Episode 14: Cheryl Schuermann and Finding Our Extraordinary God in the Ordinary Parts of Life

Show Notes/Transcript:

Terrie (00:39):

Welcome to “Everyday Discipleship Every Day,” where we discuss discipleship in the 21st century, guided by biblical discipleship, a Christian worldview, and individual needs while focusing on discipling our children as well. I am your host, Terrie Hellard Brown, and if you aren’t aware, I’ve begun putting my discipleship book chapter by chapter on my blog, and there you can download it for free. It’s totally open for anyone to download. I’m just wanting to offer it to people and I would appreciate your comments and questions. If you have any questions or you, if you think of something that maybe I need to include in the chapter, if we do decide to publish the book at some point, I would really appreciate your input on that, and you can do that on the blog post. There’s a place where you can comment, or you can email me if you would like to as well.

Terrie (01:32):

But all of that is available on my website, which is TerrieHellardBrown.com. So today I have a really special guest and she is an author and speaker and she and her husband have been in ministry for over 25 years, and they have really worked at talking about building family culture and discipling our children and grandchildren. So I’m very excited for her to share with us today. Her name is Cheryl Schuermann, and let’s join the conversation now. I’m so glad to introduce you to our guest today. Cheryl Schuermann is a writer and speaker, and she and her husband have been in ministry for many years talking about family and discipleship. So Cheryl, thank you for joining us today.

Cheryl (02:18):

Thank you, Terrie. I’m so happy to be here with you.

Terrie (02:22):

Well, let’s start out by talking about where your heart is. Let’s talk about the family and how to help disciple the next generation.

Cheryl (02:31):

Well, that’s exactly where my heart is, and the books that I have written concerning families and children are all about building a culture of faith in the home, and we want to end up where when our children reach 18 or whenever they leave our home, they walk out that door. They know what righteousness looks like, they know what faith looks like. So when they see unrighteousness, when they see sin, they recognize it immediately. So that’s, that’s the overall goal in building a heritage for our children that we leave not just stuff, but that we leave significant relationships and understanding of who God is and who they are.

Terrie (03:20):

So let’s go ahead and mention your first book that you wrote with your husband, because this speaks directly to this topic. What is that one called?

Cheryl (03:29):

Raising Kids for Tomorrow’s World: 12 Keys to Preserving the Faith. We based this book, this was our pandemic book, we call it, because when we were relegated to being home a lot more during that year or two, we decided to write this book. We’ve been in ministry with parents mentoring and teaching parents for over 25 years now at our local church. Just hundreds of parents have gone through our classes on Sunday mornings, and so we decided to pull everything together and we chose 1st Thessalonians 2, where the apostle Paul is talking to his spiritual children in the Thessalonian Church, and he just lays out exactly what he did to encourage them, to teach them, to build them up in the faith. He begins with, “I had boldness.” Well, that’s where parents need to start. They need to be bold in the faith.

Cheryl (04:36):

They need to know what they believe and how they can impart that to their children, so this book was written not only for individuals, but also for small groups. So we wrote it with 36 very short chapters, 3 chapters for each of the 12 keys that God gave us out of 1st Thessalonians 2:1-14, and we included questions, discussion questions, questions for reflection. So small groups have enjoyed this book because it gives them, number one, parents don’t have a lot of time to read, so you ask them to read a 30-page chapter before a community meeting, and often they can’t get that done, so the chapters are short with really good questions and quotes and research. So that’s Raising Kids for Tomorrow’s World.

Terrie (05:35):

Okay. And also, I noticed that we can read it for free right now. It is on Kindle Unlimited, if you have that, so parents can check that out for free even. So definitely go to Amazon and check that out and see if it would work for your small group or your church. I think that would be amazing. And you know, we talk a lot about discipling our kids, but we need to know how, how to do that, and so this is one book that could really help us have exactly what we’re looking at and how we can step into that with confidence. Okay, as we’re building our family culture, what would you say would be, I know you have the 12 keys, but what would be one thing, or two things we could take away today to help start building that culture we need to build a culture of nurturing faith and discipleship?

Cheryl (06:24):

Well, if I could, and I can go through them quickly, but I’ve boiled it down to five.

Terrie (06:30):

Okay.

