Why Not So Happily Ever After?

Not So Happily Ever After

 

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…” 1 Cor. 13:4-8a

When in a dating relationship, we’re quick to fight hard for the other person, for their happiness and well-being.  We’re conscious about being kind, polite, patient, and we give of ourselves until exhaustion forces us to surrender to our pillow for a full nights rest.  We think good thoughts, dream good thoughts, and speak good thoughts over the other person as we believe in them, hope in them, and endure with them.  “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that will keep us from trying to make sure the other person is happy.

“I Do!”

After the wedding, we often shift from a selfless servanthood attitude to a selfish mentality that’s more demanding.  With all their imperfections, we longed for their time, their attention, and their love, before a commitment was made, only to allow our spouse’s imperfections to dictate our level of love after the wedding.  What happens to grace after the honeymoon?

Back to real life!

The awesome and the ugly things of life were present before the week on the pink sandy beach, so why are we surprised when both the good and bad continue after?  Real life with our jobs, family, friends, and hobbies was happening before the wedding too.  So are those more beautiful than ever sunrises and sunsets that we enjoyed through the eyes of new love.  They’re still happening, even when work resumes, when the babies come, and when the in-laws show up.  So, why do we stop enjoying time with the one we pledged our heart to?  When does the shift from selfless to selfish happen, and why?  When is it that we decide not to be each other’s hero anymore?  It’s as if we can no longer be best friends once we take on the title of husband, or wife.

It happens to all of us.

Step by step, one accusing thought leads to another, and so begins the dialog in our mind.  Instead of taking the thoughts captive, we feed the attacking whispers until they grow from an accusation to a guilty verdict before the other person knows they’re even on trial.

I don't remember you looking this way before the wedding, and you smell funny!

I don’t remember you looking this way before the wedding!?!?

AND YOU SMELL FUNNY!

The rose-colored glasses get traded, not for glasses that give us clearer vision, but for ones that distort with a darkened cloud of the “What about Me?” syndrome.  The more we listen to the whispers, the more our eyes get clouded by lies.  Little by little we begin to close our heart off to the one we said we would love for a lifetime–for better or for worse.  Did we really mean, “For as long as you make me happy.”?

Could it be that we’re placing an unrealistic expectation on another person to ensure our own happiness?  That’s a lot of pressure to demand from another imperfect human being.  If we’re willing to be honest, we have to admit that we ourselves can’t even live up to some of the expectations that we demand from others.

I think unmet expectations contribute to a lot.  We build a fantasy world in our mind about what life will and should be, and then we choose to live there instead of in reality.  After all, we always get to be right in our personal fantasy land.  Getting real with ourself will most-likely be the first unmet expectation that will disappoint us the most.  It’s easier to look through a microscope at someone else than to look into a mirror.  If only we could step into the messiness of reality by surrendering selfishness to embrace the adventure of living life together–with our own spouse.  If only we could find the enormous amount of courage that it takes to lay down the facade of our internal world and allow ourselves to be exposed for who we really are, a work in progress with equal amounts of imperfections as the other person.  Only then can we truly live in the land of “Happily Ever After” with the one we chose to partner our life with.

If they really knew me.

I also believe that many of us are fearful, not so much to love another person, as much as we fear being vulnerable to being loved.  The fear of letting someone get so intimately close that they can peer into our deepest thoughts and emotions scare us.  Many of us can’t accept ourself.  That leaves us fearful that no one else could either if we truly let them see us.  “I struggle with acknowledging my own shortcomings to myself, so how in the world could anyone else truly love me if they find out about…(fill in the blank)?”  We wrestle!  “If people really knew the thoughts I had to take captive, the things I get impatient over, and the things I’ve done in my past, they would never want me.”  Fear causes us to lock up our heart.  It causes us to demand the position of control.  Fear is a deadly enemy of trust and is a dark smoke-screen to truth.  Sadly, there are many marriages that exist only in the smoke.  They never come to know the freedom of living in the light of truth and trust.

