“What Is Perfect?” He Asked.

 

Disclaimer: If you’re someone who’s had a promise broken, or are one who has broken your covenant promise, know that God is the great redeemer.  He is still the God who makes streams in the desert and rescues our lives from the pit, even pits we’ve dug ourselves.  You are not without hope.  You are so deeply loved, and can begin new today.  I’m believing for that fresh new stream in my valley, and I believe for you too!

%22What Is Perfect?%22 He Asked.

I was recently talking with a new friend.  We were sharing different life experiences, both funny and serious.  As I was sharing the life I had with Warren, this new friend posed a question that made me pause.  He asked, “You mentioned several times that you two were not perfect, but what is perfect?”

“What is perfect?”  That’s a great question!

Warren loved me and I loved Warren, but like many other young married couples, we had several years of struggling with that whole “and the two shall become one” concept.  That sounded so sweet when we were dating, so wonderfully intoxicating, and we were spellbound by “And They Lived Happily Ever After!”  He hugged me and I knew…  I kissed him back and from that moment on he was set on marrying me….  I know, he’s not here to validate that, but you get my point.  The Hollywood fairytale began, and it was a whirlwind from a shy “Hello” to “I DO!”  We were in pursuit of each other.

We got married on July 27th, 1996.  I think it was August 6th when the rose-color fell off the lens of those Hollywood glasses.  We had decided to drive home a day early from our honeymoon.  What we failed to do is book a hotel ahead of time for the early trip home.   We left our posh log cabin that was nestled in the beautiful hills of Pigeon Forge, TN, with the idea that “Ever After” was on our side.  We pulled off more exit ramps than I can remember.  Every sign was lit up, “No Vacancy.”  Most everything was booked out because of some big event, and that event filled multiple cities.  Warren walked in to check on one place that had a few rooms left, but he didn’t like the price.  We drove away from that clean place, that lovely accommodation with a kind staff, only to end up in some rundown pay-by-the-hour roach motel.  We dared not turn the lights off because the multi-legged creepy-crawlies love to scavenge in the dark.  It was gross!  I began to realize how different Warren and I were when he wanted to be “playful.”  My words to him, “Are you kidding me?!  Here?  Hmmm, No!”  Yep, men are from Mars all right, and no doubt he was wondering what part of Venus I came from.

So began the journey of our life together.  The first several years of our 9 1/2 year trek were filled with wonderful adventures along with lots of intense moments of fellowship.  That’s what we liked to call our heated disagreements, but only after we learned to laugh at some of our silly and selfish moments.  Like so many other couples, Warren and I had lost our pursuit for each other and began to focus more on what the other person wasn’t doing.  When you add the pressures of living with family, the unspoken insecurities with unspoken expectations, and the pressures of being ministers, you have a great recipe for a storm.  It took awhile to see it, but we also had the perfect recipe for something absolutely wonderful!

Thankfully, we had discussed many expectations for our “till death do us part” union.  Before we chose to walk down the aisle of that church and stand before God to join ourselves together in a covenant relationship, we established that our relationship with God will always trump every decision, and that the word divorce was never to be spoken in an argument.  We agreed, if we were going to do this thing called life, together, it would be for better or worse – together – committed to God and each other – COMMITTED!  Though young and naive, we made a promise to weather every storm together.

Perspective Adjustment

If he were still alive today, he would laugh right along with me at those beginning years.  He would also agree that the giddy feelings of love are fickle and not always felt.  But, if we choose to love through those moments, and choose to stay true to the commitment made, even when the mind and flesh relentlessly tempt us to wander, then the feelings of love return.  It’s only when we choose to fight for each other that we find the feelings deepen and the bond of commitment becomes so much sweeter than one can ever imagine.  Choosing to weather every storm and mountaintop experience together is the true “Happily Ever After.”

When my friend asked me, “What is perfect?” he followed it up by saying that what I had is what many others would consider perfect.  He adjusted my perspective.  Instead of being fearful of painting an unrealistic life to others, I simply needed to be real about the fact that I did have perfect – perfect for me.  I had someone who fought for me, and me for him.  I had someone who chose me over all others, even when life was hard, even when the glitter of this world seemed so tempting and the grass looked so much greener on the other side.  I had a best friend that came before all others and he had the same.  We had strength in each other when we found no strength within ourselves.  We were partners.

“What is perfect?”  He asked.  Perfect is knowing you’re loved when you’re being unlovable.  It’s commitment fulfilled.  It’s promises made, and apologies accepted when failures happen.  It’s cheering the other person on when they think they can’t.  It’s standing and fighting together when it seems the world all around is falling apart.

Yes, I had perfect, because we let Love bind our hearts together – real love – lasting love – Love Himself.

“I Will!”

Love looks a lot like Jesus to me.  He loves us when we’re lost and broken, when we’re afraid in the storm.  When our strength is failing, He is the unexplainable peace that rides on the winds when they blow hard against us, and that gentle whisper of hope – “I will never leave you.”