Cheryl (06:31):

Five steps to preparing our children for a life of faith in a world that will fight them all along the way more often than not, but when we make disciples, we have to use the ordinary moments that we have every single day. My husband and I raised four sons. We spent a lot of time outside, like outside, everybody out, and we just enjoyed the outdoors and being in God’s creation, and we have a farm outside of a rural town in Oklahoma, and it’s not really a working farm, but it’s 155 acres of playground and one horse in a big farmhouse where we host family and ministry group, but while cruising around our farm, we sometimes discover rusty pieces of random neglected metal, and one of our most curious finds is an old piece of farm equipment. It’s nearly hidden. It was nearly hidden in the woods and there were briars all around it and coils that barbed wire.

Cheryl (07:43):

But we approached it just to see what is this like? And it was an Alice Chalmers harvester. Now we could see that a lot of it was rusted and corroded, but some parts of it’s still gleaned and they gleam to this day. Well, this harvester we estimate has not been used since the 30s or 40s, so what makes the difference between this metal on the harvester that’s gleaming shiny and this metal that is covered with rock and corroded from the elements? It’s that some of that metal was galvanized. It was galvanized, and it was galvanized early on. I could say as at an early age, it was galvanized for longevity. It was galvanized, covered with a protective coating to protect it against the elements, and we know that this world wages a continuous war. Right. A continuous attack on the mettle of our children’s character and their fate, and Paul told us in Romans 12:2, he said, “Outside influences will pressure us to conform.”

Cheryl (08:51):

So when we looked at the 12 keys to preserving the faith, and I think about other ways that we teach our children every day in every ordinary experience, every ordinary day, and I know you use the Deuteronomy 6 passages when you rise up and when you lie down. I mean, what that says is this needs to be continually on our minds as parents and grandparents, but how can we preserve our minds against the corrosive elements that are out there and that are coming at us fast and furious? We have to have our minds so trained in the truth. That they seem to be galvanized against the power of untruth.

Terrie (09:35):

That’s good.

Cheryl (09:37):

And for some children, this protective or this covering of truth will protect them from a life of wandering. They may not wander far. For others who wander far from the truth and follow the life of a prodigal God can use the word implanted in them as a young age at a young age to bring them to himself, and one of my favorite people from the past is John Newton, who lived in the 1700s. He passed away in 1807, but he is most probably most known as the author of the song, Amazing Grace, and what’s interesting about his life is up until the age of seven, he lived with his mother and she taught him the truth of scripture. He knew Jesus, he knew who God was, he knew who he was in the faith, but she passed away when he was seven, and he went to live with his father who was a sea captain.

Cheryl (10:29):

And as a teenager he became a peddler of humans. He carried hundreds of slaves from Africa to England, and here’s how he described himself. He said, “I’m a ringleader in blasphemy and wickedness.” But he was caught in a typhoon and God got his attention, and he recalled. He says he recalled the teachings of his mother when he was young. The galvanizing process he received as a child and he turned back to Christ, and of course he was a pastor in England for what, 40 years. A long time. I mean, God called him to ministry, and he was a pastor in England for over four decades. So just as some metal is coated with a protective covering to protect against the harsh elements, he was galvanized in the truth and he received God’s amazing grace. Well, overall, that’s kind of the big picture that I see for our children. We must prepare them at a young age so that when they are tempted, when they go out into the world, they go, “You know what, this doesn’t look right to me because I know what’s true.”

Terrie (11:41):

And I think the difference I’ve seen, and I was talking on one of my episodes recently that’s going to, that’s actually airing today with a mom whose three daughters are deconstructing, and we realized as we were going through the conversation, or she’s probably realized it before then, but as we were going through that conversation, a lot of what she taught was more, don’t do this. You need to look right. You need to look like the part of a Christian rather than really building the word of God itself into our children, and I compare that to another interview I had on my other podcast with this pastor who they read scripture every day and he said one day his son was sick and he just said, son, you know, would you want me to- he said, dad, read me some scripture, and he’s like, what would you like me to read?

