A year had passed since my divorce. I had met a man that seemed to be everything I had wanted in a man, except for one little problem. He was expecting a child with another woman. When we started talking, he was open and honest about his predicament, so I felt he was safe. All I wanted was an honest man who treated me with love and respect and so far so good. In the back of my mind, I knew better. A very small voice told me to be careful, but not only did I ignore it, I rationalized everything this man did that were huge red flags right from the beginning. And because he was honest on day one, I assumed he was an honest person. I never questioned anything he told me until he ripped my heart out by walking away.
At that moment in my life, I was attending church religiously. I was the photographer for the women’s ministry and I attended every church event that I could. I felt that there was no way for me to be going down the wrong path because I was doing everything God’s way. Boy was I blind! Church was my crutch and that man was an idol.
I was working for a local company at this time as well and everything seemed great on the surface. I had been hired as a referral and the job was a God send. I thought my life was finally getting better. But when my personal life started to crumble, my health took a downward spiral. I wasn’t eating, I couldn’t sleep at night and everything made me cry. I was depressed. I forced myself to get up every morning, take my kids to school and go to a job that promised me security. Somewhere along the way, my job security also became an idol. God was preparing me for what would be a huge turning point in my life. Two weeks before the next big blow, I prayed this prayer, “Lord, please show me what is best for me and give me the strength to go through the fire one more time if I am not where you want me.”
One month after that man walked out of my life never to return again with no explanation to me or my children, my boss fired me. Everything came crashing down. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. During that time frame I had been to see my doctor and my friend suggested that I go get something to help me get through this. The doctor recommended an anti-depressant, but God kept telling me that I needed Him, not a quick fix. The doctor suggested that he call in the prescription and if I decided to pick it up great, if not no harm done. So I agreed. I also requested a sleeping pill so that I could get some rest at night and he prescribed a Vitamin D supplement because I had a deficiency. He said he would call them in. That day I prayed about what I should take and not take and when I went to pick up the medicine, the doctor had only called in two of the medications. The pharmacy tech said there was not a sleeping pill, so I went ahead and picked up the two she had ready. I contacted the doctor’s office, but they were closed and I would have to wait until morning. I had been crying all day and at bedtime I prayed that God would let me know what to do about taking the medication. My friend called and was an answer to my prayers. She explained that she had taken the same medicine after her divorce just to take the edge off so she could get through that rough time more level headed. So I took two Tylenol PM and what I thought was the anti-depressant and laid down. I remember having a conversation on the phone with my sister. I was feeling very light headed and although I had never been drunk in my life, I felt wasted. She even said I was sounding crazy. The last thing I can recall was telling her that if I didn’t wake up in the morning, it was that stupid medicine I should never have taken. What happened next still shakes me to the core.
I woke up and all I could see was a bright light. I walked closer out of curiosity and there I was standing at a huge pearly gate that extended as far as the eye could see. It took me a minute to figure out where I was and then I knew. I was at the gates of Heaven but I was’t afraid. I felt at home for the first time in a very long time and my joy had returned. But then I heard a familiar voice. It was the voice of my Heavenly Father and all He said was, “Shannon, it is not your time.” The next thing I know, I am awakened with severe stomach pains and violent vomiting. I honestly thought I was losing my mind at this point. I went straight to the medication I had taken the night before and discovered that I had somehow brought home Ambien, a very strong sleeping pill, instead of the anti-depressant. So I had taken two sleeping pills and an Ambien. I knew immediately that I had overdosed. I called my doctor and saw him first thing that morning. I explained what happened and he said that I was lucky to be alive given the fact that I only weighed 105 lbs. and had taken what I did.
My life took a dramatic turn that day. God had given me a second chance and saw a reason for me to stay on this Earth for a little while longer. I never took another pill. I knew in my heart that God was the only thing I needed to get through the pain. He was my rock from that day forward. He proved that only He would love me the way I longed to be loved and only He would meet all of my needs. No man, no job security, nothing but Jesus could mend my broken heart and start putting the pieces of my shattered life back together again.