It’s A Great Day To Release Your Stinky!

Mr. Stinky

It’s ok to name your stinky, but don’t get attached!

It was a usual night.  The dinner dishes were washed and set aside to dry and all surfaces were wiped clean.  I began the final descent of my kitchen duties by reaching for the switch to the garbage disposal.  I flipped the switch but quickly turned it back off when I heard a loud grinding sound.  The sound of metal on metal coming from the abyss in the sink is never good.

I slipped my shoes on and ventured out into the freezing cold garage to retrieve my big flashlight.  I came back to the area of operation and shone the light in every angle, but I could not spot anything.  I turned the disposal on and off real fast to get whatever it was to move, then searched with the light again.  I could not see anything that would cause that horrible sound.

In my search for what was causing a disruption to my disposal ability, the light in my hand began to uncover some other hidden stuff.  I really did not want to acknowledge what I was finding.  A big part of me just wanted to put the cap back over the hole and pretend I was still clueless.  I was a little more than frustrated at this addition to my chores.  It was late, and my body ached from a medical procedure the day before.  It was a bad night for this, but really, is there ever a good time for such an interruption?

I like to think that I’m a clean person.  Some of my friends even like to tease me about being a little OCD.  I’ll admit, if I had the time and energy I could allow myself to be, but I have met OCD and that I am not – not entirely anyway.

Despite my exhaustion, I needed to find what was grinding down in the hidden parts of my trusty garbage eater.  I began to reach in – not happily – and pull out the several layers of rubber rings that fit snug beneath the black cap.  Just to be clear and for future reference, I’m speaking of the black cap that I bleach often.  What I discovered underneath was disgusting!  The bottom side of those rings, that was hidden from my eyes, was growing something.  Though, I’m sure it had eyes staring right back at me.  Stuff was blooming in every crevice.  Every fold had something that was mutating and it held a very tight grip to those rubbers seals.  Something unpleasant had taken up residency and was not about to let go easily.  I tried to hose it off with hot water, but it was not budging.  It was gross, and I had no choice but to reach in and pull those seals completely out in order to get rid of the unwanted invader.  So in my hands went, and out came all the stuff as my stomach did a flip-flop.  I submerged all the parts in a bowl of strong vinegar and water overnight.  What I’d hoped would be a quick fishing job had just turned into a much larger one man expedition.  It needed to be done if I wanted a healthy environment.

The next morning, I walked out of my bedroom and was punched hard in the nose with the strong odor of vinegar.  It was not pleasant!  To clean up can really stink things up for a long time.  It takes a less than pleasant smell sometimes in order to detox a toxic area.  I began to rinse off what I could, but the layers of unwanted stuff was strong.  It was going to take a whole lot more than a soak to clean this now exposed mess.  I put everything back in the bowl and reached for the bleach.  The vinegar killed the unwanted fungus but bleach was a must to release its iron-grip.  It was really getting stinky now!

Several hours later and a house overwhelmed with the smell of a vinegar and bleach cocktail, I was finally able to chisel away the growth and put everything back in its place – healthy.

As I dealt with this detour in my routine, I couldn’t help but think of how often we need to dig deep into those hidden places within ourselves.  God, in His mercy, will allow a less than comfortable wrench, like “metal on metal,” to be thrown into our lives in order to bring awareness to a deeper issue, a toxic thought or action that needs to be aired out.  He allows us to smell the stench of our own selfish pride and arrogance, or to draw attention to how we’ve allowed fear and hurt to grow into something that keeps us from having the joyous life He longs for us to have.

We’re all in a constant need of transformation.  The only way to hand God our not-so-clean self, is to remove our caps that appear so polished.  Remember my black cap that gets bleached often?  We must allow Him to scrub us, chisel if He must, so that we can truly be healthy, inside and out.

I did not want that job.  It was gross and inconvenient, but it was necessary if I didn’t want the toxins to keep growing.  If we ignore those hidden places, they will eventually make us (and those around us) sick.  The only way to get healthy is to expose the yuck to the light.  In the case of my garbage disposal, it was the light from the flashlight in my hand.  In the case of our hearts, it is in the light of Christ’s truth that we can be thoroughly cleansed.

