Speech to Christian Women Job Corps (given Nov. 8, 2010)
December 23, 2010
Speech Given to Pleasant Grove First Baptist Church Last Spring:
May 4, 2011
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Seasons

Just before Thanksgiving, I was driving along on a familiar stretch of road near my house and was captivated by the beauty around me. The colors I saw were bold and bright in their rustic and earthy tones as the leaves of the trees had morphed into what many believe is their most magnificent hue. I began to wonder about the season we call “The Fall” and how it so represents that infamous biblical event with the same name.

When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, they “fell.” And, from what heights they did fall! They were created for relationship with God and with each other. They were created for eternity. But, our sovereign Lord knew the choice they would make and also what He would have to do to rectify their sin. God sent them out of Paradise into a world filled with thistles and thorns, with heavy labor and pain, but… not devoid of ALL that is good.

Even in this fallen world, we see beauty. It isn’t constant, and it is never perfect, but there are glimpses of Eden here and now. And, with every little glimpse of goodness and light, color and joy, the warmth of the sun or the crispness of fall, we see God. He reminds us everyday, “You’re not alone.” He screams it in the sunset, “I’m here!”

“I’m with you!”

“I love you.”

He sends us gifts like snow in winter to cover the nakedness of the leafless trees and lifeless fields making what is barren beautiful. God is good and mysterious and wonderful. I’ve sung about white Christmases all my life but never imagined that it might really happen here in Alabama, but it did. Life is so like that, unexpected. On Christmas Day in Alabama, it snowed. It didn’t cover the ground, and it was mixed with rain at times, but it snowed! The first snow in my 40 Christmases spent in Alabama. I wondered all day about it. Why is it snowing? What does it mean, God?

My Bronner had gone to heaven on the day of the first snow in Alabama in six years, January 19, 2008, and now it was snowing on Christmas Day 2010. Another friend of mine buried her adopted daughter on a snowy day in February 2009, and the snow comforts her. She has always seen it as symbolic of the purity, the innocence, and the goodness of her sweet Emme. Snow is never comforting to me. It’s beautiful to me, and as I have watched it fall, I have felt so many emotions from peace to melancholy to even joy.

I truly believe that everything matters, everything, and that God is speaking to us all the time and in every possible way. I, for one, want to listen. I want to know what God is saying to me through the snow mixed with rain. Maybe He was saying that the cold, dark days I’ve spent here on earth since Bronner’s been in heaven won’t last forever and that the many tears I’ve cried have all been kept in His bottle. Maybe He was saying that goodness and light can fall on a fallen earth and that something else is on the horizon, the dawning of a new day when tears will never fall and winter will not bring death.

God has a plan for redemption, for restoration, for life.

Fall becomes winter, and winter… becomes spring. And, spring brings life. If all was not lost in the fall, then all is not lost in winter either. The cold, dark winter of our souls bears a seed that in springtime will awaken. If fall represents the dying (and we all are, both fallen and dying) and winter represents death, spring is the resurrection of all that is good. Spring is life and brings life. And, we know that it is coming, so in that, we take comfort, and we bide the fall and the winter with the hopes of spring.

But, the seasons are not only for biding. There is a purpose for every season under heaven just as there is a season for every purpose under heaven. So many people say that fall is their favorite season, and rightly so in a way. It is the here and now. It is what we can see, feel, and touch. It is a reminder that all is not lost. There is so much to be thankful for in the fall. Here is the harvest, a time to bring in the crops, a time to work. Most of us aren’t farmers, but even in my little garden, I found that there is so much work to do when the “crops” come in. For instance, corn comes in all at once. You have to either eat it, dry it, or freeze it right away, because it doesn’t last long. Time is imperative with a crop like corn.

We must remember to work in fall, to help bring in the harvest for God, the harvest of souls searching for the seed to resurrect their spirits in springtime. Everyone wants to live. We were created that way. We were created for life, for God, for something each one of us knows deep inside is there… Eden, Paradise. We’ve never been there, but we remember it somehow. It’s deep within us, and all of us are searching for our way back. Some have found the way, the truth, and the life, and those who have, have to show the others. It’s required. It is not suggested, but commanded. But, even this is a gift.

What are we doing with the time God has given us to live here in “The Fall?” Are we bringing in the harvest of souls put before us? Are we praying for spring? Are we working as if time was of the essence? Are we reminded of God’s plan and purpose for man and the earth with each coming season? Do we take time to reflect on and ponder God’s goodness and grace?

Every night is dark, but every morning is the dawning of a new day! Everything in nature and in time testifies to the resurrection. As the caterpillar inches his way into his own tomb only to come out a new creature, more vibrant and beautiful than before, so will we. Just as dying brings death and winter brings the cold, Jesus brings life. Jesus walked out of that tomb on Easter morning. He was dead, and behold, He is alive forevermore, and He is making ALL THINGS NEW.

