Former Miss America, Sheri Rose Shepherd, had been a follower of Jesus, even writing a book about how to prepare sons to be godly husbands. When the manuscript was finished, fear suddenly gripped her after she realized that she would step into enemy territory as she was claiming the next generation of men for the Lord. Her husband and son gave her their blessings as they expressed their confidence that they were strong in the Lord to handle attacks from the enemy. The book was released and things went well, validating as the right decision her act of obedience to step out in faith and stand up for God by putting out her book. But soon after, her marriage got into trouble and she and her husband became separated.
Having come out of a childhood of five stepfamilies and her original family being broken when she was young resulted in her many fears about marriage. She gave her life to The Lord when she was a young adult and began serving Him in ministry. Her separation from her husband left her feeling forsaken, later she would realize, as Jesus did on the cross at the moment He asked, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Her faith was fractured and she lost all her desire to minister to others. She was mad at God, asking Him where He was, why was He not there to prevent her fears from coming to pass. In her book as well as her Bible Study of the same name, Your Heart’s Desire, Sheri Rose talks about how she overcame.
“There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and somehow my own marriage was falling apart…One night [my daughter] asked ‘Does God really answer prayer?’ How I longed during that time for an answer that would increase her faith, but for the first time I lost mine…I had thought I was fighting to further God’s Kingdom on earth by equipping mothers to raise warriors, but it appeared I had lost the fight in my own life…I questioned why He had not protected me while I was attempting to accomplish something for His glory. What I didn’t know was that He was actually going to use this trial to unlock me from a greater fear and to free me from holding on so tightly to my family.”
[God’s message to Sheri Rose:] “I will prepare you for something bigger than what you’re walking through right now.”
“I couldn’t allow blame and bitterness be my legacy. In those painful places, my children will remember, ‘Mom fighting a good fight, keeping her faith, and finishing strong.'”
“There is a moment of truth in every Christian’s life when everything we know is shaken and tested…I felt the Lord asked me: ‘Was My life given on a cross for you not enough for you to finish strong even if it means surrendering the life you wanted?'”
“God’s Word shows us that Daniel was a good, godly man but he was still thrown in the lion’s den. It was in that lion’s den that the invisible God became visible [figuratively] to him and to those who were in the land. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego— good, godly men but thrown in the fire. It appeared that God had forsaken them. But the invisible God became visible again.’
“The enemy is the master of creating illusions of hopelessness. He loves to make you think that God is not in your circumstances.”
“God had not forsaken me, but He had wanted to free me from depending on others to give me my happily ever after.”
“I used to think that I had to glorify God by pretending I had no problems..because I didn’t wanna make God look bad. Now I understand that God is glorified in front of the sea of hopelessness and He doesn’t need me like He didn’t need Moses to try to swim to the Promised Land. He needs you and me to be able to stand and trust Him and understand it is in that last hour, in that fire, that He is purifying us. For me, freedom came when I learned to surrender everything I wanted for His will in one of my most painful situations of my life. Battles do not have to be the end. They can become the birth pains of a new beginning.”
“Wherever you are in your life, we all have a chance to join God’s team, to join our will with His will, and not allow other people’s actions to determine our legacy or our future.”
“My legacy was going to mean more than the life that I wanted. I will never be controlled by another’s actions again. Your heart and my heart are safe in God’s hands and He will secure how we face and fight our battles. He will not waste pain. I now know that God trusted me with pain. We can’t underestimate the power of what pain produces in us.”
“Lord, many of us are desperate for a breakthrough right now. Many of us have already gotten that breakthrough but we want to use this pain for the purpose of leaving a legacy that will actually matter. Many of us stand in the wreckage of many people’s actions that had nothing to do with us. But You are the God that makes beautiful things out of what is broken. We come before You because You gave Your life for us. We say Yes, we will trust You. We will wait for You to become visible. We will lay down the things that You ask us to lay down. May our decisions bless (as You promise in Your Word in Deuteronomy) a thousand generations.”
Sheri Rose and her husband were reunited. She quips, “My husband wants me to tell you that it has been the seven best years of our lives.” Now beyond her twentieth year of speaking in ministry, Sheri Rose rallies other women to finish strong.
Her book and Bible Study, “Your Heart’s Desire” are available at her website, www.hisprincess.com.