS, flow in the desert.  There’s an oasis, and I wait for you.
    WHATEVER the storm, WHATEVER is lost, WHATEVER it takes, WHATEVER the cost…
    I WILL PRAISE YOU!

    Every lady that shared told about how God provided streams in their deserts and how He brought joy in the morning!  They are women who have lived out the WHATEVERS in lives and continued to praise God!  They were, and are so inspiring!
    Prayer time has become an integral part of our group.  We have seen so many miracles in answer to our prayers.  So often at special events we don’t have our normal prayer time and this event was no different.  Our prayer time was anything BUT normal!  For the girls that could stay, we ended up sitting in a circle sharing our deepest needs, praying together, encouraging each other with words and in The Word!  It really was indescribable how sweet the presence of God was in our midst.  The unity in our group is what opened the door for God to move in such a dramatic way.  Each of these girls touching my life in powerful ways.  If you’re spirit is in need of hydration, you NEED to join a Ladies Bible Study group! Getting into the Word with other Girls will change your life!
    Hope you like the pictures of me and my girlfriends!
    xoxo
    Sherry

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  • Press On

    keep calm and press on
    Lately the song you will find me bopping my head to driving my mustang around town is “Wrecking Ball (Press on)” by  Building 429, featuring the beautiful Blanca Reves Callahan.  Blanca is from another one of my favorite bands, GROUP 1 CREW.


    Wrecking Ball (Press On) was written by Building 429’s lead singer Jason Roy.  He wrote it after struggling with some issues in his faith, feeling worn out and wondering if he was where God wanted him to be.  Can you relate?  I know we all wonder about this at some point.  The music to this song is SOOO catchy!  The words are powerful.  It’s like an Anthem you can sing declaring your faith in God, even when you “still don’t get it”!  It helps me be more committed to “Press On” no matter what!  I love the name of their album too, “WE WON’T BE SHAKEN”!  Makes me think of life verses of mine.

    “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised…we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”  (Hebrews 11:35-36,39 NIV)  In other words…PRESS ON!
    I’ve included the words of the song for you ’cause the weather’s getting warmer and you might have the top down on your car.  This way, when you’re jamming out in your car, you’ll know what to sing 🙂
    Press ON
    ~Sherry
    xoxo
    Below are links to: the song (with and without lyrics), the story behind the song, Building 429’s website and Group 1 Crew’s website.

    “Wrecking Ball (Press On)”
    (Building 429: feat. Blanca Callahan of Group 1 Crew)

    Sometimes this world starts breaking me down
    I get so lost I think I’ll never be found
    And there are moments of fear and doubt
    Even the best fall to the groundI am a mess, I am a wrecking ball
    I must confess that I still don’t get it all
    Lord I believe that all Your words are true
    Doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You
    I press on, I press on, I press on
    When I still don’t get itI see the world through my jaded eyes
    I get frustrated when there is no Why
    I put my focus on worthless things
    Even the strong fall to their knees
    God only knows what we all needI am a mess, I am a wrecking ballI must confess that I still don’t get it all
    Lord I believe that all your words are true
    Doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You
    I press on, I press on, I press on
    When I still don’t get itLife goes on, life goes on
    But Your love will prove
    All I need, all I need
    I will find in You
    Life goes on, life goes on
    But Your love will prove
    All I need, all I need
    I will find in You
    I press on

    I am a mess, I am a wrecking ball
    I must confess that I still don’t get it all
    Lord I believe that all Your words are true
    Doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You
    I press on, I press on
    I press on, I press on
    When I still don’t get it
    Life goes on, life goes on
    But Your love will prove
    All I need, all I need
    I will find in You
    Life goes on, life goes on
    But Your love will prove
    All I need, all I need
    I press on (1)
     
    Song  Wrecking Ball (Press On) .  Click HERE!

    Make sure you buy the album WE WON’T BE SHAKEN!building 429 press on CD

    Song  Wrecking Ball (Press On)  With Lyrics.  Click HERE!
    Story behind the song.  Click HERE!  LOVE learning why people wrote the song they did!!!

    building 429  http://www.building429.com

    http://www.group1crew.com              group 1 Crew

    (1) https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/building429/wreckingballpresson.html

