All posts by Shannon

I am a sinner that spent years of my life putting other people in God's place. Through some very painful life changes, God used those moments to refine me into the person I am today. This blog is my personal testimony, my story and the truths I learned along the way and continue to learn as a follower of Christ.

Be Jesus With Skin On

How did Jesus respond when people sinned against God when he was living on this earth? He spoke to them in love. He met them where they were and took them in when everyone else treated them like outcasts. He gave them living water, Himself, and forgave them for sinning against Him. Then He told them to go and stop sinning. That is the only way to Christ. First the Holy Spirit makes us aware of the sin. Then there is a brokenness that takes place, leading us to ask for forgiveness, to repent. And then Jesus uses His word to teach us His ways and we do what He says, sharing with others what He has done for us so that they can see examples of what it looks like to find a new hope in Christ.

Trying to condemn those around us that don’t know Him will never work. They will only see us as hypocrites, especially if they know us before we accepted Christ into our hearts.

Today I pray that each of us that call ourselves Christians learn to love like Jesus so that we can make a greater impact in bringing those who are hurting to the only one who can truly heal!

Twelve Audacious Faith Confessions

1. I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation.
Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:7-8; 1 John 1:9

2. I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation.
Joshua 10:12-14; John 14:12

3. I have no fear or anxiety; I trust in The Lord with all my heart.
Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7

4. I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life.
Exodus 3:9-12; Psalm 57:2; Colossians 1:24-29

5. I am fully resourced to do everything God has called me to do.
Deuteronomy 8:18; Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:13

6. I have no insecurity, because I see myself the way God sees me.
Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 5:25-27

7. I am a faithful spouse (if you’re single, you can slip future in there) and a godly parent—our family is blessed.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 5:22-25; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7

8. I am completely whole—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Psalm 103:1-5; Matthew 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24

9. I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God.
Genesis 45:4-8; 1 Samuel 2:26; Acts 2:37-47

10. I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-12

11. I have the wisdom of The Lord concerning every decision I make.
2 Chronicles 1:7-12; Proverbs 2:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26; James 1:5

12. I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus’ name.
Genesis 50:20; Psalm 3:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3

These twelve confessions come from, “Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick. Like he says in the book, my prayer is that each and every one of us preaches these realities to ourselves on a daily basis until they are so ingrained in our hearts that we are able to silence the voices of the devil immediately upon hearing the lies.

Shock and Awe On a Wrecking Ball-Part 1

Yesterday I turned on the radio to hear a new song that caught my attention. It is a beautiful ballad that seems to come from a very broken place of the one telling the story. The lyrics drew me in and I found myself in the story that was being told.

When we are young, we all make choices that seem right from where we are at that moment. Love is no different. We meet someone and jump in heart first, never looking past what we are feeling. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus not only tells the story of what happens when we choose someone for all the wrong reasons, but it also shows what happens when we make someone other than God our everything. DEATH & DESTRUCTION!

We clawed, we chained, our hearts in vain (this is not love)

We jumped, never asking why (ask questions, dig deep)

We kissed, I fell under your spell (this is why purity is so important)

A love no one could deny (we won’t listen to reason)

I put you high up in the sky (we make someone other than God our God)

And now, you’re not coming down (they in turn think they are the God of us)

It slowly turned, you let me burn (when they don’t get their way, they turn on us)

And now, we’re ashes on the ground (the relationship goes up in flames)

You see, once we take those steps towards something that is not good for us, Satan makes sure we are hooked. He finds that broken part of us and draws us in so deeply that no one could convince us that we are heading down a dangerous path that will only lead to our own demise.

I made those same mistakes. I met a man and made him my everything and we were happy until I started to develop a deeper relationship with God. That is when things started getting very difficult. I was hearing God loud and clear. He was revealing several areas of our lives that were not in sync with Him. So I decided that it was my job to tell my husband (now my ex) where we needed some help. I was the wrecking ball. I shared the truth in love in an attempt to break down the walls and the lies that were tearing us apart, but nothing worked. In the end, I ended up more broken than ever and it was all because of a choice I made that could have been avoided if I had followed God’s will for my life instead of my own.