Warren asked to see my wedding band.  As he held it between us at eye level he said, “See how the circle is unbroken?  I will always love you and I am committed to the promise I made.  Like the unbroken circle of this gold band, I will love you.”  Those were the words Warren spoke to me just months before he died.  Just over three years later I would stand holding the wife of the man who killed Warren in my arms.  There was a whisper that road on her breathless sobs as she expressed her sorrow for her husband’s actions.  In that moment I remembered the gold ring, and our imperfect perfect love.  As I reminisced, I prayed that God would show her how loved she is by the very one who teaches us how to love – by God Himself.  I prayed that God would allow her to know her worth, even though she may never hear it from the one who put a ring on her finger.

I am grateful that my friend presented such a challenging and thought-provoking question.  Sometimes we possess the perfect that others so long to have.

Death did not steal my perfect, because I know, we knew, that perfect is the Love that is alive in us.  Jesus is big enough to overcome every storm, and His mighty love spans all eternity.  It is limitless and without end.

Are you willing to have your perspective adjusted?  Are you willing to look at what is going right instead of illuminating all that is going wrong?  This life’s journey will have its sorrows along with its joys.  We need to grieve the pain, but we should always look up and give thanks for all that is perfect in our world.

Take a deep breath in and listen for His whisper, I will never leave you.”

“I had someone who fought for me, and me for him…”   Will you fight for your promise, for your perfect for you?  You can begin today by being the “I will.”

~Shannan

Now Enjoy The Journey!

I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

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” ~

Telling What Really Happened In Berkeley County, SC.

Be sure to read the Update at the close of this blog.

Please keep in mind when reading this, I am not anti-law enforcement.  On the contrary, I feel law enforcement who operate with corrupt and ill intentions tarnish the reputations of the many, many, many good police officers who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect citizens in their communities.  I feel the actions of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department were reprehensible during the investigation of my husband’s death, which is why I chose to interview Mr. Brian Adams myself to determine if he was a candidate worthy my endorsement and deserving of holding the esteemed office of Sheriff.  Not only have I interviewed Mr. Adams, but I traveled to South Carolina to personally meet him, his lovely wife Michelle and their beautiful children.  And, I also met his amazing 96-year-old grandmother!  I can tell you first hand that Mr. Adams is genuine and sincere and WILL RESTORE RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THE BERKELEY COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

Brian Adams For Sheriff
I have been asked by many to finally break my silence about the details of the investigation into Warren’s death.  I took many notes during the ordeal of the investigation and trial.  Until now, I have only shared these details with a few close friends and family.  Today – on the eve of the election – in support of Mr. Adams and in honor of Warren, I am choosing to share these details with the world.
God Bless and Love in Support of Brian Adams and in Memory of Warren,
Shannan

The Investigation of the Death Of Warren Parker – Shannan Parker’s Notes

– Warren Parker was tragically killed when a truck struck him and his tour bus, pinning him between the truck and bus, on January 8, 2006. He was helping direct his tour bus into a church parking lot.

– According to our bus driver, Brandt White, the driver of the truck which struck Warren and the bus (later identified as Timothy Baker, 33, of Goose Creek, SC), got out of his truck, looked down at Warren, looked White straight in the eyes, and fled the scene. Mr. White, in his own words, later recalled the actions of the officers who arrived onto the scene: “Shortly after the crash occurred the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene. Upon the arrival of the police I requested that they give some assistance to Warren at which time I was told that they could not give any assistance. The police said, “We cannot touch him. ” I then insisted that they help him and again I was told that the BCSD could not help Warren. I then was forced to stand helplessly as Warren lay bleeding in the street. Although one police officer thought to tell me “I think I heard him breath, “not much reassurance. The traffic in the area became heavy do to part of the road being blocked, I then spoke to the police supervisor and asked if somebody could direct the traffic then the supervisor said, “I’m trying to get my guys to do their job.” There were police officers standing around talking with each other, and still no one tried to help Warren. It seemed like total chaos until the State Police arrived on the scene. It was not until the fire department and the EMT unit arrived on the scene that any assistance was given. Warren was then worked on at the scene and then transported to the hospital.

– The Berkeley County Sheriff’s officers laid a white sheet over Warren’s blood for us to step out of the bus.  Brandt refused to allow his wife Angie and I to get off the bus until he had the officers get a proper tarp – protecting us from walking on the blood soaked sheet and seeing the full horror of the scene.

– The next day an officer came to the house where we were staying and had our driver look at a photocopy of a line up to see if the man was there. Our driver, Brandt White, asked the officer if the pictures were old photos and the officer responded “YES”.  Brandt told the officer he wanted a live line up the next morning with the person who they suspected committed the crime.  The officer said that “the prosecutor doesn’t like to come in on his day off” but, since we were leaving town to bury Warren, they would have it by noon the next day at the latest. At eleven am the next day we called to find out what was happening and they informed us the officer had not even put the request in. We had to leave town to bury my husband! The night before we left, which was three days after the accident, we asked about the truck that struck Warren and what was being done to obtain evidence from it.  We asked if they had fingerprinted it seeing as the man suspected already had a criminal record. They had NOT.  We asked if it should have been done.  The answer, “YES!”  We asked why had it not been done.  The answer, “I don’t know.”  We were told they suspected they knew who the man was but they didn’t have enough evidence to pick him up.  Fingerprinting the truck seemed logical to us!

