“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
We were recently introduced to the encouraging ministry of the couple who is sharing their Inner Views with us today, and we were so inspired by the way God has rearranged and orchestrated their lives.
I know you will be abundantly blessed by their story and their faith as you read about how He has led them from what is comfortable to a place of deeper trust in Him.
Cheryl Smith: Please tell us about yourselves.
Sherry Richards: Well, where do I start? I grew up in a musical family from Moneta, Virginia (Smith Mountain Lake). My dad was the music director and my mom (was) the children’s choir director. I have an older sister who plays piano and a younger sister who plays anything she wants but is a professional drummer, and I play the piano. My family began traveling and singing when I was eight years old, and I have been in Southern gospel music since then. I met Eddie at a Hinson’s concert in Pulaski, Virginia, in January 1984, where his group was hosting and my mom and I attended with some friends. We married eight months later. After we married, I went from traveling with my family to traveling with him and the group he was with. We have traveled and sung with a few other groups since then, but primarily on the weekend because we all worked full-time jobs.
Eddie grew up in Radford, Virginia. His mother was a saint if there ever was one and his dad, a hard-working man who worked three jobs to care for his family of six children, so their mom wouldn’t have to work outside the home. He began singing early in life also but in the secular field until he was about 28 years old.
We have a son who spent 11 years in the Marine Corps and now works for the Naval Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. We have three grandchildren.
In January 2017, we stepped out on faith and put our ministry back on the road. While we have been working to build our ministry schedule back, we have worked at various places part-time to supplement the ministry’s income.
Cheryl: When did each one of you, individually, become Christians? What life events led you to the cross?
Sherry: I was saved in a revival at my home church when I was 12 years old. Eddie was also saved as a young man in a service at his home church as well and doesn’t remember what age, but later in life strayed from the church. He will tell you that he didn’t get serious about his walk with the Lord until he was much older. He has always gone to church, not really realizing that his relationship with the Lord was pretty casual until he went through some life-changing experiences that were a real wake-up call.
Cheryl: What are the most significant ways Jesus has changed your lives?
Sherry: I would say, and I think Eddie will agree, that it would have to be learning to trust God and know that He’s got it all, that he has always provided and always will —maybe not in the way we expect or with as much money as we would like, but He will always be there. Now we can’t just live any old way we want and expect God to reward us. God’s word is clear what He expects, and He knows our hearts. As long as we are doing the best we know how to represent Him to the world, He will take care of us.
Cheryl: Can you share something interesting about your relationship?
Sherry: As I said in the first answer, I met Eddie at a concert. I knew the other members of his group, but he was new, so I asked the lady in the group who he was, and she introduced us. He shook my hand and said, “Hi, are you married?” I said, “No.” He said, “Would you like to be?” and I said, “Well, I’m only 17.” He said, “That’s okay.” He called the following week and eight months later, we were married. We’ve been married for 34 years now.
Cheryl: What is the main burden and goal of your heart as you stand before an audience and sing?
Sherry: To show them Jesus, to bring them to salvation if they haven’t done that, to encourage those who have, and to help people see that we need to get beyond the walls of the church to reach people because most won’t come in.
Cheryl: Looking back over your time in ministry, what do you identify as being one of the most difficult seasons you have faced?
Sherry: Probably the most difficult was back a few years ago when we had a group that was seeing a lot of success in gospel music as far as seeing doors open and people saved. We had songs on the (national) chart, and we were about to step out into a full-time commitment, we had been booked that year on three of the largest events in gospel music, etc., and the devil gradually crept in, and in a short time, managed to destroy it all.
I have to say that it was the hardest time we have EVER had, trying to understand why God allowed that to happen. To say we cried for months is an understatement. We have never cried or prayed as much over anything as we did then. It was a devastating time that I hope to never experience again. It is also why we have pretty much stayed a duet
Cheryl: To the reader who is walking through a time of darkness, what would you like to say?
Sherry: Get serious about your walk with the Lord. Trust the Word. Don’t just read it —study it and learn to use it against all that satan tries to bring against you. Get to know it so that you not only have a defense against satan but so that you know without a shadow of a doubt that you can trust God to take care of it. Find a new light and work toward it, and don’t let satan have control over you or your time. If you can do nothing else, just say the name of Jesus over and over because, at the name of Jesus, satan has to flee. I used this for years. Believe me, it works.
Cheryl: How would you describe what it means to fully trust God?
Sherry: Knowing His Word well enough that trusting Him for everything in every situation is just how you roll.
Cheryl: What is the hardest thing He has ever asked you to do, and how did you come to a place of surrender and resignation to His will?
Sherry: That would probably be to stop rescuing our son every time he was in a bind. I guess we came to a place of surrender and resigned to His will when we no longer had the means to rescue him. It was hard then but now that we see how our son has grown into a Christian singer in his own right who can rely on the Lord to stand on his own, it’s been very rewarding.
Cheryl: What are some of your favorite things to do as a couple during your times off?
Sherry: Play a game called Greedy. (Eddie is very competitive.) Cookout with friends and play Corn Hole (Eddie is very competitive.) Ride bikes and go to ballgames. Travel.
Cheryl: If you were counseling a couple who is considering marriage, what would your best advice to them be? What are some of the most beneficial lessons you have learned concerning a long, successful marriage?
Sherry: Put God first, each other second, children third, and careers fourth. Pray together. Go to church together. Save yourselves for marriage. If you are afraid they will leave, they aren’t the one for you. Let them leave. Discuss your goals short-term and long-term. Discuss each of your finances and how you plan to handle them after marriage. Discuss whether or not you want children and if so, how you will discipline them. Have secrets between the two of you and God that no one else is privy to.
-You won’t always get your way. Marriage is not 50/50. It’s 100% give and 0% take on both sides.
-Marriage is ALWAYS a work in progress, and it takes more than LOVE to make a marriage work.
-TALK TO EACH OTHER, not everyone else, about everything but especially your relationship.
-You start first in doing for your spouse what you want to see them do for you. Then you will see it.
Cheryl: How can we pray for you?
Sherry: Any way you can think of, we’ll take it. Pray for safety and protection on the road for us and our RV. Almost everything we own is in it. Pray for continued good health. Pray for favor with everyone we meet and for doors to open to share our ministry.
Interview by Cheryl Smith. The above is an abridged version. Please visit https://www.homespundevotions.com/2018/05/the-inner-views-of-eddie-and-sherry.html to read the entire interview with Eddie and Sherry Richards.
Visit the website of Eddie and Sherry Richards HERE.