Ten Years Ago Today

Ten Years Ago Today - 1

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” – Rev. 12:11

Ten years ago today, on October 9th, I turned 30.  Warren would have forgotten that it was my birthday, but he stayed true to what had become a tradition for him.  Every year he would remember the day when my nephews would call to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me in their cute tiny little boy voices.  It was a good thing for Warren that my family never made a huge deal of birthdays either, so I was use to it.  He was imperfect, but I knew that he absolutely loved me.  Besides, we had a lot of changes taking place that we were trying to juggle.  We were dreaming big and taking some really big risks with those dreams.  Things were tough – exciting – scary – and did I already say exciting!  As scary as the risks were we were in this battle/adventure together, so life was pretty good.

Big plans were underway for a new project, all brand new songs, a dynamic brand new sound, and a brand new P3.  We had caught baby-fever and were planning to expand our family.  We were talking about and dreaming of tiny toes and itty bitty fingers.  Pink or blue, it didn’t matter to me, just that we could hold a little one all our own.  For some reason Warren was pretty sure God would give us a girl.  In the midst of all the personal family plans we’d even begun the process of hiring a whole new team so I could take a much-needed break from road life.  Ten years ago today, we were both holding our hearts desires in the palm of our hands, we just never got to wrap our fingers around them.

Our schedule was booked three years in advance, for the most part.  Everyone was so excited and full of wonderful expectations.  I must say, the new group was sounding awesome!  The new guys would come over to rehearse and I would stand at the bottom of the stairs to listen.  P3 was known for their harmonies, but the new team was soaring.  It was so beautiful.  Three guys were singing, but I was sure I could hear that 5th part when their tones locked.

Another change was in Warren’s piano playing.  He had won many awards in his field, even studied under some of the greatest in our industry, but I wanted to see and hear him create and produce the sounds that God gave him.  He had reproduced too many of the old classics like many others were also doing.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I knew he had so much more in him.  One big risk we decided on taking was for Warren to start writing and playing his own musical pieces.  I was so proud of all he was doing.  Most of all, I loved seeing him smile.

Ten years ago today, I pretty much held everything I ever wanted in the palm of my hand as we decided to venture out of familiar territory.  The following mouths were filled with excitement and lots of work.  We had to keep up with the original music and its schedule while we were working behind the scene building another team to slide into place.  My last scheduled trip out was January 7th through the first week of March, 2006.

Beneath the joy and excitement, I was battling memories of a dream I had a few months before Warren and I got married.  The thought of the dream came back to me earlier in the year.  I talked with my pastor in Canada, Dwight, in March, 2005.  I had gone to the back lounge of the bus and called him.  We were traveling down in Florida at the time.  I told Dwight about the dream and followed it up with this question.  “Dwight, does God tell you when bad things are going to happen?”  He affirmed that there are times God does, and then gave me some examples in scripture.  The only other person I told the dream to was my mom.  We all hoped it was just fear trying to distract me.

The week Warren and I started dating, the first week of October, 1995, I got a call that the gentleman I sang with had just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer.  Steve was a big man and strong, but what he thought to be walking pneumonia had broken two of his ribs one night when he sneezed.  The diagnosis shocked us all.  Steve and I were really close.  I called him my road-dad.  I spent every extra moment I had with the Miller family, I went on their family vacations, and I even inherited two little brothers I never wanted.  Ha!  I loved them too.  Steve Miller, age 49, went to heaven just a few short weeks later.  I thought I’d never stop crying.

~ The Dream ~

Gasping for breath I was jolted from a deep sleep.  I sat straight up on my couch where I had fallen asleep a few hours before.  I was sobbing uncontrollably.  I had dreamt that I walk into a hospital room where Warren lay.  His family and I stood around his bed as the doctor told me he was dying.  I walked out of the room and slid to the floor in a puddle of tears.  In my dream, I became a 30-year-old widow.

