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LIE #4: You Are Invisible

 

 

So I just turned 40 a few weeks ago. 


It was a grand affair that my incredible girlfriends put together for me in Santa Barbara - to include a giant slumber party in an "AirBnB," a sunset whale watching tour sipping champagne, dinner downtown at one of my favorite restaurants, the best chocolate peanut butter cake of my life, being spoiled rotten with gifts and pretty things, a homemade brunch on the patio the next morning, and then LOADS of shopping before our road trip home - when we ate leftover cake in the back seat with plastic forks and had the time of our lives. 40 is okay so far. I'm embracing it. I just still can't believe how fast 20-40 went. You 20 year olds, hold on to your seats! It's quite a ride! 


Just a few days ago also marked seven years since my divorce was final. I always thought I'd re-marry, and sooner than later, at that. I'm honestly kind of shocked I'm not re-married yet. I mean, I'm a catch, right?!? ;) It's sure not for lack of trying. Let's just say in seven years I have gone out on a lot of dates. Mostly *first* dates, mind you because they have rarely led to a second or third date. Some by my decision, some theirs, some mutual.


I've probably tried almost every dating site or app out there, trying to be open to the universe to potentially bring an incredible man into my life in a way I may never have expected (or even wanted). Then I'll get frustrated and cancel all my memberships and delete all the apps for a while and I just decide to embrace my singleness.


Sure enough, about 4-6 weeks later (or 3 days, it depends on my mood), the apps are back and the memberships renewed (anybody else relating here...it's not just me, right?). Reality is I have not lost hope altogether that there is one man in the universe who will find me lovable...and will have the guts to pursue me and tell me he wants to be with me. That's not so crazy to think right? Right now it feels less likely than seeing a real unicorn in my living room...but I'm still a believer!


Unfortunately, I also am the queen of having "guy friends"  - not typical, normal ones - but the kind who pop in and out of your life every few weeks (or months) as they please, usually for YEARS at a time. They always say I'm "awesome" and "super cool" and that they "love hanging out with me...." but my assessment is they never really SEE me. I might as well be invisible. They never really pursue dating me, much less really KNOWING me. It's super confusing. And super painful.


They treat me like a brother, which is nice...but the not-so-nice part is they also flirt sometimes, tell me I smell good, text me when they're lonely (or drunk), cook me dinner and pour me wine, call me late at night on a holiday to wish me "Happy New Year," email every 6 months to thank me for being so thoughtful and amazing, "like" all my selfies on Instagram, apologize for holding me at arm's length all the time because I "mean so much to them..." and my favorite is when they mostly give me no attention but tell me to please not stop reaching out to them. Sighhhhhhhh. #confusioncentral #alwaysthebackupgirl #imightaswellbeinvisible #itsliketorture

 

I have this incredibly compassionate heart (to a fault) that constantly tries to protect myself, but then caves in to their charm, and I get sucked in over and over again. I then feel ashamed for caving and usually end up blocking them on social media or more (for the 5th time) to try and distance myself, move on, not need them or care who they're out with or what they're doing.

 

For a while, I also don't want them to to have a window into my world or know what is going on with me, either...but then I usually miss connecting with them (even if it was just a few measly social media crumbs they gave me, it was still something, right?!?). Worse, sometimes I just want them to see the "amazing, happy, full life I am living" in spite of their rejection. Most pathetically, I suppose sometimes I think if they see my smiling face in their feed they might actually realize they miss me. But usually, regardless the reason, at some point...I end up UNblocking them...I suppose because at the core, again: I want to be SEEN.  #whenwillieverlearn #iampowerlessagainsttheircharm


If that's not real enough (talk about journal entry here and let's hope none of the guys I've gone out with are reading this post! LOL) I've had these moments, out for dinner or drinks with them (that they usually buy for me), and we're laughing and sharing stories...when I have this voice in my head saying what I wish I was brave enough to say out loud, "You're such an idiot. You have an amazing girl sitting here right in front of you...and you're blowing it. You don't see me at all."


But then, after my internally silent rant, I'm like, "I'm fine, this is all good, I can totally be 'friend Sherilyn.' Besides, it's good for me to have guy friends, right?" But I usually go home feeling totally unlovable, repulsive, rejected, and confused. And the pattern repeats. For seven years it has repeated.


Well let's not forget that this is my second bout of dating. The first bout was in my twenties before I got married. But honestly, over all, the stories from back then are pretty much all the same. Which should not be surprising, I suppose.


We all have something in us that wants to be seen. "Daddy, look at me twirl!" "Mommy, did you see that?!" And even little 5-year-old me, dressed in ruffly dresses and black patent leather Mary Jane shoes on Sunday mornings, resorted to kicking little boys in the shin so they would notice me.

 

I wonder sometimes if I started singing and doing music because I felt so invisible and unheard so much of the time. Singing songs and playing music made me feel somewhat more seen & heard, I suppose - recognized for having a gift, at the least. It's a good thing that God weaves all things together for good. I know He has used a lot of the pain, trials, and struggles in my story to bring about beautiful things in my life! Have you seen that happen in yours, too?


I remember vividly a few precious nights when I was living in Brazil. It was late and actually crazy hot out, and the only relief I could get was go down to pool at midnight and float on my back in the pool. I would float in the silence and look up at the stars and the moon. The world was dark and I was floating there all alone...but I suddenly felt "seen" by God. No one else was around, no one else was looking. But I felt seen. What a beautiful mystery.


I will always cherish those nights in Brazil. I thought God had taken me there to live a long time - maybe forever - but He had other plans for me and I ended up back home in the U.S. after 5 months or so. I learned so much there, even through feeling isolated (mostly from the language barrier) and being so far from home, family, and friends.


I remember getting to this place, a few years post-divorce, where I got back to "me and Jesus." And I felt good with that. Complete. Whole. Healed. Seen. I have always loved this verse from 2 Chronicles 16:


"The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..."


I am human and desire a partner, companion, friend, & lover to share life with - maybe have a family with - but I know that I don't need a partner to complete me or to be seen. The enemy may tell me over and over, "You are invisible. Why try; nothing will ever change; no one will ever see you..."

 

But I will continue to combat the father of lies with Truth of Jesus...that He SEES me, He hears me, that HE is really what my soul longs for, and that He will strengthen my heart.


Marriage is a beautiful thing that I hope to enjoy again one day this side of heaven, but ultimately, having Jesus is an even better gift - and I will do all I can to embrace it. I will do my best at embracing the years - 40, 50, 60 - as they come, as long as God allows me to breathe. It's a choice to keep embracing life, just "me and Jesus." Even now, I tilt my head back, the moonlight in my eyes, and just remember that He sees me. Right here. Right now. And I smile.