By the way, there was nothing down in my disposal.  There wasn’t anything to cause such a racket.  Miraculously, once I cleaned the stuff off those rubber seals, the other noise stopped.  Sometimes it takes a scare, an unwanted interruption to our routine, and a major stink in order for us to truly be healthy – nontoxic.

At times, I can really stink!  I can’t even stand to smell my own polluted self.  Pride and insecurity reek, and there’s not a shower hot enough to rinse that disgusting odor away.  Give me time.  God is peeling away those toxic layers and marinating them in His cleansing light.  In His mercy, He is scrubbing me (sometimes chiseling me) and washing away all of the yuck, so that the Shannan He created can shine – healthy – in His light.

Go ahead, reach your hands in and dig it all out.  It’s going to be ok.  God will help you and those who love you will be with you the whole time.

It’s a great day to release your stinky!


“All who do evil hate the light… But those who do what is right come to the light…” -John 3:20-21

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”


Merry Christmas ~ 2015

Life Beyond The Valley of The Shadow.


“He restores my soul…” – Psalm 23:3

This life is a series of mountains and valleys, and those valleys cause me to pray with intensity, “God, I need You to keep my heart alive!”

“The Lord is my Shepherd.”

I’ve had their books sitting on my desk for a quite awhile now, just waiting for the moment I knew I was to begin reading them.  My dear friends in ministry, Chris and Rahnella Adsit, have an amazing ministry to those wounded by war.  Here’s a partial quote from one of their writings that rings true in the heart of this lamb, so desperate to be led by her Shepherd.

“I will not let this journey be the end of my joy.  Satan’s lie is that.. (I, you, we) will never get out of this darkness, that.. (our) new, permanent address is the valley of the shadow of… (fill in your struggle).  God’s word tells us the opposite.  His word says we are traveling through the valley, not building our homes there.”

It’s human nature to go into hiding and self-protection in times of fear and great trauma, and we are sheep in need of a Shepherd.  If left on our own we will run blindly into the mouth of a wolf, or we will fall down with no ability to get back up.  We must remember, as heirs to Christ’s kingdom, we have our Shepherd who comes to our rescue, both from the wolves and from our own failings.

“Even Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Nebuchadnezzar was a ruthless and blood-thirsty king.  He held all the power and possessions this world could offer, but one day he found himself far from the kingdom he built.  He became like one of the beast in his fields, eating grass, dirty with earth, his hair covering his body, and his nails like that of a wild bird.  Physical trauma is one thing, but can you image the trauma to his mind?  He went from palace ruler to being ruled by wilderness beasts.

Then, this beast-like creature lifted his eyes toward heaven.  His understanding returned to him, and he gave praise and honor to the Most High.  The glory of his kingdom and his honor was returned to him.  King Nebuchadnezzar declared God’s works true and His ways just.  He was wounded by his personal war, but now was able to proclaimed, “I was restored.”

The Shepherd allowed this king to taste the wilderness for a moment, but He did not allow it to devour him.  If anyone deserved to be devoured during that time it was King Nebuchadnezzar, but God is able to redeem from the vilest of valleys, even those valleys that are self-made.  Like that king, we must be willing to look up and give praise to the only One who can redeem us.   If we will keep “traveling through” and not choose to “build our homes there,” we too will be able to proclaim, “I was restored.” 

Our past is a part of our testimony but it does not have to become our identity.  There is life beyond the valley of the shadow.

“He restores my soul.”

Will you let The Great Shepherd rescue you?

Will you let God keep your heart alive as you walk through this life’s journey?

Finding diamonds in the trials!
*Quote from, When War Comes Home, Christ-centered healing for wives of combat veterans, ( ) Shannan’s words.
*Story of King Nebuchadnezzar found in Daniel 1-4

Trees Really Do Clap In “a land where love… stays.”


Invisible Tree Child

“You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” – Is. 55:12

I was a terribly shy little girl and desperately afraid of people.  I learned at a very early age to be silent.  Silence stood a much better chance to keep the tempers from detonating and held the levies in place over the river ducts in the eyes.  Peace.  I longed for peace.

