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Beyond the White Picket Fence with Sheri Rose Shepherd

White Picket Fences 

The white picket fence is often thought of as a symbol to represent the American dream, but actually there was a different purpose for this icon. During World War II, the military was running out of ammunition. To help in the effort, Americans dismantled their wrought iron fences so they could be melted down and used as ammunition to defeat the enemy. The white picket fence was put up in its place to show a family’s willingness to do whatever it took to fight for America’s freedoms. In a similar way, Sheri Rose says God has taken the broken pieces of her life, brought healing to her, and helped in rebuilding the lives of others who have faced devastating circumstances.

Life Dismantled 

Sheri Rose served God faithfully in full-time ministry for 25 years. She felt that because of her commitment to God’s work and her marriage to a Christian man the enemy could not destroy her family foundation. She was wrong. Five years ago, she lost everything she loved all at once. “I definitely wondered where God was and why this was happening to me when I had been faithful in serving Him for 25 years,” shares Sheri Rose. She felt like Job in the Bible all the way down to the boils on Job’s skin. Her boils came in the form of cancerous tumors all over her lymphatic system. She was given eight weeks to live. At the same time, her marriage of 25 years ended. She was devastated but chose to let God help her redeem and rebuild from the ruins of her life. Some of the life lessons Sheri Rose has learned that have sustained her while going through painful experiences include the following:

  • Exchange bitterness for a better outcome – You are part of the royal family, a divine diplomat, and you will always win by keeping your integrity with a right reaction that will last a lifetime. Sheri Rose and her ex-husband decided to forgive each other and make peace so the heartache of divorce did not continue to hurt their adult children. He has remarried and Sheri Rose has chosen to remain single.
  • Bitter heart vs. a broken heart – A broken heart wants healing and help from God so it can move on. Sheri Rose chose to forgive the family members who hurt her in the past so she could be free from bitterness.
  • Sickness is not God’s will – God can use sickness for His Kingdom to be furthered on Earth through us. Today Sheri Rose’s mom lives with her. Together they are both fighting cancer. Sheri Rose says, “God has not healed me yet, but He has used the cancer to keep me very close to Him and to help me treasure every day as a gift.” She has not been back to the doctor in three years. 
  • God is not mad at you – If you’ve blown it in life God wants to help you get back up again and help you through the consequences of your sins. 
  • Remember your father’s faithfulness – To have peace in the midst of hard times, remember how He has faithfully carried you through other painful times. 

Painful Memories 

As a child, Sheri Rose grew up in a dysfunctional home that was violent and scarred by divorce. Her parents were both successful and constantly busy. Sheri’s mother was once crowned Miss California and an actress. Her father was a successful salesman and disc jockey. Sheri was shy and spiritually starved. By the time she reached high school, Sheri began to hang out with the wrong crowd. Because she lacked in self-esteem, Sheri did what she needed to do to become secure. Overeating was the primary expression of her insecurities and soon she became 50 pounds overweight. Her continued sense of hopelessness led her down the road to self-destruction. She battled bulimia in order to lose weight. Food and drugs were her comfort and by the time she was 16, Sheri was addicted to both. She found security in what other people thought about her and changed the direction of her life by radically altering her appearance. She began to exercise, eat less and enter beauty pageants. By 19, she eventually achieved several beauty pageant titles and became the head of a successful production company.

Finding Purpose 

By 24 Sheri had worldly success, but her pain from her childhood was overwhelming. She was at the end of her rope. She went to a doctor and he prescribed sleeping pills. She checked into a hotel that night with the intention of taking her own life. She cried out, “Where are You, God? If You exist, show me!” The next morning, she woke up with the sleeping pills still in her hand. Her boyfriend called the next morning and invited her to dinner at his grandparents, who were missionaries to Romania. “Their lives showed me there is more to life than success,” she says. (Sheri was raised in a Jewish home.) 

She became a Christian at 24 but lost her Jewish family because of her faith. It took ten years before things changed. It was tough to live out her faith with the disapproval of her family. She drew upon the following verse during those days. “God decided in advance to adopt us into His family,” Ephesians 1:5. Today her entire Jewish family knows the Lord. She says no matter what your family situation is you are a royal diplomat as a member of God’s family. To learn more, visit Sheri Rose's website.

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