When fear screams at us to run and hide, to push others away or control the boundary lines of how close they can get, let’s remember that it is satan that is the accuser of the brethren.  He not only accuses others but he is also the one who is reminding us of our own past mistakes and shining the spotlight on our own personal flaws.  This is the very moment we need to draw strength from God to face our past.  Remember, Jesus has already redeemed it.  Once we can accept God’s love and forgiveness, we will be free to acknowledge the areas we are still needing to grow, and grow we will, like a flower fully exposed to the sun.  If the accuser can’t get us to self-loath, then he will do his best to blind us to what others do for us by shining a spotlight on what they don’t do.  But, if we can come out of hiding from ourself, then we won’t be so quick to push others away as they work through their own imperfections and fears.  Grace can abound after the preacher pronounces two people “Husband and Wife”, and Ever After can be happy.

Happily Ever After starts today.

In the middle of the dishes, the house repairs, the screaming babies, and the hard to please bosses, we can choose to find the beauty of real life.  Sure, life gets hard, but in the hardships let’s not fail to see the truth.  We are a part of a great adventure.  We are laying a legacy for future generations.  Our actions and reactions today can cause a ripple effect that will last for many lifetimes to come.  Today, I can choose to love all the wonders that are before me – today – or I can slip away into my internal world and live a lifetime of lies.  If we live too long affected by the “What about me?” syndrome, we will die never knowing the elation of true intimacy–to know and be known.  The legacy we pass on will be a cloud of fearful smoke.

The choice is mine.  I can leave a legacy of love and commitment, or one of selfish ambition and deceit.

Married or single, let’s thank God for His love and for teaching us to surrender to Him.  If we can open our heart to God and allow Him to love us intimately, we’re more likely to love deeply and have the ability to receive love when it’s offered.

You never know when your part of this adventure will end, so purpose to take some time during the next sunset to reminisce about the day’s crazy adventure.  Give thanks for the one God allowed you to walk this journey with, as imperfect as you are.

God’s mercies are new every morning, so let ours be also.

~Shannan

Purpose to be each other’s happiness, then you can live Happily Ever After in both the awesome and the ugly things of life.

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 Am Reminded Once Again

Sometimes I get so busy serving God that I try to conquer what I think He’s called me to, but all I’ve achieved in the end is the ability to run ahead of Him – missing Him and His truth completely.  I am learning that the roadblocks, the detours, and the delays I face, may just be God’s perfect timing.  It may be His grace and patience, and His form of rescuing me from a destructive path.

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early AND latter rain.” – James 5:7

I’m letting go of my thoughts, dreams, hopes, plans, and my ideas.  I’m placing them all in the care of the One who loves me.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

He Is Trustworthy!

Dear God help me to always remember the rest of Your words found in this promise You’ve given.

THEN you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I WILL LISTEN to you.  AND you will seek Me and find Me, WHEN you search for Me with all your heart.  I WILL BE FOUND by you, says the LORD, and I WILL BRING YOU BACK from your captivity; I WILL GATHER you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I WILL BRING you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” – Jeremiah 29:12-14

God keeps His promises!

Father You have redeemed me.  May every word that I speak, every step I take, and every action I make, be pleasing to You.  Thank You for Your protection.  Help me never to fall.  “Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one.”

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

Please keep me in your prayers.  I have accepted a speaking engagement in South Carolina.  Where it all “ended” may just be where it all begins.  May God be glorified in every word.

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!

Apparently I’m The Bubble Girl….!!

I backed my car into my garage and watched the door slowly close to shelter me from the elements of the world. I shut the engine off and melted into a puddle of tears. I had just come from visiting with a friend who has been so vindictively beaten down by another person. They’ve suffered so much needless pain that they hit an emotional wall and are unable to trust any longer. I am witnessing this wall in many people. I have hope for the friend I was with tonight, but my heart deeply aches for those who can’t acknowledge that there’s even a wall there. Without facing our pain(s) head on and coming to the place to courageously plow through them, hope is dismal.