I was two years old when my family and I moved into a beautiful white brick home.  It was an hour away from our old rundown farmhouse that stood, though leaning slightly, in the middle of nowhere.  I believe it was torn down not long after we moved.  Our new home had plenty of neighbors and was surrounded by lots of trees, beginning with a row of huge pine trees that stretched along the property line between us and our next door neighbor.

The yard at the new house was big and hilly.  There was lots of room to roam and dream, space enough to let my mind imagine a land where good always wins and where the truth didn’t hurt – a land where love… stays.

The back porch was a cement slab that was painted grey with just a few steps.  The front deck ran the length of the house and had a wide staircase in the center.  It was painted with the same grey paint and had a big bench style porch swing.  I can remember the cool summer nights that I would curl up with a blanket and fall asleep cradled in the rocking arms of that swing.  I loved lying on it while it swayed during a warm summer rain.  There was something soothing about the tapping of the raindrops on the roof above, and hearing the water run down the waterspouts into the blades of grass.

Many mornings my little feet would lead me to the back porch to watch the sunrise.  It was there that God would make the clouds dance for this audience of one.  I was filled with awe and wonder and often questioned, “Is that a peek into heaven?”  “How long does it take to get there?”  I was a quiet child but my heart broke its silence there in His presence.

“Open the eyes of my heart that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” – Ps. 119:18

Invisible Tree Child - edited

He captivated me each morning with the wonders of His creation.  As my eyes gazed into the heavens above, I went from being the invisible silent one to being seen by Him.  This child didn’t know much, but I knew God was with me and He was peaceful.  No matter what the day would unfold–I was held.

Some days were less than calm.  My family has had to weather many storms, and each of us dealt with those storms the best we knew how.  Some, like me, were quiet, and some like the sound of thunder.  When the thunder began, I knew the lightning would follow.  Often, I would go to those massive pine trees that stood halfway between our house and the neighbor’s.

There was one specific tree where the branches made a perfect staircase up to a branch that had a flat spot for me to sit.  I was sure it was made just for me.  Some days I would sit there for what felt like hours.  I had friends in the neighborhood, many I’m still in touch with today, but through many seasons those trees held me as God came down from the dancing clouds to sit with me.  Sometimes it felt more like His hand wiping my tears away rather than my own.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit” – Ps. 34:18

I vividly remember the day my neighbors asked if they could trim the half of the trees that were on our side of the property line.  When that day came to a close and I looked out from my second story bedroom window, my heart felt like a hot knife pierced through it.  They didn’t just trim the trees, they cut all of the bottom branches off.  My staircase to “heaven”, my haven, was chopped down.  My hiding place was gone.  Quietly in my room, I cried.

Years passed, and then adult life kept me busy.  I soon forgot how God would meet me in the middle of His creation, and how He would hug me in those special moments.  Just a few week ago, as I was sitting out on my second story deck praying with tears, I heard a sound in the breeze that caused me to pause.  As I allowed my ears to tune in and find the source of creations music, I looked to see the tree just to my right.  Time had allowed the tree to stretch one of its arms to the edge of my deck.  It was clapping!  Its leaves were tap – tap – tapping in sync with the rhythm of the wind’s howl.  I listened in amazement!  For just a moment the levies in my eyes broke as I watched in wonder.  The wind gently blew across my face, and in that moment, it felt more like His hand was wiping my tears away rather than my own.

a land where love… stays.”

Invisible Tree Child - edited

The house I live in now is far more than I could have thought to ask God for.  I am in awe of Him!  I’m grateful that He has brought me here during this quiet season of life.  My house is surrounded by wonderful neighbors and I have lots of trees.  My trees got chopped down so many years ago, but today God gave me a house in the middle of trees.  I may not be climbing trees these days, but I can walk out on my deck and know that the same One who held me with His creation as a child still holds me today.  He meets me here and fills my home with what my heart so longed for as a child.  He fills my home with Himself, with His peace.  I now know “a land where love… stays.”

