Just Taken? Death Was Supposed To Be Foreign To Us.

Maurice Carter - May God allow me to leave behind such a legacy of love...

There have been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the sudden death of my dear friend Maurice.  I’ve heard people talking about what might have actually happened the night he disappeared.  I’m not going to share any of those thought processes with you now for the sake of his family, and too, I do not want to plant those questionable seeds in your mind.  The human mind has a great ability to build and accept “truths” out of a mound of lies.

Here are my questions.  What if God just took him?  Like Enoch, or the prophet Elijah?  What if God looked down and decided that Maurice did a great job and deserved heaven for his reward?  What if this is the only explanation?  Does that make God bad?

Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus and wept.  He wasn’t weeping because He was hopeless.  Jesus knew exactly what He was about to do, but I believe He wept because death was never intended to be a part of our reality.  The physical death we all will face is a result of this fallen world.  As Jesus stood peering into Lazarus’ grave, He was faced with the reality of what He was about to endure to remedy the hold death had on mankind.  In that moment Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus, but I believe He was experiencing the sorrow, and weight, of death itself.  But then He spoke, “Lazarus Come Forth!”

Jesus, in His humanness, stood at a grave site feeling it’s finality.  That day Jesus, as I AM, gave a preview of what was about to unfold three days after we bury Him.  Just as Lazarus came out alive from his tomb, Jesus was about to walk out of His own earthly grave.  The finality of the death we taste is still subject to be obedient to God’s command.  It too must submit to His will.

Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” – John 11:43b-44

God has all authority, even over the death of our physical bodies.  So, what if God took him from us?

When my husband was killed many people came to me asking, “Why?”  Why did Warren have to be where he was?  Why did we make the stops along the way in our travels that led us to that place at that exact moment?  Why did God allow Tim Baker to leave the bar when he did?  There were countless questions I was asked to answer that night, and the weeks and months after Warren’s death.  The answer is simple, I don’t know.  I cannot answer for what God allows and what He does not. Truthfully, I still think He doesn’t make sense.  What I think and what He knows rarely ever line up.  I do know that He is God and I am not.  Warren and Maurice belong to Him, and death has no power that God has not given it.  However those precious to me leave this earth, however God chooses to take me from this earth, is all up to His sovereign hand.

We wrestle with the reason and search for more detail because death was supposed to be foreign to us.  We seek and create answers to cope with the mystery of the unknown.  Before Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden fruit we had no knowledge of what we call death.  Sorrow was not part of our design.  We invited this in when we decided to have our eyes “opened” to be like God “knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)It was at this moment in time that redemption’s plan was set into motion.

Why Warren?  Why Maurice?  Why death?  WHY WOULD GOD?

The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.” – Isaiah 57:1

It may just be God’s grace extended to His own.

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” – Genesis 5:24

Maybe God did just take them?  Whichever theory we decide to believe surrounding the death of our friends and loved ones, we can rest in the fact that God is good and His mercies endure forever.  If we find ourselves questioning God or even getting angry at Him, we must remember that it was our own choosing to have our eyes opened, but God’s grace has made a way through Jesus that we can again walk with Him in peace.

Death may feel final for those of us left behind, but true life, restored life, is waiting beyond its veil.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:53-55

If there’s no other answer to the multiple questions in our mind but that God is God and He chooses rightly, are we willing to trust and rest in Him?


2011, Keeping It Real!


Saying goodbye to this friend is a searing knife through the heart, but it’s also the sweetest joy because of the absolute truth that this is only a temporary parting. JESUS is enough and has made a way. Until we all have the honor Maurice has been granted, we must carry the torch forward.

No “Fresh Meat” Sign!


Getting Honest!

I had a friend drop off John C. Maxwell’s book, “Put Your Dream To The Test”, for me last night.  I felt quite hopeless as I read the first few paragraphs.  “What Is Your Dream?”,  he asks.  I keep asking God to give me that deep passion for whatever He has for me.  I know me, and if I know for certain tha when God tells me to do something or go somewhere, I dive into it full force.  Until that time, I wait for His leading.  This waiting is hard for me and often very humbling because I feel lazy in the waiting.  I know this is not truth, but nonetheless I fight the internal battle.

I have had a very hard time facing and sharing the truth of my heart.  It’s hard to face because I am also smacked with the reality that I had my big dream and it was stripped from me in a matter of seconds.  It’s hard for me to share with others because I fear the misunderstanding that I am simply trying to fill a gap in my life.  With the knowledge that I might be misunderstood and/or judged, I would like to share with the world my big dream:  to be the best wife, mother, and homemaker I can be.

One of the misunderstandings I fear is that some may think I’m out meeting people with the question in my mind, “Are you him?”  I’m not much for believing in love at first sight.  You can be intrigued and want to get to know someone better, but time spent with a person tells a lot.  Please keep in mind as I share my thoughts, I’d rather be alone than marry someone for the wrong reasons.  It’s much worse to be alone with someone, than to be alone by yourself.