 

Wherever you are right this moment....know that He loves you with an everlasting love, a love that went to the cross and rose back to life again. He did the unthinkable to spend eternity...with YOU. You are the apple of His eye, the object of His affection.

 

YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE. He sees you more clearly than you even see yourself.

 

And that is a pure, deep, irrevocable truth to soak in with head tilted back and sun or moonlight on your face, today and every day.

 

========

Click the links below to read other blogs in the series "Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [And other lies I believed for way too long]"

Preface: No More Stalling: It's Time to Be Brave

Lie #1: Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love

Lie #2: It's All Your Fault

Lie # 3: You're Just too Much but Never Quite Enough

Lie #4: You Are Invisible 

 

New Single - THE LIGHT

 

 

Hello Friends!

 

I hope you all had an amazing day celebrating our Risen King! I was privileged to lead worship at my home church this morning - Mountainbrook Church in San Luis Obispo, CA. We had nearly 3,000 people collectively attend an outdoor sunrise service & two indoor celebrations. Many made decisions to follow Jesus for the first time! What an incredible joy! I'm still bouncing off the walls after being up before dawn. He is risen indeed!!!

 

To celebrate in a special way this year, we released a brand new single on iTunes Easter morning - a song written as a labor of love for our church family in a season of vision, growth, and stepping out into new waters with Jesus. We talk a lot at Mountainbrook about "being a city on a hill" and a light to our community.

 

Produced by Bob Hartry of Cat Beach Music, THE LIGHT is a song that not only has a lot of meaning to our church family, but we hope it will also be a blessing to you and your churches, too!

 

One of my favorite parts of the song that was so meaningful to sing today:

 

You have buried sin in the grave
On the day You rose, Love overcame

 

Amen to that! Have a blessed week!
SHERILYN

 

P.S. If you'd like a chord chart for the song, just pop me an email and I'd be glad to send it along! sherilyn@sherilynmusic.com

WOVEN for Women - Recap Video!

 

Well, beautiful friends...if a picture is worth a thousand words, then our recap video must be worth a MILLION! You'll wanna take a few minutes to watch our WOVEN for Women video from this weekend's event (as shown during Session 3)! Special thanks to our intern James who created this amazing recap video in record time & captured so well the heart and fun of our time together, to Megan Fate Marshman for just being amazingly you and bringing us an incredible message this weekend, to Mountainbrook Music Collective for passionately leading the way for us in worship, to all our staff, interns, & volunteers who poured their hearts into making this weekend magical, and to Grace Women Central Coast for co-sponsoring this year's event with us! Hope you all enjoyed this weekend as much as we did! Shall we do it again sometime?!??

With Much Love • The WOVEN TeamSherilyn Keller, & Mountainbrook Church 

 

LIE #3: You're Just Too Much but Never Quite Enough

 

 

So I just took a red eye flight from Maui to San Fran, barely sleeping, thanks to turbulence and the lovely louder-than-heck flushing toilets that always threaten to suck your clothes and arms and earrings down the drain with brute force. Do they really have to be so super-turbo-charged?

 

I have bed head and fuzzy teeth and greasy glasses and can hardly keep my eyes open...but have a three hour layover until my last leg home. In order to keep myself awake and not miss my upcoming plane should I pass out in the corner while waiting, I decided to attempt to write the next chapter in this journey that was already mulling over in my mind while I was in the sky.

 

First of all, yes - I had an incredible time on my vacation, thanks for asking! It was just the rest & re-charge I needed. This particular flight plan home was probably not my best idea ever, but let's be real - it's the one my budget could afford. In addition to that, since I love to keep things interesting, I figured why not pick up the key to my new apartment an hour after I land and then move my whole life across town two days from now? Yes, people: this is how I roll. 

 

I can hear your thoughts now, "Watch out, Sherilyn's rolling in to town again, feet on the ground running like a crazy person as usual! That girl is just *too much* sometimes!"

 

I've definitely heard that before a time or two.

 

I suppose the most scarring person to utter those words to me was my husband. "You're just too much," is something he used to say when he couldn't handle this moody musician always running at warp speed, working on 3 projects at once and touring and writing and recording and fighting sickness to do it all in record time, and then usually having an emotional meltdown along the way. He couldn't handle my grief or tears or frustrations or need for his love and affection and patience and care. I was needy and too much.

 

Not only that, but I very much wear my heart on my sleeve and don't do "chit chat" well and most of my friendships are deeper than wide and that can also be "a lot" for some people...

 

"Like why can't we just have fun and why do we have to talk about serious stuff all the time?" I wish I knew.

 

The irony is that to some I am "too much," but to others - without me changing a thing about myself - I am "not enough." I don't measure up, I can't give them what they need, what they want, what they crave. I'm not funny enough or skinny enough or charming enough or cool enough or chatty enough or talented enough or independent enough or dependent enough or confident enough or patient enough or pretty enough or relaxed enough or athletic enough or lovable enough...

 

I suppose my ex-husband said that at times as well. I never seemed to be able to love him the way he needed to be loved. It seemed no matter what I did, I fell short of his expectations. And ultimately, he just left.

 

He had expressed a few months prior to that, that he had started considering the possibility of divorce. It felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. I came home from a ministry trip and it was like someone had flipped a switch, that the man I married was no longer there. I never saw it coming, but he came home from work on a Friday night and started packing a bag. I asked him what he was doing.

 

We'd been seeing a marriage counselor because I'd begged him to. But 8 sessions and he said he was done; he said he didn't want to do it anymore. He didn't want to take any pills to help with his depression like they wanted him to. He wanted out. He felt I was the source of His sickness and that he would never be well until he was rid of me. He said he felt God told him in a dream that he needed to leave me. And I sobbed and couldn't breathe and could only think things like "this is not happening, this is not my life, this can't be real, he'll come to his senses."

 

When we got married, he'd said that "divorce was not an option..." and I believed him. I kept thinking "We'll get through this. We love each other." Well, I loved him...but I had to come to accept that I couldn't do anything to change his mind or make him love me. He had decided what he wanted, turned a 180, and that was it.

 

That Friday night, he said he was packing his bags and going to his mom's...that I could do what I wanted but he planned to file for divorce on Monday. As I sat there on the bed trying to catch my breath, trying to tell myself that I was neither "too much" nor "not enough" and that all the hurtful things he'd said about wanting to be a husband but not a husband to me, about wanting to be a father and have kids but not wanting to have them with me, and that he needed to get out sooner than later so that he could do that with someone else.....I couldn't even absorb the reality.

 

And then he simply walked out the door. I heard the back door shut, and then the garage door go up, and I ran to the front window and in total disbelief, watched the tail lights go down the driveway - all the while I'm begging God for him to turn around and come back. I fell to my knees and gasped for air and cried out, "Help me, God help me. What do I do? Tell me what to do! Help me, Jesus." But he kept going, and he never came back.

