Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Sherrie Ashcraft


It's Wednesday, and I have a very special guest. Sherrie Ashcraft is my friend, fellow writer, publisher, and a woman of God who has lived out her faith through some very dark days. Welcome, Sherrie.











Sherrie Ashcraft lives on 15-acres of beautiful forested hills in Western Oregon. She and her husband of forty-four years have two children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Sherrie is currently the Women’s Minsitry Director at her church, but in the past was a missionary to Nigeria, as well as a nurse specializing in Alzheimer’s care.

Sherrie loves to speak at women’s events, where her wacky sense of humor and the truth of God’s Word intersect. She and her daughter, Christina Tarabochia, have co-authored an award-winning Christian novel, On the Threshold. The two women have formed a small, traditional press—Ashberry Lane Publishing. 

If you’d like to know what books are being released, including a new one by Bonnie, sign up for their newsletter at http://www.ashberrylane.com 


Whatever it takes

Most of us think that when we get our kids through their teen years and they marry and settle down, the hardest part of parenting is behind us. But I’ve learned that’s not necessarily true. 

My son, Mark, had a heart for the Lord when he was a little boy. His teen years were challenging, but we got through them with no collateral damage, and he married and had four kids. By age 36 he was well-established working in law enforcement and distinguishing himself in the National Guard. But through the years his heart had changed. It wasn’t that he was anti-God, but just seemed to have no time for Him. Long hours working the night shift made church attendance a hard thing for him to choose. Always being on call meant he was often away from his family. He was extremely well respected and I saw pride creeping into his life. I began to pray God would do whatever it took to bring Mark back in a right relationship with the Lord. I knew there was the potential of danger in his life because of his job, and I figured God might answer my prayer by allowing Mark to get hurt in the line of duty (doing something heroic, of course) and his life would hang in the balance. At that point he would turn back to God, his wounds would be healed, and everything would be perfect. 

I’ll never forget the day in the summer of 2009 when I received the phone call that would forever change our lives. And yes, it involved Mark. But it wasn’t a call saying he’d been injured doing something noble. Instead, I was informed that my police officer son had just been arrested! I was shocked to the core of my being. How could this be? It made no sense at all. My husband was out of state on business, so it was up to me to make the five-hour drive to be with my son’s family and support them during this time. 

Those hours driving through the dark night were long. I could hardly draw my next breath, as disbelief and disappointment swirled through my heart. You might think that having been a Christian for over fifty years would make it easy for me to just pour my heart out to the Lord during those long hours. Instead, I found it impossible to put many words to my prayer. I do remember asking God to just read my heart. Over and over again I told Him a couple different things. One was that I immediately knew  this was God’s answer to the prayer I’d been praying for Mark during the last couple years. I knew I had no choice but to thank Him for answered prayer. And the other thought that I kept expressing to God was, “Please don’t let this be wasted, in my life or in Mark’s. I don’t want to go through this depth of pain and not get everything out of it that I’m supposed to. I want to wring this experience dry.” I knew that as terrible as this situation was, it would be even more terrible to experience this grief for naught. 

Five-and-a-half years have gone by since that phone call. I’ve continued to see God’s hand through everything we’ve had to go through. It took two years before Mark actually went to trial for accusations that were untrue. His heart turned back to the Lord right away, and he took full responsibility for the wrong things he had done, but stood firm in not saying he’d done things he hadn’t. My husband and I were with him every day during his week-long trial, and by the end of it, I was certain the truth would prevail and he’d be found innocent. But that was not God’s plan. Instead, he was sentenced to years in prison.

Once again, I had a choice to make—would I trust that God knew 100% what was best for Mark, or would I choose to question His authority? Was a prison sentence really a necessary part of that answer to my prayer concerning Mark’s heart? I realized I did not need to understand what the Lord was doing, or why He was choosing to do it that way. My job was one of simple obedience—to trust Him.

The past 3-1/2 years have been challenging at times, but so many blessings have come from this experience. Mark has grown into the man of God that I’ve always longed for him to be. He has no bitterness toward God or toward his accuser, and understands that the Lord had to do something extraordinary to get his attention, as well as his heart. As odd as it might seem, we all feel this injustice is worth it, though it was never what we would have prayed for. At the same time, it is what I asked God to do in my son’s life, though it came in a completely unexpected form. 

Some people say, “Be careful what you pray for, as you may get it!” I’ve learned to be careful what I pray for, because I may get something that’s even better than what I asked for!


Sherrie, thank you for sharing your incredible story. You are a woman of courage and an inspiration to me.



Sherrie and Christina are giving away one
FREE copy of
On the Threshold.



Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what's worth living for?

Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.

Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s fa├žade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?


If you'd like to have your name included in the drawing for a FREE copy of On the Threshold please leave a comment and your email address. Did you catch that? AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. We need a way to contact you.

Last week's winner of With Music in Their Hearts is Jayne! Congratulations! Carole will be contacting you.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie


11 comments:

  1. Whew! No, I cannot quite yet tell God, "Whatever it takes" where my son is concerned. His life follows your sons, up to a point. He now is an atheist, and leads his family in that vein. A firefighter, like his FC daddy. His, and our best friend's mom prayed that--and he and another pal got in an almost fatal accident due to drugs, drinking, driving---big ouch, I tell ya. But one of these days it make come to that again as the "grown, hairy legged boys" aren't learning much in life. :( Thanks for sharing your story and more importantly for being "Steadfast". We moms MUST remain... pattiiverson@gmail.com

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  2. Oh, Patti, I'm sorry you're having to go through what you are. There's nothing easy about it, but I'm glad you know that God cares deeply about your son. I'm joining you in prayer for him.
    ~Sherrie

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  3. No matter what happens,God has us covered. I need to remind myself often. momtr3@yahoo.com

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  4. Bonnie, it's very true that we have to often remind ourselves of that truth! Thanks for stopping by and letting me share a bit of my life with you. Blessings!

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  5. Shannon9:31 PM

    It's never easy to watch a child go through a hardship even if the end result brings them back to God. You're a strong mom. Sncreasey@gmail.com

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  6. Shannon, you're right. Walking through the gunk to victory is hard. But I'm so thankful it's worth it. Thanks for your words of encouragement!

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  7. Oh, dear, Sherrie, I admire your courage to ask God to break your son's heart. I've asked that prayer for my loved ones who are floundering and it always shocks me that God hears and answers. I always later feel badly for them, but know I asked that prayer out of true love and concern.

    Thank you for sharing your heart!

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  8. A good testimony. For myself, I never try to figure out what God's up to because if I could understand his ways, he wouldn't be much of a God. And we know he is Lord supreme. I guess you hang on and trust.
    kathycassel@knology.net

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  9. Jean Ann, thanks for your response. I know, my son and I joke around about the power of a mother's prayers!! (I've been really sick for days, which is why it took me so long to write back.)

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  10. Kathy, I've had to wait to write back as I've been really, really sick, but I wanted you to know I appreciate the time you took to read my story. I'm so glad God is the one in control and that
    it's not my job to manipulate things to turn out the way I think they should God keeps showing me His wisdom far surpasses mine!

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  11. Oh, it is so true that a mother prays, "Whatever it takes!" And so amazing that God comes up with something we'd never think of!. I look forward to reading you story, Sherrie. Thank, Bonnie, for sharing her story. I have a son I'm praying for, too! Love and hugs and Blessings!
    caryl.mcadoo@yahoo.com

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