Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Mom, a dragonfly!"

I saw my first dragonfly of the season this week when my boys took their inaugural swim in our pool on Tuesday after school. Rick and I lounged out there poolside and watched as they played and swam together, Brooks and Brody. I loved hearing my 11-year-old who so wants to be a teenager and is obsessively concerned with coolness say, “Mom, watch this!” That gave my heart such joy. They’re still little boys who want their mommy to see what they can do. But, as I sat there my heart full but pensive, Brody yelled out, “Mom, a dragonfly!” They know how much dragonflies mean to me and never fail to let me know if they see one. I looked and sure enough there he was zipping around over the pool going round and round appearing as happy and as natural as any other part of that delightful scene.

All of my closest friends and family know why I love dragonflies so much. I’ve told the story in talks I’ve given at various churches. I don’t always tell it depending on who I’m talking to and what the Lord has laid on my heart to say on that particular day. If you’ve ever heard me speak since Bronner went to heaven, you have heard a word from the Lord, because it is all from Him. And, what is so interesting is that He normally doesn’t want me to say the same thing too often. Most churches have a tailor-made speech just for them from the Lord. But, I’ve told my dragonfly story enough times that sweet friends and sisters in Christ have given me so many of them that they are all over my house.

I have soap dishes with dragonflies on them, soap itself, decorative bowls, an ornament for my Christmas tree, a dragonfly sun-catcher just above my sink in the kitchen, two tiles, a picture clip, a picture frame, a small side table, a hand-made scarf, key chains (two of them), a couple of different necklaces, earrings, several pins (one from Kim, one from Veronica, one from Melisha, and one from Laurie), a lovingly sculpted ceramic dragonfly made in my friend’s basement, and even real dragonflies encased and framed given to me by a missionary from my church who saw it in China town on a trip to California. I have two sculpted pieces at Bronner’s grave that family members have put there. And I have a dragonfly door-knocker on the door at our farm in Jemison.

Everyone loves the dragonfly story, but I think what the dragonfly gifts most express is each giver’s great love for me. I am so thankful for the women in my life. I have the sweetest friends on the face of the planet. I have been prayed for and prayed over. I have been loved and mothered with the tenderness that only a woman of God could offer. I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways my dear, sweet friends have ministered to me in the two years since my baby has been in heaven, but one thing is certain... it has all been completely God driven.

One woman dreamed that my head was glued to her chest! Many of them told me they woke up in the middle of the night with an urgent sense that they were to pray for me. Laura said she woke up in the night crying and didn’t know why, and then she heard my name in a whisper. These women of prayer, in tune with The Holy Spirit, have carried my burden alongside me all this time. One sweet girl from church, a young mother herself, sent me a card a week for two years with the bible verse she had prayed for me that week written inside.

Then, of course, there were the women who had lost their sons too, some from illness and others from tragic accidents like mine. They told me how to make it through those first months and years without Bronner. Stephanie told me, “Just do the next thing.” “Find joy in your other sons.” And Kelly was very honest, “It’s not going to get any better. I miss Billy everyday. But I keep living. I still will go out on my porch and have my pity party, but when I’m done I get up and do what I have to do.”

There were cards and letters and books sent from all over the country. I have never seen let alone experienced such an outpouring of love and support from the family of God. I got flowers from people in New York, books from Texas, and cards from Ohio. This was different for me, because I have always been such a strong person. I have always been the one who felt I was to minister to, teach, and comfort others, but here I was on the receiving end. And, it felt good. You all made me feel very loved. It was a gift of God, this comfort from His family, the church, the whole church, not just my own but every church in this city, and beyond, way beyond. I think we even got letters from men in the military stationed in other countries. I had not known before how good and how big God’s family really is!

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could count.” (Revelation 7:9)

People really want to do something. They want to help. They want to give. They want to comfort. It wasn’t just the dragonflies, but so many other special gifts too. I was given several beautiful paintings of Bronner from women I had not previously known, and the artists all said the Holy Spirit prompted them to paint sweet Bronner. There’s one hanging at the farm of Bronner in his heavenly robe holding up a fishing rod that absolutely captures the slump of his shoulder. It’s so perfect because I had hoped that Bronner would learn to fish down at the farm, and there is that beautiful painting reminding me that he’s still learning to fish… in heaven.

My friend, Mary Jo, has an adult son in heaven. He’s buried right next to Bronner. We wanted it that way, because I just didn’t want my baby lying there with a bunch of people we don’t know. I know he’s not really lying there, but on resurrection day, his body’s going to come right up out of that grave, and the Burgesses and the Kynerds will be rising up into the clouds alongside each other. But, Mary Jo, gave me a picture of her son, Jay, an avid fisherman, holding up a huge rainbow trout. In fact, he was fishing when the fatal heart attack struck. We now have rainbow trout in our pond, by the way. But, I just know, I know, Jay has taken Bronner under his wing in heaven and has taught him how to bait a hook and cast a line and reel in that big catch. I know it.