 

I'm not sure how long I was kneeling there in the front room. It felt like hours. I couldn't imagine having to tell anyone that he'd actually left me. That he'd decided I was both "too much" to deal with and "not enough" of a wife for him to stay. I was devastated. And it left quite a deep scar that plagued me for some time. It debilitated me. It crushed me.

 

What I love about Jesus is that he is all about the down-and-outers. The least likely choices. The outcasts. The unlovable. He draws close to those who are needy and hurting, he does not run away. Over and over, God has had to re-train my thinking.

 

Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

 

I love the Message version of it as well, which says:

"If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath."

 

No matter what you're facing right now, don't believe the enemy's lies. You are not too much. And you are perfectly enough. God is near when we are at our weakest places, and he'll help you catch your breath. Just breathe. Tomorrow is a new day. Hold on to his promises. "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

 

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Click the links below to read other blogs in the series "Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [And other lies I believed for way too long]"

Preface: No More Stalling: It's Time to Be Brave

Lie #1: Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love

Lie #2: It's All Your Fault

Lie # 3: You're Just too Much but Never Quite Enough

Lie #4: You Are Invisible 

WOVEN for Women

 

 

 

WOVEN for Women technically began sometime in 2011, though the title itself came a few years later. It was shortly after my mom’s passing from cancer and my divorce a year prior that I basically started traveling the world & telling my story to whomever would listen. Night after night, I shared the stories of love & loss, grief & hope, brokenness & redemption - while also sharing some of the songs that I'd written during the most difficult times of my life. Every time I’d tell my story, there would almost always be a woman cross the room afterwards to speak to me. Usually with tears in her eyes, she’d say something like, “Thank you. You basically just told my story.” I started to see that God was up to something bigger than me.

 

Sometimes these nights would happen in my local coffee shop or a church in Brazil, sometimes in someone’s living room in Texas or a backyard in Georgia, and sometimes off on a women’s retreat in the mountains of Colorado…but no matter the setting, my goal was to take off my mask & be real with everyone in the room. It seemed that when I did that, it give permission for others to do the same - to be real with God, and be more real with others in return. The amazing thing is that I truly found a new layer of healing each time I shared.

I am living proof: He is the God who weaves all things together for good. Romans 8:28 became the theme verse for each of these events:

  

WE CAN BE SO SURE THAT EVERY DETAIL
IN OUR LIVES OF LOVE FOR GOD WILL BE
W       O       V       E      N
 I N T O    S O M E T H I N G    G O O D. 

 

Fast forward to 2014, when I was newly on staff at Mountainbrook Church in San Luis Obispo, CA and thought, “What better way for the women in my new church to get to know me (and for I to begin to connect more with them) than to tell my story here, too?” That was when the title WOVEN for Women was born. We had our first gathering at Mountainbrook that November.

There was such great feedback, we thought we’d do it again! Then we started doing WOVEN every few months, and started asking other women to tell their stories, too. Not only that, but we began to weave in other creative elements through the additional involvement of Creative Director, Karen George. Attendance nearly doubled at every event, and it seemed that God’s wind was in the sail. We started to see women inviting their friends from the community and from other churches to join us, and we knew it was evolving into something greater than either Karen or I ever imagined, something larger than the two of us can pastor or host ourselves - a good problem to have!

We feel that God has encouraged us to partner with other churches in the area and extend the invitation to all the women of the Central Coast (& beyond!) to join us this Fall! With Grace Central Coast co-sponsoring the event with us, it is our prayer that God will truly use this weekend to weave our hearts together as friends, sisters, and allies.

 

Grab all your friends and join us in November!

Sherilyn Keller, Founder
WOVEN for Women

LIE #2: It's All Your Fault

 

So today is Valentines Day. Most of you probably either love it or hate it. I don't hate it. I love giving gifts on even the most random of days, and am honestly not the kind of person who needs an excuse to write a card that expresses how I feel...so a day that kind of celebrates those kind of sentimental expressions fits right in with my M.O.

 

Even though I don't have a "bae" right now, I still enjoy the excuse to tell my friends and family I love them. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a "wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve" kind of girl. A moody musician. An artsy free spirit. A romantic. A long email writer. A card giver. A person with lots of words and thoughts that I am not usually afraid to share. Usually.

 

It's been a little while since my last blog. Longer than intended. I think it's mostly because I have been avoiding the part of my story I felt like I was supposed to share next. I'm good at avoiding. I have mastered the art of procrastinating. However, I also work well under pressure when deadlines loom.

 

Like when I find out that it may actually be a reality to record a 5-song EP by May 1st (gulp!), I suddenly find time to finish those pesky re-writes I have been avoiding. This might have happened this week. More on that development later (I'm promising lots of "more on that later" stories in my blogs lately....make sure you hold me to them!).

 

In the midst of trying to not think about the fact that I'm six years post-divorce and my un-wanted singleness is still screaming ugly lies at me about not being deserving of love (see my previous blog explaining Lie #1 for more on that), I realize that what happened to me when I was 6 years old is still quite at the root of what loudly screams inside on days like this. Therefore, I actually think today is the perfect time to share this part of my story.

 

So here we go.

 

As much as I have pondered leaving this part of my story out altogether, I don't think I can do that. What happened that day did affect my life in a major way, though for a long time I had no clue that it did. Believe it or not, I completely repressed the memory of what happened for nearly 15 years. Not surprising. #wishicouldhug6yearoldme

 

What happened is not really the kind of thing you share in casual conversation, and yet as God has brought so much healing in this area of my life, the opportunities I've had a chance to share it - especially with young girls - has led to God working healing in other hearts as well. Even if you can't relate exactly to what I've walked through, I have learned that it may still touch a part of your heart or story where God may want to reach you...and so I'm gonna be brave and share it. He is the Great Redeemer. I count on that.

 

From a very young age, I remember doing silly things to get boys' attention. I wanted their attention, but never felt I would get it unless I acted out. At church on Sundays, I would actually chase my older brother's friends around in my black patent leather Mary Jane dress shoes and would kick them in the shins. I honestly have no real idea why. I remember them teasing me sometimes. I suppose I likely loved the combination of letting them know I was loud & in charge, but also relished their attention somehow at the same time. #notsuremuchhaschanged? [smh]

 

I don't remember much about that day, really. But here is what I remember...

 

My parents had some old friends over. They were pastors, too. They had two children, both older than I. All four of us were playing in the basement while our parents were upstairs chatting & catching up. I think we were playing some form of hide and seek, maybe? I honestly have no idea why their teenage son and I were alone together in a corner and out of view from my brother and his sister...but we were alone just long enough. 

