Christmas Surrendered with Gain

Christmas Surrendered

“May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38

Mary carried Him for nine months, went through the pain of childbirth, mothered Him for thirty-three years, then surrendered Him to crucifixion.

She Surrendered…

Her public honor – to the unbelieving.

Her girlish figure – stretched and torn.

Her comfort – left home pregnant on a donkey.

Her pride – Joseph sees her for the first time as he delivers God’s Son.

She held her deeply loved promise in her arms.  Then, she was forced to surrender Him.  She was just a girl.  Just a human child, and like us, she felt her sorrow.  Mary’s surrender allowed her to hold Love, and then became our eternal gain.

Hope.  Joy.  Peace.

Jesus.  Emmanuel.  Savior of the World!

When God calls us to surrender, He never leaves us empty.  There is always an eternal purpose when we’re willing to say, “may it be done to me according to your word.”

“I’m just a girl, nothing more, but I’m willing, Be Born In Me”

~Shannan

Merry Christmas ~ 2015

I’ve Been Bitten By The ME!

ME Has MY Eyes!

ME is an epidemic that’s worldwide.  At first, the ME bug is sweet and gives the infected that warm and fuzzy feeling all over, but it soon turns to bitterness and the pain of its bite runs deep.

Perhaps if decisions were made by “us” in place of “me”, relationships would be long-lasting in the home and in the congregations.  It seems our world is more concerned with the feel good moments than it is for truth and walking in it.  We think only of right now but give little regard to the tomorrows.  Abundant life is not about exotic and intoxicating feelings, though those can be a healthy result at times, it’s about the lasting joy that comes when truth reigns and love conquers through the sunshine and through the storms.  ME cannot weather the storms.  ME is more likely to cause them.

We can’t find anything of lasting value if we live with a drive-through mentality.  No give-me-nows will stand the test of time, only those who choose the fight-for-us will last.

How bad has the ME bug spread across our world?  Well, how many of you just thought about the other person, friend, family member, or spouse, that need to read this?  After all, it would make your life easier if they would.

We all have the ME virus influencing our thoughts, but we don’t have to let it mutate.  We can take the vaccination called “US”.  However, there is a disclaimer: Before you take US, be sure you want the lasting impact it may have.  US is a synonym for “Together-Tomorrow”.  If Together-Tomorrow is the result you’re looking for, then US is certainly for you.

There are a couple of side effects with the US vaccination.  The short-term side effects can cause a little discomfort throughout the body as the ME is isolate and US breaks down the unhealthy composites that ME built as connection barriers. Connection barriers stop the flow of healthy thoughts and eventually cut off circulation to the heart, causing a hardening. This hardening is completely reversible.  The long-term side effects of the US vaccine are a healthy mind and intimate connections with others.  Always remember, US is not a give-me-now drive-through, US is a fight-for-us journey.  Give the US vaccine time to work

There is one more thing you need to know before taking US, it must be taken daily and its healing properties only work in the congregations after it has been administered in the home first.

ME may have MY eyes, but it doesn’t have to have my heart. 

~ Shannan

~ Keep us in mind in every decision. ~

Without Tasting Sorrow

I Will Live!

 

It is my belief, that without tasting sorrow one cannot truly know the overwhelming joy it is to love.  Don’t run from love for fear of pain.  If you always run from love, in the end all you will have known is pain.

 

Let sorrow teach but let love fully embrace.

 

~Shannan

Take It Back By Letting It Go

Dig It Up!

Take back what the enemy has stolen from you.  Deal with your pain.  Face it.  Allow God to uproot the weeds of sorrow and disappointments.  Yes it’s painful at first, but learning to live in the light of God’s truth about you, and allowing Him to worry about the wrongs done, leaves you free to live.  Some seasons in life are not always full of happy feelings but Joy knows no boundaries of seasons.

Joy comes from a well that never runs dry.  You cannot will Joy into your heart.  Will is a feeling.  It has no power on its own, but you can accept Joy.  He’s ready and waiting to relieve you of sorrow’s grip.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matt. 11:28-30

“Trust is the courage to accept acceptance.” – Paul Tillich

What, or who, has held you captive?

Held Captive

Dig It Up – I just liked this picture 🙂

May this be the day that you find the courage to trade your sorrow for God’s Joy.  Take it back, all that the enemy has stolen, by choosing to let go and live.

~Shannan

You are beautiful/handsome – fashioned in God’s image.  He called all of His creation good but He only stamped mankind with His image.  You may not be feeling it right now but know that you are one that is priceless. ~ Shannan, Facebook post 7/8/2013

I’m In Love…

…with people!