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  • Friends & Family

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    Girlfriends

    This past week was incredible for me!  It’s been crazy busy, but crazy fun!  I’ve seen more friends and family than I have in a very long time…visited with old friends and made some wonderful new ones!  It started off with Monika (friend since youth camp) and I driving to Toronto and only missing one exit off of the highway!  We met up with Annemarie (friend since College) and her lovely daughter Molina (new friend) for one of the LONGEST lunches I’ve ever had the privilege of eating!  Not that I knew what I was eating, but I liked all of it–save the curried chicken 🙂  Annemarie is living such an exotic life now that we at a Vietnamese restaurant!  Soooo good!
    Next, Monika and I were off to the Grad ceremonies with Annemarie for our former Bible College.  It was awesome seeing so many friends that I hadn’t seen in years, Profs, Deans and our former School President.  I think the highlight was that the Dean of Women Sue Rodney James remembered me and was so happy to see me!  She yelled out “Sherry Fletcher” and opened her arms wide 🙂  How awesome is that!  I made so many incredible friends in College.  Bonnie I wish you could have been there!  Two of our classmates were honoured!  Craig Burton received a lifetime award for his years of service as the Chairman of the Board and Dale Sanger was the valedectorian for Seminary students as he completed his Masters Degree.  Many friends I’ve stayed in touch with and we’ve been through so much together…love found, love lost, ministry achievements, ministry heartaches, children born, children lost, children married…  Our friendships have sometimes been the hope that kept us going when everything within us wanted to give up!

    Monika and I headed to the hotel in Ajax where I was the retreat speaker for two friends churches from Peterborough.  Such an awesome time seeing old friends and making new ones.  I even saw more College friends that attend their churches!  I met the cutest little Worship Leader on the planet and I LOVE her music!  I can’t stop listening to her CD.  You need to check out her website http://www.melina-d.ca and get a copy!  Melina Dulluku I love you 🙂  There were too Amazing worship leaders for the weekend, fun games and a really great time connecting with God!  I couldn’t have managed this weekend without my incredible friend Monika!  Mon, thanks for ALL you did 🙂

    The last event was filled with family and friends!  I drove down to speak at the Simcoe, ON Spring Fling Event with my mother-in-law and got to visit with my mom!  At the event I saw Braeside friends, unexpected college friends, some of my old youth group and met some new friends too!  Busy Week yes!  Amazing Week YES!!!  It just makes me realize how important it is to build friendships and keep them growing.  You never know where you’ll be when you might just need one!  Love you all!  ~Sherry

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  • Faithful

    faithfulTonight my daughter Shelby’s blog post was inspiring to me!  She’s so open, honest and well…let’s just say she doesn’t leave you wondering what she’s thinking.  I love that about her!  In the past it has brought more than a few embarrassing moments when she “shared” her thoughts and feelings 🙂  When she was about three I had to take her to get some testing done at the hospital.  While in the waiting room she saw a mother from India wearing her native dress.  I could see Shelby staring at her checking out her clothes (she loved fashion from a very young age!).  All of a sudden she got up and walked right over to the woman blurting out before I could stop her “Why do you have a red dot on your head?”  I wanted to die!  I began to apologize but the beautiful woman, but she told me not to worry and explained to Shelby how it was like wearing a wedding ring to show people that she was married.  My kids always had a knack for sharing out loud as their teachers can attest 🙂
    In her blog, Shelby talked about how life is full of changes, but how God is our constant in hard times.  I’ve been up late doing laundry and while waiting for the next load to dry I was reading the Bible.  I read Psalm 145:13(b) and it says
    Ps 145-13b “The LORD is faithful to ALL His promises and loving toward ALL He has made.”  In Psalm 89:34 God says “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.”  These verses are so very comforting to me when life is “seemingly” throwing a curve-ball, or when change happens.  God sticks to His Word!  He’s the Faithful one!  Psalm 146:6 says He “remains faithful FOREVER”!  Now that’s a promise I’m going to hold onto!  I’m thankful to God for taking care of Shelby when her heart was hurting so much and healing her wounds.  I’m so thankful that He is faithful to His promises, not matter how long ago He spoke them.  Seeing so many of them be fulfilled in the past two and a bit years is rewarding.  You just can’t give up because when you least expect it, God will do it!!!
    So, don’t lose hope today.  Keep the faith because your Father is FAITHFUL!

    If you want to read Shelby’s blog “Changes, love them or hate them?” click on the link http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com

    faithful always

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  • My Resurrection Story

    My “Resurrection” Story

    And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
                                                               Romans 8:11 (NIV)
     
    I love Easter.  It’s a season to spend time thinking about what Christ did for us on the cross.  Throughout Lent, St. James United in Waterdown, ON has been going through my book.  From the youngest to the oldest person attending they have taken the past 6 weeks to direct their focus to all that Christ went through to bring us salvation.   I grew up in a denomination where they didn’t observe Lent.  I never knew much about it until this year.  It has me thinking so much about all that Christ has done for me, and

    My “Resurrection” Story.
     