Most often, it is in the quiet place of waiting where we hear God and are able to see Him.  In stillness, He unfolds the mysteries our hearts are longing to know.  His whispers ride on the winds and the trees really do clap their hands.

He promises, “Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

If we allow ourselves to acknowledge Him, we will see that His presence has been our saving grace, and He our ray of hope all throughout our lives.  It’s the surrendered heart that allows God full access, ears tuned to His voice and eyes that gaze into His, where love abides – “stays.”

Will you pause for a moment and take time to reflect on your life’s journey?  How has God hugged you, talked to you, and shown His love for you?  If you will drawn near to Him and seek Him, He will open the eyes of your heart to see and know Him.  You too may hear the trees applauding and see the clouds dance!

“Peace.  I longed for peace,” and I found Him! 


Invisible Tree Child - edited

“Seek me and you will find Me, if you seek Me with all of your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord..” – Jeremiah 29:13-14a

Beyond A Disconnected Head and Heart

The Lamb Lives


“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.”  – Eph. 1:18

In difficult times, when we’re wrestling for truth, people will often say to us “Just keep your eyes on God.”  This is perfect advice, but even when we’re peering into God’s face it is sometimes hard to feel hopeful.

“Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it.”  – Rev. 5:4

John stood before God’s very throne, focused fully on Him, and he bitterly wept in hopelessness.  John had stood face-to-face with Jesus.  He walked with Him, and knew all the things He had done.  He even witnessed His resurrection from the dead, but in that moment before God’s throne, there was a disconnect between John’s heart and his mind.  John felt the hopelessness of mankind.  In that a moment, God had not revealed the final answer and John felt the pressing weight of despair.

We all have these moments.  Times when our mind is disconnected from the truth we know in our heart.  Thankfully, God is full of grace and understands that we are limited in our humanness, that is, until He opens our eyes and reveals His redemption plan, in our story today and how it weaves into the final finale.

I agree that we need to keep our gaze fixed firmly on God.  He alone holds all the answers and the healing we long for, but I also understand that until He chooses to reveal those things, we will wrestle in the disconnect between the head and heart.  We need to be fully honest with God during these struggles.  If our hearts are weeping, we can weep before Him, but we must keep wrestling!

“Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”  The man said, “What is your name?”  He answered, “Jacob…”  (Jacob finally got honest with God about who he was)  “And then, right then and there, he blessed him…  Jacob said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”  – Gen. 32:26-30

Jacob stood face-to-face with God and got gut-wrentchingly honest with Him.  He had his eyes directly on God, yet felt the full weight of his struggle.  Jacob wrestled with God all through the night season, “and then, right then and there,” truth was revealed and the blessing came – on the other side of the struggle.

~ Beyond bitter tears ~

“But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping!  Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne has won the victory.  He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”  – Rev. 5:5

John stood desperately weeping before God.  The weight of hopelessness pressed heavy on his heart and despair flooded the core of his being, but all was not hopeless.  The victory had already been won and He, the Victor, stood before John.  God opened John’s eyes so he could see.  “Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah… has won the victory.  He is worthy…!”

We continue to wrestle because we believe!

As we wrestle with God today, I ask that He will open the eyes of our hearts to see His truth and burst forth the blessings He holds for us.  I am asking that Almighty God silence the spirits of fear and despair, and no longer allow them to be our companions.  May He cause our minds to connect with the truth we know in our hearts.  May we see the truth that is for today and and know that the victories of tomorrow are already won.

We continue to wrestle because we believe, on the other side of the struggle, hope is fulfilled, the blessing is granted, and the Lamb is alive.


The Lamb Lives

Apparently I Am WAY Right!

R - 1

I’ve recently been told by a friend that I’ve been described as “One who sits way far to the right.” I don’t believe the person was talking about politically either, since I’ve never had any personal conversation with the one making the assumption about me.

Really? If that’s the worst someone can say about me, praise God! I hope I’m guilty. I am trying to live an uncompromised life, but I will be the very last person to say that I’m a success at it. So, why then does this accusation from someone I barely know trouble me?

We live in a world that’s doing its very best to cut down those who are trying to do good, or “right”, yet it elevates and honors those who are for every vile and immoral thing. My heart is troubled because even in our churches compromise is applauded and masked by a freedom speech.

