About Sherilyn - Chapter One
Sherilyn is a name my folks made up. They combined Sherri, and Lynn, and came up with my name. It's quite unusual, but I like it.
In many ways practically everything on this site is "about Sherilyn", but I thought it would be good to let you know some background about the early part of my life.
My Dad is a preacher. That fact has been important in my life. I was probably exposed to the gospel while still in the womb, literally, and heard it at least a couple of times a week from the day I was born. I suspect that's why I came to accept Christ as personal Savior at such a young age.
When I began to raise my hand during the invitation to tell the pastor (my Dad) that I wanted to get saved, my Mom said, "Sherilyn, put your hand down." because she thought I was too young to understand.
My sister, who was two years older, noticed what I had done and after the service said, "Sherilyn, do you want to get saved."
I told her "Yes, that's why I raised my hand."
She took me down to a little pink room in the church basement and explained to me that all I needed to do was pray and tell God that I knew I was a sinner, that I was sorry for my sins, and that I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my heart and be my Savior.
If I did that, He would come in and I would be saved. I prayed with her, and we went back upstairs. She told my parents "Sherilyn just asked Jesus to be her Savior."
They still weren't convinced that I truly understood what I had done. They wouldn't let me get baptized until around eight.
But when I was old enough to convince them that I understood what I had done, they let me be baptized. The service was at a nearby pond since the church didn't have an inside baptistery.
Other Effects of Dad's Calling on Sherilyn
Perhaps my salvation was the most important side effect, but it definitely wasn't the only one. Another big effect on my life was our frequent moves. Before I left for college, we had lived in six different states, and moved over ten times.
If I recall correctly we lived in California for three years and moved at least once a year the whole time we were there. I was born in South Carolina, but lived in North Carolina, California, Iowa, and Michigan before I left for college. We moved again during my senior year of college to southern Indiana.
When I was in about third grade "I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content" became my favorite Scripture verse. I was a good deal older before I understood that Paul wasn't really referring to one of the United States when he wrote that passage.
Although I can look back now and realize that those "moving experiences" were preparing me for the life the Lord had planned for me I didn't really enjoy them at the time.
It usually took me about three years to get to know people well enough to make friends. By that time we usually moved again and I had to start all over.
You might think I'd have been really close to my family, but that wasn't really the case either.
However, due to these difficulties the Lord became my best friend. That has been a life long blessing.
Molding Experiences for Sherilyn
Just as I was exposed to the gospel from a young age, so I was exposed to missions. We usually had a missionary speaker at church about once a month the whole time I was growing up. For many years as a child we had Junior Church during the morning service.
I was always interested in what was taught, and I remember learning several things either in Junior Church or Sunday School that had a lasting effect on my life. One saying that made a big impression on me was...
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."
I couldn't really understand the "'twill soon be past" part. It seemed to me at that age like a year was a long time.
I could understand the last part about only what was done for Christ lasting. I decided I didn't want to spend my life on anything that didn't have eternal value.
As a junior I also had a Sunday School teacher who challenged us to read the Bible through each and every year. She said, "Sherilyn, How can you obey God, if you don't even know what He has said?"
I thought that was a good question.I started trying, but I think I was in Junior High before I ever actually managed to get all the way through the Bible.
For a few years in High School I actually read the Bible through twice each year. To this day I, continue reading it through regularly.
Junior High - Pivotal Age for Sherilyn
Junior High was a very important time in my life. For the first time I was enrolled in public school. We had moved to a small town in Iowa the day before I started seventh grade.
It was the age of the mini-skirt and knee high socks.I wore my dresses to the bottom of my knee with white bobby socks.
I believed it was modest to wear long skirts, but I would have worn knee socks to fit in, if we could have afforded them. But, we couldn't.
To say that I stood out like a sore thumb would definitely be an understatement. The kids at school suspected that I'd been dropped from Mars, or something. Even the other girls from our church wore mini skirts.
It was a difficult time in my life, but it drew me closer to the Lord. I made up my mind that I would rather please Him than anyone else.
In fact, it was during those years that I told the Lord I would do anything He wanted me to do, go anywhere He wanted me to go, and be anything He wanted me to be.
Was this a call to missions? I don't think so, it was just complete surrender. I was always interested in missions, but I felt the same interest for every field I heard about so I didn't think I had had a specific "call".
For a time I struggled with doubts about my salvation, I thought I'd been too young to really understand and that I didn't really remember much about it.
Then someone told me, "Sherilyn, if you knew you were a sinner and needed a Savior, and you asked God to save you, that is all that is necessary in God's eyes if you came to Him for salvation."
"Sherilyn" they continued, "If you've done that, and you still doubt your salvation, you're not doubting yourself, you're doubting God."
When I understood that, the doubts disappeared.
In addition, in a conversation with my Mom, I said I thought I didn't remember the details of accepting Christ, but that she'd just told me about them. She said, "Sherilyn, I didn't tell you about those things. I wasn't there!"
So I realized I did remember the experience better than I thought, right down to the color of the room my sister had taken me to.
The final pivotal experience from those years was the introductory Spanish class I took in eighth grade.
It is the only class I ever brought a failing slip home in. Of course, I knew how to take care of the problem. I was just going to drop the class.
My parents had other plans though. They thought it would be bad for my character to drop a class I was failing. They told me,"Sherilyn, if you were getting an A or B we might let you drop the class if you wanted to, but you can't drop it while you're failing. You're going to bring that grade up."
They provided motivation to help me do that. They put me on the strictest restrictions that have ever been devised.
The only things I could do were eat, sleep, study Spanish, and attend preaching services. Anything else wasn't allowed!
Needless to say, with that kind of "motivation", I did bring my grade up, but I hated Spanish.
To continue with my story and find out the things that molded my life in high school and college,
please click here to read the rest of Sherilyn's story.
Return from About Sherilyn to Electrifying Mission Trips