This past Thursday I was wiping down my kitchen walls, doing laundry, and vacuuming the cobwebs above my cupboards that seemed to appear overnight, etc, etc, etc…  As I danced around my washing machine and climbed to the top corners of my ceiling, I felt hope rise to the point that I began to smile and sing the praise chorus that echoed through my mind.  “You make, All things work together for my good…”  Nothing has changed.  Nothing new is in view.  No “Aha” moment has been had, yet hope and joy walked beside me.  I believe their presence had something to do with my conversation I had with God during my run on Tuesday morning.

While soaking in the brisk air and the sun’s rays I found myself reminiscing over this past weekend.  I had traveled to Illinois to share my testimony at a church just 12 miles east of St. Louis, MO.  On my way home I made a stop in Marion, IL to tape a TV spot at the TCT Network.  It’s not the spotlight that I enjoy, I’m ok without that, but through my weekend travels I discovered a deeper love I now have for people.  Since childhood I’ve been one who befriended the friendless.  I attribute this soft spot in my heart to my own understanding of being the unpopular, or the invisible one myself, but something is different inside of me now.

So many people, of all ages, began to share their stories with me after I spoke on Sunday night.  As each person handed me their heart, both the joys and the sorrows, I was captivated by them.  What a precious honor it was to have my elders ask my opinion regarding the thoughts and feelings some experience during grief.  No doubt they could teach me a wealth of knowledge from their own experiences of loss, yet they chose to trust one some 40 years younger than themselves.  Wow!  I also chatted with some who were probably 15-20 years younger than I am.  I loved each one individually yet the same.  So on Tuesday morning as I began my run, with one foot coming down in front of the other and my hands open and turned toward the sky, my prayer went something like this;

“Lord, Thank You for continuing to transform my heart – it’s all You.  I feel change is in the air.  I’m not sure what You are doing and I’m not going to try to figure it out this time.  I’m done guessing, and I’m done trying to pick up what everyone else tells me I should or should not be.  I will allow You to unfold Your purpose and reason for each step You lead me to take.  I realize there are areas in my life that I have picked up a false sense of control, for this I am sorry.  I can do nothing without You giving me the ability.  I cannot walk, run, breathe, or get my countertops clean enough*, without You enabling me to do so.  So, I am choosing to let go of all my preconceived ideas.  It will take me some time to learn how to let go and I will need reminded often, but I am releasing all the restrictions I’ve set in order for You to bless me.  I have been wrong far too often and You are never wrong.  I trust You.  Lord, please show me clearly where, when, how, and who.”

I must admit that I’m just a little nervous after this prayer, but why not put words of faith into an adventurous action?  I believe that the dreams of my heart are far better off being molded in God’s hands than dictated by my minds logic.

If you become willing to open up and sincerely share your life’s story with others, you will find you are not as alone as you might think.  Everyone has a story!  Whether it be an internal struggle or an outward battle, we all have a story to tell and we all need each other to tell it.  Why not open up yourself to love others and let others love you back?  It doesn’t take a huge platform to be open with your heart, but it does take courage.

If you choose to be brave, just maybe you too will find hope and joy walking with you!  Better yet, maybe you will find yourself “In Love”!

~Shannan

Uncompromisingly Walking With Him In 2012.

“Still Keeping It Real!”

*some of you out there will understand my countertop statement in my prayer.  For those who do not, that’s for another blog 😉

Just Sharing Some Love!

I wanted to share my prayer with you that I prayed along my run this morning.  It’s about you!

“Father, thank you for all You’ve done for us.  God, I know so many who are facing difficult times and we fail to understand why.  Thank You for Your protection through the storms.  I’m asking that You hug each one of my friends so tightly today.  I pray you give them laughter in the midst of their struggles – whatever it may be.   Please cause Your joy to consume us as we wait for Your deliverance, not only that our hope can be restored, but that our physical bodies will be healed.  Let Your joy be strength to our bones.  You are good, kind, and loving.  Thank You!”

“And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” – Nehemiah 8:10b (amp)

I felt hope rise as I prayed, then I opened my email to read Max Lucado’s words.

“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” – I Corinthians 14:1 The Message

Loosen up. Don’t you have some people to hug, rocks to skip, or lips to kiss? . . .

It’s time to retire. Not from your job, just retire from your attitude. Honestly, has complaining ever made the day better? Has grumbling ever paid the bills? Has worrying about tomorrow ever changed it?

Let someone else run the world for a while. – Excerpted from: Max Lucado, ‘Everyday Blessings’

I’m not kissing any lips, but I’m hugging some people – even if it is just with a smile* 😉

~Shannan

Uncompromisingly Walking With Him In 2012!

