“What Is Our Hope In This Moment?”

As I’ve been sitting here meditating on and writing another blog that has me so excited, my mom left a message on my phone asking me to pray.  I could hear her tenderized heart as she made her request.  Not only will I be going to see my brother in prison in the coming days, but I will also be going to visit with a family member in their last few days of life.  She is dying of pancreatic cancer.  I’ve faced many earthly graves over the last few years, but even with this recent call I am filled with hope.

Hope is more present now than I’ve ever been aware of before.

“What is our hope in this moment?”

“The grave IS overwhelmed.”

I pray with tears today, but “There’s an anchor for my soul.”  The victory is already won!

“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 Cor. 15:554-55

“When this darkness breaks to light…Jesus has overcome.”

I ask for your prayers for my upcoming trip and for the words that need to be spoken, for my brother’s salvation and comfort for my family member (they’ve asked to remain anonymous).  Please pray that it’s Jesus they see and experience and not me.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!”

The reason we can have hope today and not just for tomorrow will be shared in my next blog, “There’s Only One Word For This!”

An Update To Clarify – It is NOT my mother who is sick.  I just want to make sure I don’t mislead.  It is another family member who is battling the illness.

I Never Asked For This One Companion

What do you do when you can’t sleep because the weight of sorrow is squeezing the breath from your lungs?  You would think I’d have the remedy to this problem with having to walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” so many times over the last few years.  But tonight, another portion of my physical heart ceases to beat.

At this moment, I liken myself to one of the fearful disciples in the boat as the storm rages, (Luke 8:22-25).  My knuckles have become white as they try to hold tight to anything that seems stable…but there’s nothing to be found.  My fingers are left raw for losing my grip once again.

In this valley the wind and rain is coming down so hard, they have thrown me against the rocks.  The voice of hopelessness screams in the winds whistling, but I recall to my mind who I travel with.  I reach through the pain of my bruised heart and call to Hope – JESUS!!!!

I can’t make sense of the current storms of life.  They seem to be so senseless.  I do know it’s not only about my pain.  In the times I cry for my personal grief, I also find myself beginning to cry more for others who I know are hurting.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about my friend, Maurice Carter, who has just been taken from us, and far too young in my opinion.  He and I shared joys and laughed much, but there were also those times that I could see he was sorrowing over something, or someone.  This was one of our common bonds in our friendship.  We never gave details, we just knew.

I’ve realized something through the recent passing of my friend.  Those of us who have been handed the gifts of mercy and encouragement will often have sorrow as a traveling companion.  I used to despise her and see her as a weakness within myself.  Sorrow is not a fun friend along this journey, but her lessons are strengthening.  She gives me what I need to carry the things that bring us pain to the only One who can silence the voice of hopelessness and calm our storms.  This is where I find my lungs able to take in life-giving air again.

Death may invite sorrow to our side, but she is not to be feared.  The emotions brought with her are gifts to get us through the valley.  In the storms of life our hearts are tenderized.  We become aware of our inability to live alone and recognize our need for God.  Death can only win if we choose to run from the natural emotions that are meant to lead us to Life.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” – Psalm 23

I never asked for this one companion, but sorrow is not the only one who follows me, so does goodness and mercy!

When I find myself unable to sleep from the weight of sorrow, I cry, I call to God, and I wait for Him to wipe my tears as His presence calms my anxieties.  Then I choose to trust Him, and I rest.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy (another companion) comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real.

Remembering my friend and the truths he taught and lived out.  Oh to see what he sees!

I Am Choosing!

God is not surprised by what catches me off guard.  He is in control at all times and in all things.  He knows my coming and my going and promises His protection, because I am His.  I will let Him do, according to His perfect plan, all He wants to do.  I surrender me.

Take All Of Me

Despite all this world will throw my way…

I Am Choosing – To Trust, even when it doesn’t make sense.

I trust, because He is my rock and my deliverer, and His ways are higher than mine. He continually hugs me with His love. (Psalm 18:1-3, Isaiah 55:8-10, Zeph. 3:16-17)

I Am Choosing – To Worship, even when I don’t feel like it.

I will worship God because He is worthy and He is holy.  God is present in praise, and in it He heals the brokenhearted. (Psalm 99:5-6, Psalm 14:1-3)

I Am Choosing – To Press On, even when my strength has given way to weariness.