There’s a statement made in the second paragraph of the introduction to Maxwell’s book, “Others are reluctant to talk about it (their dream).  They seem embarrassed to say it out loud.  These people have never tested their dream.”  My heart screamed at me – “Pay attention!”  I’ve run so long from this area of my heart in fear of people’s reaction.  Within days of Warren’s death I realized that I needed to protect others from anything that might cause them to feel uncomfortable around me.  A close friend stood in front of me in a line at the airport and did not know what to say to me.  Instead, while I stood right there, he turned to my ministry team members to ask how I was doing.  I did not take offense to this.  I actually found it a little comical, but I instantly picked up the role of “Protector from Shannan.”  I needed to protect others from my own pain in order to help them relate to me.  That was fine for then and certainly helped me walk through all the legal battles, but now I want to be the Shannan God’s says I am.  I’m not Shannan Parker of “The Parker Trio.”  I’m not Shannan Parker, Warren’s wife.  So the question remains, without the things that defined me for so long, Who is Shannan?

My dream and the means to it must be modified a bit to be healthily achieved.  There are certain things that you can do and should do to reach a majority of goals set, but I must stay completely in-tune with God’s leading for my life to arrive safely along this path.  I pray almost daily for God to guard me from my emotions.  Emotions are not bad.  They’re a gift from God.  However, we can fall into many traps of the enemy if we do not first weigh each thought and feeling before we act.

There’s another issue I’d like to address.  Please pay close attention to this.  No one person and no one thing can make us happy.  Let me state it again.  No one person and no one thing can make us happy.  It is unfair to demand this from anyone.  Each morning we wake up, we have a choice.  We choose to live life as victorious children of God or as victims of our fallen world.  My dream is not a Hollywood fantasy of “Happily Ever After” where a perfect man comes along and we live out life on a white sandy beach.  There’s a real life that comes after the credits roll.  Life can be happy and good, if all involved decide to be happy and thankful for what they do have.  I can only expect from others what I am willing to give.  I could write a whole lot regarding this topic, but that is not the purpose at this time.

The book asks, “What is your dream?”  Just a few weeks past the question was presented to me, “What did you pretend to be as a child?”

I lined my stuffed animals up and sang to them.  They always loved to hear me and never had a negative response.  On other occasions, I danced and twirled around the room as if I were a prima-ballerina, wooing an audience of ten thousand.  All that was fun, but the majority of my time was spent playing house.  I was married to a handsome man who went off to work after breakfast, and I took care of our home and child.  I dressed my poor dog up in every baby outfit I could get and pushed her around the yard in a vintage baby carriage.  She tried desperately to get away, but I always found a way to make her “behave.”  One thing stands out to me as I think back: my play home was always peaceful.  It wasn’t always without a difficult issue, but it was peaceful.  As I reminisce, I’ve become aware of how much I have been praying for a peace-filled home as I’ve ask God to reveal His plan for my life.

When Warren and I discussed the expansion of our family, we were very aware of all the possible realities.  We talked out every potential problem we could think of.  He communicated his fear and I did the same.  We became ok with all the “What if’s” before we ever started to try.  We also decided that road life was not the healthiest way to raise a child; at least for the first five years of their life.  Before we began to try for our first addition, we hired and began to work with two new members of P3.  I was scheduled to come off the road in March, 2006, and work behind the scenes.  We wanted our children to know how important it is to be dedicated to a home church.  Truthfully, I longed for the day I could stay home and be the CEO of our home.  We were finally at a place where I could still support Warren in his passion for music ministry yet have my main ministry be to take care of him, our home, and possibly a little one.

With the new question presented to me regarding what my dream was and is, I have to pull from my time with Warren.  I think back to the 9 1/2 years we were married.  What did I enjoy most about our life together?  Warren was my best friend.  We wanted to spend time with each other more than anyone else.  We worked together in full-time ministry.  We were only apart for a total of five days our entire marriage.  We took walks, watched movies, shopped for clothes together, and I was his cheerleader as he played hockey.  I tried to ice skate a couple of time, but quickly discovered I was a much better cheerleader.  Out of all the memories between road life and home, I enjoyed taking care of him the most.  He often forgot to eat because he was busy on the computer or writing music, so I took him his lunch or dinner.  He seemed to truly enjoy my humble efforts, and was happy to try one of my creative recipes, good or bad!.  I also enjoyed keeping the house tidy so he could relax when he did crawl out of the office.  I found more pleasure in these little things than I did the stage and the lights.  Please do not take me wrong.  I appreciate the way God chose to use me on that platform.  I loved watching Him work through us to soften hearts of stone and bring healing to the broken.  I learned so much by traveling and meeting new people.  I treasure that time and the many friends I met along the way.  I am a better person today because of it.

But My Big Dream?  To have a peaceful home, filled with love.  I loved having a true partner in life.  We had many seasons of struggle and both had a lot of growing up and growing together moments, but we loved God and loved each other.  Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoyed being the homemaker.

I’m fully alert to the harsh reality of the world we live in.  I am not and will not go out and hunt for someone to fill this place in my life.  Like I stated earlier, I’d rather be alone by myself than alone with someone, But I do desire to be the woman who cares for her family and home.  There!  I said it for all in blog land and on Facebook to read.  This is not meant to be a sign hung around my neck stating, “Fresh Meat Here.”  Certainly Not!  God is the holder of my heart and no one will get it until He hands it to them.  God must remain my first love.  I am incapable of loving another unless God lives in and through me.  He is love.  If this forever remains a desire and never a reality, God still owes me nothing.  He is good and has already given me more than I deserve.

There you have it.  I just wonder what the next chapter of this book will uncover?  I will share with you the notes I take as I read on.

Shannan Parker
To learn more about John C. Maxwell, www.johnmaxwell.com