Sherri says she was living a life that constantly had her racing toward the edge of a cliff. She could see the edge of the cliff but she couldn’t take her foot of the gas. When she learned that Jesus doesn’t cringe at the mess and that all you have to do is simply lay it down at his feet…that’s when everything changed.
Sherri Lynn: God is committed to the process. Changing me. He is committed to that. You are humble. Bring your broken pieces. Me and God had to, he had to really sit me down and show me that the bloodiness of Calvary, how could he leave me so quickly if he did that? That’s a bloody affair. That’s a major commitment. He it’s all to change me. The Bible says, while we were yet sinning, Christ died.
Narrator: We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there’s something different. They you’re changed. Maybe there is a calm where there once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness. There’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back To Life, a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.
Sherri Lynn: This is producer Sherri from the Brant Hansen show. I think ultimately, my walk with God started when I was young, but I didn’t quite understand it. My family is, all ministers, they’re all ministers. Basically, I call it the family business. And so, knowing scripture, knowing religious stuff is just something that we all did.
And by age 12, I could preach, which is weird and unfortunate because I was nowhere near in a place at 12 years old to understand what I was saying. But I could speak, and I knew scripture and he like propping me up one little milk carton, or milk crates rather, and letting me preach. Uh, but I didn’t really know who Jesus was. And I found that out my freshman year of college, very, very early in my freshman year of college. As a matter of fact, I said that I couldn’t have really, I really couldn’t have known who Jesus was at all, cause I don’t think you can leave someone, you know, that quickly. So, man, I wasn’t even a month in, before I was completely off the rails.
I am obsessive. I am excessive. I have an addictive nature. I had a lot of trauma growing up. My father was a drug addict and a drug user. And so, just think about what that means for our household, and all of those things just came to a head in college and out of college. And I was just, I, I, I say I was a mess, but I don’t think people around me thought I was because I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious or arrogant, but I’m fun. So, it’s a party and you know, if Sherri’s there, there’s going to be a party. And I was dying, having fun. I don’t know how to explain it unless you have this kind of personality where you see the cliff, like it’s Thelma and Louise, you see you are going to drive off and die, I couldn’t get my foot off of the gap.
And I remember one birthday, my friends were like, we’re going to go hang out. But before we were going to go get some weed, my friend was like, well, you don’t want to roll the joints. Let’s go over so-and-so’s house and get it. And we went in and there was drugs and guns and all kinds, it was almost like a movie, right, for most people. And I remember in that moment, if we talk about like a God moment that wasn’t like angels, you know, there or someone a cloud came and rushed me out. But just, I just remember a flash of thinking, why is this normal to you? Like any, anybody else would come in here and be deeply, desperately alarmed, but this is all normal to you.
And is this going to be your life? I think I was 21. Is this going to be, you know, who you are. And, you know, I went on with that night and we, you know, hung out and did everything we had planned to do, and more. And a few months later I went to my uncle’s house. My uncle was the pastor of a storefront church in new Kensington, Pennsylvania, which is right outside of Pittsburgh. And I sat on his porch, it’s on Alcoa drive and he said, what’s going on baby? And he has glasses, and he always looks up over his glasses. He said, what’s going on baby? And I said, I’m going to die. And he said, okay, well, why do you say that? And I said, because I can’t stop. I don’t know what this is inside of me that makes these horrible decisions and follows them all the way through.
And I’ve just started telling him all this stuff I was doing. I mean, most of the people knew anyway. I’m loud. That’s the other thing. I think that’s why I have a soft spot in my heart for people who sin loudly, because it’s so easy to judge us because it’s out there. Right? So easy to point your finger and say, you’re wrong. You’re in sin. Well, sure. You, you know, you get to sin in your mind, or you get to sin in your addict. And for, for people like me, it’s out there. Right. So, he said to me, something I’ve held onto all these many years, he said, okay, first of all, he wasn’t alarmed. Can I tell you what that means and how I’ve tried to be that for people from that moment on, in some way. That when they come to you and tell you they are as sinful, as Calvary says we all are, that there’s no shock or, um, disdain or cringing, but there was, he had none of that.
There was nothing but love. And it was beyond me being his niece. It was, it was the love of Jesus who doesn’t cringe. Jesus doesn’t cringe. And so, he said, I’ll tell you what you do. He said, you come to church, and you sit under the word. You sit under the word and the word will change you. That’s all you have to do.
You don’t have to change yourself. And that was the pressure, is that I thought I had to change me. And I didn’t know how to do that. I just didn’t know how I was going to not be the person that I had become. And he said that he just took the pressure off. God’s word will change you if you are humble and you submit yourself.