– The Berkeley County Victim’s Advocate office made no attempt to contact me.  In fact, I have had to hire my own attorney, Mr. John West, to oversee the investigation.

– Mr. West indicated to me that Mr. Baker and his attorney have made no attempt to “make right”, or even cooperate in the matters regarding Warren’s death.  If this had been done… if Mr. Baker were seeking help for his alleged alcohol problem, or made some sort of recompense for his actions, then there would be some lead way to extend grace to Mr. Baker and perhaps even petition the court to extend its mercy on him.  However, Mr. Baker’s actions, in my opinion, do not indicate any repentance. Therefore, I am petitioning for Mr. Baker to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law so he is taken off of the streets for a very long time and unable to hurt anyone else.

– On December 19th , Mr. West and I met with Berkeley County Solicitor Blair Jennings and one of his investigators.  During this meeting, Mr. Jennings indicated that he was going to only pursue a charge of “leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality”.  Mr. Jennings indicated he had a videotape of Mr. Baker at a bar prior to the accident. I have expressed my desire to have Mr. Baker charged with DUI and manslaughter as well.  After speaking with Mr. Jennings, I found much of Mr. Jenning’s account to differ from what I have been told all along by the Berkeley County Sheriffs Office. For instance, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office led me to believe that a live “line-up” could be put together.  Mr. Jennings indicated that live line-ups only exist on television and that Berkeley County had not conducted one in over 10 years.  I was told by Berkeley County Sheriffs Office that they knew who the suspect was and that he had a long track record of alcohol offenses.  Mr. Jennings indicated that Baker had only previously been arrested on credit card fraud.

– It was discovered during the civil trial that Mr. Baker had been dishonorably discharged from the Navy with 11 others for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell years before he killed Warren.  It also came out in the civil trial that the police had found Mr. Baker’s wallet the night of the accident as he had left it in the truck.  The whole investigation was a joke in my opinion.  Mr. Baker sat with what I interpreted to be a “who cares” attitude and could not even tell me the name of the man he killed.  I felt he knew he was walking away free.

– Despite all of the conflicting stories, Mr. Jennings indicated that he has spent more time on this case than many of his others, including murders. He indicated that he spent an entire week on this case. Though it had been almost a year, we were still waiting for the bar video to be analyzed… according the solicitor’s investigator, there is a long line of work for the one analyzer in the county. Rather than pushing it through, the investigator indicated that it would be better if they take this gentleman to lunch at “Arby’s” or somewhere so he spends all night doing the job right.  (“They have to bribe him?” – SP)

– Mr. Jennings indicated that Mr. Baker’s friends admitted to using marijuana the night of Warren’s death, but they “could not remember” if Mr. Baker used it or not. These witnesses were not charged, although they did admit to using illegal substances.

– There was a K-9 unit sent out the night of the accident that led the officers to where Mr. Baker was.  Mr. Baker’s own wife informed officers to his whereabouts.  Mr. Jennings response, “Don’t pick him up.  We don’t have enough evidence.”  (“Really?  You have the weapon, the truck.  You have the blood of the man who was driving the truck, and his fingerprints, and now we know that dogs led them to him AND YOU HAD HIS WALLET!”  My question, “Why are you protecting him?“)

– Four witness saw Mr. Baker violating the terms of his bond by being in a bar drinking, and Mr. Jennings chose to do nothing about it.

– The one news reporter who was asking the hard questions quickly disappeared, and the others refused to ask questions.

The “Trial”

Tim Baker faced up to 25 years in prison.  He was sentenced to 6 years suspended to 2 years probation.  His license was also suspended but they lifted the suspension early.  He spent a total of 12 hours in jail, long enough to be processed and released.

Berkeley County put me through 3 years of this heartache, and, in my opinion, had no intention of doing right.  Please keep in mind that some of the current candidates for Sheriff were senior officers at the department during this time and chose to do nothing. I had no allies within the system.  The people of Berkeley County deserve better.  They deserve to feel safe and free from over 20 years worth of oppression from the old regime.  IT’S TIME SOMEONE TELLS THE TRUTH.

I am praying for Mr. Adams and ask that you please do the same.  He needs all the prayers he can get as citizens hit the polls on Tuesday, April 21st!!  I will let you know the election results as soon as I get them.

~Shannan

UPDATE, (Tuesday evening, April 21 ‘2015)

Click here for the unofficial results and update for what’s next.

My Life’s A Paradox?

philippians1-6 - 2

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

YES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wax On, Wax Off!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Shannan

Walking Forward Victorious and Loving Deeper, 2013!

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

philippians1-6

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

Never Assume You Know!

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4 (amplified)

Today I am a 35 year old widow.  Back in December 2005, I moved our home office to another room in the house, emptying out the existing office completely.  I was acting in faith that my husband and I were going to be blessed by God with a new addition to our family.  Family members were already gathering baby furniture from their storage units, attics, and garages, to pass along to use.  I spent every opportunity I had online researching as much health information I could find.  I wanted to get myself as healthy as possible before I got pregnant.  It’s amazing what all you can give up or what you can take in when life is no longer just about you.  I was almost completely off of coffee by the end of December, soy became an absolute no-no, and I had formed a new love for sweet potatoes – minus all the butter and sugar of course!

