When A Battle Is Lost

 
 
“This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” – 2 Chron. 20:15

She Speaks Out

God is good and right!

On April 19, 2015, God led me to speak for the sweet people of South Carolina.  He had me lend my voice on the side of right and justice.  I got to stand shoulder to shoulder with Brian Adam’s and his family as he ran in the race for the next Sheriff of Berkeley County.  The outcome was not what I had hoped it would be – he missed the win by only a few hundred votes – but I have no regrets and do not at all feel that Brian Adams​ and his team “lost” the race.  It took huge courage for the Adams team to step forward and stand up against the face of so much injustice.  They were willing to risk all to tell the truth.  That in itself is a huge win!  They also united a community of amazing people who felt they had no voice for so long. This strong team allowed the oppressed to have a voice.

That Sunday in April I was finally able to share the truth of what really happened in Berkeley County, SC in regards to the death of my husband.  However, what was most precious to me was the fact that I got to hug others who’ve never had the opportunities I’ve had to share their own stories.  Living in an area that has been controlled for years by a corrupt regime, it’s hard to know who can be trusted.  Silence had become the native tongue for many – until now.  I had the amazing privilege to be a microphone for others who, some for the first time, needed to unlock a painful place and let out a poison that had silenced them for so, so long.  Feelings of hopelessness had gripped them and fear seemed to have a vice around their tongues, but on April 19, 2015, people began to open up and let the light of truth swallow up the darkness.  When the light is allowed to shine, darkness can no longer reign.

Of course I’m disappointed in the outcome of the race for Sheriff, but I am not in despair.  My hope does not rest in man’s decisions.  My hope is in Christ alone, therefore I am joy-filled today.  God told me years ago, “Just as Able’s blood cried out from the ground, so does Warren’s, and I will vindicate.”  He sees and knows all and already has a plan in place.  Who am I to question or dictate how He unfolds His promise?  My only job is to follow His leading.  God led me to speak on the behalf of the sweet people of South Carolina, and now, He is calling me forward from here.

It appears a battle was lost on May 5th when the number of votes in the runoff election were not enough to put Brian Adams in office, but we never lose when we walked when God says to walk.  Obedience is always a win, even if it doesn’t look that way at first.  I think the people of Berkeley County have a great start in the right direction, and I urge them all to keep standing for truth and speaking out on its behalf.  They are worth it and God is their shield and protector.

Even if all seems lost, nothing is lost when we follow Truth.  There is a much bigger picture that is unfolding.  We cannot stop running and fighting on the side of right when a battle is lost.  Life is the race, and we all must run it to the end.  It is there that God “will vindicate” and all will make perfect sense.

When you know you’ve done all you can possibly do, you can hold your head high no matter the outcome.  God is good and right in all things.  He is sovereign.  Keep moving forward!

~Shannan
 
I will resume my normal blog posts in the coming days.  I’m so excited to talk with you about love – “as the last petal falls…”!

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

Stop Being So Humbly Noble

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best… and put it on him… Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:22-24

A few years back a friend came into my life who had so much potential at greatness.  He is creative in ways that make some of us jealous, but he forfeits his talent and hides behind a smokescreen of success in the business world.  As our friendship deepened, I realized he was overcome with guilt and shame over his past mistakes.  He felt paralyzed, unable to move forward with his life.  Although he was a Christian and had repented for his sin, he refused to receive the redemption Christ’s sacrifice offered him.  Sadly, he continues to wander today, refusing God’s great love and forgiveness.  He has, not God, condemned himself to a prison of loneliness, and keeps those who try to love him locked outside the stonewall he’s built around his heart.  He builds his walls with the excuse that others deserve better than who he really is, but in reality he’s buying into the lie that he’s shameful instead of redeemed.  It’s as if he has said, “Christ’s sacrifice is enough for everyone else, but not for me.”

I wonder how often we forfeit our blessings because of fear or self-condemnation?  How often do we become a martyr for self in the name of nobility, or try to pass off the good that comes our way with false humility?  “But you don’t know what I’ve done and the places I’ve been!”  We chime.  It’s true that there are consequences for our actions, but there is also redemption.