I never did tell Warren about the dream I had and why I started to pull away from him for the few weeks I did.  I thought my dream was produced from grief over losing my road-dad, the pain was so great I didn’t want to get that close to anyone again.  Steve’s wife, Sharon, said something to me at his funeral that jolted me out of my fearful decision to withdraw from Warren.  She said, “knowing what I know now, I would marry Steve all over again.”  Her strength gave me courage.  Warren and I were married July 27th, 1996.

At the beginning of 2005, that dream started to return to my mind.  Each time it would come to haunt me I would pray for God to take it away.  He would for a time and then it would return.  I chose to believe that it was fear trying to cripple me.  I did not put two and two together, but along with the memory of that dream came God asking me a question.  Three times that year he asked me, “Are you willing to give it all up?”  He always asked me in the middle of a concert during one of two songs, ‘Til There’s Nothing Left But You’ or ‘I Surrender’.  The first two times He asked me I refused to fully answer anything other than, “You alone know my heart”, but when God asked me again for the third time the third week of November, 2005, I surrendered.  I said, “Yes, Lord.  Apparently you have something else for me to do.”

~ Little Did I Know ~

That same week Warren woke me up in the middle of the night.  He said, “Little One, (that’s what he called me), if anything ever happens to me this is what I want for you.  I want you to remarry right away…”  I asked him, “Should I give you two weeks in the ground first?”  I thought he was joking.  Warren never liked to talk about this stuff.  He even feared he was having an aneurysm break if he got a headache that lasted too long, and he was always pulling some kind of practical joke.  I stopped being silly when I realized that this had been weighing on him.  “…I don’t want you to worry about keeping the trio going.  That’s my passion not yours.  I want you to write your life story, and I want you to remarry right away because I want someone to take care of you.”  He detailed for me all that he wanted for me, releasing me to live, and went on to talk about his family.

Warren was killed instantly by a drunk driver just ten minutes before midnight on January 7th, 2006.  My last scheduled road trip became P3’s last also.  I was 30 years old when I slid to the floor in a puddle of tears.

There are so many more sweet God encounter in my life’s story and much detail still to share with you, but for now I will close with this.

Ten years ago today I held all that my heart desired.  Today, I turn 40 and I grieve the loss of my best friend and my empty arms.  There are no tiny toes and itty bitty fingers, nor any pink or blue to remember, but I cling to the One who graciously gave me warning of this journey I’d have to walk.  I never thought this season would last so long, and often question if God has forgotten me.  I do know better, but I still talk it out when the feelings are like a heavy boot on my chest.  Most of all, I thank Him for catching me as I slid to the floor in a puddle of tears, and for never letting me go.  I will soon say again, “I thought I’d never stop crying.”

Today, I hold the most precious treasure of all, though not in the palm of my hand but in the core of my heart – God’s presence and sweet memories He so graciously allowed me to have.

~ Shannan

Ten Years Ago Today - 2

~ “Most of all, I loved seeing him smile” ~


  1. Steve said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    You have been a blessing to many. God’s richest blessings to you Shannan.

  2. 10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Shannon, You are in my prayers today of all days. The loss of Warren was heaven’s gain. I remember one night long ago myself and a couple of family members went to one of your concerts in Scarborough. The concert was amazing, as always, and we loved it. When it came time to leave, we found we had car trouble, and had called an adultier adult to come and help us. Warren came over to offer assistance as you were all packing up the bus to leave. You were on your way to cross the border that night for a concert down south. It was discovered that Warren would not be able to help us and conceded to let us wait for someone to come. What was surprising to us; as we waited, we noticed that your bus did NOT leave the grounds until our help arrived. I’ll never know if you were actually waiting around for us; but we did know that you were on a tight schedule and this seemed touching to us. Coincidence or not; we were moved by kindness shown us by strangers. Thank you.

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      Wow, I forgot all about that night. Thank you so much for refreshing my memory. We knew what it was like to be left alone without help and wanted to make sure you were not left alone in a dark parking lot. We didn’t view you as strangers. We were well aware we got to travel the way we did because of the support from all who came out. Thank you!