I came in like a wrecking ball (we attempt to fix the relationship)

I never hit so hard in love (we use whatever tools we have to force change-for some it may be words, for others it may be fists)

All I wanted was to break your walls (we crave open, honest relationships)

All you ever did was wreck me (broken people who haven’t healed from the past only end up hurting each other)

The irony is the writer of the song is so entranced by the spell that he or she still wants the other person. That is when Satan does a victory dance.

Don’t you ever say I just walked away (We want it to be know that we did everything we could to save the relationship)

I will always want/love you (A lie that Satan feeds us to keep us in bondage)

I can’t live a lie, running for my life (The lie becomes our truth)

I have never felt so passionate about anything as much as I do this. If you are dating someone and it is violent or abusive in any way shape or form, get out now. Don’t wait. You cannot change anyone but yourself. Get help and find out why you choose people that hurt you. That is the key to creating a new future for yourself and until you heal from your past, your future will continue to repeat itself. And don’t settle. God’s plan for your life was not for you to settle for second best. Follow his guidelines and the right person will come along in HIS time, not yours. Be patient because I promise you that finding Mr. Right is not only worth the wait, but is way better than settling for Mr. Right Now!!!

Dear God,

Thank you for loving us like no one else. Teach us your ways so that we can end the suffering that we bring upon ourselves because we don’t know any better. Please wrap your arms around each and every person that reads this post and finds themselves in a situation that they need to run from. Give them the courage and the strength to walk away. And most importantly, give us the wisdom to see the truth through the lies in everything we do. Amen.

Unmasked

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Behind a mask, your fear resides.
And you carry with you a shield of pride.
They may protect you from the pain,
But they also insure no significant gain.
The very walls you think protect,
Leave you lost and alone in a life of neglect.
Your very soul is dying inside,
So why would you choose to continue to hide?
Remove the mask and walk into the light,
Cause it is there that truth and love collide.
I wrote this poem after the realization that so many of us put on a facade to hide who we really are and what we are struggling with from people around us.
For years I lived in my dream home driving my dream car with three beautiful kids and to outsiders I had the perfect life and everything money could buy. Everyone wanted what we had and we were very good at pretending everything was wonderful. But in reality I was dying a slow painful death. My husband (now my ex-husband) had an addiction to pornography which escalated to full blown affairs before long and I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I was told that our personal lives were no one else’s business and sharing would be disrespectful to him, which was frowned upon by God. And since I wanted to be the woman God called me to be, I kept silent for a very long time.
So I put on a mask. I wore the mask of joy. I put on a smile and pretended to be so happy with my life. After all, God had blessed us with all the material things we could ever dream of. Who wouldn’t be happy with that? Right? I wore the mask of love. God says that love conquers everything so I loved my spouse with every ounce of love that I had in me, but inside I hated him for putting his insecurities and wants ahead of loving his family and God. I also wore the mask of contentment but deep inside my soul something was missing and as the days passed, my love for life grew weaker. And I wore the mask of fear. Fear of the future. Fear that my prayers would never be answered. Fear that I would never escape the living hell I felt trapped in.
After a decade of hiding and pretending, the truth was brought into the light. I removed my mask of joy and found true joy in God. Psalm 30:11-12 says, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” God met me right where I was and my mask of joy was no longer necessary. Even though my circumstances remained, my new found joy in the Lord allowed me to experience joy no matter what was going on around me.
The mask of love was a little harder to tackle. I can honestly say that I didn’t love my ex the way God called me to love others because he was my enemy. I knew that the bible said to love your enemies but I just couldn’t do it. I truly hated him and there were many days that I wished death upon him so that the pain he caused others would cease to exist. But God was using him to teach me how to love those who persecute you. Letting God love me was the key. Once I gained a true understanding of how much my Heavenly Father loved me, then I was able to give that love away to those who I thought didn’t deserve it. Don’t get me wrong, I still get angry and hurt by the decisions of others but I now choose to respond in love. And on days that I can’t find the strength to do that, I don’t respond at all. Instead I take it to God and lay it at His feet.
It wasn’t until reading, “The Wall Around Your Heart” by Mary DeMuth that I gained a deeper understanding of why I wasn’t content. God created us for relationships. When sin entered the picture, with it came a multitude of disagreements. Those disagreements created strife in a key relationship and without harmony, contentment was very difficult and almost impossible. It wasn’t until I closed that chapter of my life that my contentment returned.
The most difficult mask to remove was the mask of fear. That very fear paralyzed me,  keeping me torn between doing what I knew was right and doing what I was told. If I did what God called me to do, I would cause more problems in my marriage. If I did what my husband wanted, I would go against everything I believed in. But along my journey God was giving me little nuggets of hope by showing me that as long as I was walking with Him there was nothing to fear. He revealed Himself in such a way that I finally let go of all my fears and nailed them to the cross. Letting go allowed me to finally become the woman God created me to be without hiding behind another mask.
If my story resonates with you, know that God is with you. He lives in you as a believer and He will never leave you or forsake you and He will work everything for your good and His glory. Just be patient, cry out to Him when you are at the end of your rope and let His love engulf you during the trials. And never forget that He loves you more than anyone on this earth so don’t put on masks to hide who you really are from the world. He created you for a divine purpose and you cannot fulfill that purpose if you are hiding behind a mask.
Dear God,
Please give each of us the strength and courage to remove our masks so that we can become men and women you can use to further your kingdom. Teach us how to be authentic in such a materialistic culture. Let your love heal our hurts and your truth capture our hearts.
In Your Precious and Holy Name,
Amen.