There’s another painting hanging above my bed done by a precious lady from Mobile, and that painting looks exactly like Bronner. It’s truly remarkable. She e-mailed Rick asking for a picture of Bronner and told him what she planned to do. He gave her a picture of Bronner sitting in that old pick-up truck in Alabama Wilds at the Birmingham Zoo. And, the likeness is unbelievably exact, and written on the hood of the truck is the most perfect passage of scripture, Psalm 40:1-3. It says, “I waited patiently for the Lord. He lifted me out of the pit. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

A pencil drawing hangs in my bathroom of Bronner and a Lion. There’s an inscription, The Lion and the Precious Lamb, and a verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:10. I have a little painting of our whole family sitting on my counter, and in it, Bronner has wings. All… gifts from women of God who were prompted by the Holy Spirit. But, it wasn’t just the women. Rick’s friends wanted to do something too, and men think a little outside the box. Men think big. They have to do something grand.

One of them had the idea to take Rick and me to Wyoming. Michael couldn’t take us himself, but he knows people who could. Jackson Hole is a very expensive place. I think Dick Cheney has a vacation house there. So, Adler, as his wife calls him, called on an old friend from Texas who happens to be the CEO of AT&T. Michael and Linda and Rick and I boarded a private plane owned by another couple in our church who also went on the weekend trip, and we three couples headed over to Texas where two more were added to our number as we changed planes and jetted up to Wyoming. Michael and Rick spent an afternoon just the two of them fishing in the Snake River. It was truly a blessing and a gift for my husband to be in that place during that most difficult time. Thanks, Adler, for that and for so many other ways you and Linda have ministered to our family and continue to do so not only with your angelic voices but with your whole hearts as well.

I have to say that I have another friend who had the same idea, to get me away to a place I had never been. It was a little different. Connie took me to Clanton, Alabama, and we spent the day going to the flea market and visiting places I had not been before. Things like that helped. They really did. I could go on and on about the kindness of people who mourned with us over the loss of our indelibly wonderful Bronner. But, God Himself was the one who comforted Rick and me with the most perfect comfort. One of the ways God’s hand of love, comfort, and confirmation was shown to us was through the dragonflies.

After Bronner went to heaven, I kept seeing dragonflies, and they were always this baby blue color that made me think of Bronner. The first time I saw them, there were three of them hovering around Bronner’s grave as I sat there alone. I watched them as they played around together there at the grave. They weren’t playing around the other graves, just Bronner’s. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I had never noticed how bright and colorful dragonflies were, and that baby blue was so beautiful. I knew they were from God even that very first time I saw them. I even thought that maybe God had granted Bronner and some friends an opportunity to just come hang out with me there for the day. I didn’t know. In fact, I didn’t know anything about dragonflies, but after I started seeing those baby blue dragonflies everywhere and all the time, I wanted to know more.

A friend of mine had told me of a similar event happening to her after her dad went to heaven, but Brenda had been given little yellow butterflies. She didn’t know why either at first but knew they were from the Lord. They didn’t act like normal butterflies would. They did really interesting things like follow her down the road as she ran, and she told me of how one of them flew in the window of her car, circled her head, and flew back out. She knew they were there to comfort her in some way but didn’t “get” the message God was sending her until one day when she noticed a caterpillar crawling around in the grass. The light bulb went off. “Oh, now I get it, God! We, here on earth, are like the caterpillar, but my dad who is in heaven is like the butterfly.”

God wanted me to hear Brenda’s story, but at first, I thought, “That’s a great story, Brenda, but what does it have to do with dragonflies?” She told me she didn’t know, but she felt it was God’s comfort to me somehow. I continued to see the baby blue dragonflies, by the droves! I saw them at our farm, at the fields where my boys were playing ball, around our pool, everywhere I went. After Brody was baptized in the pool on April 26, 2008, three months after Bronner went to heaven there, we felt it was okay to swim in the pool again. So, we were all out there, Brooks, Brody, Brandi, and me, swimming when a sweet little baby blue dragonfly lit on the side of our pool. It sat there so long and let me get so close to it that I was able to examine it completely. It had, of course, the baby blue body, but I noticed it had bulging green eyes. I had to know what these dragonflies were all about.

Normally, I would go to the bible for answers, but in this case I went to the internet. I looked up dragonflies and was amazed at what I learned. A dragonfly goes through a metamorphosis just like a butterfly does, but dragonflies… start their life out... in the water.

That was my light bulb moment.

God wanted me to know that Bronner’s life didn’t end that night in the water. It began.

Here’s what I learned about dragonflies: A dragonfly lays its eggs in the water, and when they hatch, they are a little nymph (that’s actually what they’re called) that can live in the water for up to three years. “Up to," maybe that means 2 ½ years for some of them, I thought. The picture of a dragonfly nymph kind of looked like a small grasshopper. I learned that when the time came for the nymph to become a fully-grown dragonfly, it would crawl out of the water on a reed or a stick, and when the air touched its skin, the skin would begin to breath. The dragonfly would emerge from a slit in the back of the little nymph. It takes a little while for the dragonfly’s wings to unfurl, but when they do, the dragonfly doesn’t fly, that is, not until it sees the light. It will not take its inaugural flight at night. It waits for the morning light! I also noticed that a dragonfly is in the shape of a cross. A butterfly or a damselfly may close its wings up when it lights on a plant or a rock, but a dragonfly never does. It keeps its wings outstretched always in the shape of a cross.

