Experiencing loss is never easy. The grieving process alone can be torture, leaving one paralyzed in a state of sadness, loneliness, anger, and denial.
Late last year, I experienced the loss of a child by miscarriage. My heart broke into a million pieces as I held my baby, the size of a pea, in the palm of my hands. The days following that loss were filled with a desire to find comfort in the midst of extreme pain. I prayed for comfort and God provided. He led me to a song. A song that healed the hurt and gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding. This particular song blew me away. It was as if I had written it myself. My exact thoughts and feelings bleed out though the lyrics. I was so moved by it that I wanted to know the story behind why it was written. In my search, I found an interview with the woman where she stated that she wasn’t yet ready to share her story. She wanted listeners to have the chance to hear it through their own trials first.
One month after hearing it for the first time, the singer shared the message behind the music. Here is what she said. “I wrote this song in the middle of experiencing everything that comes with a miscarriage, so it was my most raw place that I could have been when this song poured out of me.” God sent me his comfort, his love, and his healing with the words of a song through the voice of someone who went before me.
My suffering today is somebody’s comfort tomorrow.
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.
There is a man by the name of Solomon that has always intrigued me. One night in a dream, God came to him and asked what he wanted. He could have anything he asked for and he chose to ask for wisdom, the ability to discern between good and evil. God granted that request and he was known at Solomon the Wise.
“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”1 Kings 3:9
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to have the kind of wisdom that the bible speaks of. Not book knowledge, but the ability to have Godly insight. To know and recognize what is true and right.
When I was in drill team in high school we said the Serenity Prayer before every performance. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Oh how that prayer has changed my life and guided me through situations that I had no control over time and time again. Who knew that all those years ago God was preparing me for what He created me for.
I probably should have had a clue about my destiny when I realized that my name, Shannon, means small, wise one. Through each bad decision I ever made to every time I had to make life altering decisions, God taught me wisdom through prayer and seeking His wisdom. Without Him, all I would have is a library of stories in my head with knowledge that is absolutely useless.
My point in sharing this story is first to lead you to seek wisdom in everything you do. Second, open your eyes to the mission that God created you for. You may have no clue what that is so start by praying that He reveals it to you. Think back to the stories that moved you as a kid before the world told you that you weren’t good enough to be used by God. You are a daughter/son of the King and He created each and every one of His children for a specific purpose. Don’t waste another day trying to mold yourself into someone that you are not. Think of it this way: God created every animal for a specific purpose. If a hunting dog spent his time and energy trying to climb trees like his friend the cat, that dog would think he is a failure because he is trying to be something he was never suppose to be good at. Get alone with God and discover the greatness that lies within. Once you discover who you really are, you will be unstoppable!
Today as I was preparing my daily posts for my Facebook pages, I ran across this video. As I watched it, my heart was pained by the fact that we all have made stupid choices in front of our children at some point in our lives. As Christians we teach our kids to listen to what we say, often forgetting that our actions speak louder than our words. As my children get older, I have noticed some of the mistakes I made during the most painful years of my life have taken root in their hearts. Luckily God gave me His eyes and His heart during that time and made me aware of my own issues. Without that, I would still be indirectly teaching my kids behaviors that I would never want them to learn. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way perfect now, but my heightened awareness allows me to see the areas where I need to grow and heal so that my kids don’t imitate my bad behaviors. If you are reading this and wonder how you can know if you are guilty of this, study your kids. They are mirror images of you. If they have a bad habit of being impatient, I would bet that one of their parents struggles with patience. If they have a low self-esteem, odds are a parent possesses that same trait. If your child is negative and sees life with a glass half empty mentality, they learned that from someone close to them that they watch every single day.
I know this is not easy to hear or to accept. As parents we want to raise perfect kids, but in reality that is not possible. No one is perfect and the ugly truth is that we all have baggage and bad behaviors that we caught from our parents, and them from their parents. But we can be the one who decides to make the necessary changes in our own hearts in order to foster an environment that encourages positive behaviors instead of passing on negative ones.
If today, for the first time, a lightbulb came on for you, know you are not alone. God is on your side and is right there waiting for you to ask him to start the healing process in your life. Trust Him!
Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. God will be with you and will never forsake you.”
Thank you for sharing with us in ways that get our attention. As we strive to be better parents, give us the strength and courage to get honest about us so that we can model YOU to our children. We know that we can’t give away what we don’t have so fill us with You. Help us replace our old ways with Your ways. Thank you for giving us children and entrusting them to our care. Use them to reveal to us our hearts and open our eyes to the damage we are doing without even knowing what we are passing on.