How do you break free from this fear when it’s been so burned in by an outside source with such cunning skill?  Fixing my own faults is doable, but the actions of another person are out of my control.

As I think about my friend, I am suddenly aware of my own wounded heart. Despite my great effort to keep fear at bay, it continues to whisper it’s lies. Day in and day out, this conniving spirit craftily devises ways to cause my mind to doubt – my self-worth – my abilities – wondering if I will ever be enough.

Tonight my hope is attacked.

With Warren’s death being so tragic and sudden, on occasion I will stop in to talk with a counselor to make sure I am progressing forward in a healthy way.  Even without a tragic life event, I believe it’s good to check ourselves and have others give feedback from their point of view.  Too often we live inside our own mind where the enemy whispers lies.  It is essential to talk out life’s stuff with a trusted other in order to not buy into the deception he plants.

The last talk we had was over the fact that my heart was hurting.  I was frustrated over a sudden end to what I thought was a hope-filled relationship.  One day everything seemed good and peaceful and the next day I ran face first into a brick wall.  The wall was not one I built but one built by the other person.

I was not trying to seek out what was “wrong” with the other person, but sincerely wanted to know if I was wrong in my thinking. After all, I am new to this whole dating world.  I wanted to know if I was expecting too much with the amount of time that had been invested in the relationship.  I had listened to what my girlfriends were saying, and I had asked a few of my guy friends their opinions, but I wanted to hear from a dad’s perspective.  I knew the person I was talking with would be honest with me and not hold back whatever truth pill I needed to swallow.  The pill was much larger and harder to swallow than I anticipated.

He said, “Sadly, life has made you grow up, Shannan.  Society does not make people grow up today, but life has made you grow up far beyond your years.”  I was humbled and took this as a huge compliment, but I was frustrated at the same time by what it implied. I can change me, but I cannot fix another person. I can walk with someone, but only if that person chooses to walk.  I felt that it was a reality check of the world we live in. It’s a world filled with wounded people stricken with fear, or they just simply don’t want to “grow up.”  Just look around and you will see a sea of hurting souls.  Some of the wounds are self-inflicted, but many are brought on by others.  The pain caused by others sends us into a vicious cycle of self-destructive patterns.  It’s hard not to be fearful when so much pain is caused in ways out of our control.  Many of us must fight a mentality that we are owed something.  We pick up the mindset of, I’ve been through this, so I’m entitled to have a little fun, max-out the credit card, eat the entire tub of extreme chocolate double fudge brownie ice cream, etc…  One that I’ve witnessed and am also guilty of is when we throw ourselves into busyness to avoid feeling anything.  This avoidance is extremely self-destructive, and one way or another, we will eventually have to face the hurt we run from.  If we don’t deal with it, we will find ourselves hurting deeper, bitterness will grow, and then we will inflict undeserved pain on innocent others.  It’s Newton’s law lived out in our emotions.  “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Another illustration that was given, again taken as a huge compliment, was that of “The Good Bubble.”  My counselor held up his hands to one side as he formed in the air the shape of a large bubble.  He held his pose as if holding a giant balloon while stating, “You are in the good bubble. You are what is wanted, but the other person is not ready to give up their other life yet.  So, they say and do just enough to keep you around without committing.”  He motioned with his hands to his other side and continued his talk, “Over here we have the life they live.  This is who they are, but they will run back to check on “The Good Bubble” to make sure it’s still there hanging on.  Unfortunately, many never choose to let go of this other life.”  After his vivid explanation he posed a strong question with this statement, “You just have to decide how long you will continue to dance.”

There are many ideas as to what “the other life” could be: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, or simple child-likeness – unable to accept the reality of time and age.  I’m not going to try to figure this other life out.  The fact is, it exist and I’m no longer dancing.  However, if I am “The Good Bubble,” then I can tell you what that life is to me.