I also found out that there are about 500 different varieties of dragonflies, but the one I kept seeing, the baby blue one, is called a blue dasher. A blue dasher! How amazing is God? My sweet Bronner was certainly a blue dasher. That baby of mine was a little runner. He loved, loved, loved, to run. I remember one night, not long before Bronner went to heaven, the two of us ate at Johnny Rockets together. The bigger boys had gone hunting with their dad. So, Bronner and I had a night to ourselves, one of many that winter, as the boys were trying to have that male bonding experience that hunting trips provide. So, Mommy and baby ate dinner at one of our favorites. He had chicken fingers and fries, and I… think I had a Patty Melt, my usual.

We had a little time to spare before we were going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks there at the movie theater at the Summit. So, we started walking, and that baby ran, literally ran, wide open with the biggest grin you’ve ever seen all the way from Johnny Rockets on one end of the Summit Shopping Center to Barnes and Noble on the opposite end. I remember him so well that night in his “Jesus Loves Me” toboggan his uncle Jamie had gotten him for Christmas. He looked like a doll just come to life with so much pent up energy to burn. He was a fast little guy, but he was even more cute than he was fast. It goes without saying that he drew lots of attention that night. Everyone commented on him. I heard people say, “What a doll!” And, “He’s really something isn’t he?” I beamed with pride at having that sweet angel baby, my blue dasher, by my side.

You know, it’s funny. I remember thinking one day when the two of us were at the zoo that it was such a shame that I was the only one there with him that day. We went to the zoo a lot. It was Bronner’s favorite place to go if he wanted to go somewhere. He would ask for it by saying, “I go zoo.” The boys were in school that day, Rick was at work, and the grandparents were at home in Jacksonville and in Guntersville, so it was just me and my little guy. There weren’t many other people there that day. It was kind of a slow day at the zoo as many weekdays could be.

Bronner, of course, wanted nothing to do with a stroller. He loved to run through the zoo as fast as he could, and he enjoyed himself so much. I looked at him rounding the corner over by the Children’s Zoo strutting along with a little zip in his step and a dance in his soul. He was so happy and so cute that I wished that someone else was there to see it. And, I felt a little twinge of sadness. I wanted everyone to be able to see how wonderful and beautiful and precious and perfect a baby Bronner was at that very moment. And, you know? I believe I’ve been granted that desire.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Bronner’s birthday is coming up on May 27th. He would be turning five. I think turning five is a big deal. It’s kind of that step from babyhood to boyhood, and I can only imagine how wonderful Bronner would be at five. He was just so robust and strong and energetic and completely all boy. He, even at two-and-a-half, had this strong squeeze he would hug you with that I just knew would turn into the strong arms of a great man someday.

Next month, he would be five, so I am doing a video project I’ll share with you when it’s all done. But, the project has required me to go through all of his pictures, and just looking at the smiles, the silly looks, the love he had for his family, and just how happy and content and curious a baby he was has given me a renewed inspiration for what is to come. I do have so much to look forward to. This life is broken for me. I can still smile and laugh with my other children. I can still be surrounded by love and friendship and the comfort that comes only by the great comforter, The Holy Spirit of God. I can know God and take great delight in Him, but I know that right now, things just aren’t complete for me. I always, always have this deep sense that something, someone is missing.

Our family is incomplete and likely will be for a long time, so we live for the purpose God has called us to. In addition to the ministry God has given us through the Rick and Bubba Show and through Bronner's life and death, Rick and I live to raise up Brooks and Brody as men of God, and we will continue to build on what has been started in Brandi and Blake. We can still be filled with joy at the hope and the glory we've been called to and promised, but I know things won’t be all that we hope them to be until our baby, our little blue dasher, our precious, precious Bronner is in our arms again.

Thank you, God, for grace and mercy and hope, and thank you, God, that you have given us a glimpse of heaven in a child named Bronner. Thank you for all you’ve taught us through it all. Thank you for focusing our eyes on what they should be focused on, the unseen, the heavenly, the eternal. Thank you for showing us that we're only on a pilgrimage, strangers and exiles on the earth, and for helping us to desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Thank you for helping us seek our true homeland.

As Joni Eareckson Tada asked, “How can I miss a place I’ve never been? But I do. I miss heaven.” I understand, sweet sister. I understand. Thank you, God, for preparing for us a city and for very great and precious promises.

Yes, we have so, so much to look forward to, and without the loss of my sweet Bronner, I’m not sure I would have ever seen things the way I see them now, and, possibly, nor would you have. All that I’ve learned through this horrific event in my life I have felt from the beginning is meant to be shared. God has a message in all of this, the dragonflies, the comfort our family received from the body of Christ, the unity of the church as demonstrated through its mourning of a most precious child, the revelations given through the whispers of the Holy Spirit impressed upon our hearts in the stillness after the storm, dreams of heaven, of Bronner and of messages to the church from God, all of it is meant not just for Rick and me, but for all of us, the church. Let’s learn together, friends, of God’s character and grace and love, even in the most unlikely of places.