 

I liked this older boy. And I wanted him to like me. I think even my 6-year-old self just wanted to feel loved. But my 6-year-old self had absolutely no words for what happened that day. I hid it from everyone, never telling a soul. I felt incredibly ashamed and like it was all my fault. I felt guilty that I let him do it, even though I wasn't even really sure what he had done. I *was* sure something about it was very wrong. Even though it "felt good" and I relished his attention, my 6-year-old self knew something wasn't right.

 

It wasn't until 15 years later, when the memory came out of hiding though some counseling, I realized I had been molested.

 

It was a devastating realization, really. I felt so robbed of my childhood & innocence. I think now that I started self-medicating the shame & pain by eating & putting on weight to "hide" because attention from guys became somewhat scary (though still weirdly desired). I had a very strained relationship with the guys in my life over the years.

 

After 15 years of hiding what had happened and 15 years of the enemy working over time to tell me I was disgusting & dirty and that what happened to me was all my fault (and 15 years of believing guys were ultimately "not good" for me) it left a pretty messed up me hanging out to dry.

 

I have walked through quite a bit of counseling since then, and I do feel like God has done a whole lot of healing, but it doesn't mean there aren't still scars. Unfortunately, I know the enemy loves to remind me of those scars when I am at my weakest state. Like on Valentines' Day (a.k.a. Singleness Awareness Day).

 

 

I believe the lie underneath this story that the enemy loves to taunt me with is, "It's all your fault."

 

Have you seen the movie "Good Will Hunting?" Yes, it's full of bad language galore, so no judging (but Matt Damon & Robin Williams, come on!). During the climactic scene in that movie, the counselor Shawn (Robin Williams) tells Will, the very troubled young man (Matt Damon) after many sessions of mandatory (court ordered) counseling..."Will, you need to know that what happened to you....it's not your fault." He says it to Will over and over and over and over....until Will finally breaks down in tears.

 

When I watched that scene, I totally lost it. Like snot-running-down-my-face kind of lost it. Because I realized, like Will, I had also believed the lie that it was "all my fault" for way too long.

 

Can you relate? Has the enemy been speaking that kind of lie over you? Is there something that happened in your life for which he is trying to place the blame on you? Has he become the great accuser in your life? Does God want to free you of the weight of shame the enemy is trying to place on you?

 

I believe God wants to silence the lies of the enemy and remove the weight of his false accusations in our lives, but I also believe we have to be active participants in this, "taking every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5). I love to soak in God's word to combat the lie of the enemy with God's truth. I encourage you to soak in His truth today and let Him speak life and LOVE over you!

 

Jesus knows your story intimately. Every part. None of it is a surprise to Him. And He PROMISES to weave all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Your story is not finished yet. And neither is mine. It's only just begun! His story is the greatest love story of all time, and we, dear ones, are the objects of His love.

 

Everything He did, He did for US. No greater love is there in all creation than His love for YOU & I.

 

Believe it. I'm learning to believe it, too.

 

 

Psalm 109:25-31 (The Message)

21-25 Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
    work a miracle for me—you can do it!
Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
    I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
I’m fading away to nothing, passing away,
    my youth gone, old before my time.
I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
    my body a rack of skin and bones.
I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
    they take one look and shake their heads.

26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
    save me through your wonderful love;
Then they’ll know that your hand is in this,
    that you, God, have been at work.
Let them curse all they want;
    you do the blessing.
Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
    followed by cheers for me, your servant.
Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
    discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.

30-31 My mouth’s full of great praise for God,
    I’m singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
    to rescue a life from the unjust judge. 

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Click the links below to read other blogs in the series "Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [And other lies I believed for way too long]"

Preface: No More Stalling: It's Time to Be Brave

Lie #1: Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love

Lie #2: It's All Your Fault

Lie # 3: You're Just too Much but Never Quite Enough

Lie #4: You Are Invisible 

 

LIE #1: Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [& other lies I believed for way too long]

 

I remember being called fat as early as 5 years old. Teased by school mates all through elementary school, I always had to wear larger sizes than the other girls. I even remember summers at the lake with my cousins - one of them only a few months younger than I, and I always needed a larger sized life jacket than she did. I was honestly so ashamed of that. It was a small scar, but one that I never outgrew.

 

In middle school, I was hollered at by strangers out of car windows things like, "Mooooooo!" or "Look at that beached whale!" In gym class I was never incredibly athletic, so that was never a fun environment already, but let's just be real - changing clothes and taking showers in the locker rooms at that age is downright cruel punishment for kids who are all at different stages of development. It did nothing for my self esteem.

 

When I was a high school cheerleader, not well-meaning strangers hollered at me from the grandstands things like, "Look, it's Dolly Parton! Watch where you put those things! You might hurt somebody!" And on days that there were games, we were required to wear our uniform all day at school to promote school spirit. I was often teased, pointed at, and snickered at in that short skirt and tight top. Once again, I had to wear the larger sized uniform than the other girls, but it was still skin tight on me. I felt like a freak, and was treated like one.

 

I was shamed and shamed into believing something was wrong my body, basically hiding myself behind baggy clothes and being afraid to be physically active out in the open for fear of being ridiculed and humiliated publicly. I was also led to believe that because of my weight I was less of a person and not worthy of people's time or attention. This was driven home rather hard by my lack of love life.

 

What's sad is I look back on pictures of myself from back then and don't think I looked fat at all. Sure, some people were honestly just mean, but I think ultimately the enemy had an agenda to destroy me at my weakest spot: at my source of worth. I honestly believed most of my life that I really was a total hippo. It shaped my opinion of myself in a really unhealthy and twisted way.

 

Reality was I was rarely asked out by guys (and to this day am still not). I was almost never asked to school dances (and can't recall the last date I ever had on New Years). Usually a desperate guy friend would finally agree to go to a school dance just days before when all his other options were exhausted. Then I was the girl who would be left sitting on the sidelines while everyone slow danced....because even my date didn't want to slow dance with me.

 

I quit cheerleading and stopped going out for any sports. Sadly, it is after I quit that my weight actually DID start to become a problem (and honestly, it has been a struggle for me ever since). It's like I became what they said I was, and they shamed me out of being active so that I became more sedentary to protect myself from being teased. Quite a horrible thing that evolved now that I look back on photos and think about the timing of it all.

 

I also became much less outgoing and started to be very quiet in school. I was always a bit of a nerd anyways, so I basically kept to my studies and artsy things. Friends from high school now say I barely ever spoke in class and mostly stared at my books. Being called fat and ugly led me to pursue things that I felt I could control - good grades and good performance (musically/artistically).

 

I stayed up half the night most of my high school years, studying or writing papers. I was fighting to get straight A's, which I mostly did achieve - all except my junior year of high school when I got that devastating C in Economics (which meant it was either just not my subject, or I had a horrible teacher....I vote for the latter).

 

I prided myself at being first chair flute player - not just in my school, but in the entire state. I sat second chair only once, and secretly vowed to never let it happen again. I was driven to be the best, for better or worse (I also think the latter). I was heavily involved in band, choir, and musical theater...and was usually at school morning 'til night for rehearsals or performances.

