Welcome!

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An Excerpt….

Hi! I’m in the process of publishing my first book, y’all pray for me! As I’m in the process of publishing the first one, I’ve started on the second one, which is fiction mixed with a little life truth, and thought I’d share a little teaser ;-)

…My God what have I done?! My life is a mess! My heart is a mess! The pain is unbearable. I can barely breathe! It hurts to breathe! I want to cry but the tears won’t come. How did this happen? When did this happen? Why did this happen? To me! Haven’t I gone through enough? The pain of seeing my mom throw her life away and kill herself with drugs and alcohol and now a painful, hurtful marriage! The entire marriage has been painful! God, my soul hurts, it aches. Words can’t describe the hurt and pain and disappointment, anger, frustration and hopelesness.

With you there’s always hope, right? I feel sick to my stomach with grief. Who am I? What do I do now? God I have begged you, pleaded, cried, prayed that you would take these feelings away. But you haven’t. Why have me continue to love someone I can never have and worst yet, he still loves me! He’s honored that I still love him, but my husband could care less about me! All he does is tear me down to nothing! He never misses a chance to remind me of my mistakes! As if he’s perfect and has never done anything wrong! My God will this pain ever stop?! What do I do now God? I don’t want to fail you. I don’t want to go to hell, I want to please you but how when I know you know what’s in my heart. Am I gonna go to hell for feeling this way? If only I’d truly known you sooner, if I ‘d been stronger, if I’d fought, fought for Gavin’s love. I told Evan it was over, it hurts too bad to love him, it’s painful loving him. He doesn’t know how to love me. He’s all about himself. There’s no we, just him. His wants, his needs.

God, I don’t know how much more of this emptiness I can take! How do I get out of this? I trust you Lord, now what do you want me to do? First Peter 3 is too hard and too painful to do. I don’t even know if I still want to be married or not. I just want this to be over. I still can’t breathe, how can I rest and sleep feeling like this? I don’t, I can’t talk to him, I don’t know what to say. Too much pain and he just doesn’t get it. He just can’t seem to understand me.  Sometimes I wish I could press the reset button but then I wouldn’t have my children. I want to cry, maybe the pain will stop but I don’t want to wake the kids, the tears won’t come anyway. 

This really is my life. This is a bunch of BS! I keep hoping that I’ll wake up from a bad dream. Who knew wanting and getting love and affection from your husband would be so hard! Holy Spirit and Jesus I hope you’re truly interceding for me now because I no longer know what to pray or ask for except for this pain to stop.

Now that I look back, the signs were all there, the warnings, the words of wisdom; I didn’t listen. Even the fights before the engagement, the sense of relief during our temporary break-up. Nope, I listened to Evan. “Have faith in me” he said. I was so stupid! Why in the world did I think that marriage would change things? Maybe because I knew nothing about marriage to begin with. I should have known something was wrong because I thought of Gavin on the day of our wedding. Who thinks of another man on her wedding day? Even our wedding night was awkward. The signs were all there yet I ignored them. And now I’m in the biggest mess of my life! Lord, please save me from myself….

So, what’cha think? Would you keep reading? This is my first time attempting fiction so be gentle :-). I shall continue writing! Until next time…

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


Is This You?

Hi!

proberbs for living

So, I’m doing the Proverbs challenge this month and this has been blessing me! Only on Day 7 but I’ve been getting so much out of the book of Proverbs and am excited for all that I’m going to learn as the days progress.  What’s really stuck out to me is how much emphasis is put on wisdom and understanding.  In Proverbs, wisdom and understanding are considered more valuable that gold, silver, rubies or anything you think you may desire! Talk about a change in perspective! The world tells us to go after the riches and wealth, but the Word of God tells us in all of our getting, get wisdom and understanding.  Now, what has also jumped out at me is how much a son of God is warned about the immoral woman.  I’m only on Day 7 and in Proverbs 5, 6 and all of 7 is dedicated to warning about the immoral woman.

Please see scriptures below:

Proverbs 5 (NLT)

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
    listen carefully to my wise counsel.
Then you will show discernment,
    and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
    and her mouth is smoother than oil.
But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
    as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.[a]
For she cares nothing about the path to life.
    She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

So now, my sons, listen to me.
    Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!
    Don’t go near the door of her house!
If you do, you will lose your honor
    and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
    and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
    when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
    Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
    and now I must face public disgrace.”

