Cheryl Shumake

I was married to Richard Chenault for 17 years from August 1987, through October 2004.  Fifteen and a half of those years were good, to my estimation.  However, so much damage was done during the final year and half of the marriage that it nearly wiped out all memory of any good times we had.  Thankfully, there is a lasting, and most precious reminder of those times, my brilliant, funny, and God-fearing 17 year old daughter, Kayla.  Kayla and I survived a completely surprising, perplexing and often frightening situation, including Richard’s remarriage one month after our divorce was final, by leaning solely upon the Lord for direction, healing, and trusting that He would take care of us.  I remember one morning late in the divorce process crying out to the Lord about my husband.  The Lord God spoke these words into my heart, “Cheryl, turn to Isaiah 54.”  I turned to that chapter and my eyes landed on the verse that became my life line during this time period:  The Lord your Maker, the Holy One of Israel, HE is your husband (emphasis mine).  The Lord told me then and there that He would take care of me, make provision for me, protect me, and be more than everything a husband should be to me.  He went on to say that He may send a husband to bless me but no one would ever love me the way He does.  It was then that I began to truly lose myself in the love and peace that God offers each of us.

At that point I had been married my entire adult life, having married my junior year in college, so I made up my mind to embrace this time of being single, raising my daughter, falling deeper in love with the Lord and learning all about Cheryl.  I believe in marriage, and believed that God has someone for me but I was not going to bring in men ‘over my daughter’ so to speak. I had developed a five year game plan that would coincide with my daughter graduating high school.  God, on the other hand, had other plans in mind for us.  In December 2006, an old friend from high school contacted me. This friend, having been divorced for 5 years, had told the Lord that He was sick of dating and if God has someone for Him, He was just going to have to send her.  That was October, 2006.  Two months later he got a call from a mutual friend who had found me on classmates .com.  Though Jonathan had been searching for years, and though I had been on that site for years, it was only at that time I was located.  Jonathan emailed me and we began an old-fashioned courtship.  Feelings developed rather quickly for both of us but through it all we kept praying and seeking God and God kept confirming that we were headed in the right direction.

June, 2007 Kayla and I had to weather another devastating loss when the plane her father was on crashed in Lake Michigan, killing him and 5 other men on a UM Transplant run.  Jonathan, who I was now officially dating, was absolutely wonderful. He lent his shoulder and arms of protection for both me and Kayla – giving us room to grieve as we saw fit.  His unselfish friendship and love opened my heart to him in a myriad ways.  I remember thinking then, “Lord if this man asks me to marry him, I’m going to say YES!”  Three months later he did just that and 7 months after that we were married in front of 100 witnesses in a beautiful ceremony on a gorgeous spring day.   

Though Jonathan can in no way love me like the Lord does, God has blessed me with a man who lives out each day what he told me throughout our courtship, “I am here for you.”  His love, protection, care, friendship, and support have blessed both my life and Kayla’s beyond measure.  I am so loved and celebrated in my marriage, I feel like a little girl who gets her fondest wish come true every day.  We are still dealing with some fallout from the past but Jonathan’s acceptance and encouragement for me to soar has released some wonderful things in my life. I have since written two books due out at the end of this year, started a ministry (we’re having our first conference in January), expanded my family, and have obtained real lasting peace and joy. Most importantly, through it all I have learned to stand on these truths … God is who He says He is, God will do what He says He will do, Every promise God has spoken to you WILL come to pass … No Matter What!

Jonathan and Cheryl Wedding Day