 

I wasn't afraid to sing my guts out like no one was watching, and therefore found acceptance on stage behind a microphone. I started writing songs from a young age as well, and used music as an outlet to express myself. I would write songs when a friend was moving away as a way to say goodbye. I would write a song for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. I would write a song for a boy who had no idea I existed. This was long before I ever wrote worship songs for the church, which I feel is a redemptive part of the story (more to come on that later).

 

I strived and strived to earn love and acceptance in whatever way I could, as any human being probably does at some level. Love is something we all long for, right? The reality is we will sometimes go to extremes to find it...I think I strived mostly by performing. Awaiting the applause (whether actually or metaphorically), hoping to feel validated in some way by what I could DO for people, by how I could impress them. But ultimately, I hoped I that I would win their love.

 

However, somewhere in there, my heart was convinced (matter of factly) that fat girls don't deserve love. Period. I was convinced that it didn't matter how talented I was, how funny or clever, how smart, how resourceful, how independent, how kind, how generous, how caring, how loyal, how loving, how amazing...I simply was not lovable if I was fat. It seemed proven time and again.

 

It seems preposterous now that I really believed that for so long. Well, let's be honest; I might have believed that yesterday, even. And I may believe it tomorrow. Really I fight believing it every day - but even so, it doesn't make it true. It is a lie. But as much as I know it in my head, my heart is still sometimes quite slow to follow.

 

I actually wrote a song a few years ago, called "Lovable" (you can listen by clicking here). It was in a season after my divorce (we'll talk more about that some other day), in a time where I felt valued by what I could offer people - my gifts, my talent, my friendship, etc...but I didn't feel fully loved for just being me. I felt like people loved pieces of me, but that no one (especially a man) wanted ALL of me. And I felt willing to trade my gifts & talents for this simple thing of just feeling loved completely, unconditionally. 

 

You know, sometimes women would see my seemingly "glamorous" singing-recording-touring-traveling-single-life and be somewhat envious, and would even tell me so sometimes. Little did they know that I was painfully envious of their husband-2 kids-white-picket-fence-life (complete with the family Christmas photos they mail out every year). The grass is always greener on the other side, you know?

 

I "joke" that selfies exist because loneliness does. Many of us long to share our lives with someone - anyone. I have traveled the world (mostly alone, sometimes in groups), but get teased a lot for posting a lot of selfies. I get it. I'm sure how it looks, but if you will allow me to let you into my secret thought-life...here is what happens when someone makes such a comment to me:

 

"Sure, on Christmas Day, it's okay for people to dress themselves up in their Sunday best and pose for a family photo, but God forbid I post a photo by myself in mine. How vain! I should never post pictures of myself, especially smiling or looking nice or feeling good about myself. I should never post selfies in beautiful places I am visiting to share with friends or family.....not until I have a family, at least. Posting pretty pictures of yourself is only allowed once you have a significant other to be in the picture with you, or a child, of course. Or a dog or cat. I mean, at least have the decency to have a pet in the picture with you. But certainly not you by yourself. How shameful! No one wants to see that! You should take it down!!!"

 

So that is a bit obnoxious, I admit...but I do have days I feel that way. I am poking fun a bit here, but there is some honesty and vulnerability there on behalf of those of us who are single and have been for a while. To this day, I fight the noise in my head that says I'm less of a person if I'm not married or don't have kids. I would love to be married and have a family. And anyone who is close to me knows I have sure put myself out there. It is not for lack of trying. It is just not what God has for me right now. This is my life. And I need to try and embrace that. And I hope that my friends and family can embrace me in this season, as well....a million selfies and all. ;)

 

Well, I got on a bit of a rabbit trail there, but here's the thing: I believe that all of us - whatever our issues may be - have some sort of very noisy, staticky, old recording on repeat in our heads that tends to plague us for most of our lives. What are the lies that have tormented you the most over the years? How have they affected you? How might God want to use something the enemy intended for harm to actually bring about some good - in your life, and in the lives of those around you?

 

"Fat girls don't deserve love" is one lie I definitely believed for way too long. It did force me to excel at other things in my life when I realized my looks wouldn't get me anywhere, so I guess for some of my success I can thank all the kids who teased me over the years. But in all seriousness, I do know that it gave me a great bit of compassion and empathy for the "least of these." I tend to notice people sitting in the corner of the room alone. I tend to notice the unlikely hidden talent that others sometimes overlook. And I am thankful for people who noticed the same in me and called it out over the years.

 

The thing is, deep down, I know I am worthy of love. I know I also have a lot of love to give. Even when that darn noisy old tape of lies plays - when I have yet *another* weekend or holiday spent alone - I know that I *do* deserve love. Every single one of you out there deserves love, too. No matter who you are, what you look like, how talented or gifted you think you are, or what anyone says about you....you are worthy of love. And you ARE loved.

 

I mean, let's be real, some of you out there may be married and have kids but still struggle with feeling lovable or beautiful or valuable, too. It's not that having a husband or children can "fix" what is broken in me any more than it can fix what may be broken in you. Only Jesus can. He is the one who fulfills our hearts. He is the one who satisfies our souls.

 

Do you know the story in the Bible about Jacob & Esau? If not, you should take some time to check it out...but I love this verse:

 

"Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears." (Hebrews 12, The Message)

 

The world sure works hard EVERY day to chip away at God's truth - the truth that HE is the one who satisfies our souls. Not a boyfriend/girlfriend. Not great success. Not money. Not fame. Not a recording contract. Not buying a new home. I know that I have to resist caving in to the way of the world - which tells me to cheaply give pieces of myself away, crumbs to whomever will take them, and to find ways to satisfy myself. This will lead to nowhere good. Tears and more tears. Regret and more regret. I have my fair share. It is worth it to wait on God. It is so very hard, and yet so very worth it. And He is so very faithful.

 

The Bible is FULL of stories of God's faithfulness. I need to read them over and over to remind myself of this when the world tries to tell me otherwise, when the father of lies comes rushing in like a flood when I'm home alone and feeling unloved. So when the enemy's awful tape of lies starts to play, I have a speech prepared. And I say it. I sing it. I write it. Maybe I should dance it, even. 

 

"I am the one and only Sherilyn, daughter of the Most High God. I am wonderfully made, and I will not believe the lies anymore. I will fight every day to cling to His truth...that I am lovable."

 

As I take some time this year to explore the multitudes of lies I have believed for way too long, I invite you to come on the journey with me and to allow the Lord into those places in your own heart as well - places where you have also believed the lies and allowed them to fester for way too long. May He also give you a speech to write, a song to sing, a dance to stomp out....right in the accuser's face! Let's create a beautiful symphony of truth together, living out our lives fully alive to all that God has planned for us!

