Sherry does not fit the stereotype of a homeless person. But then again, Sherry will tell you, most of the homeless people she has met along the way don’t fit that stereotype either.
A mother of 8 and grandmother to 10, Sherry found herself homeless and living at the Nashville Rescue Mission. As a way of coping with her situation, she chronicled her time by writing a blog about her life as a “homeless grandmother.”
“My grandchildren call me Nana B,” shares Sherry. “I miss my family, but I’m fiercely independent and don’t want to depend on them to provide for me.”
Sherry was born in 1953 in Charleston, IL. Her father came from a wealthy family and her mother was a model, but both were still quite young when she was born. At the age of 12, Sherry made a profession of faith. She met her husband when she was 17 and in 1971 they got married.
“I had spent most of my life trying to be a good Christian,” says Sherry. “Despite attending Evangelical Institute School of Biblical Training and Appalachian Bible College I still felt very lost. In 1978, I finally understood the difference between Jesus being my Lord, not just my Savior. It changed everything for me. The Lord showed me I was self-centered. I went through a major transformation.”
Divorced & Displaced
By 1981, 10 years after graduating high school, Sherry was pregnant with her fifth child. She was a dedicated wife and mother. In 1994, Sherry suffered a devastating blow, divorcing after 23 years of marriage. This was followed by 2 rebound marriages and subsequent divorces.
“God moved me out of those situations,” says Sherry. “It eventually got to the point where I knew I had to choose Christ first and foremost. I started trusting Him for everything.”
Through all of this, Sherry became a displaced homemaker. With so many new people entering the workforce, Sherry looked at other ways to increase her opportunities for employment. She attended secretarial school, as well Greenville Technical School.
“God has continued to bless me,” shares Sherry. “Each time I have needed something, whether it was schooling, a job, a car or even food, God has provided.”
Hiking the Trail
Sherry eventually went to live with her son Robert, his wife Maxine and their 3 kids. After 14 months, Sherry felt like it was time to move on. Despite not having a car, Sherry said, “I have 2 feet, so I can walk.”
“My sons are very protective of me,” says Sherry. “I knew the only way I could get them on board with my leaving, was if it was on an adventure. So I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. I started working out at the YMCA and honing my camping skills so I’d be prepared.”
After a couple of months of working out, preparing and researching, Sherry started on her hike. In the days she was on the trail, Sherry had a scare with what might have been a deer or even possibly a bear outside of her tent. She also was told of a woman who had been killed in the area 2 years earlier. Both served as signs that perhaps hiking the Trail wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The Road to Tennessee
“I started seeking God’s direction and through a series of events, He led me to Tennessee,” says Sherry. “I didn’t know anyone here, but I was trusting God and believing He had a plan for me in Nashville.”
Along the way, Sherry worked as a freelance writer, as well as a staff writer for several newspapers in Tennessee and North Carolina. Without a car, a steady job and a dwindling supply of money, Sherry found her way to the Nashville Rescue Mission.
“I want to be used by the Lord,” says Sherry. “I have no idea what His plan is, but I am trusting Him for my every need. I am grateful for all I’ve received from the Mission.”
It’s your generosity that makes it possible to provide a hot meal and a safe place to rest for those seeking help here each and everyday. This compassion and care provides hope to the hopeless and lets them know they are loved by God.