Around the third week of the month, Warren came running down the stairs, fresh out of the shower and sporting only a towel.  I looked up from where I was sitting on the couch, but before I could mention the water still dripping from him he began to share his thoughts with great enthusiasm.

Up until this point in time we were just too busy to entertain the thought of expanding our family.  There were a lot of obstacles with life on the road.  One major hurdle was the fact that we wanted to keep our kids home as much as possible for at least the first five years of their lives.  We wanted our children to grasp the importance of home and having a home church to be committed to.  After nine and half years of marriage, and much prayer, our hearts began to dream about parenthood.

Here’s a song that friends of our played that God used to nudge us along..

As Warren bounced his dripping self down the stairs he announced with excitement, “I’ve got it!”  “You’ve got what?”  I asked.  “I have our little girls name.”  I was amused by this because I wasn’t even pregnant.  I decided to ask a very logical question.  “That’s nice honey, but what if God gives us a boy?”  Warren’s reply took me by surprise!  With absoluteness in his tone he said, “Nope!  We are having a girl and I have her name.  Do you want to hear it?”  I will be honest, this is where I braced myself because I never knew what he could come up with.  “Yes I want to hear it”, I said in response.  He then went on to explain how he was in the shower thinking about the name Moriah.  Moriah is the name friends of ours had just given their new baby girl.  He told me how he loved my name but knew from other conversations that neither one of use wanted a Warren or Shannan “Junior”, so he took the two names, Shannan and Moriah, and combined them.  “Shariah is her name.”  I was absolutely floored!  I was certain I was not going to like his first thoughts in the naming process, but I LOVED it!

I didn’t know what to make of this conversation or the empty room at the top of the stairs when Warren was killed the beginning of January, 2006.  The room remained a lump in the back of my throat each time I passed by it, but the name made complete sense just a few days after Warren’s death.

After all the reporters were done with their interviews and the local law enforcers made their stance clear, once all the stuff was off our tour bus and loaded into a trailer, we were ready to head home to Nashville so we could catch our flight to Canada to prepare for the funeral.  Canada is where all of Warren’s family is and the place where he now rests.

We had agreed to stay in the small town in South Carolina until noon in order to finish talking over a few things with the police.*  We were saddened by the outcome of that delay, but what did transpire at ten o’clock that morning has been what I call a God hug in the midst of overwhelming chaos.

There was a tap on the door as a lady entered the pastor’s home where myself and the rest of my ministry team had been staying.  She was from the church* where we were scheduled to minister the morning following Warren’s death.  In her hands was a long white box.  She set the box on the table and began to speak as she opened it.

“My mom has been designing and making porcelain dolls for a while now.  She pours the molds, paints them, and makes the clothes specific for each one.  This doll happens to be one that has won a first place blue ribbon, and she would like you to have it.”

When I looked into the box, there was the most beautiful baby girl dressed all in pink with white ruffles.  I began to cry and said, “I know her name!”  “Her name is Shariah.”

God spoke in an audible voice to my Baptist raise husband just forty days before he entered heaven.  As Warren lay awake with worry over all the changes about to take place, God spoke to him.  He said, “Don’t worry.  I’ve got it all figured out.”

Why do I share this story with you after all of this time?  The answer has two parts.

1.  I had tucked away any thoughts of becoming a mom simply because it was too painful to think about, but my heart is awake now and I will no longer shove my desires aside.  I love “Shariah”, but I still dream of the day when I will no longer have to borrow families because I will have one of my own.  I am staying balanced in my desire, though, and will not make future decisions on these emotions alone.

2.  Never assume you can figure God out.  He does not make sense to our human minds, but we can rest in the absolute fact that God sure does have every tiny little detail is in His care.  Including having a perfect, blue ribbon winning, baby girl ready to place in my arms.  Warren was right…

She has green eyes just like me 🙂

“I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.” – Psalm 130:5

~Shannan

2011, Keeping it real!

*Jeremiah 29:11-14

*I want to thank Pastor Rodney Lindsay, his wife Debbie, and the congregation of Calvary Church of The Nazarene for all they did for me, Warren’s family, and the entire P3 ministry team during such a difficult time.  You have never been forgotten and you are all greatly loved.  Thank You!

*Warren Parker, Memorial Footage

I Love That I Serve The Almighty God Who Cannot Be Figured Out By Man!

Just Taken? Death Was Supposed To Be Foreign To Us.

Maurice Carter - May God allow me to leave behind such a legacy of love...

There have been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the sudden death of my dear friend Maurice.  I’ve heard people talking about what might have actually happened the night he disappeared.  I’m not going to share any of those thought processes with you now for the sake of his family, and too, I do not want to plant those questionable seeds in your mind.  The human mind has a great ability to build and accept “truths” out of a mound of lies.

Here are my questions.  What if God just took him?  Like Enoch, or the prophet Elijah?  What if God looked down and decided that Maurice did a great job and deserved heaven for his reward?  What if this is the only explanation?  Does that make God bad?

Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus and wept.  He wasn’t weeping because He was hopeless.  Jesus knew exactly what He was about to do, but I believe He wept because death was never intended to be a part of our reality.  The physical death we all will face is a result of this fallen world.  As Jesus stood peering into Lazarus’ grave, He was faced with the reality of what He was about to endure to remedy the hold death had on mankind.  In that moment Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus, but I believe He was experiencing the sorrow, and weight, of death itself.  But then He spoke, “Lazarus Come Forth!”

Jesus, in His humanness, stood at a grave site feeling it’s finality.  That day Jesus, as I AM, gave a preview of what was about to unfold three days after we bury Him.  Just as Lazarus came out alive from his tomb, Jesus was about to walk out of His own earthly grave.  The finality of the death we taste is still subject to be obedient to God’s command.  It too must submit to His will.

Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” – John 11:43b-44

God has all authority, even over the death of our physical bodies.  So, what if God took him from us?

When my husband was killed many people came to me asking, “Why?”  Why did Warren have to be where he was?  Why did we make the stops along the way in our travels that led us to that place at that exact moment?  Why did God allow Tim Baker to leave the bar when he did?  There were countless questions I was asked to answer that night, and the weeks and months after Warren’s death.  The answer is simple, I don’t know.  I cannot answer for what God allows and what He does not. Truthfully, I still think He doesn’t make sense.  What I think and what He knows rarely ever line up.  I do know that He is God and I am not.  Warren and Maurice belong to Him, and death has no power that God has not given it.  However those precious to me leave this earth, however God chooses to take me from this earth, is all up to His sovereign hand.

We wrestle with the reason and search for more detail because death was supposed to be foreign to us.  We seek and create answers to cope with the mystery of the unknown.  Before Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden fruit we had no knowledge of what we call death.  Sorrow was not part of our design.  We invited this in when we decided to have our eyes “opened” to be like God “knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)It was at this moment in time that redemption’s plan was set into motion.

Why Warren?  Why Maurice?  Why death?  WHY WOULD GOD?

The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.” – Isaiah 57:1

It may just be God’s grace extended to His own.

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” – Genesis 5:24

Maybe God did just take them?  Whichever theory we decide to believe surrounding the death of our friends and loved ones, we can rest in the fact that God is good and His mercies endure forever.  If we find ourselves questioning God or even getting angry at Him, we must remember that it was our own choosing to have our eyes opened, but God’s grace has made a way through Jesus that we can again walk with Him in peace.

Death may feel final for those of us left behind, but true life, restored life, is waiting beyond its veil.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”


O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:53-55

If there’s no other answer to the multiple questions in our mind but that God is God and He chooses rightly, are we willing to trust and rest in Him?

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

I LOVE AND MISS YOU MY TRUE FRIEND!

Saying goodbye to this friend is a searing knife through the heart, but it’s also the sweetest joy because of the absolute truth that this is only a temporary parting. JESUS is enough and has made a way. Until we all have the honor Maurice has been granted, we must carry the torch forward.

What Is It You Want?

Warren and I had many moments of intense “fellowship” when we first got married.  We had great communication skills while we were dating, but any of you who are married or have been married, know that iron begins to sharpen iron when you move in with someone.  We bragged about how much we had in common, then we got married and God’s sense of humor kicked in after He removed the rose-colored glasses.  I began to appreciate the song, “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

Learning to communicate in a healthy way was a growing process.

Hello! Did You Hear What I Thought?

One of the things Warren taught me is how to communicate in a way he could hear me.  There is a vast difference in the way men and women hear and understand each other.  It takes both sides working together to master this evolving art, or at least to come to a common ground of understanding.  Warren would say to me, “Honey, I don’t know if you don’t tell me.”  What a concept!  I actually had to open my mouth and put to words my thoughts and emotions.  There were many times that feelings were made verbal, but because it didn’t make sense to one or the other the feelings were dismissed.  We both had to learn how to first listen, think about what we had heard, and then we had to respond with words to express what we were thinking and feeling.  This is not an easy task for the majority because we are a society largely made up of the walking wounded, but it is possible with effort.  It helped that Warren and I grew to trust each other and knew we were safe to openly share what was going on inside – whether it was right or wrong.  The only way to find the truth in our strong moments of dialog was to talk it out.

Others do not know what you do not tell them.

Male or female, we all create a dialog in our mind of what we would like to say or hear other people say to us.  Do you ever catch yourself carrying on a two-way conversation with others in your head?  The best illustration I’ve heard to describe this process is, it’s like a movie reel is playing out in our mind, as if we’re writing a screenplay in our imagination of what we think or feel should happen.  The biggest problem with this is no one else has the script, and me, myself, and I, are always right.  This is where the problem begins.  When others do not follow the script we’ve written for them we get hurt, the hurt turns to anger, and we build a defensive wall between ourselves and the other person or parties involved.  Most likely they are unaware of what our thoughts and feeling have developed into.  At best, they’ve begun to sense that something is wrong by a new tension in the atmosphere.  This is when their own theatrics are given a mental pen as they write a play totally unique to yours.