With love and gratitude,



  1. After my grandmother I started seeing yellow butterflies everywhere! They really have a special meaning to me now. Thank you for sharing about your dragonflies. It's nice to know that God allows us to have a reminder of someone who is so very loved...

  2. Such beautiful stories of such a difficult time.
    Continued thoughts and prayers for you and your entire family.



  3. My niece Danielle friend Lamar died. Lamar loved yellow butterfly. Everytime they see a yellow butterfly Lamar friends think of her when they see a yellow butterfly. I pray for you. I love your blog. I love all of your entry. I look forward to reading each of them. Each of the entry ministers to my heart.

  4. Thank you for the verses you shared. They really spoke to my heart. It is amazing how God provides you with just what you need to feel uplifted when you're not in the best place. I love how you said that you are living for the purpose God has called you to despite the suffering. That's what I want for my life - TO LIVE for the PURPOSE GOD HAS CALLED ME TO. Thank you again. You are such an inspiration to me.

  5. Sherri,
    You are so inspiring to me. Your story gives me hope. It gives me strength. Most of all, it makes me want to cling to our God that I sometimes neglect. Thank you for your words, thoughts, and meaningful scripture. I adore you and your blog!

    Oxford, Alabama

  6. Even though we have never met, I feel as if I know you and Rick personally. Like many others I have shared your life over the radio for many, many years. I grew up in Anniston/Oxford area. I have been listening ever there as been a show. I remember the "Friends don't let friends listen to country music" campaign. I remeber him trying to date you, and when you got married. I feel as though I have shared the highs and the lows. I have children around the same ages as Brooks and Brody and delighted in hearing stories that made me feel that I was not alone in so many parental battles. I hurt through your trial. I would listen to the show and cry. I have never experieced such sorrow for someone who I have never met in person.
    I wanted to let you know how much you and Rick inspire me. If you can keep going and be on fire after all that you have been through, then there is no reason for me sit back and idly watch. I was blessed to get to see you and Rick worship with your family at "Christ City Church" on Good Firday. You are not letting the death of your "blue dasher" be in vain. You are truly warriors for His Kingdom.

  7. Thank you, you are truly an inspriation. May God bless you in so many ways.

  8. Sherri, thank you so much for sharing through your pain. I just cannot imagine but I am thankful the good Lord has given you these dragonflies as a reminder of Bronner. I also cannot imagine the depths of emotions as you go through pictures, videos, etc. I know you are so thankful for each one and we will be blessed in your sharing. I pray for Jesus to continue His blessings and divine comfort as only He can give to you and your family...

    Love and prayers,
    Judi, pastor's wife at FBC Center Star

  9. Sherri... Thank you so much. The first person I have ever lost was my Granddaddy. I have been making plans over this past week to go to Gadsden to be with my Nana on May 15th..which would be a year. Paw-Paw had a dragon-fly on one of his flowers. I asked if I could have it...Paw-Paw and I were very close. After a month I felt bad and gave the dragon-fly back to my Nana... after I gave it back to her...that's all that hung around in my backyard. Dragon-flies that all looked the same. Your message is something I really needed. Thank you... and we so miss Rick and Bubba down here in Pensacola!

  10. I used to always refer to dragonflies as Snake Doctors and associated them with snakes (eww)...then one day a friend of mine told me that she had always heard that dragonflies where angels sent here to help watch over us and every since then I've loved to see them. Now after reading your story that makes them even more special. God bless you and Rick and your wonder family!

  11. Who would have ever thought?...dragonflies. What an amazing God we serve. I lost my mother-in-law in the tornado that swept through Jefferson County twelve years ago, April 8. She had the greenest thumb ever. Now, every spring, as everything seems to come to life, I am reminded that she is in Heaven tending to all of God's beautiful plants and flowers. Thank you for your words, Sherri. God be with you and your family.


  12. Sherry,

    Such a beautiful beautiful post. Thank you for your willingness to minister to us in spite of your broken heart. It would be so easy to only focus on yourself but you have not done that. You are lovingly obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and we are better for it.

    With much love and prayers,

  13. As I read this story all I could do was cry! It truly touched my heart! I have often wondered how you and Rick could make it without a child, and now I know it is with God's help and support from friends and family! I have taken so much for granted for soo long. This has opened my eyes to be thankful for all the many blessings God has given me. I also have a blue dasher so similiar to the way you described Bronner, along with a bigger blue dasher. My littlest one just turned five also, so they would have been the same age. God will show and tell you things in various ways if our heart and eyes are open. Thank you for sharing this story. God Bless you and your family. Can't wait to meet him in the air. Jesus is coming soon morning or night or noon. Better be ready when he makes that final call. Midnight Cry!!!

  14. Dear Sherri,
    May God continue to give you and your family the strength and peace you all deserve. I pray he sends you many more dragonflies your way! For me sunflowers remind me of my Dad! For some reason the last summer he was here on earth he decided to grow huge sunflowers in his backyard! I have so many pictures of him standing next to these huge sunflowers!
    Cheryl Bailey
    Madison, AL

  15. Your gentle words give peace and hope. They comfort and have a ring of sadness and happiness.
    God's amazing word lifts us but also gives us warning! Keep blessing us with your words and God's word. We need to minister to each other until we go home!