Terrie (12:34):

And he knew exactly the psalm that was speaking his heart. He was lamenting, he was in pain, he didn’t feel good, and he said, can you read this psalm? And it just really ministered to the dad to realize the word of God was so in his son’s life that he knew exactly what scripture to go to when he was hurting, and I thought, that’s the difference. So many of us have been teaching our children just character qualities, and how to look the part and act the part rather than building that knowledge of God’s word because that’s alive, that’s real, and that’s what’s going to help us, like you said, galvanize what’s going to help us understand the difference between right and wrong without a mom or dad or pastor standing there saying, no, no, no, don’t do this or do that, and I think we’ve missed the mark sometimes because we’re too busy teaching lessons rather than verses.

Cheryl (13:31):

Right. Exactly. And I think there are, in my mind, there are five, I boiled it down, I couldn’t talk about 12, but it has to start with their children understanding there’s a creator God who created them, and we can’t be swayed by the people who say they’ll figure it out. I’m just going to let them figure it out on their own. I’m a reading specialist. If I had just plunked a stack of books in the middle of a table in a classroom and said, you guys go to it, figure out how to read. Now, a handful may have figured it out eventually, but most would not. They need that systematic instruction, and one thing we have done with our grandchildren, and we did with our own children is, like I said, we spent a lot of time outdoors, but sunsets, bugs, I mean, all of God’s creation is so incredible.

Cheryl (14:27):

The wild flowers, people laugh who come to visit us at the farm. They think, oh, Schuermanns really like bones, don’t they? It may sound kind of morbid, but what, every time we take a hike, our grandchildren typically show up with their pockets bulging with animal bones and teeth, and they may be carrying a skull and they dump them out on the table on the front porch and they sort them. I think this is a leg bone. I think this is, you know, look at these eye sockets in this bobcat skull. They’re fascinated, but they know it was from a creator God, and they learn so much, and so yes, Schuermann kids love bones, but they know that it all fits together, and they start to understand how God’s creation fits together. There are animals who roam that roam at night. There are animals who are active during the day, and God divided that day and night, and he divided those animals and those critters so that we could all live together.

Cheryl (15:37):

And it’s really beautiful when they understand it, but that’s where it has to start. You know, when we look at the pillars of theology, origin, where did I even come from? And morality, meaning and destiny, origin has to come first. Because if they don’t believe they’re created by a holy God, then really what meaning does meaning have? I mean, what’s the purpose of their life? And what right and wrong doesn’t mean as much either, and that is so much what we see in our culture today is if people do not believe they were created by a holy God, then that’s where it starts going downhill. But if you believe that, then everything in your life is oriented to that belief. So teach them about the creator and about creation, and then we had an experience at, when we were building the farmhouse that we built it in 2016 on this land that we’d hiked and fished on for decades.

Cheryl (16:46):

We decided to build a farmhouse, and when they were getting ready to frame it, all these huge semis pull in onto the land and to the construction site, and they set down these massive pallets aboard and to frame this house, and so when the crews were ready to begin, they had a couple options. They could go freelance and say, “Hmm, let’s build something really, really fun today,” you know, we’ll put this board here and attach this one to it here, and they could start constructing it any which way according to their whim, or they could follow the plan of the designer. And so for our children to not only understand who they are, how they were created by a holy God, they have to understand God’s grand plan, and that God has a plan for their life, and he wants it to be put together properly.

Cheryl (17:40):

He wants the pieces to fit together and make sense. He doesn’t want it just to be willy-nilly, whatever you want to believe. Like you take a little of this and a little of that, and you construct your own theology. RC Sproul said many times, everyone is a theologian, and what he means is you either believe what God says in the holy scripture, or you construct your own, and which way will give you a strong structure, a structure that will be able to withstand the storms. And the winds we’re in Oklahoma, the storms and the winds that we had one in the middle of the night last night, but our children need so much bracing. Stan and I always laugh when we see these homes just going up, the framing, just going up, and we call them an adolescent house because I love that some of the pieces are going up, but there’s, there are no tresses, no rafters, no roof yet.

Cheryl (18:36):

And so you see all of these boards going all different which ways. That’s the bracing. And our children need constant bracing. You know, how do we understand this? How do we understand when our puppy doesn’t make it? How do we understand when we lose a little brother or sister and they pass away? And how do we understand those things? So all of that bracing that parents and grandparents provide will help build that strong structure, and do they know how to run to the rock for refuge? You know, God says in Malachi, “I the Lord do not change.” I can’t name one thing in my life that doesn’t change from one minute to the next. You know, my hair looks different from one day to the next. I mean, everything around me changes, but God says, I don’t change, so that’s why he’s called the rock, and do our children understand that? And do they know when I’m scared, when I’m stressed, when I don’t know what to do, I can go to God. He can be my refuge.

