My Life’s A Paradox?

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I’m coming to the end of a book study entitled, ‘The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows’.  One of the questions asked is, “In your own life, have you experienced the paradox that weakness and vulnerability allows Christ to shine most clearly?”

YES!

My struggle is learning how to rest, especially when most everyone around me insists that I do or be something that will make them feel better.  It’s been said to me, “We just want to know you’re ok so that we can move on.”

I’m now aware that these pressures have caused me to fight against God and His attempts to teach me that it’s completely ok to rest at His feet.  We are often critical of Martha’s busyness and praise Mary as she sits at Jesus’ feet,* but then we turn to those around us and demand that they need to be doing something more.  Once they start doing more we then ask them, what’s next?  More is never enough.

Abide, to rest and rely on Jesus, in who He is and not in what we do.

In May 2012, I went back to speak in the town where my husband, Warren, was killed.  I stood on the platform, but before I could speak a word the people stood to their feet and honored me with applause.  I cried.

Six years prior to this speaking date, my whole life was stripped from me in a matter of seconds, (Click here for Testimony).  Over the years I have wrestled through the loss of my husband and my career.  I’ve talked with the press, I’ve fought a corrupt legal system, and I’ve felt the blow of people who told me I was letting God and Warren down by not keeping our ministry team, The Parker Trio, on the road.

In addition, many people told me “you will be great when…”, and then they gave me their ideas of what they felt would bring value to me and an adequate reason for Warren’s death.

There I stood six years later, not doing all that some thought I would do, and it left me feeling not so great for not measuring up to their expectations.  To say that I was humbled by the people of South Carolina who so sweetly honored me is an understatement.  In all of the messiness of the court hearings, the media, and the grief, I was unable to fully recognize those who had been quietly and prayerfully walking this journey with me.

That weekend in May, God began to open my eyes.  He took me back so that I could see forward.  God wastes nothing.  As a friend of mine, Joseph Watson, so beautifully pointed out, “Whenever we find closure from something major in our life, it translates into opening doors for others around us.”  Many of you reading this blog have been tenderly watching me walk through a dark valley, and for this reason I want to openly and honestly share all that God is teaching me.

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

Wax On, Wax Off!

I still feel a lot like the Karate Kid in training as he questioned the purpose of the “Wax on, wax off” exercise, but I know now that God’s purpose will be revealed in His time like it was that weekend in SC.  After each service, people shared with me their personal stories and how they found strength to forgive.  They witnessed my willingness to let God reign over my darkest season.  I had two men speak with me that Sunday to tell me they hadn’t forgiven the man who killed my husband, but because I was willing to release him then they would also.  To God be all glory!  So many times I have felt worthless as I walked the tiresome and lonely path through the valley of the shadow of death.  Now I stand amazed at the way God has been working the entire time.   I do not need to feel guilty for the season of solitude God has me in with Him.  I mustn’t waste my energy fighting Him but embrace the season of rest.  Like Elijah, I need to rest and “eat for the journey is too great”*.  I need to allow God to quiet me so He can teach me all that I will need for each new journey ahead.

“He takes that which is broken and mends it by His grace, and He reaches out to others through those places where His grace is most visible in us.” – The Good and Beautiful God, page 165

God truly is transforming me.  People meant well when they came to me with their suggestions and I took their thoughts as caring.  Warren’s life and death are a part of my story which needs to be told, but it is not all of my story.  I am who I am because of God living and breathing in me, for all of my life’s events, from my birth until now, until the day of my death.  I must not let my, and other people’s, feelings cocoon me in a specific event in time.  I must allow God to walk me through each past memory and present emotion, so that I can be ready to embrace every new adventure He has planned for me.  Seasons do change and new will come!

My glory is not in what I do but in whose I am – one in whom Christ dwells.  I am His.  I am accepted.  I am enough.

I don’t know if my life is a paradox, but God certainly does call me to do things that go against all logic, things that are out of the box, yet in time His path makes complete sense.

“Most of all, I want to thank my Redeemer and Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Thank You for choosing me and reminding me that You are in control of every situation.” – Warren Parker, Written homecoming day, Jan. 7 ’06

Now it’s your turn.  In your life, or in the life of someone else, have you experienced the paradox that weakness and vulnerability allows Christ to shine most clearly?

~Shannan

Walking Forward Victorious and Loving Deeper, 2013!

“If he’s not Lord of our past, then he cannot be Lord of our future.  We never know how many people will find freedom whenever we do.” – Joseph Watson ,Youth With A Mission.

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* Luke 10:38-42 * 1 Kings 19:5-8 * 1 Kings 19:19-21

Can The Melon Atop Your Shoulders Contain Him?

Sometimes I look up to Abba with my hands grasping the sphere upon my shoulders, and with deep emotion I declare, “You… You… You… are so BIG!  You’re so deep, so wide, so high, so overwhelmingly (in the words of Elf) Ginormous!  I feel like my head is going to explode just trying to understand the first fundamentals of You.”

Melon Atop Your Shoulders

I’m grasping just a fraction of why no one can look upon God and live, (Ex. 33:17-23).  Just a fraction is all I need to understand that I would be mere dust once again to see His face.  He is so wonderfully magnificent.  His Majesty is too much for the human mind to comprehend, yet He made our hearts able to house Him.  Wow!

Only One so great could love me so wonderfully in all of my imperfections.

To say thank You is not enough, but I cannot stop giving thanks.

“Thank You for pursuing me, for forgiving me, for continuing to lead me to places where You can teach me.  Thank You for purely loving me for who I am today, yet You love me enough not to leave me in my present condition.  Draw me closer to You.  In seeking You I find the whole Shannan You’ve known since before my conception.”

I feel the more I learn the less I know, even so, may my mind be a sponge for God’s truth alone and my heart always be gripped with the wonder and awe of Him.

“Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, “Lead these people”, but you have not let me know whom You will send with me.  You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favor with Me.”  If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways, so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.  Remember that this nation is Your people.”

“The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and Your people unless You go with us?  What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

“And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” – Ex. 33:12-17

God, Most Holy, knows my name!  He knows your name!  Love sees me and I am enough.  I am whole in Christ, and He allows me to discover who I, Shannan, am with each step I take toward Him.  All the treasures of this world cannot afford such wealth.  Oh!  If we could only absorb the beauty of this truth…

No doubt that we will face storms along this life’s journey, but God’s love for us has not changed.  When brokenness rocks your world, trust Him.  He knows us.  He knows what we can and cannot handle and when.  Just as He cared for Moses, He too will protect us at every angle, “I will put you inside a crevice in the rock and cover you with My hand.” *

“God is too wise to be mistaken.  God is too good to be unkind.

So when you don’t understand, When you can’t see His plan,

When you can’t trace His hand, Trust His heart.”

I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” ~ God

Love not only sees me, Love lives in me!  Now tell me, can the melon atop your shoulders contain Him?

~Shannan

2013, The Adventurous Faith Journey Continues… He’s still writing my story!

Nightstand entry, 2:00 AM, June 17, 2013

*Ex. 33:22b

“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have draw you to Myself.” – Jer. 31:3