I love God.  I want to live my life to please Him.  I want others to see Jesus before they see me.  I do not want to fall for what the world says I am to be, but I long for God to guide my footsteps.  I want to be the best friend I can be, the best daughter I can be, the best wife I can be.  I want to be a woman pleasing to God.  With all these things “I want,” I’m also extremely aware that I have a long way to go in my growth process, but I want to grow!  I’ve found that when I stop fighting the growing-up process I have more fun and more freedom than when I try digging my claws into the past to fight for something that’s long been dead.  I cannot get back what was stolen or what I’ve given up, but I can choose to live and not allow the spirit of fear to steal from me the potential blessing God has for me today.  God restored to Job a double portion of what was taken from him – when he chose forgiveness and trust over fear and self-sabotage.

It’s scary to keep hoping against what seems absolutely hopeless, but we were created to have relationships.

God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and God Himself walked with man in the garden. – (Genesis 2:18, 3:8)

I have prayed that God will protect me from all the counterfeits the enemy tries to throw my way to distract me.  As frustrated as I get because of feeling stuck, I believe He is sheltering me and I am thankful.  I’ve stepped out and have tested many different things, but I’ve yet to know exactly where God is leading me.  Despite hearing “No” time and time again, I cannot give up.  If I surrender to the spirit of fear, hope is lost.  Fear is a spirit, not an emotion; so if I let fear be my roadblock, then I am allowing the enemy to steal what God wants to give me.  I guess it all comes down to the decision of what I believe about God or not.

What’s the remedy to this bubble in which I dwell?  The only answer I have is to hold onto it with all God’s strength, because I am not giving up my “Good Bubble.”  My bubble has a whole lot of room to grow, but it is not an option for a trade in.  I don’t want whatever that “other life” is if it can’t fit in God’s bubble.

As I sat in my puddle of tears in the garage that night God asked me a very pointed question.  “Would you give up your relationship with Me to not be lonely here in this life’s journey?”  Without hesitation I replied, “NO!”  “God, NO!”  “Please don’t ever let me fall.”   The thought of losing this closeness with Him I’ve come to know and understand made me sick inside.  The “Good Bubble” only exists because He is good in me.  There was something that broke inside of me that night.  It was like I was bound up with chains and they fell off when I answered His question.  I don’t believe God was telling me that He was going to keep me alone the rest of my life, but I believe I needed to hear my response.  I’ve said many times that nothing is worth trading my relationship with God for, but to say it with feeling and absolute knowing from the very core of my being had yet to happen – until now.  I’m certainly a work in progress, but thankfully there is progress.

Hope wins the battle!

By the way, I don’t believe God and I are in a bubble, I believe it’s the other way around.  It’s the world that is bubbled in. God’s too big to contain.  God can drive a wedge in Newton’s Law.  I do not have to believe the lies of our society and I do not have to hurt others when I am hurting.  If I trust God, fear cannot win.

If I am “The Bubble Girl”, my bubble is blessed 🙂  Which bubble are you living in?

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today..” ~ Ex. 14:13a

There Is Always Hope With God!

I AM DISPOSABLE

I cry to God for those who have been through major loss.  I experienced the physical death of my husband after 9 1/2 years of marriage, but I find myself talking to God for those who’ve had to endure anything that brings deep sorrow.  My heart has become especially tender in prayer for those who’ve walked through the dark valley of divorce – a tragic form of death.  When I buried Warren, I wasn’t burying trust.  Thankfully, I have not had to face the pain of divorce, but I was recently rejected by one I thought cared for me.  It sent my heart into a tailspin I didn’t see coming.  That knife through the heart left me with breathless moments and unanswered questions.  What hurt the most was his apparent lack of care or concern, especially after experiencing such a strong connection.  What do you do with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders?  My heart hurts for those who were married and filled with hopes and dreams, only to be left with rejection, a heart in anguish, and so much more than I can imagine.  I cannot fathom the depth that of sorrow.