15 Drink water from your own well—
    share your love only with your wife.[b]
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?[c]
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
    Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
    Let her breasts satisfy you always.
    May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
    or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

Proverbs 6 (NLT)

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

24 It will keep you from the immoral woman,
    from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25 Don’t lust for her beauty.
    Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,[b]
    but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
    and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28 Can he walk on hot coals
    and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
    He who embraces her will not go unpunished.

30 Excuses might be found for a thief
    who steals because he is starving.
31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
    even if he has to sell everything in his house.
32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
    for he destroys himself.
33 He will be wounded and disgraced.
    His shame will never be erased.
34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation,
    nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.

Proverbs 7 NLT

Follow my advice, my son;
    always treasure my commands.
Obey my commands and live!
    Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.[a]
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.

Love wisdom like a sister;
    make insight a beloved member of your family.
Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman,
    from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.

While I was at the window of my house,
    looking through the curtain,
I saw some naive young men,
    and one in particular who lacked common sense.
He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman,
    strolling down the path by her house.
It was at twilight, in the evening,
    as deep darkness fell.
10 The woman approached him,
    seductively dressed and sly of heart.
11 She was the brash, rebellious type,
    never content to stay at home.
12 She is often in the streets and markets,
    soliciting at every corner.
13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
    and with a brazen look she said,
14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings
    and fulfilled my vows.
15 You’re the one I was looking for!
    I came out to find you, and here you are!
16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets,
    with colored sheets of Egyptian linen.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
    with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
    Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
19 for my husband is not home.
    He’s away on a long trip.
20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him
    and won’t return until later this month.[b]

21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech
    and enticed him with her flattery.
22 He followed her at once,
    like an ox going to the slaughter.
He was like a stag caught in a trap,[c]
23     awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart.
He was like a bird flying into a snare,
    little knowing it would cost him his life.

24 So listen to me, my sons,
    and pay attention to my words.
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.
    Don’t wander down her wayward path.
26 For she has been the ruin of many;
    many men have been her victims.
27 Her house is the road to the grave.[d]
    Her bedroom is the den of death.

Yes, I posted the whole thing! Now, that you’ve gotten your Bible reading time in, I ask this question; Is this you? Are you the immoral woman that a son should be warned about? Are you going after a married man, hoping that you can fill whatever need his wife supposedly isn’t fulfilling and in turn, he will leave her for you? Are you the one who gets dressed in hopes of enticing a man, getting his attention and giving him all of your body, fulfilling his sexual desires, only for you both to be totally empty in the end? Is this your goal, to break your brother down to nothing, all so that you can feel as if you have power, purpose, meaning, significance? Are you the woman that parents are warning their sons about?

I understand wanting to look good. I know there’s tremendous pressure to be sexy by the world’s standards.  Look at the TV shows: Pretty Little Liars, The Mistresses, reality TV shows that encourage this behavior.  I see it and am very aware of it but we, women of God, are called to be the opposite! Being sexy is no where in the Bible.  Being sexy is not a requirement of God! He warns his sons against a woman whose goal is basically to entice, conquer and ruin! If you’re trying to get a man this way, please stop, this is not what you want.  A good, godly man is not looking for what he sees on TV.  He’s looking for the woman described in 1 Peter 3:3-6 and Proverbs 31:10-31.

Basically, to sum it all up, going about getting a man this way is prostitution.  Think about it, it’s the weekend and you put on the tightest, most revealing outfit you have and heels you can barely walk in and you go out seeking attention hoping that someone will buy you a drink, pay for your meal or show some sort of interest, face it, this is what prostitutes do.  You might not have sex, but you’re still using your body to get what you want. This was not God’s plan for His precious daughters! We were meant to be protected, guarded, hidden. He loves us! He’s given us abilities that men will never have! He’s entrusted us with the gift of childbirth, which is us using our precious bodies to assist God in bringing new life into this world! Our bodies are remarkable, yet we treat them as if there nothing.  We are not our own, if you profess to know Christ and love Him and He lives in you, this should not be you!

You can dress to impress without showing everything that God has given you and you certainly don’t want to repel the one that you’re looking for! There’s so many sites and YouTube channels that promote modesty and how to dress modestly yet fashionably. One of my mentees has an awesome YouTube channel that shares about purity and fashion. To check her out, click here.   Learn to be yourself  and be comfortable with who you are. Not trying to snag a man by how you look but learn to wait patiently with God, for God to bring you to your man, not someone else’s man, your man. Remember, these guys are your brothers in Christ, do you really want to be the cause of your brother falling? Our men have a huge battle to fight each and every day with the evils of this world, don’t add to his struggles.