  16. Dear Sherri:
    Mydaughter Jennifer L. Bodine in Susan Moore, Al lost a baby girl at birth. We were all so happy she already had a beautiful little boy and this was my first grandaughter. I named Hannah Grace and could hardly wait to see her. When Jenni called me at work to tell me it was time to go to the hospital (her husband was in college in Colorado to become a preacher) I left work in great joy. We got to the hospital and they were putting the monitors on her to wait until she had the baby. When they tried to find the baby heart beat there was none. She was moving on the way to the hospital. The Dr came into the room and looked at the sonar and just looked at us and said " Your baby is dead". I cannot tell you how I felt as my baby looked into my eyes with tears in hers saying "Mama what do I do now?" We got to hold the little body after watching its lifeless little body being born. I rocked her and sang to her. My daughter and I were both in such a state of morning we could not understand why this would happen to us. A month later I found a picture of Jesus holding a blonde headed blue eyed baby girl in his arms and I knew then that Hannah was in God's arms now. We may not see her grow up here on this earth but she is in the arms of God and that gives us the comfort we need now. My heart goes out to you and your family and when it happened I could not help but relive my loss. God bless you and your family. You have been a great inspiration to me and my family. Janice Davis Miller

  17. I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you on May 27. We will be celebrating my son's first birthday on that day, just as you did a few years ago (I remember listening to the show on the day Bronner was born!).
    Until becoming a mother, I had no idea how bittersweet your children's birthday's are and I cannot even begin to imagine how you will be feeling on that day. May the Holy Spirit continue to grant you peace.

  18. Sherri, I wish I could come and hug you and hold you and comfort you every day. The Lord has blessed me with the gift of encouragement and I just can't help but to want to love on you sister-in-Christ to sister-in-Christ, but I can't in the tangible sense...first, you don't know me and you'd think me a freak (lol) and second, bc God doesn't often work in the way WE think He should (although, sometimes that would be more convenient lol). I don't have a one-line quote of comfort or a nugget for you to cling to through the tears. I can just offer myself. I can pray silently here in TN. I can bring you some chocolate to chow on when down. Or I can just think of you as I am in my garden struggling against rocky soil. Help me to help you guys. I've very little money, but I'd give my last cent if it'd comfort your precious heart. I've very few talents, but I'd scrape up my talents to provide you with some sort of gift that'd make you smile. I wish I were a powerful prayer warrior, but all I can offer is some 'face' time to pray for your comfort. I wish I had something wise to tell you, but I am a woman who is still trying to acquire wisdom myself from God. All I can offer you is myself--to do whatever you need me to do, whenever you need me to do it. --Shauna Phillips

  19. So beautiful- thanks for sharing :) it makes me stop and thank God again for my sweet babies (I try to remind myself that they are only little once and to enjoy it). Prayers are coming to strong and such a Godly women.

  20. as i sit here with tears in my eyes, i feel your pain. see, im an addict with an 11yr old son and i want so desperately to be a good mom and he says im the best! i dont do any meth, crack or other crap,,,just addicted to my scripts but still an addict nonetheless. please dont judge me, as you dont know the hell that i have lived. i love my child so much and i CRY out to GOD right now that HE WILL deliver me TODAY RIGHT NOW IN THIS HOUR of this misery and help me to focus on my one and only son and NOTHING else, except HIM of course. thank you sherri for your story...i have not listened to rick and bubba, only seen your blog a little while ago on a friends FB page and begin to read it. the LORD began 2 minister to my heart and I feel FREEDOM coming!!! PRAISE GOD!! this has been a 4-5 year battle and Im so ready for it to be over!! WILL SOMEONE, ANYONE, ALL OF U PLEASE PLEASE PRAY FOR ME TO OVERCOME THIS TODAY!!! let me NOT ever take for granted one single moment with my precious loving beautiful child again! I want to be there for him every single step of the way, not on this roller coaster ride that Im on now, waiting for the next dr apt because I ran out of meds to soon AGAIN. I hate the way i am living right now and would not wish it on my worst enemy. thru this "problem" of mine, i have learned alot of things though. i have learned NOT 2 judge people, as we all have our "problems" and it has made me see people differently, with a bit more sympathy than i would have had 6 or 7 years ago. Prior to my problems, I would have looked at an addict with disgust and snubbed my nose at them. NOW I see the pain and the sadness and the misery that can take hold of a person and not let go. its hard! one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I will get thru it, but only WITH PRAYER AND THE LORDS HAND!! thanks again sherri for your wonderful story. i love you and may God richly bless your family!