And so that started a journey of me going to his church. Again, it was a small little storefront church on fourth avenue in new Kensington. Doggone it, I showed up. Uh, whether I was drunk the night before or not. It doesn’t matter what happened the night before I showed up. And it started a very long, probably longer than most people want it, process of God changing me. And that process continues today. I think that my personality is such that, you know, the new, these are bad words sometimes in Christendom, but I’m a performer, I’m an entertainer. And so, you know, once God started to change me and I was in the church world, it was like, oh, let’s get her to do this. Let’s get her to do that. Let’s get her to, you know, and, um, you know, you’re, you’re on stage all of a sudden and you don’t, I don’t let me see, I didn’t necessarily have the character to sustain my talent yet. And I started a relationship with a guy that I knew from the beginning, and I think most women will resonate with this, I can’t speak for men obviously, because I’m not one, but I think most women will resonate with the fact that, you know… We’re intuitive as women. We know, you know, inside what, when it’s not right, you know, you may dig your heels in. You may reject that little voice, but that little voice is there. And I knew that the relationship was wrong.
And I knew that God said no to it. And I just kept going and it would go up and it would go down, and as I look back at it now, there were so many moments where God was trying to take me out of it and my soul was tied in it. My esteem was tied in it. My life was tied up in that relationship. I also knew that my family and my church would not approve.
So, no one there knew that I was in that relationship. It’s so a whole, the trauma of that relationship that now that I can look back mirrored, the trauma of my life, uh, with my, with my father. I can look back and see it now, but you can’t see it when you’re in it. It was really, really, really difficult. And I was living a double life.
So, I had my church life, and I had that relationship and then it ended. And when I say it ended, I say it like this, I believe for me, God comes and whispers. No. Stop. And it’s all love. It’s all because he knows where it’s going. And we rebel rebel, rebel, rebel rebel. Then there’s a point where there’s no voice. And I thought, oh, he’s okay with it. Not like it’s an, I always say that little space of silence is right before a hatchet is coming to cut it. And if you, I tell girls this all the time, if you cut it, it’s a lie. It’s going to hurt no matter what, cause you shouldn’t have been tangled. I’m speaking from. If you cut it, it’s a lot easier than if God cuts it.
That’s my own experience. And so when God came with that hatchet, because he loves me, that’s what it says in Hebrews. He said, if you’re not my child, if I leave you to yourself, but if I discipline you, he says, then that means you belong to me. And that relationship ended in me almost losing my life, and the guy almost losing his life because I’m that… I mean without Jesus, I’m not crazy. I don’t know. I don’t know how else to say it. This is probably all too much, but it’s true. Uh, and then I was alone because nobody knew that relationship. No one knew the extent of what I was in. So, now I can’t tell you that I’m hurting from something that you didn’t know I was dealing with in the first place.
So, I had, oh my goodness, I just had never felt that alone before. And then in little ways, God started to show me that he was still there. That I wasn’t going to skip the consequence of my decisions and my rebellion, but he was going to hold my hand through it. And that was a process of approximately two and a half years of living, of being repaired, by the Holy Spirit, if that makes sense. And. Going through the consequences of it.
And I had to go through the consequences of it. So, I wouldn’t do it again. That’s what I believe. So, I wouldn’t go down that road again, I had to go through the consequence of it. But he never left me. And so, my constant testimony, I can still see the little apartment I was living in and wishes just me and God.
I had to be like, felt like 400 square foot, little tiny basement apartment. And it was me and God for two and a half years. He was my confidant. I couldn’t tell anybody else. And it caused me to know this one thing, and I tell people this all the time, God is committed to the process of changing you. He’s committed to that.
If you’re humble and you bring your broken pieces, the pieces that the church may judge you on. Quite frankly, I know we say it’s a hospital and we all come sit down, whatever we come in there and we say, it’s a hospital, but we’re all doctors. We immediately walk in and put a white coat on and start telling everybody what else, what their problem is.
And again, I sin loudly, so I can’t, you know, me, me and God had to, he had to really sit me down and show me that the bloodiness of Calvary… How could he leave me so quickly if he did that? That’s a bloody affair. That’s a, that’s, that’s a major commitment. He’s he, he it’s all to change me. The Bible says while I was yet sinning, Christ died for me.
And so, it was that moment where I thought, okay, we’re in this relationship together. And then I knew him. All the way from 12 years old when I was preaching and all that stuff. That was that fast forward, fast forward, fast forward, fast forward. Okay. Now I know him, not like I’m going to know him tomorrow, but better than I know him knew him yesterday because we just, just in this relationship. I don’t know how else to say it.
And I think once I really started to learn to trust that he had my best interests at heart, when I was in that little apartment, and, uh, I had lost my job. It was bad, it was bad. I lost my job. Uh, I was in debt. It was awful. Then I got a little job at a network that I hated, and I hated the network. I hated who I worked with. I hated the whole thing, and I was so miserable. And one day I went, I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I went on a industry website and I saw a, I saw an ad for a producer and it was for the Brant Hansen show. And I didn’t know who Brant Hansen was. I didn’t know. I knew nothing, absolutely nothing. And we’ve told the story before and how, you know, I flew to Sacramento and met him, and it was just such a God thing.