Have you been The Prodigal Son?  Don’t stay in that mindset.  The Father stands waiting to receive you and ready to bless you with all the abundance heaven has to offer.  Your gifts belong only to you.  In God’s kingdom, which is here now and tangible, there is more than enough for all of His children.

Redemption – To release from blame or debt.  To get back.  To change for the better.

Bag Over Head

Why do we run?  Why do we hide?  Are our decisions fear based or are we being a martyr for a less than noble cause?  Passing off our blessings to someone else simply because we feel unworthy is handing them less than God has for them.

There’s nothing noble or courageous about denying the good God is offering us.  No, the truth is we are just masking a darker part of our soul that’s stating that the cross is not enough – for me anyway.

Noble – Humbly accepting all that is offered and walking faithfully forward despite what lies behind.  (Shannan’s definition)

Have you trusted God and accepted His Son, Jesus?  Then why disregard any other portion of His word?

“Those who come in through me will be saved.  They will come and go freely and find good pastures.  The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life – in all its fullness. – John 10:9-10

His mercies are new every morning, so accept all He is offering you, a rich and satisfying life.”

What fears haunt you in the secret places of your mind?  What is it that you fear others will find out?  What regrets keep you running from others and from yourself?

Stop

Are you ready to stop letting the enemy lie to you and steal from you?  Then stop keeping a record of your wrongs.  Stop letting pain dictate who you are and isolate you.  I dare you to let Love swallow it up.

Love

“Love will never condemn you for being lost, but love will not let you stay there alone, even though it will never force you to come out of your hiding places… love is opposed to everything that is hurting you and keeping you from being free.” – Cross Roads, by WM. Paul Young

Stop being so humbly noble.  Living takes courage.  Are you ready?

~Shannan

I refuse to rebuild walls.  I choose to risk all again, because every step, every stumble, and every loss, leads me to greater gain – truly living.

~ Love Is Worth It ~

Remember…

I’m not happy with the season I’m in but I am grateful for it.  I am weary, physically exhausted, but I’m strengthened in heart by Joy.  Not everything is for me to understand, but in all things I am confident that God is at work for His glory, and yes for my good.
 
If God cared enough to make the clouds dance (When The Clouds Would Dance) for me when I was two years old as I sat watching the sky, unable to “Be” anything for anybody, I can rest in that He still delights to fill my heart with wonder today.
 
Take a moment to remember what He’s done for you.  No storm of life can change who He is.  He is Good.  He is Love.  Seek Him and you will find Him.
 
“Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, (“While we were still sinners”) won’t He also give us everything else?” – Romans 8:32
 
I would not trade my life’s journey for anything.  In it I have been hugged by God’s presence.  I am rich.
 
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!” – Psalm 23:6
 
Rest.  Look up.  Remember.  Then Smile.  It’s ok!  You are not forgotten!
 
What do you remember?
 
~Shannan
 
The Joy of The Lord Is My Strength, 2013!

Do You Want?

inside a rainbow - Johnny Austin

Do you want to be a light of hope in a dark world?

Do you want to be a faithful friend?

Do you want to lead your children well, or love your neighbor as yourself?

How about sincere intimacy with your spouse?

“The greatest weapon at our disposal is our intimacy with Father. Our dependency on Him. Taking time to soak and wait on Him is vital so we get to know Him and hear His voice. Yes He will use us to do mighty deeds but it’ll be as we’re first and foremost laid-down lovers of God.” -Adele Richards, God’s Waiting Room.

We can love if we spend time with Love. Our countenance will radiate Him.

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” – Ex. 34:29

Whatever we want to be, we will learn to be it well when we spend time with God.

What do you want?

~Shannan

Learning To Lean, 2013

May My Inward Be

“What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matt. 10:29-31 (NLT)
Where Love Begins
I may not know what my next step is just yet, but I do know to whom I belong and who I am.  I know who I am because who I am is not what I do but is dictated by the spirit within.  May my outward reflect my inward and may my inward be ever-growing in Love.
 
~Shannan~
Ever Growing Forward In Love – In Christ!
 