The private conversations of our mind almost always cause a sad and devastating wedge that can last for years, or even a lifetime if the two sides remain isolated in silence.  It takes great courage and a the swallowing of pride to listen to the other person, hear what they are saying/feeling, and then respond with gentleness and love.  If we refuse to do so, the deceptive monster will grow larger and larger and more destructive to the relationship.

Let me remember that I am not always right.

As a child, do you ever remember being scared of the boogeyman in the closet, or fearing the giant shadow on the wall?  That fear and anxiety would grow stronger and stronger, and your heart would race faster and faster, until you finally found the courage to turn on the light.  Once the darkness was expelled and the light revealed the true source of your torment, you found that the shadow on the wall was nothing more than one of your favorite toys reflecting the light of the moon peering through the window, and the boogeyman was never there to begin with.  All that the closet was housing was the pile of clothes you shoved in it instead of putting them away when you were told to.  Am I the only one who still has moments like these in life?

The “boogeymen” in our mind can come to life for many reasons.

We can fail to take a wrong thought captive and it can birth fear.  This will cause our reactions to be wrong.  We can play with a thought so long in our mind that we begin to act out whatever it is we’ve been meditating on internally, causing a greater pain than what was originally feared.  Eventually, a thought that’s not been harnessed, will get acted on in the physical if not stopped internally.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  – Proverbs 23:7

We can force people to respond in negatives ways by the way we outwardly live the life we’ve created in our thought life.  We can treat an innocent person as if they’ve already hurt us and cause them to withdraw.  We already knew they would anyway – right?  Or, we can withdraw because of our own self-doubt and low self-worth, but project the blame onto the person we are withdrawing from.

I’m struggling with knowing where that fine line is between building a healthy wall to protect my heart, (Prov. 4:23) and knowing when to face my fears and take a risk.  It’s true that not everyone is trustworthy, nor do many have the purest of intentions, but not everybody is evil in motive either.  There’s a gift hidden in my uncertainty walking this tightrope, I must lean completely into God and rely on Him to give me wisdom and discernment.  If I’m leaning into Him I will find others who are doing the very same thing.

Here’s what I do know, “I don’t know if you don’t tell me” and you cannot read my mind.  So, what do you want to know?

I would love to hear from you.  Questions?  Comments?  Stories?  Let me have it!

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

By the way, you’re spouse, (or friend, for those who are single) does not get, hear, or comprehend, when you drop hints.  If you don’t speak out, with words, it’s not fair to expect them to read your mind.  This is yet another difference between the Hollywood fairytale and real life.  But, if two people live for each other, real life can be far better than the fairytale.


I want you to know that it is very common to need some sort of help in learning how to verbalize your thoughts.  If you feel your throat tightening and you’re unable to breathe in the moments you want to open up, please contact a trusted friend, your pastor, or a licensed therapist, to help you overcome your fear.  None of us can conquer all our fears on our own.  Decide that YOU are worth discovering truth’s freedom.  I believe you are highly valuable.  There is help to be found, if you really want it.

God Is In The Way

I went for a long run before church yesterday morning.  I came to the top of a very steep hill just in time to see the sun rise, it was beautiful.  My mind was filled with gratitude for a new day, but I was still weighted with grief.  How long is this valley of the shadow of death?

The day my husband died brought many other losses that have taken time to fully recognize and process.  I could not begin to understand their magnitude until I stood in the middle of them and felt their weight.  I lost my handy man, my mechanic, my jar opener, my computer technician, my business partner, and the father of our future children – just to name a few.  But what I miss most is having the one person in the world that I could trust with my heart.  I miss the one I talked with at night when the world was finally still.  I miss the simple things in life many of us take for granted.  Coming home from church to an empty house where I take care of only me seems pointless.  I love my little dog, but the isolated walks without my protector doesn’t bring the same level of joy that use to come with a leisurely stroll – now it’s an empty hand.

There’s another grief though that has been beating me up for years now.  I’m over 5 years in the journey of my new normal.  Everyday since Warren’s death I have been faced with the question, “What are you going to do now?”  This question literally started coming the day after his very sudden death.  I found myself thrown into a world of news interviews, legal battles, and acting as a counselor for others who had also lost him.  I felt a sense of responsibility to take care of all those who were trying to make some sense of this horrible tragedy.  My heart ached for Warren’s family, and I did not want to see people become bitter over the countless number of injustices that were (and still are) taking place.  I also wanted others to know that I was going to be okay…I was/am going to be okay, right?

I stood as two very long lines of people came through to pay their respects on the day before the funeral.  I stood for about 6 1/2 to 7 hours as people came through and expressed their sadness and concern, but also their certainty that I was going to be the next Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer.  I was going to excel and make Warren proud by keeping the Parker Trio going strong.  They were all well-meaning in their encouragements, and the compliments touched my heart.  With each expression of care, I knew without doubt that Warren and I were loved far more than we ever realized.  But here I am, years later, feeling the weight of their disappointment.

As I came over the hill yesterday while on my run, I watched the sun’s rays begin to touch the new blanket of green now on the trees, and I broke into tears.  I have tried to go down so many roads that people have told me were my destiny, but at every turn I find God standing in the way.  With every door closed and all the ministry files burned, I am at a loss of what He wants me to do.  I am left feeling guilty for not being what everyone says I should be.  After the looks of pity come these words again, “You’re going to be great.  God’s really got a plan for you.”  If I’m “going to be…” these things, what am I now?