And, um, once I became his producer, we were on a really big network, and I didn’t know any, all I knew is that the job looked like me. I applied for it. I met Brant. I met his wife. I love this family. We had, I had no idea of the magnitude of the job until I actually got into the job and realized the reach of that network. The like, and then I was terrified because my, my life didn’t seem like everybody else’s life. Right. So, I had skeletons in the closet, but I also had corpse in the closet. Like it’s dead, but there’s still skin on it. Right? Like if you open up that door, you’re going to be able to tell some of those faces.
Right? And so, I had no idea of what would come back up, who would come back up. How it would come back up. Like that, that torment of I’m not like everyone. Everyone else was, I felt like, everyone else was married with kids and these wonderful apple pie, you know, white picket fence houses and lives. And I didn’t have that.
And so it started another journey of me saying, you know what? I know the process I’ve gone through with God. And I know his dedication. It should something or someone come back or come out or show up, then all I could say is the blood of Jesus has covered it. And that was, uh, that, that was another process in the beginning.
And I also made a decision not to make things up and not to cover. To say, this is, I mean, listen, this whole thing that you’re listening to… this probably also should be covered up, but it’s not. I made a decision be authentically and honestly who you are, because I was, I said to myself, I don’t want to make someone up, and then people hate her and then I hate her. Cause I don’t even know who she is. I was like, okay. Be honest and if everyone kind of judges you or turns on you or criticizes you, at least, you know it’s the real you, and that’s the you that Jesus sees. So, I think that’s my whole story is he’s committed to the process of changing me, and it’s every day. I can see if I humble myself, his willingness, man, his willingness to walk with me. And I don’t know that we know that Jesus. I think we know a checklist Jesus in, in current Christian them, unfortunately, a Jesus who wants us to do all these things. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check. And then we earn his favor. That is not who he is. He’s so much better than that. That’s not good news.
That’s another thing to do. But I can honestly say to the wild child out there, he is good. And I also want to say this, if you are a parent of a wild child, like my mama is, was. My mother when I was 15, 16, 17, 18, well, after college, so 18, 19, and I don’t know what it was to see a child like me. To, to see this kid, literally his course was going off of the cliff, uh, you know. A woman had told her some stuff about me, which he believed God was saying I was going to be, and my mom typed it up and folded it up and put it in her top drawer. Her top right-hand drawer in her, um, dresser, dresser. And she held onto it and she would read it from time to time out loud so I could hear it.
And what she didn’t know, and I have told since told her, is that if she wasn’t in her room or something and I was drunk or I was high, or I was whatever I was coming in the house, I would actually go read it. And I didn’t know what it meant. I just knew that that was the life that I wanted. And I will tell you that everything on that piece of paper is what I’m walking out today. So, if you are a parent of a wild child, like me, hold on. They were God’s before they were yours, and he has them, and I am a living witness. My mother’s a living witness. She was the wild child of her mother. That’s why I told her this is all hereditary.
This is just you. Yeah. Anyway. God brought her back, and God did it for me. And I am telling you if he did it for me, I am 100% convinced he can do it for you and for your child, because he’s committed to the process of changing us. Before I go I want to share with you just so you know, a few of the things that that letter said that my mom typed up. It said that I would be a speaker. It said that my voice will go across the world, and that I will proclaim the good news of the kingdom. And all this sounds right now. Right. But think about your kid, that’s in a bar every night or in a club every night, or you don’t know where she is every night. I can tell you, honestly, it’s honest, this I’m dating myself, but this was before there were cell phones that were like, if you had a cell phone, you were really, really, rich. Or if you had a car phone, you were really, really, rich. Right. But we all had pagers, which was so stupid because if someone pages you, how do you call them? You don’t have it; you’d have to find a payphone. But I had a pager, and you know, my mom would page me 911 just because she didn’t know where it was.
And she would pray to God, where is my child? Because that’s, I would disappear. And I remember so vividly one time, I was at a house party. I had passed out, I was on the couch, it was knock at the door and someone said, your mom is here. And I’m hung over. I can barely see she had prayed and asked God, where’s my baby. And he had led her to that house. Now, if that’s not your thing, you don’t believe that kind of thing happens. I’m just telling you, I’m sitting here as a living witness, that it does. And so she’d have to go back and read that this, this person that I have to go find every night, or whenever, is going to be speaking the good news of the gospel across the world.
How is that even going to happen? But she believed. Uh, and so I, again, I want to make sure that I kind of drill that down. I, listen, my mom lives with me now. I give her whatever she wants. I don’t care what she wants. I always tell her; I love your life. I will take care of your life because the faith that she had to stand between me and hell, between me and Satan and say no! Until I could say it, until I could stand up for myself, I just, I don’t know. I didn’t mean for it to turn this way, but I want to encourage moms and dads and aunties and grandmothers, whose child may, the culture has a hook in them. The power of God is not, as my mother would say it, is not to be played with. The power of the God can rescue. I am sitting here talking to you and this voice will go all out across the world, not because I’m so great because God said so, on that piece of paper and he did it!
Narrator: We are telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how he can bring you back to life, visit us at onpurposely.com/whoisJesus. You can follow brought back to life on apple podcasts, I heart radio or wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks for listening to Brought Back to Life from Purposely.