HAWKINSVILLE, GEORGIA: If there was ever a good neighbor to be honored, then I know just the one. Pulaski County’s finest, entrepreneur, family man, city councilman and Pulaski County School System employee, Shelly Berryhill.
Shelly is married to Vonnie, and daddy to Kristen and Kyle. He is active in his church, and an advocate for all things Hawkinsville and Bleckley County … and all things technology.
He has a couple of books he put together with funny things – ‘shellyisms’ – he has shared on his social media sites, his blog and in person. People rely on one of Shelly’s ‘isms’ to get them through the day. It is almost as if that is a ministry for him.
Someone once said, “Shelly is one of those types of people – either you love him or you don’t, there is no in between.” Over the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to find anyone who doesn’t think Shelly is the ‘bee’s knees.’ For me, and Shelly will probably get all over me for this, but he helped me get this website going, just because, as a friend and my ‘sometime mentor’ in such things, he wrote to me, that he ‘believed in my journey and I needed to write.’
If there is an adventure to be had or experienced, more than likely, Shelly has had it. In his travels and his jobs, he has had the opportunity to meet lots of people, impact lives and enhance and broaden his horizons in ways that most of us only dream about.
And it was during one of these opportunities – it appears – that Shelly met up with COVID-19 – the dreaded coronavirus that has infected and made the whole world pause.
As I write this, Shelly is in the hospital in critical condition, giving all he can to defeat this virus. His family and friends are trapped in their own homes, and by hospital regulations, so that no one can be there with him for fear of spreading the infection or impacting his health further.
A request came out today from the pastor at Broad Street Baptist Church in Hawkinsville, Jeff Walters, for prayer. According to the announcement that Walters made, “The nurse said this morning that Shelly is not progressing like he should. His oxygen is back up and he is not improving. I wish I could tell you why this is going the way it is. Shelly is one of my best friends in the world and I, like many of you, have been asking God to heal him from this virus.”
Every day, people look for the latest report- hoping against hope for some change. A nurse told his wife in the beginning, “This virus is not a sprint, it is going to be a marathon.”
Shelly, in his typical Shelly fashion, would just kind of grin, if he could, and say, “It is OK …Whatever happens, it is OK.”
See, Shelly has known something that some of us know for a long time about life. As his pastor, and best friend referred, what we want a lot of times is not what God wants, and we have to remember God knows best. None of us know how far the coronavirus will take Shelly or any of us, or how it will end.
All we can do, and I fall back to what Jeff Walters wrote, is pray and continue to seek God’s help in Shelly’s life and his medical treatment right now. It is all we can do. And like Pastor Jeff said, whatever the outcome is, we will praise God. Shelly would tell us all to do that for sure. He and I had a few conversations over the years via phone and mostly, through texting and emailing. I know that is what he believes.
We are all in this together, for sure. And I am betting, you are all up in your feelings about the world’s situation, and Shelly’s situation as I am. Our hearts are breaking as we are uncertain of what is ahead.
I found a verse last week that keeps playing over in my head. I think it fits here. The Message version of Psalm 34:18 says, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find, God right there;if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
So, let’s all catch our breaths, and just grab on to the hem of God’s garment. Whatever happens, remember, at the end of the Book, we win.
Please, if you will, pray for my friend, Shelly Berryhill, right now. (Pray for people you know, just swap the names)
“Dear God, in Romans 8:28, you promise that good things will come to those who believe. Sometimes, I think, we take that to how we want it to mean, and not what it was meant to be. God, what I think or anyone else thinks might be good, may not be what your plan for us is. Forgive us for our small faith that we have at times. You know better than we do, and I hold you to that promise, Lord, for Shelly Berryhill. Be his peace, his comfort, give him the physical, emotional, and mental healing he needs to be able to be who you need him to be. Lord, give his doctors and the medical team, clarity, confidence and steady hands. I lift up his wife, children, cousins and so many family members, God, and his church and friends. You are the King of Kings, and we know, no matter what, we will overcome this world because we trust you. Amen.”
Shelly, keep fighting.
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