I began to run faster and God picked up His speed right alongside me.  He whispered, “Sometimes soldiers need their rest.  Trust me.”  He then painted an illustration in my mind of a military soldier who longs to be a part of his platoon again, but the doctor will not give his release to join in the battle yet.  The soldier struggles to gain understanding, but until the physician signs the release papers there is nothing he can do but wait.

He’s not forgotten.  He’s just called aside for a moment.

The truth is, I never wanted to be the next Beth Moore or Joyce Myer; they already exist.  I want to be where God wants me and I want to be who He’s created me to be.  I’m not against traveling and sharing my story and the lessons I’m learning along the way, but if God has other plans then that’s okay too.

God is in the way, but I don’t want it any other way.  He knows my every thought, my hearts desire, my coming and my going, and He will lead me if I let Him.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

Not yet, does not mean not ever.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

I may be on desk duty now but I am no longer minimizing it’s importance.  Desk duty needs to be done just as much as physical combat.  I am valuable!

Sweet Vindication!

They Had It Coming!

There are some people who just suck the life from you, the more you give the more they will gladly take.  So, when they get what they deserve for refusing to listen to “the counsel of many”*, the fault is all their own.  When we’re finally free from their self-inflicted stuff – Good riddance!

Have you ever felt like this?  Have you ever felt a sense of vindication when you can say, I told you so?  Now be honest, God knows if you’re lying or not.  There have been many times that I was about to step on platform to minister, frustrated over an immediate issue, and felt that warranted satisfaction to speak on a lesson someone needed to learn.  It was in these times that I was missing the point.  I too had, and still have, much to learn.

Why do we glory in another persons pain?  Why are we so quick to seek out their fault and try to fix them?

We are to lead others to truth.  We absolutely have a responsibility to draw attention to an area that may be damaging, but we are never to use it as a means to elevate ourselves.  W.W.J.D. – What Would Jesus Do?  That is the question to live by, not just to wear on our wrist or on our car as a political statement.  With everyday that passes I am grasping the fact, that the more I learn the less I know.  Maybe the next time I feel that sweet vindication in being able to put someone in their place, I need to ask myself this question, “What Would Jesus Do?”  Just maybe I’m the one who needs an attitude adjustment and a lesson from “the counsel of many?”

Since childhood, I’ve had a heart to be a vessel for God to use.  It’s so exciting to see God touch another heart for the better through you, but I had lost this sensitivity – for the most part.  When I was traveling in full-time ministry, I found myself becoming desensitized to the hurting people around me.  I would get back on the bus and grab my Sharpie pen to quickly cross off another day from the calendar.  I was simply too tired to be able to keep a healthy perspective and I began to wish life away.  When I realized what was happening to me, I prayed that God would give me a burden again for those who are hurting.  Life has been a ride ever since.

I was trying to fly back to Ohio for a funeral of a close friend the day my husband, Warren, was run down by a drunk driver.  From that day on, I faced 3 years of dealing with a corrupt legal system, resulting in failed legal battles, and grieved another 18 deaths closely related to me.  All this took place in the time span of about 3 1/2 years.  Most would think this would cause me to fear asking God for any further “gifts,” but it doesn’t.  Okay, it has caused me to hesitate for a moment, but only for a moment.  After my hesitation, I recall to my mind the fact that I serve the Almighty Merciful God.  He not only took on my burden, but He took all of my “self-inflicted stuff” and promises to work it out for my good.  (Romans 8:18-39)

With the different levels of pain and loss I have experienced over these last few years, I have grown to a place of sincerely weeping for the heartache of others.  I’ve had to learn how to gently hug the heart that is handed to me, then tenderly pass it over to God.  He alone can heal our brokenness and bring truth to those being deceived.

For the record, I do not think “Good Riddance” to those trapped or stuck in a dark place.  I am saddened they cannot seem to grab hold of God’s freeing power.  I am still wrestling in areas myself.  I’m seeking God for His truth to erase the imprint that this deceptive world leaves.  Thankfully, God in His grace, only reveals what needs to change in stages.  Everyone of us would give up if we had to face all of our faults at one time.

One of my favorite childhood songs is, “He’s Still Working On Me.”  The fastest way we can gain compassion for others, is to admit our own doubts, fears, and failures, then work through them.  I’m not talking about self-pity or self-condemnation.  It’s in our own growth process that empathy is developed.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:29-30

If Jesus said to do this, then He will gladly trade us our burden for His joy.  We must remember as we read these reassuring words, that we too are called to be Christlike and love our neighbor as ourself.  Jesus extends grace to us that we do not deserve.  Where would we be if He simply said, “Good riddance?”

To The Father...

Sweet vindication to me, is seeing God set the captive free and making me stronger through each storm.  Only He can do this!

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!  W.W.J.D.

* Counsel of many, (Proverbs 15:22)

Do You Want To Know Where To Find A Diamond?