 

"Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love." (Ephesians 1, The Msg)

 

PHOTOS: Me as a cheerleader in 2nd grade & 9th grade....

 

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Click the links below to read other blogs in the series "Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [And other lies I believed for way too long]"

Preface: No More Stalling: It's Time to Be Brave

Lie #2: It's All Your Fault

Lie # 3: You're Just too Much but Never Quite Enough

Lie #4: You Are Invisible 

No More Stalling :: It's Time to Be Brave

 

I used to be a a lot braver.

 

I used to swing as high as I could on the swing set and do back flips from the highest point, fearlessly sticking the landing. I used to play sports and wear tank tops and not care if I looked dumb on the field or worry if my arms looked fat.

 

I used to write, record, and perform music all the time - because I wanted to. Because I liked it. Because it fed my own soul. I didn't used to care what anyone else thought, really. It was for me. To express parts of my heart I needed to express. To say [or sing] what my heart just really needed to say.

 

I used to blog all the time - write and write and write - pouring my thoughts out for anyone to read (or even if no one read it). I did it because I wanted to. I liked to. I felt I had something to say.

 

I used to make goofy videos and post them on YouTube. I used to let the world into more of my life and not be so guarded and self-preserving. And I want to get back to it. It's time to put my skills, talents, & dreams back into action.

 

Resonate with anyone? I know as we enter the New Year, we tend to take stock of our lives, where the year that we just passed has taken us, and where we want to be a year from now. What dreams are stirring in your heart that you have yet to taken action on???

 

It's been a few years since I've recorded a new album of original music. It's time. More than time. Regardless of how many people will want to hear it when it's done...I just need to do it. I have people around me who believe in me and want to help make it happen. So what on earth is the problem? What is the hold up??? Me!!!

 

Years ago I also had a mentor encourage me to write a book (or at least a collection of blogs) containing some of my personal life stories. A few months ago, I actually felt like an outline for these stories came into clarity on a random afternoon at Starbucks. Have I started it yet? No. And why not? Because I fear being vulnerable, of being real. I fear that it is a waste of my time and a stupid idea. I fear being judged. And yet, I feel compelled all at the same time, which is a mystery all of its own.

 

I am determined now to use this blog to begin that process in 2016. Whether anyone comes along for the journey with me or not, I feel like it is going to be a good journey for me personally....and so I am making a commitment to myself...to write down some of my stories in this blog...and to record a new album of music. By the grace of God...no more stalling. It's time to be brave.

 

And I hope you will help hold me to it.

 

What wants to join me? What is God stirring in your heart? What is He calling you to step out and do this year???

=============

 

So I just turned 40 a few weeks ago. 


It was a grand affair that my incredible girlfriends put together for me in Santa Barbara - to include a giant slumber party in an "AirBnB," a sunset whale watching tour sipping champagne, dinner downtown at one of my favorite restaurants, the best chocolate peanut butter cake of my life, being spoiled rotten with gifts and pretty things, a homemade brunch on the patio the next morning, and then LOADS of shopping before our road trip home - when we ate leftover cake in the back seat with plastic forks and had the time of our lives. 40 is okay so far. I'm embracing it. I just still can't believe how fast 20-40 went. You 20 year olds, hold on to your seats! It's quite a ride! 


Just a few days ago also marked seven years since my divorce was final. I always thought I'd re-marry, and sooner than later, at that. I'm honestly kind of shocked I'm not re-married yet. I mean, I'm a catch, right?!? ;) It's sure not for lack of trying. Let's just say in seven years I have gone out on a lot of dates. Mostly *first* dates, mind you because they have rarely led to a second or third date. Some by my decision, some theirs, some mutual.


I've probably tried almost every dating site or app out there, trying to be open to the universe to potentially bring an incredible man into my life in a way I may never have expected (or even wanted). Then I'll get frustrated and cancel all my memberships and delete all the apps for a while and I just decide to embrace my singleness.


Sure enough, about 4-6 weeks later (or 3 days, it depends on my mood), the apps are back and the memberships renewed (anybody else relating here...it's not just me, right?). Reality is I have not lost hope altogether that there is one man in the universe who will find me lovable...and will have the guts to pursue me and tell me he wants to be with me. That's not so crazy to think right? Right now it feels less likely than seeing a real unicorn in my living room...but I'm still a believer!


Unfortunately, I also am the queen of having "guy friends"  - not typical, normal ones - but the kind who pop in and out of your life every few weeks (or months) as they please, usually for YEARS at a time. They always say I'm "awesome" and "super cool" and that they "love hanging out with me...." but my assessment is they never really SEE me. I might as well be invisible. They never really pursue dating me, much less really KNOWING me. It's super confusing. And super painful.


They treat me like a brother, which is nice...but the not-so-nice part is they also flirt sometimes, tell me I smell good, text me when they're lonely (or drunk), cook me dinner and pour me wine, call me late at night on a holiday to wish me "Happy New Year," email every 6 months to thank me for being so thoughtful and amazing, "like" all my selfies on Instagram, apologize for holding me at arm's length all the time because I "mean so much to them..." and my favorite is when they mostly give me no attention but tell me to please not stop reaching out to them. Sighhhhhhhh. #confusioncentral #alwaysthebackupgirl #imightaswellbeinvisible #itsliketorture

 

I have this incredibly compassionate heart (to a fault) that constantly tries to protect myself, but then caves in to their charm, and I get sucked in over and over again. I then feel ashamed for caving and usually end up blocking them on social media or more (for the 5th time) to try and distance myself, move on, not need them or care who they're out with or what they're doing.

 

For a while, I also don't want them to to have a window into my world or know what is going on with me, either...but then I usually miss connecting with them (even if it was just a few measly social media crumbs they gave me, it was still something, right?!?). Worse, sometimes I just want them to see the "amazing, happy, full life I am living" in spite of their rejection. Most pathetically, I suppose sometimes I think if they see my smiling face in their feed they might actually realize they miss me. But usually, regardless the reason, at some point...I end up UNblocking them...I suppose because at the core, again: I want to be SEEN.  #whenwillieverlearn #iampowerlessagainsttheircharm


If that's not real enough (talk about journal entry here and let's hope none of the guys I've gone out with are reading this post! LOL) I've had these moments, out for dinner or drinks with them (that they usually buy for me), and we're laughing and sharing stories...when I have this voice in my head saying what I wish I was brave enough to say out loud, "You're such an idiot. You have an amazing girl sitting here right in front of you...and you're blowing it. You don't see me at all."


But then, after my internally silent rant, I'm like, "I'm fine, this is all good, I can totally be 'friend Sherilyn.' Besides, it's good for me to have guy friends, right?" But I usually go home feeling totally unlovable, repulsive, rejected, and confused. And the pattern repeats. For seven years it has repeated.