I press on, though troubles press in on me I am not moved, my power is from God.  “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (2 Cor. 4:7-9, Psalm 73:26)

I Am Choosing – To Believe, even when nothing looks possible.

I will believe, so my testimony is uncompromised. “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)

I Am Choosing – To Fight, to climb out of the valley, regardless if I am there by my own doing or by the hands of someone else.

I fight because I know where my strength comes from and who promises victory; I do not wrestle in vain.  “Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your strength.” (1 Cor. 15:57-58, Psalm 54:1)

I Am Choosing – To Hope, even when I’m not sure what to hope for.

I hope because God is the giver of perfect gifts and He alone can fill my heart with gladness.  He gives more than enough. (James 1:17, Psalm 4:6-7)

I Am Choosing – Victory over Victim, even when it seems evil is winning and justice is obsolete.

I am victorious because I am a child of the Living God.  I am an heir to my Father’s eternal Kingdom that cannot be measured by man.  I am wonderfully fashioned by Him and for Him.  His plans for me are for good and not harm. (Rom. 8:16-18, Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 29:11-12)

I Am Choosing – To Love, even when it hurts.

I will love, because it is God’s commandment and He promised me fullness of joy in loving.  God never promised I would be loved in return by those I care for, but He loves me and wants to love others through me.  I am nothing without love; just noise. (John 15:11-12, 1 John 4:20-21, 1 Cor. 13:1-3)

Jesus Gave Us His - Knowing What We Would Do With It.

If I am truly surrendered to Christ, I cannot help but love others because love lives in me.

Many have asked me, “How is it you are so strong?”  I have thought and prayed for a long time, and asked God to give me the words to explain where my strength comes from, without my answer sounding like just another cliche’ phrase.  The secret to being strong is no secret at all.  I am only as strong as the depth of my relationship with God – anything past this is nothing more than a mask.  If my heart is broken, it does not change who God is, it only gives Him a platform to show off His absolute greatness.

How Are You Choosing To Live Today?

You Can Walk, Or You Can Swim?

I used the word, “Choosing” because it is continual.  To simply choose something is a one time occurrence.  I must put my decisions into action daily.

~Shannan

Watch for my upcoming post, “SHOW ME THE MONEY.”  I’ve been working for a couple weeks reading and researching for it 🙂

I Cannot..I Can..I Cannot…OH’ But Yes I CAN Because I Am!

This Is Fact:

I Want!!!

I cannot compete with the new sports car, except the fact that both our bodies will get crinkles and dents and our engine will only go so many miles.

Now This Is Living!

Nor can I measure up to the bigger fancier home, except the fact that both our foundations may crack, our walls will sag, and our carpeting will wear thin.

This Is Truth:

I am more valuable than all these things. I AM CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.  I am His master design!

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works..” Psalm 139:14

As long as God is first in my heart, I can hold you when you hurt, laugh with you when life is funny, and I love you back.  Unlike a diamond, I will eternally shine!

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, WHICH IS SO UNCERTAIN, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with EVERYTHING for our enjoyment.” (1 Tim. 6:17)

The very rich city of Tyre was untouchable by man, it could NOT be defeated, BUT GOD SPOKE and wiped it off the face of the earth because they put their trust in their wealth & not Him; even the stones were turned to dust.  (The Destruction of Tyre Commentary – Ezekiel 26:1-14)

Dear God, guard my heart and keep me focused on You. May I fulfill the reason You choose to breathe life into me.

Put your hope in this world and you will lose everything in the end, but put your hope in God and you will gain everything for all eternity.

~Shannan

With Great Passion

Remember The Promise

Sometimes all we have to hold onto is the thin thread of hope we can only feel after the rain of tears has washed our mind clean of worldly perspectives.

Could this ray of hope that’s found deep in the core of my heart be the strength of the One who is holding me?  Could it be, it’s at this moment I will hear the voice of Almighty Abba whispering to me His promises of vindication, restoration, healing, and peace?  It’s in this brief moment of silence between the last tear to fall and the deep breath that I can hear Him, “Hold on.  Don’t let go.  I’ve got you.” Listen for Him!

