Tag Archives: Jesus

My name is not Sherri Bennett. And I’m changing my blog.

I’ve been experiencing an awakening of sorts lately. Actually, awakening is the understatement of the year. Smack-me-upside-the-head epiphany? That’s more like it.

My whole blog is about confession – and being honest. Being real and being okay with it. I have to tell you, sometimes it sucks having a blog like this because, well, then I have to be honest. And believe me, I don’t always want to be.

But I’m going to, so, here goes. My name is not Sherri Bennett. My name is Sherri Stone-Bennett. Some of you who know me might be rolling your eyes at this point, And this is new, Sherri? Hang in there with me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been married before. He was, (is), a good man. I was a good person too; we were just too screwed-up to have a healthy marriage. I was a good, screwed-up person, not much unlike what I still am today (just hopefully a little less on the screwed-up part).

His last name was Stone so naturally, my kids last names are Stone. When I remarried, although it would have been much easier to take on my new husbands name, I decided to keep the Stone part, using the newer widely accepted hyphenation approach. I did this because I didn’t want a completely different last name from my kids; I wanted them to feel assured that I was still a part of them and they a part of me. I did it for them.

I also did it with the intention of someday ditching the Stone part after my kids had grown up. Truth? I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be cool with a hyphen. I didn’t want to announce to the world that I had been divorced. I didn’t want to deal with the really fun challenges a hyphen brings when you buy airline tickets, or register for something online, or get a new credit card.

But mostly, I didn’t want to associate with being a “Stone” anymore, as if I could erase all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

I tried anyway.

When I got the contract for the book I was published in last year, there was a sweet little place for me to let them know how I would like my name to appear in the book. I put Sherri Bennett. They published me as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I spoke at a women’s event not long ago, I wanted to be promoted as Sherri Bennett. I was promoted as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I recently looked up sherribennett.com to change the name of my blog site, it was on sale for $1,100.  Sherristonebennett.com was only $19.99. I’m starting to get a clue.

I cannot run away from my past. Nor can I forget it. That being said, I am not defined by my past. Nor will I be defined by my future – good or bad.

I’ve known this in my head. I think it’s starting to sink down into my heart a little deeper.

I am Sherri Stone-Bennett. I have been divorced. I have a history. I have been needy, selfish, unfulfilled, ignorant, and stubborn – and not just in my previous marriage.

I am also good and have some pretty great qualities. I have a future. Moreover, my future shouldn’t be divorced from my past because

if I let them, my past and future can marry and create something beautiful; full of lessons learned, insights to pass on to others, and empathy that’s only created from shared experience.

I’m good with that. No, I’m great with that! Because ultimately, that’s what life is all about: sharing our experiences with others as a way to love them. Moreover, we love God by loving others. And to fully love God and others takes vulnerability, honesty, and courage.

It also takes faith, trusting that God really does love and accept us just as we are, crappy past and all. Because if we don’t really believe this ourselves, we won’t be able to take our bad experiences and use them to love others by offering them grace when they need it. We can’t give away what we don’t own ourselves.

I hope I’m finally getting it.

So, in order to create a more all-encompassing website, the name of my blog site has changed. For those of you who receive this blog automatically by email, you will continue to do so! The site sherribennettblog.com will still be in use but will now be promoted as sherristonebennett.com. And proudly so. :)

Thanks for walking through life with me!

Meet Mr. Budget

MrBudget

He’s here! Okay, he’s been here for three months now. What can I say? Time flies when you’re doling out a thousand baby kisses a day. Anyway, I figured it’s time to take a break, (my pucker’s getting tired), and introduce the new little man in my life for those of you who haven’t met him yet.

We call him Mr. Budget. After fussbudget, that is. But only when he’s a little on the grouchy side. Otherwise, he’s known as Noah, No-No, Kito, Little Man, Booger-butt, The Baby, and N&M. (Don’t ask. We’re just weird.)

In the meantime and in between all those smooches, I finally finished school for the year. (I think I hear angels singing…) My book writing has resumed. I’m blogging again. The sun is shining.