I do believe!

I believe, “It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us].” The verse in Galatians 5:1 continues, “Therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].” So what’s the yoke we’ve been freed from?

I like the way Bible Study Fellowship summed this up. They wrote, “True freedom, which God gives, is the freedom not to sin.” We’ve been set free from sin’s chains, set free so we do not have to live according to the flesh but are now yoked to Christ, able to live as He lived.

I’m not talking about living by a set of rules, as if the law will set me free. No one can earn the freedom found in Christ. We also cannot swing the pendulum so far to the other side, we’ll call it the left for the sake of this writing. Living by the law can bind me to a works based faith, which would be wrong, but we must also remember that Jesus also said that “He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” Again, you cannot earn your freedom in Christ. It is a free gift, but as being people who have been given this free gift, should we not want to live lives that represent the Holy God we say we serve? There are guidelines we must hold fast to, so that the world around can see God and not just another image of itself.

It is belief and acceptance in Jesus being God’s own Son, and in His sacrificial death and resurrection where we obtain salvation. Christ sets us free – nothing more and nothing less than Jesus.

I know I’m free. I know that nothing I can do, or be, will pay my way into heaven. I know that I have been forgiven and I am already an heir to the Kingdom of God. It is because I know these truths that I don’t want to compromise my lifestyle – my daily walk – my life’s testimony.

Why boundaries?

What’s the harm if I choose not to do that thing that may be permissible, so that I can possibly obtain that which is God’s perfect desire for my life? Or I might choose not to do something that I know in my heart is ok because it will cause another person around me to struggle. Something may not be sin for me but could be a struggle for another person. Is it worth me proving my “freedom” over helping my brother or sister get stronger in their weakness? Certainly not!

I choose some strict boundaries in my life, not to bind me but to truly be free. Alcoholism runs on both sides of my family. I’ve buried many aunts and uncles and visited my own brother in prison because they were bound by the bottle. Knowing the addictive thread lacing throughout my family history, should I even risk it? It’s not just my family that have had struggles in this area. I know many. I stood on countless platforms in prisons, rehab centers, and churches where people were battling the “spirits”. I’ve talked with thousands of people and not one of them ever told me they dreamed about growing up to be an alcoholic, but most deeply grieve ever having taken that first drink.

One Christmas, I baked a dark chocolate chip rum cake. I had no idea that a person who struggles with alcoholism can relapse, or at least have a tremendous struggle by the smell or flavor baked into something, and someone did relapse. I don’t blame myself for the person’s regress, but I sure could have helped them by not putting the temptation in their midst. Will I make the cake again? Yes, but I won’t ever make it to take to a gathering because I don’t always know who it is that’s fighting that particular tug-of-war. Does that sound a little too “far to the right”? It probably is to some, but for me it’s about allowing God to stop a generational curse in my family and being a safe place for others. I’m ok with being my brother’s keeper when needed. It’s an honor, and I appreciate help from my peers when I’m facing a weakness.

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In a world that screams at us about not judging and being tolerant, I seem to be under a constant watchful eye, both by the world and the body of Christ. That’s all the more reason for me to do my best to live out what I say I believe. This is not a “would everyone stop picking on me” blog. Oh No! It’s a “hallelujah I must be doing something right” note. Most every day I pray for God to lead my every step, and I ask Him to never let me fall. I pray for His strength and guidance because I am well aware of my weaknesses. I cannot worry about what people think of my strong stand, but I must choose to make my life about Who people see in me.

Just to be clear, I don’t believe you will go to hell for having a drink. I’ve also faced scrutiny for the fact that I firmly believe it’s wrong for me to have a friendly coffee or dinner with a married man when his wife cannot be present, and take every precaution to never ride in a car alone with a married male friend. I’ve seen far too many innocent friendships turn into full-blown affairs and families destroyed because “We’re just friends” won a battle in a mind. Compromise usually does start out small and innocent, but can lead to massive devastation. I counsel women, asking them to put themselves in the shoes of the man’s wife. How would you feel? Even the most confident women fight insecurity, and even deep God-fearing saints can be lured into a sinful trap. I then ask the ladies to take some sincere time in prayer for their friend’s marriage, calling his wife’s name out loud to God. Knowing that marriage is a covenant commitment with God, I don’t even want to cause others to question.