This world has been tainted by sin.  It is full of corruption.  Our minds, if we’re not careful, can be consumed with the deception of the enemies lies – slowly killing our hope.  Each lie we choose to believe is a deathblow to our real purpose.  We become a fallen soldier.

Can you hear Him?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” -Jeremiah 1:5a

God fashioned us and breathed His breath of life into us for a specific reason.  We were well thought out and with great passion molded in His image, at this moment we were given everything we would need to serve a beautiful purpose here.  We must stay connected to our life breath in order to fulfill that purpose.

When the weight of gut-wrenching pain from loss, another disappointment, and rejection presses heavy on our chest, let’s cling with all our might to that ray of hope.  It’s the rock on which we’ve built our house.  There’s a purging in the storms we face and they’re heartbreaking to say the least, but Jesus gave His promise that He will remain with us.

“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:20b

His promises do not end here.  He also gave a promise of abundant life filled with peace and safety.

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” -John 10:9-11

Even recently I have faced breathtaking disappointment, but I am choosing to cling to Jesus.  Will you stand in hope with me?  Let’s continue to trust the One who loves us sincerely!

~Shannan


“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” – Psalm 23

In The Darkness Our Ears Are Tuned

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice.” ~Phil. 4:4

 

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I Had To Be Buried and Die Before I Could Live

 

Are you battling with depression?  I certainly have in the past.  For me it was a time of deep dark silence.  I could not hear God, nor feel any ounce of His existence.  I could be standing in a building filled with 10,000 people and still feel completely alone.  As a matter of fact, I did so many times.  My loneliness came when I was traveling in full-time music ministry.  I remember standing on a platform to sing and share “words of hope” with the crowd before me, yet such a darkness hung over my head that I was literally unable to see the faces of the people.  I was standing at my microphone on a Sunday morning, in the beautiful state of Maine, with a haze so thick over my heart and mind that it physically caused my eyes to blur.

I was starting to get angry because I had no reason to be feeling the way I was.  God was blessing our ministry.  We were seeing so many people surrender their lives to Jesus.  They were finding hope and joy, yet I had none; at least I didn’t have the feelings of the two.  I could not pinpoint the source of my pain and this made my sadness increase all the more.  That day I told Warren I was done.  I could not continue to stand on a stage and speak if God was done talking to me.  I relied on Him to give me the words to share because He knew the state of the hearts before me.  If He was done talking to me, I was no longer going to be a part of ‘The Parker Trio.’

I continued to read my Bible though I heard and felt nothing.  I continued to plead with God to speak to me.  I so desperately wanted to hear from Him, even if He was to chastise me for something.  Often my prayers were little more than, “Please!!!!!”  The “please” was my heart crying out, asking for anything at all.  I searched my heart and tried to find a reason for His quietness but could not come to a conclusion.  I cannot tell you how many months of this gloom passed by.  All I know, is I wrestled internally and was exhausted.

Another morning came, and again I picked my Bible up with little hope of anything changing, but today was a teeny-weeny bit different.  The feeling of God’s presence came so slightly that I had to stop and lean into my Bible to listen.  I closed my eyes and held my breath to tune my ears to hear. That’s all I got that day, just a subtle nudge from the Holy Spirit to what I knew deep, deep, DEEP within; He is God, He is good, and He never truly left me.

 

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Hear The Beauty In The Darkness

 

To this day, I cannot tell you why I had to walk through that quiet season, but I can tell you that I’m thankful for it.  I learned through that storm that my relationship with God is based on much more than emotion.  As I wrestled to pray and read, God was still filling me with His words of truth – even when it all felt empty and useless.

If you are in a place of struggle and fighting for hope, keep fighting.  Like me, you may not get that “AHA!” moment of revelation where the world is suddenly bright again, but it will return little by little if you keep searching God’s word and calling to Him for help, (Psalm 121:1-3).

In Jesus name and Strength, we do not have to be tossed by the storms of life.  We do not have to be shaken or moved by the anxieties of this world.  Troubles do not have to dictate our day.  Let’s remember what God tells us; We are more than conquers.  We are seated with Christ in heavenly places, and no weapon formed against us will prosper, (Rom. 8:37, Eph. 2:6-7, Isa. 54:17).

