Category Archives: Uncategorized

This Journey Called Life…

Standard

E5822838-E493-4031-AED3-2CAB6012CC2AFive months ago our lives changed. It has been a wonderful change! It also has been a whirlwind. Jim made the move to Ohio a couple weeks before me starting in his new pastoral role while I worked out my notice. Leaving my job at AnMed Health Anderson Family Medicine was so much harder than I anticipated. Jim flew back as we made out first leg of the journey moving from SC just 2 days before Christmas. We lightly moved into a rental while we looked for a home and I spent the week after Christmas shopping and wrapping for our family of 23… celebrated with them over New Year’s Eve and Day then I started my new job. Then we went through the long, difficult process of selling my mama’s home in SC and looking for a house here. We made another move into our new home in April… then lots of work in the house and purchases… then another leg of the move yesterday emptying our storage units in Chicago. Now we wait on a kitchen remodel and still have a move of things from our daughters home in Sylvania… and then we will have everything back in one place to sort through and purge… and then making this our home with it’s foundation being Jesus and making memories with family and friends. It is a process … this journey called life is a process of becoming more like Him.

18DA6C83-E41A-460C-A3E7-F4DB1E9FC1D4

So, today we are on our way on vacation… a much needed time to rest and relax and just be together. Then we will return to our full life and our boxes and we will make our house our home.

Processing,

Cheri

Masterpiece in the Making

Standard

0FBF9EA6-C6E2-47A1-9C47-8D9AE96AFD03There was this little girl who grew up broken. She didn’t know she was broken because she didn’t know anything different than brokenness. Her family was broken. I think there was a generational brokenness that manifested in many ways. Broken because of alcoholism and addiction… broken because of incest… broken because broken words were spoken that bred brokenness. Yet she knew she was loved, it was just a broken love.

Because of the brokenness she was shy and insecure and felt worthless. She often referred to herself as a wallflower … on a wall covered with floral wallpaper she was the single little flower lost in the sea of flowers.

But one day there was a knock on her door that changed the whole trajectory of her life. The knock was from a local church who had started a bus ministry and was visiting homes to ask children to ride the bus to church. The church was Calvary Baptist Church. The little girl was me. And that encounter changed everything.

God had his eye on me all along.

They knocked on my door on a Saturday and that Sunday I started riding the purple bus to church and I learned to sing, “Oh I like to ride the purple bus, the purple bus, the purple bus. I like to ride the purple bus so early Sunday morning” and it was through the unconditional love of these people that I found Jesus (or he found me…he rescued me) and he began a good work in me.

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has began a good work in me will continue to work on me to perfect and complete me right up until the day of Christ Jesus… the time of His return.” Philippians 2:6

And he is STILL working on me.
He NEVER gives up on me.
He takes the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful of our lives and weaves it all together creating a beautiful masterpiece.

The people of CBC never gave up on me either… they mentored and discipled and loved me. They gave me a strong foundation that I’ve built my life on that still today holds me strong.

My healing started the day Jesus found me and in all honesty, still continues today. See, I am His masterpiece… he is weaving a beautiful tapestry of my life.

0AFB2981-ABAA-43A5-A242-3465408C5A2E

“ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

D2C504DB-E516-41F0-9D22-370F379943F0And while the tapestry of my life may look incomplete, it is in process. And there is this amazing thing about a tapestry, (I remember one my grandmother had) if you look at the backside, it can be a mess BUT GOD creates beauty out of the ugliness of our lives and that is what he is doing In me. He gives us beauty in place of the ashes of our lives.  Until I see him face to face, I’m still in process.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 NLT

I was just a young teen when I first sensed God’s call and the life I’ve been blessed to live is attributed to God’s amazing grace and the faithfulness of Calvary Baptist Church to reach out to the community and to this broken, insecure, shy little girl and show her Jesus.

As I grew in that church, I started working in the bus ministry. Our small town was built around cotton mills and they were beginning to close down so the area (the mill hill) was rapidly going downhill. The children we visited and picked up for church lacked much. They got themselves up and on the bus for church.

I can still see the face of one little girl with the jagged hair-cut, a dirty face, a faded, stained, worn pink dress — hair matted, dress dirty and unbuttoned with sash dragging behind her. I often think of her … Where is she today?  Did the purple bus bring hope that impacted her life?

The impact this made on me forever imprinted on my heart the importance of reaching out to our local community.

Through the years, God brought so much healing in my life through my relationship with him and from His Word. He spoke His powerful, living Word to my heart.

He tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that He did a marvelous work in creating me and that I need to know and celebrate His work of me.