Except, the sun has always been shining. I just wasn’t always aware of it these last few months, especially during those times when it was playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds. Kind of like my life. To be honest, although I’ve had many “bright” days lately, they’ve often been clouded by some not-so-great circumstances I’ve had to deal with.

You’d think I would have always been aware of how sunny my life was, with a cutie-pie like that little guy around. But believe it or not, when he was crying for two weeks straight because of stomach problems, the clouds began rolling in and I became a fussbudget myself – forgetting ‘this too shall pass’ and that we’re lucky he’s healthy, safe, and thriving (the sun behind the cloud).

When my dryer gave out with no chance of resuscitation and we had a ginormous pile of laundry with newborn “stuff” all over it (cloud), I forgot how fortunate we were to be able to replace it with another (sun).

When I was freaking out about how hard my class was because it was the toughest course I’d ever taken WITH a crying newborn in the house AND the stack of laundry piling up with the newborn “stuff” on it (cloud), I forgot how blessed I am to be able to be in school in the first place (sun), and what a wonderful husband I have to support me in all of this (another sun).

Perspective. That’s the word God and I have been wrestling with over the last few months. Lord, give me right perspective. Help me see Your good behind the bad.

Help me see the Son behind the clouds.

It hasn’t been easy for me, changing the way I view things. I’ve been struggling with this my whole life. But I think I’ve just started to get the secret to changing my perspective. See, my problem is that I’m always trying to figure out how the Son is going to shine through my cloudy circumstances, when He’s going to do it, or what He’s going to do. I immerse myself in Scriptures that only relate to my problem, look for “signs” from God, talk incessantly to others, even strategize as to how I can best help God get this going.

But a few months ago, it hit me that my outlook has little chance of brightening up if all I’m doing is focusing on my problem – even if I’ve added God to the mix. The way to change my perspective is not in trying to focus on how the Son is going to shine through my overcast skies; it’s about focusing on the Son, period.

Let’s put it this way. I don’t do well when I keep trying to figure out how God is going to come through for me when I’m in a jam. For me, it’s like dieting; the few times I’ve tried buying the “right” foods, measuring them out, perfectly spacing out my meals, I ended up obsessing about food all day long.

The very thing I was trying to keep my mind off of, I ended up focusing on more than ever.

“You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind stays on You because He trusts you.”  Isaiah 26:3, ESV

When I first read Isaiah 26:3, it hit me that if I wanted peace in the middle of a storm, I needed to keep my mind stayed on God. Not my circumstance and God in it. There’s a big difference.

So when the clouds started to roll in again a few weeks ago, I tried something new. I pulled out my Bible and listened to one of my favorite teachers on Podcast and refocused my thinking on God. Just Him. Not Him and what we were going to do about all of the laundry stacking up. Not Him and how I was going to get my school work done, prepare for an upcoming speaking engagement, be a good wife and help with the baby, all at the same time. Just Him.

And it didn’t take long before I found myself warmed by the Son’s grace; my problems fading away, washed out by the light of God’s truths.

It’s not an easy thing to do and I confess I don’t always keep my sights on God rather than my cloudy situations. But when I do, my outlook inevitably brightens because instead of my thoughts being stayed on my worries, they remain on the One who always shines despite them.

And He’s pretty darn brilliant.

He’s good, kind, faithful, patient, full of love, joy, and peace (Gal. 5:22). He’s a helper (John 14:26), a strengthener (Isaiah 41:10), merciful and gracious (Exodus 34:6), understanding (Isaiah 40:28), always there (Deut. 31:8), always cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), a protector (Heb. 13:6), sustainer (Psalm 55:22), full of power that He imparts to us (2 Tim. 1:7), knows everything (Job 37:16), and never changes (Malachi 3:6).

All of my troubles pale in comparison to the greatness of God and the fact that I get to spend eternity with Him, this world is temporary, and so are my troubles.

When the storms roll in and I find myself being a fussbudget again, I’m learning that the Son is still there – and I can see Him anytime I want! I just have to look past the clouds and keep my eyes focused on Him. Just Him.

Hoping you see Him too.