Over the past couple of days, I have had several conversations with people about how they are stressed out and can’t seem to find a solution to their problems.
I think God decided to teach me a little lesson so that I could turn around and share that lesson with others.
Yesterday there was something that had been bothering me that I had been trying to fix for months. I had done everything I could think of on my end with no success. When the issue arose again, I decided it was time to call on my prayer warrior. I shared my request and not five minutes later the prayer was answered. I felt so stupid for not praying months ago. I thought it was such a small issue that God didn’t have time to deal with such a request, but He revealed that no prayer is too small and every request is important to Him.
The lesson here is this:
1. We can do nothing apart from God and when we attempt to, we only end up frustrated and worn out.
2. Prayer is powerful! Not only does it save time, it lets God know that we rely on Him for everything.
3. God is ready and waiting to provide for us. We just have to be willing to go to Him and let go of our need to do everything in our own power.
What have you been killing yourself to accomplish? Maybe it is time to hand it over to the One that truly has the power to make miracles happen!
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. God knows our needs and the needs of others and aligns everything to work for His glory. I have story after story that I could share with you, but I will save you hours of reading and narrow it down to just a few!
A couple of weeks ago, I met my father for lunch. He gave me a gift that brought tears to my eyes. He handed me this hat…
Now I have not received a gift from my dad for no reason for as long as I can remember. And although I would probably never wear this, what he said when he gave it to me is what pierced my heart. He told me that when he saw it, it reminded him of me. It was at that moment that everything came full circle. He told me he has been going to his church every time the doors are open and that he feels so much better when he is there. Then three days ago, my mom and I were talking on the phone and she mentioned that she saw a mailer from the church I attend and she wanted to go to the Christmas service with my family. I have been attending church since I was 15 and my mom and dad have each only been to one service during that entire span of 21 years. My dad came to watch me sing in the choir one Christmas and my mom came when my middle child was baptized.
I spent years trying to get my parents to discover what I had found all those years ago. Little did I know, they may not have been attending any service but they were watching me. This Christmas He allowed me to see the seeds that had been planted begin to sprout to life. He never ceases to amaze me and I can’t wait to see what comes of this Christmas miracle.
So if you have been praying for someone in your life to find Jesus, keep sending up those prayers because he is listening. You may not see the fruit just yet, but one day the big man upstairs may just surprise you and reveal the work He has been doing all along.
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.
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!!!
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.
Help me put on the belt of truth today filtering everything the world tells me through the light of Your Word. Remind me with the breastplate of righteousness that I cannot achieve goodness by the things I do or don’t do. You were the perfect sacrifice and I stand forgiven because of my hope in you. Help my feet carry your message of peace to a hurting world. Let me encourage those around me with the story of your gospel and son, Jesus Christ. Give me strength to carry my shield of faith. I am a part of a community of faith and we all stand together against the attacks of Satan. Cover my mind with the helmet of salvation. Help me think on things that honor you and give me discernment to do what is right and best. Arm me with your sword and hide your scripture in my heart. Your words, not mine, are powerful and effective. i pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice to overcome death and give me eternal life.
I want to take time to remember all the things you have done for me through the years. Oh there are so many things. You have carried me through dark valleys of the shadow of death. You have rejoiced with me on the mountaintops. You have held my hand and helped me take a leap into unknown waters. You have applied healing balm to my hurts and warm sunshine on my soul. You have given me precious friends whom have stood the test of time…and more. You have given me a loving family to grow with and be with. You have increased my territory spiritually. You have picked me up when I have stumbled and nearly hit the ground. You have provided for me when I did not know where my provisions would come from. You have surrounded me with prayers and support from the family of God in time of need. You have shown me miracles and blessed my soul. You have given me the desires of my heart — desires that are in line with Your will and word. You have given me the privilege of helping advance Your Kingdom through gifts, talents, and resources You have entrusted to me. You have always been patient with me. You have felt my cries, laughed at my silliness, and gently guided me back onto the right path. You have loved me with an everlasting love. I could go on and on. God, I am thankful for You and all You have done and all You will do in my life. I love you and appreciate You and want to shout, “How great is my God!”
With loving gratitude, in Your sweet and holy name,
Stories have the power to connect and heal hearts. As I share my journey, I pray God uses my words to teach and guide you into His loving arms.