And we're back! Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to my sweet friend Shaylynn. Shaylynn and I had the unique opportunity to meet while we were both in Chihuahua, Mexico in the summer of 2012. I was finishing up my last couple weeks living in Chihuahua, and I was house sitting for my friends the Raffertys. Shaylynn came to Chihuahua to live and stay for a few weeks that summer, and we just hit it off. I was glad to have a friend while I house sat, and we explored Chihuahua together, cooked some yummy food, and had some heart to hearts. She's an amazing, passionate, beautiful woman of God. Her heart is the purest, and she fiercely loves Jesus. So without further adieu, here she is!
Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Shaylynn Cherry and I am 22 years old. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a little one bedroom with my little family. My husband and I have been married for just over a year and have two dogs that are absolutely obnoxious and absolutely full of life and love. My passions are cooking, writing, and spending time with the sweet people in my life.
How did you come to know the Lord?
As a child I was homeschooled and grew up in such a precious family! When I was a little girl I would always go to church with my grandma and felt that I grew up knowing God. But when I was younger I struggled immensely with depression for about six years. Once I entered high school I channeled that confusion and feeling like I lacked purpose into substance abuse and a partying lifestyle. I had no idea why I felt so overwhelmed and like I could hardly lift my head. Through a few years of being heavily involved in addictions, surrounding myself with the wrong people, and feeling too lost for saving I thought I had no where to turn. I felt I had no value, no hope and that I had ruined my life.
Throughout most of that time I had been working at Chick-fil-A, which was a greater blessing than I ever could have guessed! One of my managers began to take notice of me and one day she had mentioned a church camp being hosted by the youth group at her church. She told me she had been praying for me and I had been heavily on her heart for awhile. Before I knew it, she told me she had paid for my registration for the camp and would get me off of work to go. That weekend I finally felt like God was able to encounter me in a far away and quiet place to remind me that He had never left. I realized then that I had knowledge of who He was but didn’t know Him personally. During this time at camp I felt that He was able to wrap me in His arms and show me that my identity was solidified in who He created me to be and not what I had done. Nothing and no one could change the plans that He had for me. It was a time that He reminded me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, and that when I sought Him to be my refuge no addictions or depression could overpower His love and His compassion.
Addictions that had lasted years vanished in an instant after that weekend, and my whole entire life was changed in the wake of His presence. The manager that had taken me with her was able to stand by me and helped me to meet new friends, to learn more about the Lord and helped me to cultivate a hunger for Jesus. Shortly after that, I met my husband who stood by me for five years as a best friend, an encourager and open arms. God has helped to heal wounds and fears of the past by showing me the unconditional love and grace that He always had for me. I am so excited now to be able to walk with others through roads similar to mine and to be able to proclaim that even in the lowest valleys - His love runs deeper.
What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
To be a woman of influence right where you are is to trust that God is the giver of good gifts and to abide in the peace of where He has you. God promises to use everything for the good of those who love Him and that His plan for us is to give us a hope and a future! Many times have I dreamed of what life may hold later on or tried to compare my life to those around me, only to find myself distracted by disappointment or by feeling lesser than. The beauty of being a woman of influence is trying to take your thoughts captive and remember that right where you are is right where God has placed you. You were created to be salt and light, regardless of the circumstances of the world! You were created with eternity set in your heart so that you can hold onto the hope of knowing this place is not your home! When our hearts are no longer entangled in the temptations of wishing for more in our present day we are free to focus on knowing the goodness of our Father in all that He does.
A woman of influence chooses the joy and freedom of letting go of the temptation of comparison and remembering our mission is His heart. His heart rests with His sons and daughters! As we look to Him and to loving His people, we can remember that anywhere we are planted we can find His purpose and His peace. You were created to make an impact and you have been strategically placed to bring Him glory. Women of influence let go of who the world tries to shape them to be and they know that their value, their purpose and their hope are found in an unchanging God. They speak life and aren’t afraid to build up others because they know the value of the Body of Christ over tearing others down.
What is the best piece of marriage advice you have been given?
The best piece of marriage advice that I have been given is that this marriage is only momentary. Don’t get me wrong - the vow I made to my beloved is one I never intend to not keep! But this life is but a breath and this marriage will not be like this forever. The Bible says that there will be no marriage in Heaven but that we will all be like angels worshipping the Lord. By remember this advice we were given we are constantly reminded of the value of helping to prepare one another for eternity! My husband is amazing at always pushing us to pray together, to study the Word, to value people and to be open to God’s will. Through this advice we are also reminded to cherish little moments, to laugh a LOT, to choose grace with one another, and to be present!
What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
Psalm 37:4 is such a constant encouragement to me:
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?
If there was one thing I wish others could remember and cling to is to remember their value and the freedom they have been given in who they are. I am so amazed to think about how incredible it is that the Creator of the Universe cares so deeply for us as individuals. I am so amazed to think about what sacrifice was given for us and the access we have been given to be in the Lord’s presence. We were chosen and anointed for influence. We have been given specific gifts and specific messages on our hearts to lift up, encourage and come alongside those around us. Every detail of who you are has been outlined by God - the amount of hairs on your head, the lovely curve of your smile, and even the things that make your heart beat faster. You were designed with a purpose in mind to be salt and light to the very world you are living in, and because of Him in you, you already have all that you need to fulfill that!
And last but not least: coffee or tea?
I’ve never met a cup of coffee that I didn’t like. :)