  21. Dear Anonymous... please know that God knows your name and that He hears your cries for mercy. God is the only judge and He freely forgives and wants to free you from your bondage. God told Moses from the burning bush, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people... I have heard their cry...I know their sufferings...and I have come down to deliver them..." God calls to each of us, COME. He says, "Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest." Jesus is the only one who can heal your from this addiction. He can release you, and I do pray along with you that He will right now. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. God will give you the strength to overcome this addiction that is stealing your life away. Give your life to God instead, and He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Give Him dominion over your life and say to the drugs they have no more hold on you, and I also say it in the name of Jesus!!! And, friend, believe! Believe that He can. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:16-17)

  22. oh sherri thank you for taking time to post back to me!! i feel good this mornin and when I read your reply, I could feel the Holy Spirit trying to comfort me and remind me that HE is REAL and HE can deliver me from this crazy addiction!! I need a financial blessing like crazy!! Im about to loose everything I have over this! I cant work, I cant think, ALL the bills are way past due, some things have even been disconnected, so Please pray for freedom of this bondage and that a miracle will happen in several areas of my life-God knows the details! HE KNOWS ALL!! THANK YOU for your prayers!! I often get more help from total strangers than I do from my own family/friends! sad but true! thank you sherri, thank you! I speak blessings into your life today..this moment in Jesus name!

  23. Sherri,

    I am so glad to find your blog through Lesa. I have been praying for you and your family and will be sure to lift you up on Bronner's birthday. A group of us from First Baptist Guntersville was on a marriage retreat when I learned of the accident. My heart broke for you and your family. But God is good and He will continue to comfort your family as He works through each of you to reach the lost and uncomitted.
    Becky (Stewart) Smith

  24. When my Grandma passed away in January of 2006. I felt as though I had lost a part of my soul. She had helped my mom raise me and my sisters, she was my safe place where I could go when the world wasn't right. She was a pillar of strength and faith in the Lord. My grandmother loved yellow roses. She had a few yellow rose bushes outside of her bedroom window that she always took my picture in front of as a child. My mother also loves roses, of any kind and our home has several bushes. The entire length of the fence in our backyard is lined with rose bushes on one side. The morning after my grand mother's funeral, I was still terribly sad, it was also very cold outside. I was taking out the trash, when I noticed, in the middle of January, one solitary yellow rose on the first bush. I ran in the house to get my camera, and I took a few pictures. As I went back inside, it again struck me how cold it was outside, and I realized that as I stood there taking the pictures of the yellow rose, I had been warm. I believe that rose was sen tby God to comfort me, and that as I stood there, I wasn't cold because He had his arms around me.

  25. The Spirit of The Lord is all over your writings. I am so glad that you and Rick have chosen to walk this difficult road out to the fullest, and to His Great Glory. I remember when I first heard the news, and thought how will Rick go on with the show? It has all been so incredibly powerful of a witness. I appreciate your honesty, and just balled when you wrote, "This life for me is broken", but it is the truth in Christ that powerfully witnesses to others, and it's true, the world is watching. You and your family continue in my prayers. Debbie DeRubeis

  26. Sherri, I feel a bit insensitive writing you and asking you things but I feel you truly understand where I am. We lost our 25 month old little boy 4 weeks ago today. He died peacefully in his sleep and we await answers. I'm having a hard time with feeling the way I do and thinking it isn't going to get better. I don't know how to go from mourning and missing him to just missing him. I try to immerse myself in the word which helps but I'm afraid I'm doing this all wrong and not doing what my 10 year old daughter needs from me. She was like a mother to him and I don't want to screw her up. Heather, Abbeville, AL

  27. Sunday was seven weeks that our little man has been in the arms of Jesus. Sherry I am so glad you have the dragonflies to remember with. God has not given us that yet. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful reminder.

  28. Dear Heather, if it's only been one month, you don't need to do any transitioning just yet. I feel like my deep mourning lasted at least a year. The second year, I continued to mourn, and now starting my third year without Bronner, I'm just now beginning to see clearly. I really get excited thinking about the time I'm going to see him again, but you and I both have to think about the children we have left in this world. They need us. Our babies are in a perfect place with the only perfect person. The ones left here in this world are the ones who need us the most. We have to remember that. But, sweet mommy, don't think you have to get up and dust yourself off just yet. Give yourself some time. You can't be normal now, and your daughter knows that. She would think something was wrong if you weren't upset. Indeed, there would be something wrong. So, cry, cry, cry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I know I needed to. "Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you." (James 4:9-10) Let us not only cry because of this separation from our precious children (it's certainly not the worst thing that can happen, because in Christ, we know our separation is only temporary) but let us cry over the sin of the world and those who may never find true life and peace through our Lord, Jesus Christ. God bless you, Heather. I pray He will wrap his arms around you and hold you there in his righteous right hand. I pray for your protection against despair, and I pray you will one day have the why's all figured out. But, know this. God always has a reason. He is working something out in taking your baby that I guarantee is way bigger than you can imagine. And, don't doubt for a moment that this was God's plan, no matter how hard it is, for we know that not even a sparrow falls apart from the Lord. With love, Sherri+

  29. Jennifer, I pray the Lord will give you glimpses of heaven and messages from Him in whispers and dreams and signs, and that you will be sensitive to God's voice to know what He is saying to you. Listen and He will speak. "Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord." (1 Kings 19:11) God will speak to you in the sound of a low whisper... only after the wind, the earthquake, and the fire have passed. Your earth has quaked and the storm has raged upon you but you still have to pass through the fire. But listen, dear friend, and God will speak to you. This valley of the shadow of death where we tread is dark and weary, but, even still God is with us. His rod and his staff comfort. He will restore your soul and lead you in paths of righteousness for his name's sake, and even though your table has been taken away for a time, God will again anoint your head with oil, the oil of joy that comes only through the Holy Spirit of God. Again I say, listen and watch, for the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.