  3. Juliette Tuttobene said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Wow. Such beautiful words. Life is a gift. I wished I could have known Warren. He was someone special. Your written memories will always keep him alive. Don’t stop.

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      Oh I love you Juliette! I feel like my heart gets a hug every time I see your name pop up here. Warren would have loved all of you and no doubt he and Eric would have gotten into some boy trouble together. Ha! I’m thankful he doesn’t need me anymore because he’s with the One who loves him the most. You’ll meet him someday!

  4. 10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Thank you for sharing this, hugs and prayers from St. Louis.

  5. Nancy Casteele said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Hello Shannon, I am not sure if you will remember me… I met you at a grief share group at Christ’s church in 2006. I just read your post and feel deeply moved by it… You strength …your vulnerability….it is all there. Please, know that you are giving us all a beautiful gift by having another birthday and by sharing your heart and soul with us. Much Love, Nancy Casteele

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      Of course I remember you, Nancy. I will never forget the first time we met, my heart went out to you over the loss of your father. I still think of you often. I really appreciate your note of encouragement. I’ve hesitated sharing too much for fear of people thinking I’m stuck in the past, but with the response I’ve received and others being encouraged by this blog, I will share more despite what others may think. Thank you sweet friend.

      I hear things are going well with your music. I’d love to come hear you when you play in Nashville sometime.

  6. LaROLF McCOIN said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Thanks for sharing these “so personal memories”………..Your love for GOD and for WARREN is so evident…….Today, I pray for God to shower you with a “DOUBLE PORTION” of His love, His grace, and His presence

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      I’m so grateful for your prayers and encouragement. Thank you for taking a moment to share, LaRolf.

  7. ellielyn said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Shannon I’m not sure you will remember me but your ministry blessed me and many in my Congregations when you ministered to us. Remembering you and praying for you whenever you post but had to tell you that today.
    God bless you in whatever your ministry might be.

    Major Evelyn Augustine
    The Salvation Army in Ohio

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      I cannot tell you how delighted I am to hear from you, Major Augustine. I don’t always know who is reading my blog. To see your name pop up made my heart smile and brought back so many wonderful memories. I do hope you all are keeping well. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your prayers. I could never have made it this far without God’s people praying.

      Much love and God’s richest blessing to you!

  8. Edna Parker said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    Tears are a languish that God understands! I remember you all singing these words. Thank you for sharing your heart and your love for Warren. You were both so in love and I thank God for the years that He gave you together. You will always be loved and close to our hearts…

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      ‘Tears are a language God understands.’ I am honored that God chose me to walk with Warren. Boy did he and I laugh about the beginning years when we didn’t act so in love. Even those times bring a smile to my face – the growing years.

      I love you Mom & Dad P. Thanks for your blessing to keep living!

  9. Frances said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    I believe Warren is right. It’s time you write a book. No to put you on the spot, I remember a few years ago when you had mentioned you had started to write this blog. I keep coming back to it because of your writing! ;0)

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      Such kind encouragement! Thank you, Frances. I am starting to write a lot more that has yet to be published 😉 I could use the prayers for Holy Spirit guidance!

  10. Lois (Brandt's mom) said,

    10/09/2015 at 11:50

    We think about you and speak of you often. Keep trusting…He is Faithful!!!

  11. 10/10/2015 at 11:50

    Shannon, THANK YOU for your transparency. I love you! I am so glad that God brought you and Warren into my life back in the winter of 1998 at Word of Life Camp in Owen Sound, where God used you and Warren to reach over 100 youth that my husband and I had brought to the camp. Many High School students rededicated their lives during one of your concerts that weekend, and one walked forward to receive Christ for the first time, and still serves Jesus today. Then… God reconnected you, Warren and I again in the summer of 1998 at MBC. The ‘instant’ friendship is still imbedded in my heart.