Well let's not forget that this is my second bout of dating. The first bout was in my twenties before I got married. But honestly, over all, the stories from back then are pretty much all the same. Which should not be surprising, I suppose.


We all have something in us that wants to be seen. "Daddy, look at me twirl!" "Mommy, did you see that?!" And even little 5-year-old me, dressed in ruffly dresses and black patent leather Mary Jane shoes on Sunday mornings, resorted to kicking little boys in the shin so they would notice me.

 

I wonder sometimes if I started singing and doing music because I felt so invisible and unheard so much of the time. Singing songs and playing music made me feel somewhat more seen & heard, I suppose - recognized for having a gift, at the least. It's a good thing that God weaves all things together for good. I know He has used a lot of the pain, trials, and struggles in my story to bring about beautiful things in my life! Have you seen that happen in yours, too?


For example, I remember vividly a few precious nights when I was living in Brazil. It was late and actually crazy hot out, and the only relief I could get was go down to pool at midnight and float on my back in the pool. I would float in the silence and look up at the stars and the moon. The world was dark and I was floating there all alone...but I suddenly felt "seen" by God. No one else was around, no one else was looking. But I felt seen. What a beautiful mystery.


I will always cherish those nights in Brazil. I thought God had taken me there to live a long time - maybe forever - but He had other plans for me and I ended up back home in the U.S. after 5 months or so. I learned so much there, even through feeling isolated (mostly from the language barrier) and being so far from home, family, and friends.


I remember getting to this place, a few years post-divorce, where I got back to "me and Jesus." And I felt good with that. Complete. Whole. Healed. Seen. I have always loved this verse from 2 Chronicles 16:


"The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..."


I am human and desire a partner, companion, friend, & lover to share life with - maybe have a family with - but I know that I don't need a partner to complete me or to be seen. The enemy may tell me over and over, "You are invisible. Why try; nothing will ever change; no one will ever see you..."

 

But I will continue to combat the father of lies with Truth of Jesus...that He SEES me, He hears me, that HE is really what my soul longs for, and that He will strengthen my heart.


Marriage is a beautiful thing that I hope to enjoy again one day this side of heaven, but ultimately, having Jesus is an even better gift - and I will do all I can to embrace it. I will do my best at embracing the years - 40, 50, 60 - as they come, as long as God allows me to breathe. It's a choice to keep embracing life, just "me and Jesus." Even now, I tilt my head back, the moonlight in my eyes, and just remember that He sees me. Right here. Right now. And I smile.

 

Wherever you are right this moment....know that He loves you with an everlasting love, a love that went to the cross and rose back to life again. He did the unthinkable to spend eternity...with YOU. You are the apple of His eye, the object of His affection.

 

YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE. He sees you more clearly than you even see yourself.

 

And that is a pure, deep, irrevocable truth to soak in with head tilted back and sun or moonlight on your face, today and every day.

 

 

So I just took a red eye flight from Maui to San Fran, barely sleeping, thanks to turbulence and the lovely louder-than-heck flushing toilets that always threaten to suck your clothes and arms and earrings down the drain with brute force. Do they really have to be so super-turbo-charged?

 

I have bed head and fuzzy teeth and greasy glasses and can hardly keep my eyes open...but have a three hour layover until my last leg home. In order to keep myself awake and not miss my upcoming plane should I pass out in the corner while waiting, I decided to attempt to write the next chapter in this journey that was already mulling over in my mind while I was in the sky.

 

First of all, yes - I had an incredible time on my vacation, thanks for asking! It was just the rest & re-charge I needed. This particular flight plan home was probably not my best idea ever, but let's be real - it's the one my budget could afford. In addition to that, since I love to keep things interesting, I figured why not pick up the key to my new apartment an hour after I land and then move my whole life across town two days from now? Yes, people: this is how I roll. 

 

I can hear your thoughts now, "Watch out, Sherilyn's rolling in to town again, feet on the ground running like a crazy person as usual! That girl is just *too much* sometimes!"

 

I've definitely heard that before a time or two.

 

I suppose the most scarring person to utter those words to me was my husband. "You're just too much," is something he used to say when he couldn't handle this moody musician always running at warp speed, working on 3 projects at once and touring and writing and recording and fighting sickness to do it all in record time, and then usually having an emotional meltdown along the way. He couldn't handle my grief or tears or frustrations or need for his love and affection and patience and care. I was needy and too much.

 

Not only that, but I very much wear my heart on my sleeve and don't do "chit chat" well and most of my friendships are deeper than wide and that can also be "a lot" for some people...

 

"Like why can't we just have fun and why do we have to talk about serious stuff all the time?" I wish I knew.

 

The irony is that to some I am "too much," but to others - without me changing a thing about myself - I am "not enough." I don't measure up, I can't give them what they need, what they want, what they crave. I'm not funny enough or skinny enough or charming enough or cool enough or chatty enough or talented enough or independent enough or dependent enough or confident enough or patient enough or pretty enough or relaxed enough or athletic enough or lovable enough...

 

I suppose my ex-husband said that at times as well. I never seemed to be able to love him the way he needed to be loved. It seemed no matter what I did, I fell short of his expectations. And ultimately, he just left.

 

He had expressed a few months prior to that, that he had started considering the possibility of divorce. It felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. I came home from a ministry trip and it was like someone had flipped a switch, that the man I married was no longer there. I never saw it coming, but he came home from work on a Friday night and started packing a bag. I asked him what he was doing.

 

We'd been seeing a marriage counselor because I'd begged him to. But 8 sessions and he said he was done; he said he didn't want to do it anymore. He didn't want to take any pills to help with his depression like they wanted him to. He wanted out. He felt I was the source of His sickness and that he would never be well until he was rid of me. He said he felt God told him in a dream that he needed to leave me. And I sobbed and couldn't breathe and could only think things like "this is not happening, this is not my life, this can't be real, he'll come to his senses."

 

When we got married, he'd said that "divorce was not an option..." and I believed him. I kept thinking "We'll get through this. We love each other." Well, I loved him...but I had to come to accept that I couldn't do anything to change his mind or make him love me. He had decided what he wanted, turned a 180, and that was it.

 

That Friday night, he said he was packing his bags and going to his mom's...that I could do what I wanted but he planned to file for divorce on Monday. As I sat there on the bed trying to catch my breath, trying to tell myself that I was neither "too much" nor "not enough" and that all the hurtful things he'd said about wanting to be a husband but not a husband to me, about wanting to be a father and have kids but not wanting to have them with me, and that he needed to get out sooner than later so that he could do that with someone else.....I couldn't even absorb the reality.

 

And then he simply walked out the door. I heard the back door shut, and then the garage door go up, and I ran to the front window and in total disbelief, watched the tail lights go down the driveway - all the while I'm begging God for him to turn around and come back. I fell to my knees and gasped for air and cried out, "Help me, God help me. What do I do? Tell me what to do! Help me, Jesus." But he kept going, and he never came back.