Terrie (19:45):

Recently we lost two puppy dogs. We had two dogs, and both of them, one got out and she’s just gone, but she was quite old. They both were about 15 years old, and the one who got out, she was losing her eyesight and hearing and had doggy dementia, which I didn’t know was a thing, but apparently it is, and so I don’t know if she just lost her way or what, but we never let them out. So she, someone had left the gate open who came into the backyard, and anyway, so she was gone, and so we thought her sister was grieving because she stopped eating, and we took her to the vet, gave her some medicine, and that didn’t help. We took her back to the vet and they found cancer, and so she suffered along for a couple days, and she was starving to death because she just couldn’t eat. The cancer was in her stomach and in her spleen.

Terrie (20:38):

And so we had to put her to sleep. Well, that was tough on all of us. Of course, they’d been in our family for 15 years. My kids had, they were my own kids’ only pets they’d ever had, and then right at that same time, my dear aunt passed away, and so we had, and I know it seems silly to lump an ant with dogs, but it was all part of, just for me, as I was grieving, realizing how different each loss made the world feel different, and I remember when my mom passed away thinking the world is just not the same without her here, and I just felt, you just feel like you’re constantly reframing what the world is, whether it’s COVID or losing someone or whatever, but in the midst of my grief the other day, it was like God reminded me that he’s the same and that he is here.

Terrie (21:31):

And that part of my world, my personal world never changes because he is always there walking with me, and that gave me such comfort because it just, there’s just so much grief in just losing that personality, even a dog’s personality from my world, losing that person, that personality. I don’t know how to explain it any better, but it just, I was just so devastated by it all, and it was like recognizing that God is still here and he is still the same, and that was exactly the verse that he brought to my mind to comfort me during that time and recognizing that he never changes, that our relationship is always solid, that he’s not going to disappear, and that’s what keeps us going through life. Even with all the craziness and the changes in culture, the changes in family dynamic, the changes in losing someone. For me, that’s just such a key verse to help our kids understand that no matter what we’re going through, God is reliable. God is the rock, like you said, that we can stand on what, it’s such an important lesson. And I don’t think we think about that very often when talking to our kids. But that is such an important key.

Cheryl (22:51):

It really is. And you know, we were saying earlier about we can lay out the rules for our kids. We can tell them, do this, don’t do that. This is right, this is wrong, but we have to show them Jesus.

Terrie (23:09):

Yeah.

Cheryl (23:09):

We have to show them Jesus, and if we don’t give, if we give them religion, but not a living vital savior, they can easily walk away from that.

Terrie (23:23):

Yeah.

Cheryl (23:24):

And one of my favorite passages is in Acts 4 and Peter and John were preaching in teaching and healing, and with the people and the leaders were just, who are these guys? You know, they’re uneducated, they’re, where did they get this? And verse 13 says, now, when they saw the boldness, there’s that word boldness of Peter and John and perceived, they were uneducated common men. They were astonished, and they recognized they had been with Jesus, and I thought, oh wow. Will my grandchildren now look at me and say, “I know where she’s been.” Grammy’s been with Jesus. I can tell because of the wisdom that she shares with us, because of her countenance, because of her joy in the midst of trial. I just love that, and I think about that every day. If someone looks at me, will they think that woman’s been with Jesus just like Peter and John? It was recognized because the evidence was all over them. That’s what we want to leave our children. That’s the heritage we want to leave our children. That Christianity is more than just doing all the things. It’s having that relationship with Christ.

Terrie (24:48):

So let’s go back through a little bit here. The first thing is to help them understand they have a creator, and they were created with purpose.

Cheryl (24:56):

I kind of roared through those, Terrie, teaching about God’s grand plan for mankind and how all the pieces fit together like the framed house. How they go together to make a strong…

Terrie (25:06):

Okay. And then what else? Remind me.

Cheryl (25:08):

The third one, teach them how to run to the rock. The rock that never changes for refuge. I did skip the fourth one, and we can’t skip it. The fourth is, teach them how to pray.