The rejection I faced was nothing compared to broken marriage vows.  I did not commit my life to him.  We did not have the level of intimacy that comes with the bonds of matrimony.  I simply began to fall for him in a way that broke through a few walls.  I allowed myself to trust a portion of my heart to him.  Nevertheless, my recent letdown has caused me to pray on a much deeper level for those whom I know have had to grieve over broken promises.  I can only assume that their sadness is multiplied a thousand times more than the frustration I’ve felt.  I pray that God would heal their pain and restore their heart to a place it can trust again.

Through my recent heartbreak I was reminded of how, through childhood and most of my adult years, I closed off from anyone who wanted to get close to me.  My own grandmother had to corner me to give me a hug.  I wasn’t so much afraid of being hurt, I could handle my own pain, but I was afraid I would be a disappointment to anybody that got to know me.

I’ve had to face this ugly truth about myself again through a rejection that seemed to come overnight.  One day I am enough and accepted, then what appeared to be literally an overnight event, I became disposable.  It’s like the green light of safe to proceed suddenly turned red without warning.  There didn’t appear to be a yellow light of caution, though it’s possible I just missed it.  For someone like me, the worst part about this form of being “thrown away,” is when it’s done without any reasons given.  All that was offered was an emotionless shrug of the shoulders.  Silence is far worse than criticism.  Silence is not fixable.  It only leads to a dead-end, or keeps spinning you round and round like a merry-go-round that leads you nowhere.

What did I do with a shrug of shoulders and a blank look?  I asked a few questions, I listened, I waited in patience, and then after ample time I accepted the advice I would give my little girl if I had one.  Though letting go was difficult and it’s taken me time to regain my balance, I got off the merry-go-round.

“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”  – Ephesians 1:4-6

I believe, for the first time in my 35 years, I am not disposable.  I am accepted!

I ask God for greater wisdom and understanding.  It is often given in the presence of deep feelings.  I am grateful to God for His protection and for allowing me the ability to feel deeply.  Feelings are often what He uses to draw me closer to Himself and stirs my heart to pray for others.

I’m sure I have a few more “merry-go-rounds” that I need to jump off of, but I’m learning as I go.  “I press on”…forward!

Have you ever experienced someone’s silent world?  How so?  Are you living in your own life of secrecy?  If so, why?

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

One reason I write “Keeping It Real” is because the things that are kept in silence are not fixable.  I want God to have His freedom to work out of me what is not Him.  I want to be pliable in his hands.

I Am Choosing!

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

Take All Of Me

Despite all this world will throw my way…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Are You Choosing To Live Today?

You Can Walk, Or You Can Swim?

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

~Shannan

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

Priceless Purpose!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD!!!!  For opening up this silent child – ME.  A young girl needed a place to be real with her hurt, bad words and all.  Had I not walked the painful journey through childhood and the sudden death of my husband, I may not have had the honor of her trust.  She has a lot of good reason to be angry and cry, but she continues to search for better.  Dear God, show her YOU.  Show her YOUR true pure love and compassion, and guide me as I begin to share my childhood story.   Let our stories be those from tragedy to triumph.  AMEN!  Bringing it into the light where it loses its power!

Now this is a purpose that is priceless.

~Shannan

Is This Punishment?

As I ran the other morning, I asked God to illuminate my path. I asked Him to show me what He’d have me do and where He’d have me go.

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God rarely calls the equipped to do His work, He equips the called.  If you’re uncertain, as I am, of the exact path you are to walk – wait. His silence is not a punishment. God will reveal all when the timing is perfect. There’s much more to the portrait of life than meets the human eye.

If you are willing, He will use you.  In the meantime, love God, trust Him, and love your neighbor as yourself.  You can never go wrong with this!

He will soon reveal His masterpiece, and it will be beautiful.

~Shannan