Still Keeping it real!

*“Smiles can be a way to hug someone you really don’t want to touch.”Shannan Parker 1/11/2012  🙂

There’s Only One Word For This!

I had no words, so I asked the Holy Spirit how I should pray.

I have so many people on my heart for various reasons, and I’ve come to a loss for words when I pray for them.  As I asked for this wisdom I was reminded of the most powerful prayer we can pray.  I was reminded where it is that we find everything we need and where all that we long for is discovered.  One word came to my mind to offer on behalf of my friends – “Jesus”!  This is all the Spirit spoke to my heart, and He is more than enough.  This is where restoration not only begins but where it is complete.

A Broken Heart – JESUS!

A Broken Home – JESUS!

Financial Issues – JESUS!

In Sickness – JESUS!

In Loneliness – JESUS!

In Need Of Forgiveness – JESUS!

In The Valley Of The Shadow Of  Death – JESUS!

In The Valley Of Depression – JESUS!

I offered no other words, but as I spoke His name over each person that came to mind all the trials of this world suddenly became powerless.

Throughout my childhood and into the beginning years of my marriage, I struggled with the words “thank you” and “I love you”.  I was full of gratitude and loved deeply, but when words are rarely heard, they can feel like a foreign language rolling off your own tongue.  I remedied this problem by putting into practice a very simple solution, I started saying them.  As silly as it sounds now, it wasn’t easy for me to speak these words at first, but the more I did the easier they became.  Now I value every moment I have to sincerely express these emotions.

About six months ago I realized how rare it was for me to say the name of Jesus.  I talked about God and had no problem with referring to Jesus as Lord, but to say His name was more rare than common.  I sang gospel songs for years that used His name, but to actually speak the name of the One that I call friend did not come easily.  With my new awareness I had to ask myself , Why don’t I say His name?  Why is it so uncomfortable for me to do?

I don’t know that I have one good reason to give you in answer to my self-imposed questions, with the exception of my previous childhood example.  So, I drew from the lesson I learned with those most precious words of “thank you” and “I love you”, and I applied the same prescription to solve this newly discovered language barrier – I started saying His name.

Having my tongue tied up in knots and unable to breathe His name out loud, as I would with any of my other friends, kept me from so many blessings and freedoms.  When I say “blessings”, I’m not at all implying Jesus to be likened to a genie in a bottle, that when called on He gives us all the earthly toys we want.  No, He’s a much better father than that.  The sweetest blessings to me are seeing a prayer answered for a hurting friend, or witnessing a lost soul meet Jesus and come to know that they are worth far more than their social status or job title.  This freedom can only come one way, at the name of Jesus.

“For this reason, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed upon Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11

When we are a part of God’s family, it isn’t bondage that makes us bow our knees, but the joy of our freedom in Christ.  I get more and more excited as I think on this topic and discuss it with friends.  Will you allow me to elaborate on my thoughts for just a moment?

The scripture states that, “every knee will bow…and every tongue will confess…”  I don’t know about you, but I always read this scripture with the mindset that this is a futuristic happening.  My mind heard it as, “When Jesus returns at the end of time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.”  But that’s not what it says!  It says that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – PERIOD.  This excites me because I realize that now, at this very moment, there are knees bowing as I speak His name.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  -Eph. 6:12

If we are wrestling here and now then we need now power.  What is our now power?  Jesus!

““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (Again, it’s in the now, not just somewhere in the future).”  -John 14:12-14

If we are going to do greater works than Jesus did, then we must recognize how that’s even possible.  How can I have faith to be victorious if I don’t know where faith begins?  Just think, when we speak His name, all that we are wrestling in the spiritual world must bow and submit to the authority of Christ.

Many have given me the humbling compliment of “You’re Strong.”  My strength is knowing that my strength is only because of Christ in me.  I am not “strong” by my own merit.  I’m lost without Him.  I’m too tired without Him.  I’m too broken by this world without Him.  But JESUS!!!  He is my energy to press on.  He is my wholeness.  In Him alone I am found!

My Peace – Jesus!

My Hope – Jesus!

My Joy – Jesus!

My Healing – Jesus!

My Ability To Forgive – Jesus!

My Ability To Trust – Jesus!

My Ability To Love – Jesus!

On The Mountaintop of success – JESUS!

Anything Good In Me – JESUS!

My Source Of Strength…

“Darkness knows its Lord and the prince of darkness is not its lord.” – Pastor Austin Cagle

JESUS!!!

They Bow Down.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

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