EE5B2F49-A35D-48C7-8459-3140997BF951

He tells me that He chose me, he picked me out as his very own and that I am His masterpiece, His tapestry … and the healing continues to flow in my life.

55188E97-4D6A-44F7-8D07-369960DF1F32

I’ve worked side by side with my husband through the 41 years we’ve been married in ministry — doing children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship ministry, Missions, Family Ministries, marriage strengthening, young adult, mentoring, leadership training, and lead pastor roles.

My greatest loves other than Jesus, are my husband, my kids, and our grand-babies! NAMES PLEASE! Crystal, David, Isaac, Aaron, Abigail, Amber, Ed, Aubrianna, Annaliese, Lillianna, Eddie, Alex, Emilianna, Jamie, Sunny, Christian, Carson, Chloe, Skyler, Layne and Piper! They are my greatest legacy.

My passions today are seeking God with all my heart (that never changes) … then,
• my marriage and my family …
• Missions here in the local community and abroad (especially encouraging, equipping and training Christian leaders, building families, and marriages)…
• writing (working on a couple books) …
• and helping young girls and women become all that God has created and purposed them to be while continuing to work along side my husband.

58720F76-2E13-4E8C-84E4-B6FE2C9D28F9One of my life mantras is “Choose Joy”. I believe God did a complete, finished work on the cross and it is up to us to choose to walk in it. No matter what we face in life, in the midst of devastating circumstances, we can choose to consider them an opportunity for great joy.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 2:1-4 NLT

We are all in the process of becoming … His tapestry … His masterpiece. We are His masterpiece in the making.

Today I encourage you right where you are…
• you are greatly loved …
• you are a masterpiece in the making …
• you are fearfully and wonderfully made…
• you are chosen…
• He picked you out as His very own.

No matter what kind of mess you might be in the middle of, God can weave a beautiful tapestry of your life. He will never give up on you but we have to choose to stay in the process. We are each His masterpiece in the making…

In the Process,

Cheri

 

When Life Stands Still

Standard

FD86D64B-7315-4999-BC3D-D2287D5C4661

That are moments when life stands still … the day of a magical marriage, when they lay that newborn baby in your arms for the first time, when you buy your first home, when you lose your job and your home, when you or a family member receives a bad health report, when you lose a loved one — and the list goes on.

Over some weeks now I’ve been confronted with what what could be life-altering.  We’ve just moved back to Ohio after living about 700 miles from our kids and grandkids.  My husband stepped into a new pastoral position. I started a new job, we are seeing our kids and grandkids more and making lots of new friends.  And we sold our family home in SC and are ready to close on the purchase of a new home.  God has ushered us into a fresh new season and He is restoring what the enemy stole from us.  We are excited and blessed.

Then on a normal day I feel an abnormal lump in my breast.  My heart stops and I feel like life is suddenly on hold.  Everything could change.  We don’t need to buy a house when I just don’t know what I’m looking at with my health and my future.  I asked all the “why” questions.  Why is this happening now that I have less than desirable insurance and no disability insurance and when I’m back where I can do things with all the kids, when it seems we are experiencing a great time of restoration?  Why now?  I was scared and at the same time I knew I had to choose to trust God.

28BAA0E1-C3B5-4A40-A5DF-97CF00C4E08E

I didn’t even tell my husband in the beginning, I think I was in denial.  I was praying over myself with hopes that next time I checked it would be gone, but every time I checked, it was still there — so I spilled it to my husband who immediately wanted me to go to the doctor to get checked out.  But I kept putting it off because I just didn’t want to face it.  I didn’t want to know.

Then my husband really started pushing me … EVERY DAY.  Did you make an appointment?  You’re being like a stubborn old man!  I want you to be around a long time with me.  So I finally made the call and they got me in the very next day.

What stress! Knowing that everything could change in a moment.  So many emotions.  I chose moment-by-moment to trust God, knowing that wasn’t a “get out of jail free” card.  Knowing that truly trusting God is trusting Him no matter what comes our way — no matter the circumstances — no matter the diagnosis.

I saw the doctor, and after her examination,  she scheduled me for a mammogram and an ultrasound the very next morning at 8:00 am.  I was exhausted.  I think my body was so tensed up that when I walked out of the office, I just wanted to sleep.

The next morning seemed to last forever.  I went to one place for the mammogram which hurt like there was no tomorrow and my routine mammograms are normally just uncomfortable, never painful, so this concerned me. Then to another place for the ultrasound and then back and forth, between the tech and the radiologist.  Finally, all the tests are done and I’m sitting in the doctors office waiting — waiting and wondering if everything was about to change.  Would I be getting a biopsy?  Will I have chemo and surgery?  Will I lose my hair?  If it is cancer, is it in my lymph nodes?  I just kept taking deep breaths and telling God that whatever happens, I trust him.  But sometimes it is easy to say we trust and much harder to actually trust.

