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.

50 Shades vs 50 Reasons

A Work in Progress

Typically this is the weekend when you can count on an overpriced dinner and safe, if not cheesy, romantic comedy, but what Hollywood has released this Valentine’s Day is far from safe.

Social media and the blogosphere are full of “50 reasons not to see 50 Shades of Gray” articles so I’m not going pile on with another list of reasons we should avoid it when those reasons should already be obvious to any believer or morally conscious individual.

But one thing I haven’t heard much about is the irony of this type of movie opening on this particular weekend.  We all know 50 Shades was strategically placed over the weekend we set aside to celebrate love and romance.  But what the movie is supposed to portray and what Valentines is supposed to represent aren’t in the same universe.  It’s like marketing a slasher film as a Christmas movie just…

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And You Call Yourself A Christian?

We see it everyday. People that are angry, rude, and impatient. Some steal the parking spot you have been patiently waiting for, then flip you off when you honk because they almost hit you to get it. Others talk out loud to themselves, making sure we all know they have better things to do than wait in this stupid line and then are rude to the sweet woman checking their groceries because somehow it was her fault they are now going to be late. The list goes on and on. I am sure we can all recall numerous examples of things we see everyday that fall into this category.

These people aren’t breaking the law, they are just spewing their hurts and pain onto the rest of us because they haven’t met Jesus. At least that is what I used to tell myself, until a few days ago. I was standing in line at my local drug store, waiting to drop off a prescription for my daughter. There were two older women in line in front of me and they were talking about Jesus. My ears perked up because it is rare to hear two strangers striking up a conversation with God as the subject. Their discussion was inspiring and I thought to myself that I need to be more bold in my walk with Christ and do just as they were, talking about Jesus in casual conversation with strangers. Not only could doing so impact the person I am talking to, it could potentially impact others standing within hearing distance.

What happened next rocked my world. The younger of the two women kindly told the other it was a pleasure meeting her and took her turn at the counter. She told the pharmacy tech she was picking up a prescription and provided her name. The tech walked over to the cabinet to retrieve the prescription, returned, scanned the package and then walked around the cabinet to grab something. She was not gone more than two seconds, but two seconds too long for the customer. She rudely asked why she was disrespecting her time by going behind the cabinet. The tech explained that due to the prescription she was picking up, she had to scan something in order to ring it up. The woman got annoyed. She started getting louder, explaining they had never had to do that before. The poor girl remained calm, apologized and what she required next sent the woman over the edge. She was asked to enter her phone number into the keypad on the counter. “You expect me to touch that filthy thing? How stupid do you think I am? I could catch ebola. I refuse to touch it. Go find me a stylus to use.” The poor girl looked horrified. She went to go get help and the women told her not to walk away again.

The older of the two women in front of me then explained how unhappy the poor girl working there looked. I agreed and then the 80+ year old woman said, “It must be because she is so fat.” I couldn’t believe my ears. She went on to say that if she were that fat she would be miserable too. I simply explained to the old lady that I use to work in a pharmacy and it was the hardest job I ever had due to unhappy customers. They would be upset because of the long wait and then blame me for issues with their insurance. She said, “Oh, I never thought about that.” At that moment, the woman at the counter turned to leave, cussing to herself as she left the pharmacy.

The old lady took her turn as I stood there, shocked by the events that I had witnessed. Both of these women were just talking to one another about their Heavenly Father and a few minutes later, revealing what was truly in their hearts. I wanted to cry. No wonder we live in a world that is lost. How can we expect people to trust God when those who claim to love Him are no different?

I left there that day praying for the girl behind the counter and the two women. I prayed that the old lady would leave there that day, unable to forget about what I had said and that God would use this incident to change her heart. I wish I had said more than I did but I know God can use even a few words to share wisdom.

As Christians we must always remember that God calls us to be His hands and feet to our lost and hurting world. That means we must be plugged in to Him at all times, letting Him change us so we can help change the world. Do you bear a cross? A ring, a necklace, a tattoo, a fish symbol on your car? Anything that tells strangers that you belong to the King? If so, know that others are watching you. Don’t sabotage your witness by defiling His Name.

Face In A Book vs. Facebook

With New Years fast approaching, the time has come to start thinking about what I can work on in 2015. Every year I set a goal to read a certain number of books. My goal for 2014 was ten, but I fell short and only completed five. This got me to thinking about how many more books I could have read if instead of wasting time on Facebook, I put my face in a book. So I did a little research.

The average person can read one to two pages per minute. To make the math simple, let’s say I read a page a minute and spent thirty minutes a day on Facebook. In the amount of time I spent browsing through my news feed, I could have read thirty pages!
Take thirty and multiply that by three hundred sixty-five and the product is 10,950. I went to my personal library to determine how many pages the average book contains. Two hundred and fifty was the outcome. That’s 43 books I could have read in one years time.

Does that number shock you? Well, it should. It puts into perspective how much time we waste reading useless information when we could be using our time wisely, gaining knowledge and wisdom.

My goal for 2015 is to limit my Facebook time to half of my norm, giving myself fifteen minutes per day to browse and fifteen minutes to read.

If you are like me and ready to make some positive changes in this area, join me on this challenge. Let’s make 2015 one where we put our faces in a book at least as much as we spend on Facebook.