“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Phil. 4:7

If I am a victim, I am only so of my own willingness to accept the lie. ~Shannan Parker, Oct. 10 ‘2010

Correspondence With A Friend – Dare To Hope!?!?!?!

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Letting Go

FROM ANTOINE

Hi Shannan, It is a pleasure reading your thoughts and seeing you grow. You are such a beautiful person indeed. I have observed you over the last 2 years at Christ Church and I have seen a change in you. Just wanted to leave you some encouragement because day in and day out, you encourage others.

“The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the LORD Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace…”
(Haggai 2:9, NIV).

God wants to amaze you with His goodness! We are living in a day where God is increasing His favor. Maybe you have seen God’s goodness to a certain degree. In reality, you haven’t seen anything yet! God has favor in your future that will supersede anything that you’ve seen in the past.

The Scripture talks about how the glory of the latter-day will be greater than the glory of the former day. That means what God did for your parents or grandparents, He’s going to surpass in your generation. The blessing and favor of past generations was good, but we serve a God of increase! He has greater things in store for your future!

Today, I encourage you to get your hopes up. I encourage you to enlarge your vision. Be expecting God to bring opportunities across your path. Be expecting to meet the right people and get the right breaks. Prepare your heart and mind to receive the increase and blessing God has in store for you!

One more thing, I have been hard-headed as I have neglected to share with you things the Lord have laid on my heart concerning you. Never be disobedient with God, never turns out well lol. I’m just not the type of person that is comfortable approaching someone (especially if I don’t really know them) and saying “the Lord told me to share yadda yadda yadda with you”.

In closing, please permit me to leave this prayer with you.

Father in heaven, thank You for being the God of increase. I trust that You have great things in store for Shannan’s future. Not only Shannan, but all of your children. We surrender every area of our mind, will and emotions as we wait on You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Have a blessed Day Shannan and I hope this isn’t as weird for you as it was for me writing it. Lol


Antoine,

To say thank you doesn’t seem enough.  Your “neglected to share” is actually God’s perfect timing.  He knew you would wait until I needed to hear these words the most; and be ready to hear the confirmation of a process He’s begun in me.

As I read your words yesterday, my eyes filled with tears and my heart with thanks to God.  This week has been a purging of wrong thoughts about myself and the lies I’ve listened to since childhood.  I asked God to do this in me, and thankfully He is gracious to make it a step by step process.

It’s easy to believe good things for everyone else.  I believe in my spirit God will give me His very best, but my heart has been afraid to hope.  My hands have literally been in fists since Warren’s death.  I noticed I would wake-up in the morning with clenched fist, and I would look down throughout the day and see my hands balled up tightly.  Despite my best efforts to mentally open my hands, they would always tense back into a firm grip.  I know there has been a part of me doing the same inside.  I know better.  It’s a false sense of staying in control.  What I haven’t known, is how to let go.

Over the last few weeks, I have asked God to reveal what this “fist” is.  What area of me is so locked up?  A couple of Sunday’s past, I noticed I would raise one hand in free worship while the other remained fastened against my stomach.  God said, “If you release it I will take it.”  I didn’t know how to “release it” because I didn’t know what it was.  I realized, He simply wanted me to raise my other hand in open freedom like the other.  I was surprised to find it a struggle, but I forced my other hand to worship also.  From this moment on God has been teaching me what “it” is.  I have been afraid to hope.

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Last night a precious person asked me, “Hey, are you doing better than ok today?  It sounds like you have just been ok.”

I was having a good day, but I was struggling with believing God was really going to bless me.  I mean, something wrong had to come.  If that makes sense?  And, if this was God stepping me forward, surely there would be a huge battle – nothing good is easy.  WHAT?  I have been praying for God to protect my mind from the lies of the enemy.  Your letter yesterday, along with the question from my friend, showed me just how much I have bought into the liars deception.

All this to say, THANK YOU!  Thank you for being obedient.  Thank you for taking time to care for someone you don’t fully know.

“Today, I encourage you to get your hopes up.” Thank you for loving with the love of Christ.

I pray God’s richest blessings on you and your family.

Sincerely,
Shannan

We all have wounds from this world.  Maybe others will release their “fist” through reading this portion of my journey?

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