The doctor came in and read the radiology report which I didn’t completely understand — she broke it down for me. It looks like a hematoma.  I feel the stress literally leaving my body.  I’m so grateful — but I walk away knowing it could have been so different; for so many women it is, and their lives continue to stand still and things forever change.

How do we handle these times?   We choose to trust God.  We trust the promises of His Word. We pray His promises over our lives knowing that He stands behind his Word.  And we trust knowing the answer may not be what we want, yet knowing that God always has our best in His plans.  I have to go back in six months for another mammogram and ultrasound and I continue to choose to trust.  So my story continues.  And as I trust Him, He uses the pressures and the stresses to continue His work in me.

F2BED637-6C4F-4C72-AA14-4E9169E2850D

You learn a lot about yourself when you go through times that squeeze you.  What comes out when the pressure is on us shows what is on the inside.  And when we run to God with our “whys” and our pain, He meets us where we are and when we cooperate with His work in us, we come out looking more like him on the other side.

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

When life stands still I will trust in you!  God, make me more like you.

Seeking His Heart,

Cheri

 

Would You Consider?

Standard

6DE3EC72-8288-4550-8F1E-75CA8523A3BF

Seek…Listen…Walk, a devotional for women by everyday women from all walks of life. I am blessed to be one of the authors and I’m asking if you will support me by purchasing a copy. The best thing is that you will also be supporting mission work in Sweden as the profits are all going to that work.

The cost for the devotional is $15.00 and includes shipping. I will be happy to send a signed copy to you! Send your payment along with your name, address and phone number (in case there is any problems) at paypal.com to jgarrett1958@hotmailcom. Once received I will get your copy out in the mail to you!

8AE948FB-487C-4D11-AF84-99F96B33361D

They also make great gifts so consider picking up a few extra copies.

Thank you in advance for your support. I know you will be blessed!

Pursuing the Heart of God,

Cheri

Who Am I?

Standard

My life goal is to always be a woman after the heart of God and that is what I strive for every day. And as I pursue the heart of God I am becoming the reflection of Jesus to others. Have I arrived? Absolutely not, otherwise you wouldn’t see me still walking around in my skin! I am becoming and God is completing me day by day. It is a process.

CA78DF27-1C9C-43BE-8FF6-5625E7D2F81C

I am a wife to a man that loves me so amazingly … only second to the way Jesus loves me. We’ve had our struggles and our fairy tales and the everyday things that life brings but we are committed to this thing called marriage, this journey of life and love. He is my love … my best friend and my greatest cheerleader.

I am a mom … to four children, one in Heaven and three children that are best things God entrusted me with … I am so very proud of who they are today and their walk with God. And they each chose spouses that are now my children-in-love that I am so blessed to have in our lives. I am a forever mom!

I am Mimi/Gami to the cutest and sweetest and smartest all round most amazing 15 grandchildren a person could dream of … who knew that this season of life would be so full and fun and blessed. They make me laugh and cry and do crazy things and spend too much money and they keep me young and I love every minute of all of it!  I wouldn’t change s thing!

One of my MANY Life Verses

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, the time of His return”

Philippians 1:6.

I am called and chosen and purposed by God. To speak into the lives of women … to bring healing and wholeness and freedom … to encourage and help them to become all that God created them to become. To love each one where they are. A daunting purpose that I can only walk out as I pursue His Heart. It is all him in and through me. I’m just a vessel.

2C085B7F-6B5C-4A67-A632-141F57560850

I am real and vulnerable … I’m not perfect … I’ve not arrived. I’m in the completion process. Won’t you join me?  I promise it will be an adventure!

Pursuing,

Cheri

Legacy = Happy Heart

Standard

E929494D-CCEA-4D9E-931A-BE56029A25CF

I guess as we age … I like to say I’m “seasoning well” (LOL) … so the more seasoned I become, the more I think about the legacy I’m leaving.  Through the years, I’ve been blessed to do a lot of things where I have left a part of myself: Mission Trips, ministering to women, pouring into children and youth, pastoring along beside my husband, discipling and mentoring the next generation … all of which are part of my legacy.  Yet the greatest legacy I will leave will be found in my family and will be passed generation to generation.  This legacy is my heart.

Children are a gift from the Lord, a reward from him.  He entrusts them to us for a short time to raise them and prepare them to become who he created them to be.  We impart to them things that will be with them all their lives so we must be sure of what we are imparting.  They are our greatest legacy and what we impart to them keeps us alive in all our generations to come.  Our kids are our legacy.