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Choosing Love

Christmas Day is a day to celebrate the greatest gift we were ever given, Jesus. Today as I reflect on the depths of the importantance of God sending his son, I realize that everything he places in our lives is always given with a devine purpose in mind. Jesus was sent to be the hope of the world and save us from our sins, giving us eternal life. Every Christian has heard this hundreds of times but today God put it on my heart that sometimes the things we see as a burden are actually put in our lives to refine us. As I meditated on this, it made me think about specific people and stressors I have dealt with in my life. Some of my greatest accomplishments in my walk with Christ are the result of a very trying situation. He has used those trials to benefit me in the best way possible.

So as I think about my relationship with the mother of my bonus sons, I have to stop and try to see things from a godly perspective. I never dreamed of blending two families and wanting to take on the hurt and anger that would follow from their mom. No woman ever imagines that the blessing of a second chance at love will be the source of so much hurt from someone on the outside. But by choosing to love a man and his children from a previous marriage, this was my reality. I now realize that by choosing to love the boys and my husband, I was also choosing to love her. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to love her. I actually hated her for her choices and hurtful words. But then a few years ago, God gave me insight to her heart. Ever since that day, I have prayed for wisdom and guidance when issues arise. I have prayed that I would guard my tongue and take my hurts to Christ instead of spewing them onto her, adding to her pain and suffering. Today I now see that learning how to love like Christ requires us to be put in a situation where we are taught how to do so. I am not perfect and I am guilty of hurting her, blaming it on her behaviors. But if I am honest with myself, it was my choice to choose hurt over love. She is not my enemy. She is a daughter of the King just like me and she deserves my love because I love God.

It is no accident that God chose this man, his children and their mother to add to my life. Just like the birth of Jesus brought us eternal life, the birth of my new marriage and new children brought with them the birth of a new heart.

Jesus,
Thank you for placing each and every one of them in my life. Your ways are definitely not my ways and I am in awe. You turn the worst situations into something beautiful everytime I choose to listen and follow you. Please continue to mold me into your image, even if it means I have to suffer in order to become more like you. Amen!

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One Day Your Prince Will Come…

We live in a day and age where most women are anxiously awaiting the day she meets her prince charming, has the wedding of her dreams, and lives happily ever after. I will be the first to admit that my dreaming about that started as a young girl. I was in love with Disney movies that portrayed the beautiful young girl meeting the handsome young boy and falling head over hills in love at first sight. I never saw the harm in that thinking until I was divorced and those thoughts crept into my mind again. I was given a second chance to choose more wisely and this time I was going to be smart, or so I thought. Lucky for me, God intervened before I had the chance to make another not so wise decision. In the midst of my delusional thinking based on fairy tales from my childhood, I found myself actually looking for “My Prince Charming” or “My knight in shining armor”, depending on the fairy tale I wanted to partake in at the time. At one point, I even met a man that I called “My Prince Charming” after only knowing him for a few days. So it is no surprise that when that relationship never really began, I was heartbroken. But it wasn’t long until Price Charming #2 and I crossed paths. Needless to say, that one didn’t last either and I found myself alone, confused and done with looking for a man that didn’t exist. That is when I met Jesus face to face. There I found the man I had always been longing for. The one who would love me unconditionally, treat me like a true princess and never leave me or forsake me. I believe that God puts that desire in each and every heart of every daughter of The King, but we don’t even put him in that category because we want someone we can see, hear, and touch in the flesh.

I share all of that because I run across people all the time that label their significant other their Prince Charming. Girls, there is no such man that exists. All men are human and all men will disappoint you at some point, leaving you hurt and confused because you thought he would be the perfect man like the ones you grew up watching in movies. The only perfect man was Jesus and he longs to sweep you off your feet and spend the rest of your life showing you just how much he loves you. So why settle for less than the best? I promise you this, once you give Jesus your heart, he will guide you to the man he created just for you. Until then, don’t be surprised when each and every man you meet falls short of the man you envisioned in your mind. Because no man can fill the space in your soul that only God was meant to fill.

Audience of One

I have spent lots of time over the past few years in the word, learning about God, and building a personal relationship with him. This type of dedication came after hitting rock bottom and having no where else to turn. I now share my story with others when my Heavenly Father puts it on my heart to do so and I strive to follow his path for my life.

A few days ago, someone I love told me that they de-friended me from Facebook. I was at first confused so I did what most of us would do and asked why. I was told that it was due to my content. My heart hurt. I strive to only share content that will help others and I share my past because that is what I know God has called me to do. It was others being raw and real about their struggles that helped me when I was going through Hell on earth and those types of posts lift me up when life throws me a curve ball.

I spent a few days in prayer over the situation, trying to figure out what I said or did that would cause this person to delete me. This morning I woke up still confused and hurt, then God showed up. Through a radio program, He reminded me that I serve an audience of one. It is not my job to try to understand why this person feels the way they do. My only job is to go where he leads and use my past hurts and lessons to help others. God helped me see that not everyone is going to understand why I do what I do, but that shouldn’t stop me from doing it. His opinion is the only one that matters and He is the one I answer to. This area has always been a struggle for me. I desire to be understood. For others to see my heart and true motives behind everything I share. I reached out to someone I look up to that is using her past to write and reach those going through similar circumstances. Her response was, “You are not the manager of your reputation. Jesus was silent before his accusers. God is the manager.” That was exactly what I needed to hear.

I thank God everyday for giving me a second chance at life and the least I can do is use it to lead others to him! From this point forward, I will rest in God’s reminder that his is the only opinion I need to care about and as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, nothing else matters.