    I remember our many times talking, laughing, sitting at the beach and sharing our stories. One afternoon Warren was setting up in the chapel for the evening concert, and I shared that God had laid an original song on my heart for one of my close friends battling a serious health condition. I shared how I felt God wanted me to record it for her – and that somehow He was also going to use this song to encourage others. I explained to Warren that I was trusting God for the funds needed and that I was praying about how to obey God in this.

    Warren said, I can play it for you! Sing it for me … so, I started singing “I’ll Stand By You” and he went over to the grand piano and started playing it. Right there, the auditorium was filled with what was in my heart. Later that year, he recorded the piano part, added guitar, base, organ effects and sent me the CD to take to a studio to record the vocals. He wouldn’t take a cent – understanding the challenge of finances of my husband and I being pastors in ministry as well. I still remember the tears of joy as I listened to his talent, went to a studio and recorded it.

    Do you know that God has used that song to inspire many, even overseas in Africa where I went on several music mission trips? You can hear the song, Warren’s talent and God’s miracle, on my music website: http://www.music-for-mission.com, where all of the proceeds from CD sales and performances, goes to Global Outreach Mission serving others around the world.

    Another part of my journey Shannon, is that I too lost my husband 10 years ago, in the death of divorce. Rebuilding me has been a process very close to your description above, but God has been faithful and loving and truly been my provider and husband during this time. God is so good and He truly loves us all through our journeys!

    I want to say this to you in love … Open your heart, as Warren wanted, to receive and give love again from a godly man who is also trusting God at this time to rebuild him. If it is God’s will, He will bring that man into your life, and will ignite your heart to love him. Stay open! Genesis 1 is a unique description of God’s love and understanding for companionship in order for us to experience Him deeper as we serve and live out our purpose during our brief time on earth. “Life is just on loan for a little while” as my song ‘In God’s Arms’ says. I pray you are encouraged and know how much your life and Warren’s continues to impact mine. I love you Shannon!
    Sharon Larson, Lakeland, FL

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      I do remember that time well, Sharon. It is a joy to know how even when our life ends here on this earth our life lives on through others we’ve met along the way. Warren was just being who he was and thought nothing of it. Not that he was perfect, boy I could tell some others stories….LOL! But he was pretty awesome 🙂

      As for opening my heart again. I’ve been ready, but God has not seen fit to bring the right person along. He can do that any time now… Thanks to God loving me and my life with Warren, I can love even deeper today – ‘Beauty From Ashes’.

      Much love to you, Sharon. Please say hi to your dad for me.

  12. 10/10/2015 at 11:50

    Hi Shannan, this Clinton & Loraine from Waynesboro,TN, we want to wish you happy birthday and many more , it doesn’t seem like it was 10 years ago, but it has, the years fly fast doesn’t it our christian friend, God bless you, we love you, we now you miss Warren and so do we, we now he is in the that wonderful place called heaven.

    Keep up what you are doing, stay active in your ministry by speaking to other people when you travel to different places.

    Stay active in church that’s wonderful Shannan God bless you, I wish I was that active like you are, I’m not like I should be Shannan, my wife Loraine doesn’t walk to good, she has artherities inside her knee, she needs a lot of prayer, pray for her.

    She has to go to Lawrenceburg,TN every week monday,wednesday,and friday to get a Dialysis treatment for her kidneys, her kidneys funcion is 6%, otherwise she is doing fine, she eat’s good, her blood pressure is stays normel.

    Her kidneys were damaged at one time from high blood pressure , she used to have high blood pressure for 10 years, not any more praise the Lord for that.

    Pray for a miracle if it’s God’s will that her kidneys be healed.

    God bless you, we love you.


    Clinton & Loraine

    • 10/10/2015 at 11:50

      Clinton, I am so sorry to hear about Loraine’s health struggles. I am praying that God will strengthen you both and heal her body. You have been so kind and faithful to me over the years. I pray God bless you double for the love you’ve shown me.

      Much love to you both!

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