Friday, October 26, 2012

Your Heart's Desire, Book & Bible Study Guest Post #1

Sheri Rose Shepherd

Desiring a "Happily Ever After"
Fighting the Temptation to Give Up on Love and Marriage

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

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I don't know where you stand today with the man you love or loved—or if you
 are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. I can tell you, though, that if
you've been hurt, you can be sure Your heavenly Father knows how hard it is
to love and forgive the one who caused you pain. Yet regardless of the relational devastation you face, no one can keep you from finishing strong for God's

I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married
 and divorced to three different people. As part of several blended families,
all I understood about marriage when I was growing up was "unhappily ever
after." But then I became a Christian at twenty-four and married my husband,
Steve, just a few years later. Because of my love for God and my husband, I
honestly didn't think anything could shake my own marriage or faith.

In the summer of 2007, however, my happily ever after was wiped out and my
faith was tested. The family foundation I had worked so hard to build and
protect was almost destroyed, along with my ministry, in that season of my life.
I truly believed that God had forsaken me.

I had just finished writing my book for mothers about raising sons to become
 godly husbands. As I excitedly ran upstairs to e-mail the manuscript to the
 publisher, I suddenly felt as if something dark hovered over me. My passion
for the book's message was drowned out by the fear of an attack from the
enemy that could come against me and my family if I stepped on his territory . . .
 young men and their future marriages.

I called the publisher and said I'd need to wait and pray for courage before
submitting the manuscript. I went to my son, Jake, who was eighteen years
old and a senior in high school at the time, and asked him if he had any
plans of rebelling against his faith once he graduated from high school. I
told him I was willing to give him freedom to find his own faith in Christ, but
 I didn't want to put out a book about raising boys if my own son was going
 to walk away from the Lord. He reassured me that he was strong in his faith
and that he felt I should publish the book. I decided to take the chance to
make a difference and sent in the manuscript.

The book began climbing the charts, and everything seemed to be going well.
I even began speaking with my son at conferences for mothers of boys. Then
 three months into my book tour, my fear of attack hit. My husband had taken
 a job that we had both prayed for. This job appeared to be a blessing; however,
his new position required him to violate some of the boundaries we had put in
 place to protect our marriage, and we ended up separated.

There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and
 somehow my own marriage was falling apart. My son was devastated by the
 division between me and his dad. It was too hard for him to deal with all his
confusion, pain, and anger, so he took a break from his faith and began using
 drugs and alcohol to comfort himself. I had always known to run to God for
cover when there was a great attack, but now I felt like He had left me alone
 on the battlefield to fight for myself. It appeared that all I had believed about
 God and all my effort to build a strong foundation for my own family had
been shattered. My pain, my shame, and my life were an embarrassment.
 I felt as if I were battling an out-of-control fire that would burn up everything
 I loved and lived for. Every night I would cry myself to sleep as I struggled
to understand why God had not protected me while I was attempting to
accomplish something for His glory.

One night I could not take it anymore, so I fell to my knees and told God I
either wanted Him to fix my family or I wanted to quit the ministry. Then I felt
the Lord asking me a bigger question: 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? For the first time I realized that my heart's true desire was to feel
 loved and secure, and yet no man on earth could love me the way my Lord
does. In that moment of crisis I found the true meaning of following Christ.
God had not forsaken me, but He did want to free me from depending on
others to give me my happily ever after.

That night I gave my heart's deepest desire to God and chose to follow Him
at any cost. In exchange, He gave me something so much better; He gave
me peace that was more powerful than my circumstances. My faith was no
longer in people; it was in Christ alone. Although nothing outwardly had
changed yet, I had been changed. Today, Steve and I have celebrated
 twenty-five years of marriage, and our son serves God with His whole heart.
He and his bride have given us our first grandbaby girl. However, to be
honest, restoring our marriage was excruciatingly painful and more difficult
than either of us expected. As hard as this trial was, it taught me a valuable
lesson: our Lord is the God of comfort and the author of a new beginning.
He can and will rebuild a beautiful life out of any broken heart willing to make
a change. He will use one sacrificial choice; one act of forgiveness; one
sincere, repentant heart; and one woman who is willing to step out in faith
and start rebuilding with His love for His glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help
comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For more teaching from the Your Heart's Desire book and Bible study, visit

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