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.”

Psalms 127:3

66FAE495-5F8D-4636-9A5C-1979DA7DAA4F

For those of you in the midst of raising your children, I know that the days are long, the work is never done, and parenting is a challenge.  But take it from a mom that has raised three children … at this point, it seems I blinked and the nest was empty.

After our kids are grown, we find ourselves blessed with grandchildren.  Grandparents have a huge possibility of spoiling those babies but I also believe God has positioned us to pour into them … they also are our legacy.

ECE6425B-CAA2-4DAA-B429-771CCB571EA9

“Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged (the “well seasoned” … my interpretation),
parents are the pride of their children.”  Proverbs 17:6

Grandchildren ARE the crowning glory of the “well seasoned”.  As a Gammi/Mimi to 15, I can tell you that this is so true!  And can you believe that we are the pride of our grown children? Finally!!!  That makes it all worth it!

We leave our greatest legacy in our children and grandchildren.  So what do I want to leave behind … what do you want to leave behind … what do we want our legacy to look like?  Here of some of my legacy goals … the things I want to impart to my children and my grandchildren and all my generations to come…

  • I want them to love God with all that they are.  “Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Mathew 22:37                                         
  • I want them to worship God with abandon.
  • To long after him … to be people after the heart of God.  “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”  Psalms 42:1
  • I want them to know who they are in Christ —That he chose them as his very own.
  • I want them to know they are loved with an endless love — That they are the apple of God’s eye.
  • I want them to know that they are God’s masterpiece.  “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
  • I want them to know that can be world changers.

58FD5591-303E-4F7F-9F6F-56CBAB86940F

This is it … this is my heart … this is the legacy I want to leave behind.  This legacy for me equals a happy heart.

What will your legacy be?

 

 

 

Kindness Transforms…

Standard

DAA275F5-770C-47FC-958E-9F9AF558C250

I was reminded last night of the kindness of God and got a peek of how deep that kindness really is so I wanted to jump on real quick and challenge all of us to dig into His kindness.  Look at what Paul says in Romans…

“ Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness, his forbearance and his patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead to repentance … that leads us to change our inner selves, our old way of thinking – and to seek his purpose for our lives.”

Romans 2:4

God’s kindness towards us causes him to be patient with us as He woos us to Him!  It keeps him from showing his wrath because of our sin.  Instead he has great patience as he keeps drawing us to Him … never giving up on us because of his great love toward us. He is leading us to change and to seek his purpose for our lives.  I don’t know about you but I’m so thankful for a God who woos me to Him with kindness … knowing how deep that kindness toward me is … and that his kindness transforms me.

His kindness keeps leading me,

Cheri

Dress For Success

Standard

Every day each of us are faced with some of the same decisions. One is “What am I gonna wear?”… for some of us that is more of a struggle than for others.

In this extremely cold, snowy weather, what we wear outside matters! We bundle and layer when we go out. This southern girl living in the cold, snowy weather of Central Ohio really bundles and layers because I am freezing! Bottom line …. What we wear is important!

In sports, it is important what we wear… the right shoes… the right kind of clothes… the right fitting clothes… the right weight of clothes and the list goes on…

6CE8EC07-44E8-416B-A8FD-B6E8C29106C9

In our lives, God gives us an important wardrobe to put on daily. Listen to what Paul said in Colossians….

 

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: (and that wardrobe is) compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it”

Colossians 3:12-14 The Message).

Notice that God is the one who picked out this wardrobe for us to put on daily. He picked out:

Compassion – empathy for others … putting ourselves in others’ place to understand how they feel and what they are facing and then …caring for them

God says put on compassion every day,.

Kindness – being friendly, generous, and considerate, gentle, helpful, thoughtful, unselfish—-doing acts of kindness for others

God says put on kindness every day.

Humility – not thinking too highly of ourselves, being meek, putting others above ourselves

God says put on humility every day.

Quiet Strength – a strength that comes from the inside … from a person’s faith and dependence on God. It is knowing who we are in Christ and knowing whose we are and living out life with that knowledge.

God says put on quiet strength every day.

Discipline – committing ourselves to learning, to practicing disciplines to make us better in every area of our lives

God says to put on discipline every day.

Paul goes on to tell us to be:
Even Tempered – don’t lose it… don’t spout an attitude but learn to keep an even temper and good attitude.
Be Content – thankful for where we are and for what we have right now.
Quick to forgive – don’t hold grudges or try to get back… forgive and move on.