Terrie (25:18):

Oh, good.

Cheryl (25:19):

And one thing we realize is every time we pray before our children over them, in front of them, we’re teaching theology.

Terrie (25:28):

That’s true.

Cheryl (25:28):

We’re teaching them how to praise, how to bring requests to God. We’re teaching them what it means to do intercessory prayer. Charles Spurgeon, I love what he says about that. He says, intercessory prayer is like a powerful engine in our hands. Do we pray for others every day when we have, when we feel like we have the king’s ear, do we bring the needs of others before him? And so we teach them to pray in five, we show them Jesus and we show them Jesus in who we are as believers and people of faith. We show them Jesus by teaching them about grace. What does it mean to have unmerited favor, spontaneous blessings from the God who has this massive storehouse where stuff never runs out. Like in my pantry, never runs out. It’s always there, always available for those who seek it. It’s never exhausted. And do we show them Jesus by sowing good seeds, by serving others, taking them along with us? You know, no one really likes to be told what to do, but most people, most children like to be invited to come along. So going to deliver meals on wheels or doing any kind of service in the community to invite children to go with us, we’re showing them the love of Christ. Those are the five.

Terrie (26:59):

That’s wonderful. What would you say is the difference being a parent or a grandparent? Because we do want to influence our grandchildren, but I know some people have expressed to me that they don’t want to overstep, especially if their children are not following Christ. How can a grandparent then build into their grandchildren’s lives without overstepping? Do you have any advice for that?

Cheryl (27:28):

Well, God gives us a commission and he says, teach it to your children and your children’s children and the generations that follow. So we have a calling now. Do we have a number of challenges? Absolutely. Long distance, grandparenting, estranged relationships, divorce blended families. There are so many challenges, but the calling remains the same and the urgency remains the same, and so the mindset that my husband and I have is that we are associates of our children as they raise their children, and we are available, and we support what they are doing in raising their children, and we provide kind of a different kind of stability. Our home is always open to them anytime we’re available, and we have developed relationships, so we feel our role is to pray. Pray faithfully for each one. We have 13 grandchildren, so sometimes that takes a while, but 13 grandchildren from ages 9 to 21.

Cheryl (28:42):

We have four now in college, and so we pray a lot for them. We also work hard at developing relationships with each one, and as we develop those relationships, then we have more and more opportunities to build, to be with them, to build traditions, just be more a part of their lives and be available to them, and we are a refuge to them when they need that. Now, not to pull them away from the parents by any means, but we are an additional constant and source of stability, and we model as we’re instructed in Hebrews and in Timothy, to model the outcome of a believing life. What does a believing life look like? So when these kids go out into the world that believing life is, they know that is best, that that works better than a lot of the life they see out there.

Cheryl (29:47):

And so we work hard to model that. What does it look like? What does marriage look like? How does one stick with marriage? And then they’ll ask a lot of questions. Now, the older ones about, well, how did you raise my dad? We have four sons, so we we’re just, I was a four boy mom, but I grew up with three brothers, so I had a little practice as a teenager, but how did you do that? Grammy and Papa. And so they’re at the point now, the older ones where they’re asking us, what decisions did you make along the way to decide to live this way?

Terrie (30:26):

Yeah.

Cheryl (30:27):

Because there’s such joy. Even in sorrow, we lost, said goodbye to all four of our parents. They’re all with the Lord now, but all four of our parents in five years, and that was a rough five years, and my mother had Alzheimer’s disease, so I was her person attached side by side for that five years also, but they’ve watched us trust God in a number of tough situations, and so we model for them what that looks like, what a life of faith looks like.

Terrie (31:05):

Great. So I do want to talk about, you’ve got a brand new book coming out that I think is just going to be wonderful. You talked about the farm and I’m sure that’s what inspired this book. Tell us about your new book.