Call To Christ

My childhood consists of bits and pieces of memories that fade in and out of my mind as I journey though life. My earliest memory of church was one I attended with my parents. We sat on the back row every time we went, which wasn’t very often. Maybe half a dozen times at the most. I recall sitting through what seemed to be hours of hymns that made me very sleepy. I often would lay my head in one of my parent’s laps and I think I slept through the rest because that is all I can remember. So my experience with church was one that put me to sleep. Not a good start towards living a life for God.
When I started middle school, I met lots of new kids that attended Lakepointe Baptist Church. They always talked about how much fun it was and I wanted to go more than anything. But my family owned a pizza restaurant and worked late hours on Saturday evenings, so Sunday mornings were the day they would sleep in. My seventh grade year I spent the night with a friend and finally got the chance to experience what the hype was all about. It was such an awesome experience. It was then that God started stirring something in my heart.
For the next two years I was blessed to have the chance to bum rides from friends and my knowledge of God started to grow. At the end of my Freshman year of high school, I applied for a scholarship to attend church camp. It was approved and that experience changed my life forever. I will never forget the moment God spoke to me. We were singing and the worship leader invited us to accept Christ. My heart was racing and tears were streaming down my face. Time stood still and it was as if my Heavenly Father had stopped everything to share this moment with me.
Everything changed that day. I was suddenly very aware of things in my life that were no longer acceptable if I was going to live the Christian life that I had been called to. So my journey with God began. I continued to attend church and my faith in Christ grew stronger everyday. I even wore a t-shirt everywhere I went saying, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go to Hell.” I wanted others to experience the love I had received.
Ever since that day that God met me where I was and invited me to have a personal relationship with him, my heart has been leading me to help heal others. Through the years, others have broken my heart, betrayed my trust and taken what wasn’t theirs to take, but God’s voice forever tells me to forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing. They are lost and hurting and they need to feel the love of Christ from people that have no reason to love them. God has always done just that for me and if I am to call myself a Christ follower, it is my duty to do the same.
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Beautiful Collision

As sinners, there come moments in our lives when our sin and God’s truths’ collide. It is in these moments that we have a choice to make.

1. We can ignore it and keep doing what we are doing, learning nothing from the lesson that was just presented to us. This is also those moments when we rationalize our behaviors, trying to convince ourselves that it was someone else’s fault instead of taking responsibility for our own actions and choices.

2. We can make excuses of why now is not a good time to stop, but try to convince God that we are going to when we feel the time is right and we are ready.

3. We can listen and let God teach us, mold us, and change us to be more like him.

I asked my Facebook followers this question: What happens when our sinful nature collides with God’s truth? Here is what some of them said:

-His perfect plan-Jesus bridging the gap between our sin and His perfection, leading us to Christ and filling in the cracks to make us whole.

-Conviction, revelation, and then repentance.

-Freedom & Transformation

-Make the choice to repent, turn away and stop doing whatever it is you are doing.