 

I'm not sure how long I was kneeling there in the front room. It felt like hours. I couldn't imagine having to tell anyone that he'd actually left me. That he'd decided I was both "too much" to deal with and "not enough" of a wife for him to stay. I was devastated. And it left quite a deep scar that plagued me for some time. It debilitated me. It crushed me.

 

What I love about Jesus is that he is all about the down-and-outers. The least likely choices. The outcasts. The unlovable. He draws close to those who are needy and hurting, he does not run away. Over and over, God has had to re-train my thinking.

 

Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

 

I love the Message version of it as well, which says:

"If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath."

 

No matter what you're facing right now, don't believe the enemy's lies. You are not too much. And you are perfectly enough. God is near when we are at our weakest places, and he'll help you catch your breath. Just breathe. Tomorrow is a new day. Hold on to his promises. "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

 

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Click the links below to read other blogs in the series "Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love [And other lies I believed for way too long]"

Preface: No More Stalling: It's Time to Be Brave

Lie #1: Fat Girls Don't Deserve Love

Lie #2: It's All Your Fault

Lie # 3: You're Just too Much but Never Quite Enough

Lie #4: You Are Invisible 

 

Seasons for Everything

 

So it hardly seems possible that it's been over a year since I last posted here! I tell myself a lot that there are "Seasons for Everything," and so it hasn't been a season for blogging or posting a lot publicly. It's been a quieter season of reflection inwardly. But I feel the tide shifting.

I have indeed been in a season of really getting settled in a new home, new church, new job, new life in San Luis Obispo, CA. The interim season in SLO last spring & summer turned into a permanent one, which has been a huge blessing! It has been such a joy to have a new beginning here. 

It also felt like the time to return to my maiden name, Keller, when I moved out to CA last year. Perfect time for another fresh start. Then, after a season of about five years writing songs about life, love, & loss - songs of lament, songs that found life in coffee shops, pubs, and bars - I have started writing songs for the Church again in this season...which feels like a gift.

I've had a lot of "full circle" moments this year, a huge one being back in the Vineyard Church family again. Mountainbrook Church (previously "San Luis Obispo Vineyard") was one of the first few Vineyards planted in CA many moons ago, and there is a lot of history & legacy here. I love knowing that guys like Carl Tuttle led worship here when our current pastor was in College Ministry. Though the name and location has changed, it is still a Vineyard, and I love the core values from which our team leads. I love this Tribe.

I do hope to start blogging here more again (no, really!), but for today, I mainly wanted to post a song video. We have begun hosting these "Woven: For Women" events at my church (and God has been breathing life and it's been growing like gang busters!), and I felt stirred in the nights leading up to the event in May to write a song called "Steady My Soul" to go with the theme, which was "Hope Anchors the Soul."

In general, my songwriting has been really stirred up in the last 6-8 months or so, and I felt it was time to start sharing them more widely. I'm praying about finally recording another worship album that would release in 2016. I covet your prayers over that process. It's been a long time and feels a bit overwhelming to consider! But it seems time...and there is indeed a season for everything! I continue to submit my plans to God and trust Him completely with the details.

Thanks to so many of you whom have followed my journey all these years. 2015 marks TWENTY years of worship leading for me! It's been a wild ride...and here's to the new season ahead!

P.S. Save the date, SLO area peeps, for an upcoming gig at Chateau Lettau in Paso Robles! Friday, August 21st, 6-8pm. Click here for more details.

So long, BraziL. Hello, CALIFORNIA!

 

Well. I have been a *horrible* blogger recently! But with good reason: I spent the month of October in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Monaco, & France with a music team doing training events and such there with Vineyard Brazil. Then, in November I flew straight from there to Brazil for four months. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime! 

If you missed the photo journal, just stop by my Instagram page and check out photos from October 2013, or you can watch a little re-cap video by clicking here.

When I left the States last October, I thought I would be living in Brazil at least a year, maybe longer…but we ran into a snag in trying to acquire a longer term visa for me. I had to return to the U.S. at the end of February, and I have still been unable to acquire one so far. It's possible that it may come through sometime in a few more months…but it was going to be a waiting game of an unknown amount of time, and I was going to be somewhat stranded in the States without a job, apartment, or car in the meantime.

I grieved a little, because I really thought I would be in Brazil longer term (and I sold most of my belongings before I left to help make that possible)...but shortly after my return, I started to find a real peace and just kept my eyes open for what was next. I knew I wasn't totally freed up and mobile for nothing! While home in Atlanta, I've really enjoyed connecting with friends, doing lots of swing dancing, and eating all the American food I missed. LOL. 

I put together about 6 weeks of various travel dates (Orlando, Augusta, San Luis Obispo, and Virginia Beach) so that I could share about my "adventures in Brazil" and enjoy sharing some music. I also moved in with my dad just north of Atlanta temporarily and have been enjoying precious time with him when I've not been on the road. Now that he's retired, my favorite is when Dad makes me breakfast and we chat over our coffee and eggs.

The unexpected part of the journey these last few weeks was getting connected with Mountainbrook Church in San Luis Obispo, CA. they have been looking for assistance with leading worship and training their musicians and band leaders for the last 9 months or so. It soon turned into a conversation about me coming back to SLO for a 3-month interim season…and then we can see where things land in the fall. Perhaps it may become a more permanent option, perhaps not…but after a few more conversations (and visiting and seeing how dreamy the Central California coast really is!) my heart gave a resounding "yes!" to spending a summer there at the very least!

So…in true SHERILYN fashion…things happen in a hurry, and usually cross-country (or cross-continent in some cases)…so one week from today, I fly out from Atlanta again to begin this new chapter in California! I love that the move is happening over Easter weekend. There is a history of some pretty major events in my life happening over Easter weekends…and I feel like God often uses is symbolically to mark a new redemptive beginning in my life…though often through the most unexpected means! God is cool like that.

So the plan is that I will be in San Luis Obispo until at least the end of July (though I have a few quick trips planned back to Atlanta - like to lead worship for the Women's Night of Worship at Perimeter Church on June 10! Mark your calendar, Atlanta ladies!)…and then we'll see where things land in the fall.

Now that I'm Stateside, I'll try to be better at writing more regularly about my #SLOlife in San Luis Obispo…and I am hoping to find more time to write and record some new music this year, so stay tuned here on my websiteFacebookTwitter, & Instagram for the play-by-play.

Thanks for being part of my journey! I appreciate you all & would love to hear from you! Drop me an email any time!

Riding the wave,
SHERILYN

P.S. This is the view from my host home in Cayucos, CA, and then me standing on the pier in the first photo. Who's coming to visit???

   

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