    When I went through separation and divorce it was such a difficult time of my life.  I lived for a long time separated and didn’t let my friends know. 

    I was embarrassed. 

    I had a broken heart and a broken spirit.  I absolutely thought my life was over.  If it wasn’t for my kids I don’t know what I would have done.  They were my reason for living.  They were struggling so much and needed a mom—more than ever before.  

    I had been a “Cup Half Full” kind of person, always being described as “bubbly”.   There was nothing left in me to “bubble over”.  I was depleted of every resource I had. 

    With my marriage ending I thought any good plans I had for my life were over.  I thought I would never be able to fulfill the call of God on my life.  I thought I would die never having been truly loved.  I felt dead inside. 
     
    Through so many avenues God brought healing into my life: good friends, books, music, counseling, Divorce Care, Church, but mostly through His Word!  His Word was always the place I ran to for refuge.  I’m SO thankful that I made that my practice when I was younger.  Reading the Word was my knee-jerk reaction to pain normally but with all the heartache I at first shied away from reading and praying.  I actually had to force myself to read the Bible for a while. 

    The book that had been so alive for me was just words on a page. 

    The more I read, the more faith began to rise up!  I began to understand that no matter if I never experience the true love of a man, my Father in heaven loved me and His love is more than enough! 

    I was attending and amazing church and each week it felt like the pastor spoke right to my heart and need.  A song that was sung often by the worship team was “Healer”.  As I sang, the words washed over me and Daddy healed my heart. 

    “Healer”
     
    You hold my very moment
    You calm my raging seas
    You walk with me through fire
    And heal all my disease
    I trust in You, I trust in You
     
    I believe You’re my healer
    I believe You are all I need
    I believe
     
    It goes on to say:
    Nothing is impossible for You… You’re my healer

     
    When my heart was strong again, God saw fit to bring a wonderful man into my life.  His life and love have brought a deeper level of healing to my heart that is such a blessing to me!  Todd’s encouragement has helped me to move forward and walk into the calling God has always had on my life.  You reading these words are proof of that! 
    Since Todd came into my life I have published one book that he illustrated and have more in the works.  God has opened the doors for me to travel and speak.  My husband is publishing his first book.  We’re helping each other to follow our dreams.  Dreams God placed in my heart as a 19 year old girl!  Writing, speaking, one in marriage and ministry, my children doing well…these were all dreams that had died for me!   

    God resurrected them all! 
     
    The Bible is true when it says that, 

    if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11 (NIV)   

    This Easter, if you’ve never opened up your spirit to Christ I beg you to invite Him in.  Once you allow Him in, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead will be at work inside of YOU, bringing those places that you thought were dead to new LIFE in Christ! 

    If you are a believer, allow My “Resurrection” Story to increase your faith to believe for YOUR “Resurrection” Story!
     
    May you have the Most Blessed Easter!
     
    With love,
    Sherry Stahl

    #musicpic
    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE HILLSONG CHURCH SINGING “HEALER”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7M6nTV1tFs

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  • 40 Days In The Man Cave

    Can’t seem to find a ‘Mans Man’ Devotional?
    Well search no more!
    My husband Todd—the firefighter, author, artist and illustrator of WATER IN THE DESERT recently completed a NEW Men’s Daily Devotional.

    40 DAYS IN THE MAN CAVE is scattered with humorous, interesting stories about the importance of men carving out a few minutes within their crazy schedules to spend time with God and ‘Crave The Cave’.

    40 DAYS IN THE MANCAVE COVER

    After years of searching the book shelves Todd feels God has placed in his heart the need for a “Man’s Man” devotional.

    This is for the guy who wants to uncover more out of the bible without having to hand in his Man Card!
    If this describes you, or someone you know, consider reading a pre-published copy.
    We NEED your input before 40 days in the Man Cave hits the shelves!
    7 guys will be chosen.. all we ask is..

    • Email:  toddstahlart@gmail.com     Subject Line: Book Review
    • Tell us why you want to be included for this selected group
    • We will be happy to send you a manuscript and a small questionnaire to complete so we can receive your honest input.
    • Simply fill out the questionnaire and email/mail it back to us so we can make the book even better!

    For your time and assistance you will receive a signed copy upon publication!

    http://WWW.TODDSTAHL.COM

    SAMPLER     

    CLICK HERE TO READ A DEVOTIONAL SAMPLER

    YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED!

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