Today marks one year that we lost Sheri. In some ways, it feels like the longest year of my life, and in some ways, I feel like I just blinked, and here we are. Never have I walked through anything harder, and never have I learned more. I guess “growing pains” are called that for a reason – growth hurts. But sometimes, His blessings come through raindrops. Sometimes, His healing comes through tears. Sometimes, a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know He’s near. Sometimes, our greatest disappointments, and the aching of this life, are the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy. Sometimes, trials of this life, are His blessings in disguise.
I had my nephew with me when we got the word that Sheri had taken her last breath. I held him in my lap and we both cried as he learned his momma had died. In that moment, I couldn’t see the healing through the tears. I couldn’t see the comfort in the pain. I only felt the aching of this life. The sorrow. The loss.
It’s been a year. Sheri is at the feet of Jesus. Shoot, the Sheri I know and love is probably prancing around, with a huge smile on her face, dancing and singing with the angels. She doesn’t have to fight anymore. In that, I rejoice. Oh, how the selfish part of me wishes she were still here, but I can now see the blessings in disguise, and there are many: Sheri has taught me to live better – embrace life. Don’t take it for granted. She has been the main catalyst in the changes I have made to better my health, and for that, I am so thankful.
Sheri has taught me to love better – life is short. We waste so much time on petty little things, silly little indifferences. We get caught up in emotions and forget that the breath we have is fleeting. Time with loved ones is measured. Don’t waste it. Now, when I get mad or upset, I try to remember that at least I have that someone to be mad or upset with. Love them while they’re still here.
Sheri has taught me to “keep looking up.” – sometimes this life is hard. Sometimes, it just plain sucks. But there is always, always a higher purpose. If I keep looking up, I remember that God’s got His hand on me and He’s not letting me go.
Sheri taught me to be strong. For 3 1/2 years, she battled. Always positive. Always trusting. Always strong in faith. Never doubting. Strength isn’t always measure by how much you can bench press.
Sheri has taught me that GRACE is a big word – in so many ways. And along with grace, comes patience. I think they go hand-in-hand. Sometimes I think “dangit Sheri, why the heck did you leave me here to deal with all of this without you?!!??” And then, I remember, grace. Take a big breath, and give grace. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for grace is “chen,” which is defined in Strong’s concordance as “favor, grace or charm; grace is the moral quality of kindness, displaying a favorable disposition”. Interesting. When I look back on this year, the one word I would choose to describe it, is grace. And if you asked 100 people to state Sheri’s personality, they would speak of her charm, her quality of kindness and favorable disposition. God works in mysterious ways.
Her favorite verse was Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” The Lord has made this day, and in honoring Sheri, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me the opportunity to grow. Thank you for giving us Sheri. Thank you for the life that she led and the legacy she left. Thank you that her light for you still shines, ever so brightly. Thank you that I still get to see her, in her precious children and niece who are like her in so many ways. Thank you for your blessings, even though it might take us a year to see them.
Closing with a picture I love: this one was taken on the day of Sheri’s memorial service. We released balloons afterwards, and it was a beautiful end to a difficult day. The last words Sheri spoke to me, were “I love you, too.” I will cherish that, and her memory, forever.