 
“So don’t worry about tomorrow…”  Matt. 6:34a

Here’s My Valentine’s Day Advice

I just heard about a marriage of 19 years ending in divorce.  My heart is so deeply saddened in hearing this news, so I continue to pray for this family.  Marriage is hard work, but if both will fight for each other the work is overwhelmingly worth it.
When we’re entrusted with a heart we have two options.  We can choose to love and appreciate who we have, or we can live with deep regret later wishing we had.
Here’s My Valentine’s Day Advice.

Just Kiss Me

Fight for and choose to love your spouse like you did when you were dating.  On second thought, do even more than you did when you were dating.  You have no promise that you will have those you love tomorrow, so love them outwardly like you do in your heart today.  Go overboard!  Be giddy!  Don’t hold back!
Fight for and not against each other.
Here’s one more piece of Valentine’s Day Advice.  Care enough to find out their love language.  Don’t assume it’s the same as yours.  You may just find your love button is pushed in thinking about the other person first  😉
Pucker Up!

Click My Pic. I Have Some Advice!

You can’t expect what you’re not willing to give.
~Shannan

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!

Valentines Day Sucks!

Yep.  I said it sucks!  I’ve struggled emotionally with the most recent holidays.  It’s not that I’m not grateful, I’ve just grown tired.  It’s hard to always feel like I’m borrowing a family during these celebration moments.  I know, I know, it’s not about what I don’t have, it’s about all that I do have.  But, can we set aside all the Christianese we’ve been taught and just get real with our emotions?  Getting real with our emotions does not give them power over us, but it defuses the damage they can do if denied.

It feels like a knife pierces my heart every time I walk down that dreaded “seasonal” aisle in the stores.  Valentines Day is the worst of the holidays for me right now.  It’s a lovers holiday, unless you’re 8.  I am slapped with reality around every corner.  There are stickers on doors, displays in the middle of aisle 6, candy, bears, and stuffed cupids are on every other end-cap.  Then, a guy walks by with a dozen of his loves favorite flowers in his hands….bla, bla, bla.

Just before Christmas I was asked, “Can you give me 5 reasons why singles should be joyful during Christmas and the holiday seasons?”  Oh, I sent back quite a lengthy response.  I almost posted it as a blog, but decided to spare you the deep, personal details.  My response was, in short, “It Sucks.”  Why candy-coat it?  No pun intended.  It does suck.  I would like nothing more than to have that special someone to share life with, to lie awake at night sharing our deepest thoughts, hopes, and dreams.  It would be nice to love and be loved on the intimate level that only two share.  I would love to have that one person that I know I’m going to grow old and wrinkly with – maybe gain a few pounds with along the way.  For whatever reason, God is withholding granting me this again – for now.

Don’t worry.  I did not close my response to the question with all this yucky reality.  As I thought long and hard and felt deeply about all the truths of where I am, I also thought about the many promise of God.  Joy and happiness are two different things. I’m not “happy” about where I am, but I do have joy.  God never promised us happiness, but He did promise each of us His joy*.

Habakkuk wasn’t “happy” about the absolute destruction of Judah, but because he remembered what God promised, he was able to boldly says this…

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Habakkuk 3:18-19) And, God kept His promise.

I am not super human, so the pain of this present situation is felt deeply, but if I adjust my focus, God’s joy is already mine! Some of you are still asking, “How?”  You’ve struggled and you can’t seem to pull yourself up.  After writing out all my crazy thoughts – I GOT THE ANSWER!

*THANKFULNESS WILL GET ME THROUGH THIS NEXT HOLIDAY JOYFULLY!  Despite all I’ve lost both past and present, I am thankful for many things.  I will still pray with my tears, but hope will arise.  God promised us a hope and a future if seek Him first.

I was going to boycott Valentines Day and ask that people not mention it to me.  I was going to hibernate until it was over, but then I went to the mailbox today and received the most beautiful card.  I was again humbled.  God knew what I needed far more than I did.  To the one who sent it, Thank You!  You know who you are.  My treasured friend!

By the way, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all of you!  Let’s adjust our focus and PARTY while we can.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

*There are 188 references to the word “Joy” when searched in BibleGateway.com, NKJV.
*There are 108 references to the word “Thanks” when searched in BibleGateway.com, NKJV.

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