It’s hard to believe that five years has past since my husband, Warren’s, sudden death.  At the same time, it also feels like my life as Warren’s wife was a whole other life-time ago.  This day does cause my mind to think about what might have been had he not been killed, but it also causes me to say with the deepest gratitude, Thank You God!

I often tell people, I have been loved in a way that many will never get to experience.  Warren was far from perfect, but his adoration for God allowed him to love me with tenderness.

What I want to acknowledge in writing today, is not so much the might have been(s), but I want to give thanks for what the painful moments have birthed in me.  Though I have faced great sorrow from loving and losing, I’ve also been gifted with a far greater joy than the pain.

Click On Photo To View News Clip

 

The day before the funeral, I stood for 6 plus hours as people came from all over to share their love for me and Warren.  The line was wrapped around the entire church and backed for an hours wait outside the doors.  People I knew and many I failed to recognize came in support.

The next morning the church was packed wall to wall with people.  As I stood to speak, I could see the news media lined along the back wall and all their camera’s had red lights lit up to show they were in record mode.  Following the memorial service we all filtered in our appointed vehicles to make our way to the grave site.  It was all so surreal.  I looked out the window of the limo to see the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P) standing tall, saluting as Warren passed by them.  I’m told there was three miles worth of cars that followed behind.

Not once did I hear people say how impressed they were with the stage and lights we stood on, but instead I heard countless testimonies of their personal one on one contact with Warren.  I wasn’t surprised at how his kindness was offered so freely to them, but I was shocked to hear of so many moments he’d never told me about.  He didn’t see his caring heart for others as anything out of the ordinary.  This procession proves how a small act of kindness can have the greatest of impact.

I am abundantly blessed!

For only being 35 years old, I have a huge archive of sweet memories.  Many of you do not know my childhood story.  My goal is to write more on this topic in the months ahead.  This life’s journey is a series of storms, no doubt, but we need to remember that God speaks peace to the storms.  He places His rainbow in the sky as a reminder that He keeps His promises, (Gen.  9:8-17).  Legend has it that at the end of each rainbow is a pot of gold, but in the legend I have yet to hear that anyone ever receive it.  I am here to tell you that God freely offers that “pot of gold” to each of us.  Though, you may have to adjust your glasses to be able to identify it because it may not look the way you think it should.  Oh Yeah!  By the way, I have been given a lot of pots!

I opened up my Facebook profile today to receive many (e)mailbox hugs from all over the United States and Canada.  Instantly my mind recalled the love given to me from all over the world the week of Warren’s funeral.  I had letters from South Africa, North Korea, and Ireland, just to name a few.  I was in awe!  We had no idea how far God had taken the ministry of the Parker Trio/P3 – this is a priceless pot of gold.  I may never have discerned it’s immeasurable worth had I not walked through the fire first.

I also received a letter today from a friend in Canada.  Lisa use to cut both mine and Warren’s hair.  Warren grew up with Lisa’s husband Jake and we all attended the same home church in Pickering, Ont..  Here’s what made me smile….

“….I felt confused about why God would take Warren home…. I felt the depression coming on me again….Jake and I decided to live without regrets that day in our marriage….because of what you said that day.

Warren and I got married young, I was 20 and he had just turned 25.  Man, typing that makes me feel old…LOL!  We went through that “and the two shall become one” thing, (Matt. 19:4-6) only God didn’t tell us how difficult it would be.  There is a battle of the wills that takes place in both the husband and the wife.  On top of this, we also lived the first 3 1/2 years of marriage with Warren’s parents.  So added to the blender of wills – chop, slice, chop!  Please try to hear me giggle here!  It was not funny then but Warren and I had many laughs about the beginning years later on.  Lisa’s letter means so much to me today, because I have a huge passion to see God restore the family structure the way He intended it to be.

What if it took Warren’s death to shed some light on a few truths for this marriage to survive?

Don’t take me wrong.  They are in no way responsible for what’s happened.  I do not believe God will allow an evil to fall on one of His own simply offer better to another, but He does say he will give beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3).  I am still hearing testimonies of lives being positively changed for eternity because of the ministry of P3 and Warren’s tragic death.

“….Find the courage to stand, God is working His plan, There’ll be beauty for ashes.”

The Parker Trio, ‘Beauty from Ashes’.

 

Click On Picture To Hear 'Beauty From Ashes'

 

We will all face trials, tragedies, and heartaches along life’s path.  Will you allow the fire to burn the scales off your heart and eyes, so you can see the beauty, or will you allow the enemy to devour you with the flames?  Either way, you are going to feel its heat, so you might as well choose the beauty that can follow.

“When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” – Isaiah 43:2b

Diamonds can be found in the trials of life, but you will never know those diamonds if you run from the fire.  Today, I have been hugged by diamonds from OH, WA, NC, TN, Ontario Canada, Newfoundland Canada, and today is only half over!

I do not measure my diamonds by their temporal value, but by their eternal quality.

I love you all and would gladly walk this road again for you.

~Shannan

What you place your value in today will either bring you strength and comfort tomorrow, or it will smother you with its weight.

“New life is His….HE LIVES!”

The Parker Trio, ‘He Lives.


 

Click On Photo To Hear 'He Lives'.

 


« Older entries