It is a shame and embarrassment to see that it has been over a month since I have written a post. If you are reading this then thank you, as you are probably one of the few still following! 😉 Ha, listen to me, being self-deprevating. In the name of Jesus, I renounce this spirit of self-judgment!
In all honesty, Hurricane Harvey (and everything ELSE going on in our lives) kicked our booty so bad, these last 6 weeks I have been dealing with last minute house issues, then we finally moved in (bring in the heavenly choirs)
and then we went on our yearly family trip to Colorado. So they aren’t excuses, just reality of life. AND, if I am to be true to me then I know that I will write when I am feeling called. As I am now. 🙂 So, God-willing, my readers will come back as I do believe there is a fire ignited again.
This past weekend I had the absolute honor to speak at the Renewed By Faith Women’s Conference in Deer Park, TX. The very area I had lived the first 7 years of my marriage, where I had both Ryan and Seth as babies, and had my ‘re-conversion’ moment on that nasty, grimy, floor. Many of the women in the audience were directly related to helping me answer the question that had been plaguing me for quite some time: “How do I acquire faith?”
Seems crazy right? I mean, come on, faith! It’s simple right? You’ve got it or you don’t. Nah…not really. I mean we can have varying levels of belief. Any level is a good start but I was looking for the kind of faith that I could 100% rely on God’s promise and not worry. I wanted to find that faith that gave me over to trusting God’s plan and not my own but I wasn’t quite certain how to get to it because I couldn’t let go of feeling as if my own plan was the safer bet.
But I did, thanks to the encouragement of those around me and, ultimately, as many of you know this about me, my oldest showing me that I actually didn’t have control….of anything….or anyone…whatsoever.
There is so much more I had planned to say and share this weekend, but God had His plan and, well, there is only 30 minutes in a 30 minute time slot. 🙂 Going into the weekend it was my intent to share not so much about that moment 15 years ago on that nasty floor but the clear moments in which I’ve heard God’s voice. That was the theme of the program, hearing God’s voice.
God has His own plan, though. In praise and worship that morning they sang one of my new favorites, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. It hit me as the lyrics washed over my spirit and sunk deep into the crevices of self-doubt. “O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. O it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.” Referencing the bible verse
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
It isn’t that the stories I wanted to tell weren’t ‘good enough’ it was that I was the 99 in those moments. I was so with Him I was receiving His messages in crazy ways, through amazing experiences with other people. No, I needed to share when I’ve been the 1, the 1 that was faltering, wondering, lost, completely uncertain I was worth finding but He always found me. And He continues to find me when I leave. Since I’m being honest (when am I not?), I’ll have to admit to myself that these past 10 months I’ve strayed from the flock. Thankfully, not too far, as I do believe once we know him, like know know him, it’s not easy to go too far. But I went far enough to allow the questions and lies seep back in.
In my case, I’ve been hit so often with difficult life challenges in the past 5 years that I was beginning to lose sight of the truth that I know for certain: The Lord Brings a Greater Good from EVERY Circumstance. And, even has the 1, I could hear that voice, His distinctive voice, ‘I AM HERE’ and it would bring me peace and comfort but I was like my beaten, rescue Foxy, frozen in place waiting for Him to come to me and pick me up.
This weekend we recognized there are many women who have yet to reach the type of FAITH that helps them KNOW Him, truly believe He is there 100%. And there were some women who felt so alone, not like anyone else around them and judged for it, who might not have gone through some major life altering experience but yet filled with so many lies of unworthiness and worthlessness it is dangling the carrot of suicide in their face.
Knowing this makes my heart hurt. It aches so deeply for these women who feel hopeless and afraid. It is my prayer that they recognize that God will come all the way to them, even if they are frozen in fear. I know because I’ve been in that spot a few times in my life. About 9 years ago before I started Hopeful Hearts Ministry I was in such a deserted place of despair, uncertain of what direction I was to go in, I didn’t speak about it to anyone because I was thought of as ‘having it all together’. I was speaking, writing, and doing so many things but it was a moment of change as well and I wasn’t feeling the certainty I had in other moments in my life.
I was compared to others for everything I was doing and I don’t take that very well. My insecurity sky rocketed and it made me question my abilities. My marriage was rocky and that just dug in the insecurities by heaving more lies on top of everything else “I wasn’t a good wife or a good mom.” and I defiantly believed “I couldn’t do anything right.”
About this time Robin Williams committed suicide and I remember laying on the bed, watching the news footage in shock…and at the same time feeling so numb inside…and I remember thinking “How easy it would be to just go.”
My body got very heavy once that thought sunk in and silent tears traveled down my cheeks onto the bedspread. And then it was like I was having some weird out of body experience because I remember thinking, “STOP!!! Stop thinking that! You don’t want that!” and I forced myself to think about my husband and my kids. I needed to move to change the thought but it felt as if I was in quicksand. The feeling of my heavy limbs working desperately to help me sit up is something I’ll never forget. Once I got myself out of that position and on my feet I walked away from the TV. For awhile I was in a daze but that evening I was able to say a prayer, thanking God for helping me redirect my mind…and also to understand what it feels like to be in that place. It was a very surreal and scary moment.
If you are suffering silently inside and feel there is no one to talk to, please, please know there is! I am here for you and I’m certain there is a family member, friend, pastor, even a stranger (because I know God would send down an angel) to listen. At the end of this I will also provide a resource for a suicide hotline.
Please know, whether you are the 99 or the 1, God has you. HE HAS YOU. And there is so much MORE of our life yet to be LIVED.
To read more about Shannon’s story check out her books on AMAZON!