  30. Ricci, I don't doubt it one bit. I pray He is still keeping you warm in His arms. Sherri+

  31. Shauna, you've already made me smile:) That is all I need. Lots of love,

  32. Thanks for this post. I lost my father in Feb after a long hard fight with cancer. I read your blog and afterwards I thought about all the butterflies I had been seeing for the last few weeks. He always planted flowers that attracted I say a white one and I thougt it might be him taking a good look at his great-grandson that he loved so much. Braxton was his life he saw him everyday, Braxton is only 19 months I have pics of him and dad. I am sooo glad that he will be able to see him one day and maybe remember him. Braxton called him PAW and to this day he will walk in moms house and call for your family very much even though I don't know you on a personal level. God Bless you all!

  33. Thank you Sherri! I'm amazed at your ability to comfort others in the middle of your own agonizing grief. Thankfully, I've been blessed with much peace concerning Brandon's death. I don't worry so much about why but what happened b/c he was perfectly healthy. I know that I will see him again and I tell people that not seeing him again is NOT an option. God is working through him I know because several people have told us that b/c of this, they have reevaluated their relationship with God. Thank you again, you are a true inspiration. Heather

  34. Sherri-your ministry was not chosen by you. But,you and your family have accepted the challenges of the great loss and are continuing to be used by God. On the Sunday morning after Bronner's accident, we were in Sunday School. My husband & I have taught a couples class for many years. The lesson was on how the Devil works constantly to tear christians down and destroy our ministry whatever jobs we may have. I felt very led to bring up Rick & Bubba's show and how I believed that we should be in prayer for them and their show-because they are such a bold witness for Christ. I had no idea that y'all had lost Bronner the previous day as I had not had any news on the TV that morning, or read the newspaper. I brought it up during the discussion of the scriptures that I felt like we needed to pray for Rick & Bubba and one of our members asked me if I had not heard the news. I was so shocked and saddened. And, I felt like it would be an impossible obstacle to overcome. What a lesson I learned. After listening to Bubba on the first 'radio' day (Monday)after the accident, I knew that because HE lives, you all would be able to bear the pain, the shock and the fallout from the accident. I'm a long time listener (from back in the day-when Rick was solo at Q104) It's been a pleasure to listen to him 'grow up' in Christ. Thank you for being so open with all of us-as I said earlier-this was not your choice, but, you are being faithful and you are a wonderful Mother, wife and friend-this is so evident in your sweet testimony. Sherri J.

  35. Sherri -

    I hesitate to contact you, but the Lord has laid you on my heart.

    My friend's 2-yo daughter was killed in an accident this weekend. Undoubtedly you've heard about it - and I'm praying that you've somehow been able to contact her, or will be able to in the future. It would mean so much for her to have someone to walk this dark, dark road with her.

    I'm not sure how to contact you. . . . but I think you can reach me through my google profile.

    Thank you for sharing your walk with Jesus.

  36. Heather, yes, I know. I talked with Amber tonight. She gave me your number. I will call you soon. Brandi will need some time to just be before she talks to someone she doesn't know, but, yes, I definitely want to see her. She will make it. Get her Stephen Curtis Chapman's CD, Beauty Will Rise. It's about his little girl. I just think it will help her to realize that other people have walked where she's walking and have felt the pain she is feeling. You can feel Chapman's pain in every lyric of every song, but you also hear hope. That's what she needs to know right now... that there is hope. Sherri+

  37. Sherry, I too had a "dragonfly" story after we lost our precious baby girl, Layah, 06/2008. I was given a dragonfly necklace and a typed out story about a dragonfly. Here it is.

    The Dragonfly

    Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,
    there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
    beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
    with few disturbances and interruptions.

    Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
    their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
    would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their
    friend was dead, gone forever.

    Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
    to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would
    not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what
    he had found at the top.

    When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
    surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
    warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body
    changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
    blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
    designed for flying.

    So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
    new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
    known existed.

    Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking
    by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and
    explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
    before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

    But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could
    not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he
    understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
    know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off
    into his joyous new life!

    ~Author Unknown~

    It was just another hug from our Heavenly Father, reminding us that this is not our home. We will all be together again, those of us moms who have lost our sweet babies. Thank you for your ministry. It is our duty and responsibility, with His direction, to comfort others that begin to wear the shoes of a mother in grief. I too have a blog. I think I've mentioned it before,but just in case, here it is.

    Faithfully His,

    Mika shelfer

  38. Hey Sherri, just wanted to let you know that as I was fishing this morning, a blue dasher landed on my thigh. Don't know if that has significance for me in my situation but I thought of you.
    Heather, Abbeville, AL

  39. Mika, thank you so much for that story. I love it! Yes, I have read some of your blog before, so I remember you. Hope you are doing well. Lots of love, Sherri+

  40. Sherri: Hanging in my car right now is a beaded bookmarker with a dragonfly dangling from it. My good friend The Redhead made it for me -- a gift to remember her by, she said, not long before she died of breast cancer. Why a dragonfly, I asked. Because it has to leave the water to be what it was created to be, she said. Think of me whenever you see one.