Please know that I don’t write in judgment or condemnation. I fail and need grace like everyone else, but to choose to live a lifestyle of compromise is living under the world’s grace, not God’s. One of the greatest deceptions in the church body today is thinking that we can ingest the fruit of this world and still expect to produce the fruit of God’s holiness.

“It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.”  – 1 Peter 2:15-16

Life’s choices are not always a question of something being a sin or not. It could be as simple as pausing to evaluate, will this decision best represent the God I say I serve? Am I loving well in this moment? Don’t compromise who you are. Don’t swing the pendulum so far off-balance that you fear every decision. There will always be critics out there who are just looking for a reason to find fault, and often they’re trying to defer attention off of something in their own life. Love and obey God, and love people – even the critic.

How far to the “right” are you willing to be?


“Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.”  Romans 14:20

“There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends.”  John 15:13

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” ~

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. ~

He Love Me… He Love Me Not… The Last Petal Falls…

Hope begins to fade as the words are whispered,

“He loves me…”

With a quick pause and short sigh, so not to prolong the inevitable,

“He loves me not.”

Those are the words spoken as the last petal from what once was a flower falls to the ground…

Last Pedal Falls

It seems the word love gets thrown around so loosely these days.  Often the words “I love you” are based on an emotional moment more than a sacrificial choosing. We fail to realize that it’s only after the choosing that the real feelings of deep and lasting love come, and endure.

There are many levels of love, but few of us take the time to really get to know what true love is.  From the moment of our birth, we’re bombarded with messages from most every media outlet telling us that life is all about me.  If you get, you will have…  If you have, you will become…  If you become, you will be…  You will be happy!  You will be fulfilled!  You will be a success!  We’re told, “If it makes you feel good, do it!”  “YOU” have a right to get – to have – to be.  Sadly, we attach our personal love meter, how much we’re willing to give and how much we’re willing to receive, on what others can give us, what they have to offer, and what we perceive ourselves to be.

Our Creator tells us different.

“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  – Matt. 22:37-39

Yet, at the same time we’re told to guard our hearts with all diligence.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” – Proverbs 4:23, (msg)

How do we love God and others with all of our heart, soul, and mind?  The Gospels of Mark and Luke add, “and with all of your strength”.  How is this even possible?  How is it possible to love openly while being guarded at the same time, and while we’re trying to get, to have, and to be whatever it is that will make us feel accepted and happy, and dare I say loved?

It’s not at all possible, if we are measuring our love out by our own human emotions.  We should not dismiss our emotions.  Often times God uses our feelings to move us toward or away from something, but we should not depend solely on them either.  We all have been bruised by the evils that war against us in this life, and the spirit of fear is not shy to scream its accusations of others and of God at us.  We all have met people who chose to manipulate tender hearts in order to rob from them something that they themselves never intended to repay.  Those people have chosen the “it’s all about me” life.  Fear follows closely behind these encounters, then causes us to lock away parts of our hearts in hope to guard against further painful attacks.

“Hurting people hurt people.”

This is both a true and a false statement.  Who hasn’t been hurt?  You’ve been hurt.  I’ve been hurt.  But, I do not set out to hurt others before they can have the chance to hurt me.  I refuse to buy into the mindset of “every man for himself”, nor do I live by the motto that we should “take before something is taken”.   I get highly tempted, but I refuse to lock up my ability to care because someone(s) else has chosen to do me wrong.  I am choosing to let the lessons of pain cause me to ask the question, “What is love and how can I walk in it, even when others don’t?”  Only I can choose to allow a cycle of abuse to continue or not.  Only I can choose to pay it forward by inflicting further pain or becoming better myself.  Only when I allow the trials of life to better me will I be able to love as I long to be loved, and to “love my neighbor as myself.”

“As long as you’re not hurting anyone, do whatever you want.”

