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” ~

“When They Began”

I woke up this morning and felt doubt trying to steal my hope, so I began to pray before my feet ever touched the floor.

     Dear Abba… You’ve promised that if your people delight in You, then You will give us what our hearts long for.*  I am at rest knowing that You are good and You cannot lie.  I believe You!  In my weariness, please help my areas of unbelief.

Morning Praise 2

Am I the only one who struggles with doubt?  Oh, my faith is strong for others and my vision for you is great, so why do I wrestle with belief for my own heart’s desires to be fulfilled?  Could it be because I know my faults and the areas of struggle that I’ve yet to surrender?  Is it that I’m bracing myself for another “No” from God, because of the heartache I’ve known in my past?  I don’t see others as having to be perfect to receive their request from God.  If perfection was a requirement we would all be buried under the weight of despair.

I believe a huge part of my struggle is that I often fail to recognize that God is leading my every step.  Society has conditioned us to only acknowledge the giant leaps.  Rarely is anything seen as valuable unless it has a parade of accolades trailing behind it, so in the mindset of this world it doesn’t look like I’m stepping at all, but if I am pressing into God I am in motion.  Paul and Silas, even while in chains, trusted God and sang praises to Him.  With every breath of praise, they were stepping in faith.*  

What seems desolate today may lead to greater victories tomorrow.  It was after Paul and Silas began to sing praises to God that their chains fell off, along with the chains of all the other prisoners.  Our praise is not only for our own gain.  Paul and Silas not only celebrated a personal miracle but they got to rejoice with many others as they too were freed from both physical and spiritual chains.

God?  That’s really crazy!

God told Jehoshaphat to send the worshipers ahead of the troops into battle.  God gave a promise that He would fight the battle for them.  “You will not need to fight in this battle.  Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!  Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you…  Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper.” (2 Chor. 20:17 & 20b).

Sing Praise

“When they began to sing and to praise”

Jehoshaphat was obedient to God’s crazy request, so God caused his enemies to fight against each other.  God’s love is true and pure.  His love is unchanging.  His love is the same for all of us, so if you believe that God will restore the lives of those you pray for, then you must believe for yourself also.  If I believe for you but fail to trust when I pray for my own needs, then I have become prideful.  Ultimately, my lack of faith is stating that Jesus is enough for you but He is not enough for me.  Ouch!  To think I can be so arrogant, that’s a really painful thought.

Jesus paid a debt He did not owe and I owe a debt I could never pay.  I can’t, but Jesus did!  When I gave my life to Christ, He covered me with His perfection, and I too can take my request to God and ask believing – even when I’m still struggling with my faith.  Wrestling with faith shows the presence of faith.

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

Having emotions is not wrong, it’s what we do with them that matters.  This morning as I felt hope draining from my heart, I called to the One where hope begins.  In faith I called to God as I surrendered my unbelief.

“ALL the promises of God are “YES”!*  So take a deep breath, rest in Him, believe for yourself like you believe for others, and say “AMEN!” – 2 Cor. 1:20

In the words of a wise friend of mine, “It’s an honest request that God delights to honor; and when we see our faith increase, we know to give the glory back to God.”, (Kimberly Wyse).  The more I recall what God has done, the more I find rest in knowing that He will continue to amaze me.  God is good!

What chains have you bound?  Are you physically shackled?  What emotional weights keep you hidden in fear rather than functioning in faith?  Are you burdened by people’s false accusations?  Or, are you struggling with forgiving yourself for wrongs you’ve committed?  Whatever it may be that taunts your mind today, take the thoughts captive and give God praise.  He’s still writing your story.

~Shannan

2013, Growing Forward In Love!

* Scripture references, Psalm 33:18, Psalm 37:4, Acts 16:25-34, 2 Cor. 1:20