Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 11, 2012

Fleeting moments: Keeping faith, seeking guidance

By Pauline Sherrer

CROSSVILLE — Thank you for expressing your appreciation for my breast cancer story.

Taking Paul Harvey’s words, “Here is the rest of the story.”

Growing up, I had a stay-at-home mom and dad who both worked in our family grocery store and Gulf Service Station, which was attached to the front of our home on Hwy. 82 in Strong, AR. I never really had any problems or issues with life. School was fun and my mother made sure I kept my A average all through high school. She never really had to make me study; I wanted to make A’s.

In 1981, my family and late husband, Perry, moved to Crossville, TN. Tragedy struck and Perry passed away in 1984 due to kidney failure resulting in a heart attack. That is when my secure family was turned upside down. I didn’t know all the “hows” of running a newspaper while raising three children. It was more than I could understand and mentally handle.

I sat in my office at the Chronicle, which was located next to the vacant publisher’s office, looking over the past due bills and payroll that must be met soon, knowing more dollars were needed to meet the expenses. I could not bring myself to move into Perry’s office for many  months. 

Then, one of my sales reps came into my office and informed me that it appeared we would be losing our largest revenue producing account.

Well, as they say, “rock bottom” just occurred. Late into the night after the newspaper office had closed for the day, I looked over at my little eight-year-old daughter sleeping on my couch with tears streaming down my face not knowing how we were going to make payroll and pay the bills any longer once we lost this major account.

I cried out loud, “Lord, you have to help me, I do not know how to do this, run this newspaper and raise these three children all by myself. You know my family is not here to help me! You have to help me!”

I gathered my sleeping little girl up and we went home to the older children. They had already gone to bed.

I came back to work the next day with a smile on my face, not wanting anyone at the newspaper to know the severity of our financial situation, and the worst was yet to come.

In the middle of that afternoon, the sales rep that had brought that horrible news said, “we will not be losing that account after all. The manger of the store called and said that he had changed his mind and he would stick with us!”     

I looked at my sales reps with tears in my eyes saying, “Praise the Lord! I just want you to know that last night I cried out to the Lord for help, and he has answered my prayers. The Lord has given us another chance with this account. You had better work with him and keep him happy with our newspaper!” She replied, “Yes,  ma’am!”

Through the years, I have seen the Lord’s hand working in my life and being there to pick me up and lead me down different paths, giving me wisdom that I knew came from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One day, once again, I voiced out loud, “Lord, why have you been so good to me?”

Then , I remembered it was some 32 years earlier in my life, I could see this little girl, me, kneeling and crying at the alter in the Assembly of God Church where my Grandmother Geneva Simmons attended faithfully. My parents kept the grocery and service station opened seven days a week, and grandmother would take me to church with her. I could see in my mind this little girl inside this little white wood church with Pastors Brother and Sister Roland putting their arms around me asking if I was OK and others saying “why is she crying?” I realized and I knew that was the day I was saved and the Holy Spirit came to dwell within me. The Lord once again answered my outspoken pleas!

This past Sunday, Central Baptist Church Pastor Roland Smith talked about how we need a child-like faith. I know that child-like faith has been what has kept me going all these years with a positive attitude knowing my Lord is with me each and every day. Many days in my life, and I know in your own life, we have had to deal with issues beyond our understanding, such as family crises, such as the loss of loved ones, major health issues, problems at work and just ordinary struggles in life. My Sunday school class and teacher, the Rev. Bud Fray, prayed for me with the cancer dwelling inside my body. I could feel the Holy Spirit also dwelling inside my body!  I never panicked, I just trusted his word. I was at peace, whatever the outcome was to be.

Just prior to the surgeon taking me to the operating room to remove my cancer, he prayed for me and prayed for God to direct his hands during the surgery. A peace came over me as they wheeled me to the operating room after receiving hugs from my husband John, daughter Kristi and son-in-law Pat Nixon, and our very dear friends, Frank and Wanell Gale.

Today, John and I are raising my deceased son’s beautiful, sweet children, Perry and Hannah Sherrer. I have to regularly tell myself, “Pauline, trust in God’s wisdom. He would never give you more than you can handle!”

I am really enjoying the second and third grade, once again. But, how the reading and spelling words have changed in 28 years since my children were in those grades. I really dread the fifth and sixth grades and beyond. I think we will need tutors with a Ph.D. in math and science. My husband does have a Ed.D. in science education; just not sure his doctorate, obtained many years ago, is going to be sufficient in the upcoming years.

I am a member of the Parent Advisory Board at Homestead Elementary School. Attending a recent meeting, we were told in future years children will have to tell why 2 plus 2 is 4. They will have to explain how they arrived at their answers. The mathematical name for each part of the equation will be necessary in answering the questions. Another grandmother attending, who taught in public school for 30+ years, said, “How do you tell 2+2 equals 4?”

My 40+ years in accounting just makes me know 2+2=4, 2x2=4, 4 divided by 2 equals 2. Myself and other parents attending the meeting were very vocal in stating that we want a parents’ workshop to teach us this new method of explaining how you arrive at your answers.

I am keeping the faith while seeking His divine guidance through prayers.

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Pauline Sherrer is publisher of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published periodically. She may be reached at