How many times have we heard it said, “Well I’m not hurting anybody”?  If we choose to live with this as our life’s motto, we choose to live a lie!  Our actions do matter.  We will either impact this world in a positive way, or we will leave a trail of tears, a destructive trail for those who follow after us to clean up.  The questions we should all be asking ourselves is, “How would I like it if I were on the receiving end of what I’m about to do?”  “Am I loving my neighbor as myself?”  Or, how about the tougher question, “Am I loving my family, my spouse, as I do myself?”  Ooo, I think I just heard a great big “Ouch!” echo throughout cyberspace.  If we cannot learn to love at home we’re nothing less than a hypocrite when we walk out the door.

All is not hopeless.

If you are the one who has been the wounded now turned thief, the one who chooses to hurt before you get hurt, welcome to the human race.  We all have been both the victim and the robber.  But here’s the good news, you can choose to stop a vicious cycle.  Today you can choose to do right.  Yesterday is gone but today is before you.  Be courageous!  Let God in so He can heal and transform you.  He wants to give you beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of a heavy burden (Is. 61:3).

You’re the victim?

Here is where we learn to guard our heart.  We do not have to let others have the keys to our hearts.  We do not have to let them continue to rob from us, especially after they are long gone from our lives.  It is possible to love someone from a distance when they’ve proven be to unsafe.  There are times when saying “No” to someone is the best way to love them.  To enable them the ability to continue to victimize us is not loving them well.  This is when we take back our keys.  First, we must be sure we’re thinking clearly ourselves and not making false accusations.  It’s perfectly okay to seek godly counsel from a trusted friend or studied therapist.  God gave them this gift of helps, so they can help!

When we take back our keys it’s not to just hang them on a hook.  They have a great purpose.  We should use them to unlock those places that pain has punched and fear has sucked up our life’s-breath.  If we choose, we can ask God to give us the courage to visit the painful places (Here is where a trained psychologist may be very helpful) and search our own hearts motives, and then we can ask Him to correct our thinking when our thinking has proven to be destructive either to ourselves or others.  We can ask God to show us His truth from the lies, and then allow Him to take our wounded hearts and make them whole.

(I cannot stress enough that a trusted licensed, and godly, therapist is more than ok to talk with.  Remember, we are a body of believers and we need each others strengths to help us grow.  We are all in this growing process together.  Don’t let fear, pride, or legalism keep you from being free.  Exposing things to light purifies!)

Just one more thing!

Have you ever noticed that those who tell us that we have a right to get, to have, and to be, are usually the same people who ask us what’s next before we even have time to celebrate our most recent achievement?  If we meet a special someone, we’re quickly asked when the wedding will be.  When the wedding happens, we’re asked when the baby is coming before the cake gets cut.  When the baby’s born, we’re asked when he or she will have a sibling before we leave the hospital.  We are constantly reminded that we have a void within, and that emptiness causes us to keep reaching for the next thing, or social level.  Rarely do we pause just to give thanks.

May I pose a challenge to you here?  Will you take this moment to pause and to thank God for all that is right in your world right now, even what you consider to be the small things?  Do you have a roof over your head and running water?  Thank Him.  Do you have a family that is driving you crazy?  Thank Him that you have a family – many do not.  Do you have gum in your pocket?  I love gum and I’m thankful for it!  Do you see where I’m going with this?  If we will pause to think about all of the little things we so often take for granted, we will realize how much we do have and how much we’ve already achieved.

I was so painfully shy and scared as a child that I could barely speak.  I kept my whole world lock up tight deep inside.  My own grandmother had to back me into a corner just to give me a hug.  Today, I love people and want to share how beautiful life can be with them, and I hug people.  In this process of discovering all the blessing we have, we will also realize that the void we feel deep within our soul is God-shaped.  Only He can fill it.  The more we thank Him, the more our focus will turn to Him.  The more we focus on Him, our empty place will be filled with Him, and the more we’re filled with Him, the more we can receive and give His love to others.

Trusting God is the first step.  We have to let Love in so we can let Love out.

“He Loves Me!”

…God picks up all the fallen petals and says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.” – Jer. 31:3


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!

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…”!

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