The Journey Continues – Jim and Sheryle
Our Journey Begins:
Jim: We met in 1961 at Orangeburg High School and dated through high school and college. We were married in May, 1967 and spent our first months of married life in Clemson while I finished my Masters at Clemson. After a short time in North Augusta, SC, I was drafted into the army, Sheryle stayed behind to finish out the year teaching, so our lives changed rather abruptly as newlyweds. After 3 years in Maryland, we returned to North Augusta and assumed life would return to “normal.”
Sheryle: Life can often turn out to be very different than you “picture it”! I always wanted 4 children ,but with none after 7 years of marriage, we considered adoption, went thru fertility tests, etc. Through all of this we were learning to trust God, stand on His Word and believe “He gives the barren woman a home and makes her the joyful mother of children,” (Psalm 113:9) After 8 years of marriage, God answered our prayer with the birth of our daughter, Elisse.
Jim: In the summer of 1978,I was offered a job as Plant Manager at Southern Brick in Ninety Six. With our 3 year-old, we moved into a house just across the church parking lot at the entrance to Druid Hills. Naturally we visited and it has been our church home since.
Sheryle: As a stay-at-home Mom, I began a small home-based business making children’s clothes…and waiting for all those other children to come!! When Elisse was 7, I experienced a miscarriage that was another turning point in my life. Depressed and despondent & not many people knowing it, I visited a friend in Columbia just to get away for a few days and attended a Mary Kay party as a sort of “pick me up”. I remember hearing that it’s a company that encourages you to keep priorities in the right order: God first, family second, career third and do your work by the Golden Rule. That got my attention and as a former teacher, I loved the teaching approach to helping women look good and feel better about themselves. In November,1982 I started my journey as a Mary Kay Consultant & subsequently Sales Director and have been sharing with other women the products and opportunity for over 31 years. So the Lord has given me many “children” to encourage, nurture, and help in life through this career. No, I never pictured myself driving a Pink Cadillac, but I did have “Cinderella dreams” like all little girls, and that “pink carriage” fits right in!! God is so good to teach us about Himself and what He pictures for us. Through a Mary Kay career, I learned to dream again and help other women pick up their little girl dreams and believe they can be the woman that God intended for them to be.
Growing on the Journey:
Sheryle: When we moved to North Augusta, we lived next door to a young couple & were invited to attend a Bible study in their home. I had never been in a Bible study outside of a Sunday School class. Getting to know Tess was a turning point in my life. She talked about Jesus like He lived at her house!! Seeing someone walk the walk and talk the talk just made me hungry for a relationship like that; one where I knew Jesus intimately instead of intellectually and historically. February,1968 she & I prayed at my kitchen table and I invited Jesus to come into my heart. I had never done that before and I know that makes the difference in my life. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ brings direction and purpose to life. It doesn’t mean we won’t have challenges or problems, but we have someone who helps us through those times.
Another time of growth was when my mother moved to Greenwood. She was a member of the Ladies Class. After she developed Alzheimer’s & needed to move to Assisted Living, it required more than I could handle. Pastor Jeff’s chat with Mom was the answer to a smooth transition in a very difficult situation. Members of her class continued to visit, send cards, and I can’t thank them enough for that. Mrs. Pat Lloyd’s cards were found in all of the cards she kept while at Ashley House. One never forgets the people who help you through life’s challenges. We can’t all do everything for everyone, but someone can do something for someone. That’s what the church at North Side is all about.
Jim: The most growth in my spiritual life and relationship with Christ has come about as a result of teaching. Time spent in God’s Word preparing has helped me grow closer to Him and God uses this opportunity not only to teach those in the classes, but also to teach the “teachers”. Teaching is a very humbling way of showing us just how unprepared we are to witness to those around us and how we must depend on Him.
Serving on the Journey:
North Side needs a lot of volunteers, so we help by heading up the Host Team on the 4th Sunday of each month, Sheryle helping with the nursery rotation and I serve as an usher weekly.
Sheryle: Because I enjoy working with women, facilitating Women’s Bible study groups, developing a Women’s Ministry and Girls’ Night Out Events in the past have been joyful times of connecting with women in our church and community and I am delighted to still be involved in meeting new women through the current Women’s Bible studies.
North Side encourages us to reach out to the community, one of them being A Place for Us Ministries, which provides a home for girls with an unplanned pregnancy who chose to give birth but need a safe place to live until the baby arrives. Jim and I are both involved in this ministry and with my retail space called “Top It Off” located in The Alcoves on Montague Avenue, I know that babies are being saved from abortion and the lives of young women are being changed through the love of Jesus Christ being shown in a Christian environment. I’m thankful North Side encourages us to get involved in the community where people are hurting and offer them hope.
And that brings us to the passion we have for young married couples. We began that love for young couples we met over 30 years ago in Sunday School and a small group Bible study that met during the week. Many are still at North Side and are friends that we depend upon, stay in touch with and know will love you and pray for you in the challenging times we all go through.
We have long felt the Lord calling us to be involved with young couples just starting their lives together. This particular ministry began when our own daughter married and convinced us there needed to be a class for young couples. We have taught many such couples since then and have watched them grow, mature and become parents themselves.
When the church format changed about 6 years ago into C-groups, our class regrouped and Jim & I became a part of a different small group for some time. This was a time of personal growth for both of us, yet deepened our passion for working with young couples, but God’s timing was not right for us to start again.
Psalm 71: 17 –18 says “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” With that scripture in mind, about a year after Jim’s retirement, we began to sense that the Lord wanted us to be willing to step up to shepherd a small group again. Now first group of 5 young couples multiplied and divided and now there are 2 young couple C-groups meeting on Sunday mornings with new Shepherds now developing out of the groups. Here are a few comments some couples shared about being in a small group:
“Before we joined a C-group, we felt the need to make God the devotion of our lives and the need for more involvement in church. We are so glad that we joined! The close connections with other young couples helps to focus our discussions and prepare us for the future.”
Another couple said…
Being a part of the young married couples’ class when we were newlyweds has made an impact on our marriage every day for the past 14 years. We think back to what we learned when we face struggles or want to just celebrate each other. Studying The Five Love Languages helped us understand one another better, and the discussions from Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti taught us to acknowledge that our differences are by God’s design and that’s a good thing. We made lasting friendships among members of the class, and we are thankful for the transparency of our leaders who were honest about how they have handled both the hard times and the good. Over and over again we have said in different ways what a blessing it was to have the foundation that class gave us through Christ in our marriage. May every married couple beginning their journey together have such a great start!
When you start life with another person, there is a foundation marriage should be built upon and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Every day we should build upon that foundation with truths from His Word.
The Journey Continues:
Jim: There have been many memorable occasions at North Side but none has been more special than some of the relationships that I have developed over the last few years since my “semi-retirement” from Clemson. I particularly enjoyed attending the men’s classes taught by Jeff. These classes gave me the opportunity to talk and share with the other guys in the class, as men don’t normally take the time to get together in this way. The monthly Men’s Breakfast on Saturday morning has also been a blessing. These guys share real life stories about their experiences and how the Lord has worked in their lives. There is a lot of “food for thought” that comes out of these breakfast meetings.
Sheryle: Because we are in our “mature years”, and knowing that “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh.8:10) Jim and I are more dependent on that strength than ever!! Keeping up with our 10 year old grandson, Peyton, enjoying his love of playing drums with contemporary Christian music (thanks Ben Hjalmer) he’s helping us stay current! Learning from our young couples also keeps us “in the loop”!
We may not have an Ipad or a smart phone, but we know that connections face to face at North Side make a difference in our lives each week,… so “That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Rom.1:12)