And he finishes with the basic, all purpose garment… LOVE… and tells us to never be without it. Always wear LOVE.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love enables us to forgive quickly.
Love breeds compassion, kindness, forgiveness, strength, humility and discipline.

Whatever clothes we wear… the garments that God has picked out for us …will make us more like him in every life situation. They always match… they always look good and they are always appropriate.

Let’s be sure we are wearing the right clothes every day!

BC0A36CB-2C3A-48B9-9BD6-44294833B473

And when we are wearing the right clothes, we ARE dressed for success!

The Little Black Purse

Standard

God did something extraordinary.

Stepping from the throne, he removed his robe of light and wrapped himself in skin: pigmented, human skin. The light of the universe entered a dark, wet womb. He whom angels worship nestled himself in the placenta of a peasant, was birthed into a cold night, and then slept on cow’s hay.

Mary didn’t know whether to give him milk or give him praise, but she gave him both since he was, as near as she could figure, hungry and holy.

Joseph didn’t know whether to call him Junior or Father. But in the end he called him Jesus, since that’s what the angel had said and since he didn’t have the faintest idea what to name a God he could cradle in his arms…  Max Lucado

The Little Black Purse

My daddy was an alcoholic so home could be unpredictable and depressing and painful. It could also be fun. I never doubted his love but I knew from a small child that I wanted to make different choices for my life and the life of the family I would one day have. Christmas was always good, at least the morning. Later in the day the drinking started and he usually left for a local beer joint. It was like this my entire childhood. I married after the first year of college and moved out. Things were still the same at home and sometimes worse. Then one day I got a call from my daddy and because of the extraordinary thing God did my daddy changed. Drastically changed. And that year for Christmas there was a gift under the tree from my daddy, not my mama and daddy… it was just from my daddy. It was a black macramé clutch purse. While we always got gifts from Santa and from my parents, I had never received a gift that my daddy picked out and bought himself. Why did he buy that gift that year? He had changed and he wanted to do something special for me as a sign of that change. He wanted to be a part of Christmas that year. I don’t have my daddy anymore but I have some special memories and I have that purse that is so small yet represents something so big and wonderful. I still pull it out and use it for special occasions and I always will because it reminds me that anyone can change … my little black purse of sweet memories … because God did something extraordinary.

Seeking after His Heart… 

Cheri

 

Wonderful Me…

Standard

Wonderful me, you might be asking!   Yes, WONDERFUL ME and that is right out of God’s Word.  And He says the same about you!

IMG_0041

This was one of those words God spoke so directly to me years ago and it brought me healing and wholeness and acceptance and purpose.  And this year, 2017, I need to re-estabilsh myself in this truth of His Word.

I was experiencing the pain of betrayal and rejection when all these same feelings from my childhood also came gushing back up from all the years of suppressing them.  In all the pain, God was working to bring me healing and wholeness, freedom and purpose, and He started doing this from truths in the book of Psalms.

He spoke these words so directly from His Heart to mine.

“Cheri, it was me, the only one true God, the Creator of all the beauty of creation, that formed you.  I formed every detail in the depths of your mother’s womb.  I knew you then.  I planned for you.  I created you in love and with purpose.”

“For You formed my innermost parts:  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalms 139:13

I can’t fully explain how much healing this brought to me in my time of brokenness.  And it didn’t stop.  The next thing He made alive in me was that fact that He didn’t make a mistake in creating me, that He actually did a great job creating me … as me!  I am to give Him thanks and praise because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the amazing sunsets, the majestic mountains, the glorious sunrises, the oceans that know where to go and where to stay … that same Creator created me!  Wow!  He intricately and skillfully formed me, like an embroidered masterpiece with many colors … and dimensions.  And I can KNOW that His works are wonderful.  That I am His wonderful creation … His masterpiece!

IMG_0045

 

“I will give thanks and praise to You,                                                                                    for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed as if embroidered with many colors in the depths of the earth.” Psalms 139:14-15

IMG_0044

His healing and wholeness didn’t stop there, as overwhelming as that was!  He also spoke loud and clear that He created me with purpose, that He has a book already written of all the purposes and days He has appointed for me … and He did this as He created me in the darkness of my mother’s womb, before one day ever was.  He created me with purpose, with a well thought out plan for my life.

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them even taking shape.”  Psalms 139:16

And in this time of pain, I am re-establishing myself in Him and I’m reminding myself that He did a great job creating me as me!  And that He still has purpose for my life, He is still working out His plan in me and through me.  Wonderful me!

And I’m reminding you today that He did an amazing job creating you!  You have a purpose!  He has a plan for you!  Take some time and re-establish yourself in the truth of His Word and celebrate the WONDERFUL YOU He created!

 

IMG_0042