-Forgiveness-Broken Chains

-Disaster

The last comment caught my attention because I wondered what the person who wrote it was thinking. Is it a disaster in a worldly sense? A disaster to the relationships surrounding them? The more I think about this response, the more I realize that this is probably what most people think when they are trying to decide wether or not a life with Christ is worth it. Honestly, a disaster will take place because death of anything is never easy. Dying to self is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it is also one of the most rewarding. God didn’t promise it would be easy, but He does promise it will be worth it.

School Supplies Savings

school-supplies

It is that time of year again. The stores are already stocking their shelves with school supplies, reminding us that the summer will soon be over and we will be back to our routines. Every year I used to think that it was way too soon to start shopping so like thousands of other people, I waited until a couple of weeks before school started to begin my school supplies hunt. And a hunt it was. I was frantically running around town from store to store trying to find everything my kids needed on the list. Every year it would be days before the first day and I still couldn’t locate manilla construction paper. Once I finally located it, I would pay just about any amount because I was so exhausted that I just didn’t care what it cost anymore.

A few years ago I started shopping early. Finances were tight and I couldn’t afford to pay top dollar for anything. I first noticed that Walmart would offer certain items at $.10-$.25. I was shocked. One because they were such good deals and two because I had never noticed this. I guess when you are struggling these things grab your attention like never before. So I started buying a few items each week. I checked other stores and found out they all have discounted items every week up until school starts, but you have to start shopping early or they will have sales and will be sold out of the items they are offering.

Last year I bought school supplies for four kids and spent less than $20. So if you are struggling financially or just want to save money, start shopping now! Check your local store’s websites for weekly ads to see what the items of the week are. Plan ahead and stock up on the things your kids will need throughout the year, but be smart about it. Buying extra is only a good deal if you actually use it so don’t go overboard or you could be spending more money while saving money, which defeats the purpose all together!

Just to give you a head start, this week Staples has cap erasers, a package of pens, and ruled note cards for only $.01 with any $5 purchase with a limit of 2 at that price. A six pack of glue sticks is only $1 (limit 2), pocket & brad folders are $.15, and a ream of copy paper is $.01 after rebate (limit 2). At Walmart, pocket & brad folders are also only $.15, Crayola crayons are $.50, 9X12 manilla paper is $.97, Crayola markers are $1.97.

I am sure there are many more deals out there, you just have to look for them. I hope this helps save you money this back-to-school season!

And in case you are one of those that buys the school supply packs sold at the end of the year through your child’s school, know you are overpaying. There is no reason we should break the bank to get our kids ready to attend school to learn!

A New Creation

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Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

People are a lot like butterflies. We are born and must struggle against the trials of life that surround us in order to allow growth to take place to strengthen our character.  Struggles in life cause us to stretch ourselves and then we emerge as a new creation, more beautiful than before.

Isn’t it time you let God use your pain to transform you into the person He created you to be?

Walter Joshua Fretz – The story of our son who is impacting so many even though he was on this earth for only a few minutes

For anyone that thinks it is okay to abort an unborn child before 20 weeks, you must see these pictures. Sometimes in order to help one understand that a life begins at conception, knowledge must be passed on.

F2 Photography

Thank you to everyone who has written and messages me. I was trying my best to respond to everyone but I just can’t keep up. I am reading every message that comes to me and am thankful for them, except for the occasional negative and nasty ones. Please do not be upset if I don’t respond, I wish I had more hours in the day so I could respond to everyone who has opened their hearts to me. ❤ to you all'

*Please be advised that the photos in this post are emotionally hard to handle. I believe they are beautiful and shows that at 19 weeks my child was fully formed. I do not want anyone to be upset with what they see. You should view them before showing them to a child because they will bring up a lot of questions. Thank you all for reading and sharing…

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Weeds

This morning I was outside spending some alone time with God worshiping Him through music. As I sat on my patio, I noticed that the weeds were getting a little out of hand so I started pulling them as I continued to worship. I was a little frustrated because just two weeks ago I pulled all the weeds and this morning there were at least twice as many than when I pulled them last time and they were also twice the size. I realized an important lesson. Just like the weeds in my flower bed, the weeds in our lives can seem very insignificant but if left unattended they will eventually take over, affect other areas of our lives and get so big they are hard to get rid of.

What weeds in your life are you watering instead of pulling them out by the root? How could letting them continue to grow affect your life in the future?