  41. Sherri, there are so many things I would like to say to you. I guess most of all what an inspiration you have been to me.My son (Bo) went to be with Jesus at the age of 21, May 12 will be 4 years ago, very unexpected.He was a twin to my daughter (Stacey)who also lost her boyfriend and my son's best friend their senior year in high school.
    I feel so blessed to have had Bo with me for 21 years. Bo & Stacey were born at 26 weeks weighing in at 2 lbs 8 oz (Bo) and 1 lb 11oz (Stacey)
    I have ask the questions, why my son?, but then God ask me, "Why not"? I'm not any better than anyone else. If God gave His one and only Son then why not my son? Doesn't make me miss him any less but just knowing that one day I will see him again gives the comfort I need to carry on. That and my two daughters and three grand children.
    I don't want to sound selfish but please remember Bobby, my husband, and Stacey, Bo's twin, as they are not finding their comfort in God which does bring me much sadness.
    I do find comfort in my church family and their prayers and don't know what I would have done without them, they are such a blessing.
    Know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers since day one and will continue to be.
    Thanks for your firm stand in Jesus Christ
    Your sister in Christ
    Joyce Brockman

  42. This morning I went running and as I had my noise blocking headphones on my wife was very concerned about the heavy heart I've been under. Somhow, my running and screaming out at the top of my lungs out of shear frustration, got her attention. It wasn't meant to be heard, I was running around a mile track around our house. But she felt so bad for me because of the stress I'm under. After reading this...what stress? What stress could this even equate to when I think about my little 2 and 3 year old. I cannot thank you enough for you taking the time to write what God has put on your heart. The perspective you have been able to attain is one that only a person who can "see" what God has in store for us. One day, you will have your little Bronner in your amrs again. There is a son called, "When God ran"... I can only imagine you seeing Bronner for the first time in heaven...and he's running to see you. My wife said this morning, "I'm sorry this made you cry" I responded, "It's a good cry". So this is what women mean :)


  43. Sherri, my name is Joyce Pate from Reform, Al. My daughter, Heather McEachern, was in an automobile accident May 15, 2008 and passed away May 24, 2008. She was was 31 years old. She remained in a coma and did not wake up. She had severe head trauma, every bone in her face broken and C2 and C3 broken. I can still remember the call I received the morning she had her wreck, the time and place I was at. I did not give up hope, I just knew God was going to heal her. I did not give up until she took her last breath and then I still did not give up because I just knew God was going to heal her. At first I was angry, did not think I could go on. But by the grace of God and many prayers I am finally able to smile and not feel like my heart is broken. My Heather was a beautiful girl and loving girl. Just listening to Rick on the radio and your blog has really helped me. I don't know what people do that do not have God in their life, how could they go through something like this without him. I love your story about the dragonflies. My story is about yellow butterflies. The day that I was able to go and pick out her headstone, I stopped by Heather's grave and told her I was trying to pick out a very special one for her and out of nowhere a yellow butterfly flew right in front of me and I looked and it was gone. Now everytime I see a yellow butterfly I know that is God letting me know she is okay and she has begun her new life in Heaven with him. Like Rick said during Bronner's service God loves our children more than we do, which is hard to imagine and needs them more than we do. I pray God continues to bless you and your family. I could go on and on about my Heather. I also lost my brother, Terry Criswell July 27, 2009. He was a minister and he performed Heather's funeral and so many people told us what a sweet and touching service it was. I also have another daughter, Alison Parks and she has 2 children. I thank God for his loving mercy and grace and one day I know I will be able to hold my baby Heather again and was a beautiful and joyful day that will be. May God continue to bless you and your faimily.

  44. Dear Sherry,

    I know I have never met you, but you were on my mind and heart just this weekend. While spending time at a pond on my family's land in Grove Hill, AL, you were on my mind. I was enjoying the day with my 6 year old little boy, and all of a sudden, a baby blue dasher came and landed on my fishing pole. Now, after reading your post, and your hopes for your Bronner to learn to fish and the connection you have with these special creatures, I lost my breath! As much as I love my son, I couldn't imagine what you feel. Not only was that dasher the most beautiful baby blue, it also landed on my fishing pole, and I immeidately prayed for you. Thank you for your testimony and your faith. You and Rick are wonderful lights in this dark world! You are in my prayers!


  45. I somehow ended up here. I was an intern at the R&B show in the spring of 2012 (Intern Taylor Swift). It was a wonderful experience to go to a job where group prayer started the day. I listen every morning as I sit at my corporate job that does not start with group prayer. Through Rick's telling of Bronner's story, I learned a lot spiritually while interning. I was raised in church, but so many things seem to be overlooked unless you read the bible for yourself - we can't depend on church for our relationship with Christ. I have enjoyed listening to your book journey, and I plan to read the book soon. The dragonfly story I just read, gave me chills. The kind that only come when you know you have just heard something that came straight from the Holy Spirit. Our life begins with Christ. We must all find our purpose in Him and walk it out. That is certainly what you and your family has done. You and Rick have impacted my life with your obedience.