So, when springtime comes, dance, and when summer is here, rejoice! Work in the fall, and reflect in winter. It is all from the Lord, and He is perfect. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Drink in every new day with expectation, the expectation that God will speak, the expectation that there are gifts around every corner and that with every new year, there is growth within the Kingdom of God. Grow your gifts in this New Year, seek the holiness and mystery of God Almighty, and challenge yourself to see what could be. Spring will come. Let us prepare ourselves for it, for Him who is coming to revive our souls, to wipe away every tear, and to make all things new.

Happy New Year, my friends!

With love,


Sherri

12 Comments

  1. Mrs. Melanie says:

    As always, a very inspiring post. I just love reading your blog!

  2. beautifully written, as always, Sherri. 🙂 still praying sweet blessings over you and your family

  3. debbielee93 says:

    I could not have said it better my self. The very day your family announced to the word that Bronner was gone, was the day that we found out we were expecting our 3rd blessing from God. It was bitter sweet for me, I felt as if I knew Cornbread all too well and then he was gone. I was proud to have a new life growing in side me but sad you had lost one. Then this past October 22, 2010, We lost a baby boy, Joseph at 17 weeks Gestation. That was life changing, but I can't imagine losing a child who I have had years with. I thank God that He has carried us through this valley and are able to praise his glorious name!! Blessings to you and your family, may God always use you to help others.

  4. Lynn G says:

    Sherri, your family is such am inspirtation to me and my family. I have gotten to know you and your family over the years through the radio show. I remember the morning the show came on saying that Bronner had went to live with the lord, how the show was just there for support not only for your family but for everyone else, and how I cried. You and Rick are exactly what god expects from all of us. I only wish I could be half as strong as you and Rick. I am also a mother of 4 children one older one and 3 young ones and I can not imagine a day without them. Your loss made me even more thankful for everyday that I have with my children and how blessed I am. My children learn in church how precious life is and to live it to the fullest with God. I thank God everyday for taking us through all trials and tribulations. Sherri you are my rock. Bless you!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    So, when springtime comes, dance, and when summer is here, rejoice! Work in the fall, and reflect in winter. It is all from the Lord, and He is perfect. He has made everything beautiful in its time.

    …..I think this is beautiful! Thank you for your thoughts!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am reading this on a beautiful "snow day" in Al. while your family is Az for the great event. What beautiful inspiring and comforting words. God is so amazing. I sit here watching the child Go has given us to raise. A great nephew whose mom is still in the grips of the worldly-drugs and all the other things that accopmpany that. While I rejoice daily with the blessing of my little fellow, I still miss his mom. God is blessing me with a peace of knowing that I did all He lead me to do with/for her and that he is still there for her-waiting for her to reach Him. Your words always help me get a little more understanding of God's love and plan for us. To rest/reflect in this time in order to once again dance and rejoice in this wonderful life! Thank you for your faith and obedience to Him. Your words, or maybe His words coming through you, are such a comfort and blessin.Please remember me in your prayers…an older mom with an energetic 6 year old boy. Thanks. Lynn

  7. Maggie Beth says:

    Sherri, taking a moment to say – I remember. Holding prayers of blessings, comfort and swarms of dragonflies upon your prescious family this weekend……

  8. April says:

    Sherri,My mom passed away a month ago tomorrow. I have written on my blog as a release and I read yours every time you post. I just wanted you to know that I was a Christian when Bronner passed, but after I attended his memorial service, I was a Christian with a new purpose. I have stayed true to this purpose for the past three years.
    My Granny died when I was 16, and I remember that the revelation came to me as I prepared to give her Eulogy that when we are weeping for those who have died, we are weeping in selfishness for they have gone to the ultimate destination and are experiencing joy like no other joy we could ever know here on earth. I have kept this thought as friends passed, relatives, but when Bronner passed I could not think that way. Having two children myself, your loss was too much for even an outsider to bear. Watching the way you and Rick have used your grief to minister to others over these past years has inspired me to do the same. My mom was an alcoholic, and I am what is termed an "Adult Child of an Alcoholic". This is an actual syndrom which millions of children grow up to and suffer from as adults. Now that my mom has passed, from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Conjestive Heart Failure, both results of her alcoholism and smoking, I am going to use my belief, and her testimony to minister to others. If it were not for watching you and Rick stand against the evil that is death, I would not have had the courage to keep walking through my grief. I am only 34, my mother was only 65, her loss has made a big impact on my children as well as myself. She had been sober for 11 years and during that time was baptised. I look at those eleven years as God's grace, His way to bring her to Him before he took her and I am eternally grateful because now I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will see her again. In her Eulogy I ended it with, "This is not good bye, but see you soon" because that is so true.
    Thank you for being God's ambassador in chains. I can't wait to greet you in Heaven one day when we are with our precious families again.
    April

  9. amber says:

    Sherri, this is a stunning entry! You have a gift. Thank you for using it.

  10. Killi says:

    I was so sadden by the news and so proud of y'all faith and strength.

    Love you guys

  11. Wes Nugent says:

    I've read this post 10 times at least waiting on something new. Your writing is a wonderful gift.

  12. amber says:

    Sherri, this entry is stunning! The Lord has given you a gift. Thank you for using it.

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