Cheryl (31:21):

Well, this is my debut devotional, so beautiful, and Farmhouse Devotions: God’s glory in the Ordinary, and so this is just what we’ve been talking about. How do we see God’s power, his creativity, his truth in the sticktights that stick all over the kids’ clothing when they’re standing at the horse corral, and I can tell where you’ve been, you’ve been with jazz the horse, but just so many different things that God taught us in this process of building a farmhouse, and our goal of building a place that was comfortable, a place where our family and others would have a sense of heritage and a sense of God’s presence, and I never really entertained since I, this is my fifth published book, but I never really entertained the thought of writing a devotional until I met the church doors, and in the 80s, my father-in-law, their church there in Perry, Oklahoma, was demolished to make room for new construction because it was, I think just such an expense to keep it up, but he rescued many doors from the old church and put them in a shed at the farm, and after he passed away, my husband and sons found them, pulled them all out, and we realized we have the front doors to the church with the original hardware, big brass handles built in the 1920s. These doors had people come through them during the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War people seeking truth and comfort in God’s word and fellowship with other believers. That’s what those doors experienced, and they’re now the front doors to our farmhouse.

Terrie (33:25):

Wow.

Cheryl (33:26):

And so time and time again, I just heard God speaking to me and saying, there are a lot of lessons here for you, Cheryl, I hope you’re listening. So we built the farmhouse as a 1920s style farmhouse kind of to speak to our heritage, our families, our grandmother’s homes, except it’s much larger because we have a lot of people and we invite ministry groups to come and join us at the farm, but that’s where it all began, and so there are 60 days of devotions. The artwork is amazing. Stan is an artist, and he has 9, 10 illustrated full page drawings in here. Farm inspired drawings. And it will be available, the formal launch date is May 22nd.

Terrie (34:19):

That’s awesome. Well, I can’t wait to read it. I think it’s going to be wonderful. Thank you. And you mentioned beforehand, can we talk about what you’re working on right now with your husband, the new series? Or is that still a secret?

Cheryl (34:31):

You know, our natural progression here is to get grandparenting and maybe look at it in kind of a… We just want to be very encouraging to grandparents. So we are outlining a three book series for grandparents that will be divided by age group, and so building the foundation birth through 12 years old grandparenting teens. Lots of changes there. It changes. And grandparenting young adults, which we are in all three stages right now with our 13 grandchildren. So we’re very excited about this project. And right now we’re in the outline stages, yet we have a lot of content already ready to plug in. We used to have a blog, and so we have a lot of content already that we can use and then to add to, and just, we’re just seeking God’s wisdom.

Terrie (35:28):

Let us know when you have those coming out, because we want to let people know about that. That would be great. Well, I thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. I’ve been very blessed by the things you’ve shared, and I know our listeners will be blessed too, and I think you’ve given us a lot to think about and to apply as we step into these next weeks in helping our kids know Christ and see Christ, and I think it is very practical and really good, so thank you so much.

Cheryl (36:01):

Thank you. Well, I don’t think we have any greater work, Terrie.

Terrie (36:04):

We really don’t. That’s right.

Cheryl (36:06):

Launching these children into the world as God’s ambassadors and just filling them with such a sense of who God is and who they are that they want.

Terrie (36:16):

And then they can step into that same boldness that we’re called to have, and we can see God use them in amazing, amazing ways.

Cheryl (36:23):

Thank you, Terrie. I really enjoyed our visit.

Terrie (36:27):

I enjoyed it too. Thank you. I’m so glad you joined us today. I hope this conversation blessed you and gave you some practical points that you can apply to your life even today as you’re talking to your children about God. I love that she challenged us to be in God’s presence and in His words, so that people can see that we know Jesus and that our children can see that as well. It’s a powerful thing, having God’s word in our lives, spending time with God in prayer. People can tell the difference, and if you’re feeling a little unprepared for discipling your own children or anyone else, that’s the way to do it, is just spend time with Jesus and let him work in our lives. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t live a perfect life, but we know the one who is perfect and who does have all the answers, and that’s the key, is showing them Jesus. Our prayer is that we can obey Jesus’ command to make disciples as we reach and equip this generation of believers to reach and equip the next generation of believers to follow Christ with their whole hearts, with everyday discipleship every day.

4 thoughts on “Episode 14: Cheryl Schuermann and Finding Our Extraordinary God in the Ordinary Parts of Life”

    1. Yes, it’s so important especially in a culture than increasingly calls good, bad and what’s bad, good. I loved the wisdom Cheryl shared and encouraged us with.

    1. I love Farmhouse Devotions too. We will have Cheryl back when her grandparenting books come out. We can’t wait! 🙂 Thank you for listening and commenting. Have a great day!

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