It’s not too late to join in on the Proverbs challenge! You will surely be blessed!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


Poolside Observation

I just came back from vacationing on a beautiful resort in Florida. Definitely a God thing! While there, we spent everyday poolside, just wonderful! I hadn’t spent this much time in a bathing suit since I was a kid, and even though I’ve lost some weight, I was just a little eency bit concerned about how I looked in my new bathing suit.

Most interesting was what I saw while there.  I saw women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds in one-piece bathing suits and bikinis and as I observed, not one woman looked worried, concerned or bothered by what anyone else may have thought about them! Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.  I saw stretch marks, saggy bottoms and breasts, and cellulite worn with pride! I saw “normal” bodies! It was like an awakening because what I saw definitely didn’t match what I see everyday on TV.  I’m not judging at all because I am a proud wearer of stretch marks myself but being in that surrounding and noticing the quiet confidence of the women around me, put me at greater ease and I was able to enjoy being in the pool with my daughters with no qualms at all. I’m only speaking of what I observed.  These women may have had their own insecurities but they didn’t allow them to hinder their time with their families.

real women in bathing suits

Not saying that I’m not confident in my own skin, but just being in a non-judgemental environment was freeing and awesome! Which leads me to think, what if everywhere we went, we felt this freedom from judgement about our looks and just felt accepted? There were some women there who had very fit bodies but it wasn’t the majority. While I know that this acceptance may never happen on this side of Heaven, we should, as women, accept our sisters and encourage one another.  We don’t know the stories of our sisters, don’t know what they’ve been through or what they’ve had to endure. We’ve all been through or is going through something.  After pregnancy, for most of us, not all body parts return to normal, we are not all a size 4-6, and most likely, we all have something that we dislike about our bodies.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other and encourage, love and accept each other.

The time spent poolside also further proved to me that the way things are portrayed on TV are so totally messed up! The messages are extremely misleading, discouraging and unrealistic.  Yet, we buy into them everyday. We think that we must look a certain way, act  a certain way and have all these “things” in order to be accepted, but this isn’t true.  God has already accepted us as good because He created us as good. He’s more concerned about our hearts than our outer appearance.  You can be “beautiful” on the outside but ugly as heck on the inside!

Anyway, if you’re planning on wearing any type of swimwear this summer, don’t forget about modesty, wear it proudly and show your sister some love and grace!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


Modesty=Not Sexy?

It’s summer and I bet you’ve already gotten your swimwear right? And, I bet the majority of you bought a bikini, right? Well, I hope you kept your receipt! Check this out!

 

 

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


God’s Protective Love

Lisa was a beautiful woman, smart and intelligent. She had everything going for her – her own car, house, and was working in her career field. The only thing she longed for was love from a man – her soul mate, her partner in life to share all of life’s ups and downs. One day, she meets Mark and he seems to be all she’s ever wanted! He’s handsome, smart, and has everything going for himself. Unbeknownst to Lisa, Mark knows he is a great catch and he uses his success and status to his advantage. Sadly for Lisa, she feels she has to accept his bad behavior and the way he treats her. This is because she so desperately wants to be loved and cherished. So, she tells herself if she continually shows him that she is his, will be there for him, and will do whatever he wants, he will come around and be all that she wants and needs him to be.

Time goes on and it seems that no matter what Lisa does or doesn’t do, Mark will not commit to her. He just refuses to love her wholeheartedly. Thankfully, they broke up! Lisa endured her experience with unrequited love. Have any of you been there? I know I have and it doesn’t feel good at all! It’s painful to be in love with someone who will not return or reciprocate your love. It has the potential to sap the life out of you, cause you to be down and hard on yourself as if you’re the one who’s done something wrong! This, ladies, is a trick of the enemy.

The old adage “hindsight is 20/20” is very true, as I see better now. I loved with all I had, yet nothing was returned! Looking back, instead of seeing what I could have done differently, I look at this as God’s way of protecting me. In Lisa’s case, she was being protected from settling for less than God’s best for her. The sad thing is that so many of us beautiful women make the same decision to settle! God, the Creator of all things great and beautiful, did not create us to settle. He has great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and He knows whom He has set aside for us.

Now, if I’d settled for the guy who I just knew was “the one,” I would have missed my husband! The thought of that makes my stomach turn! My husband is everything I’ve ever wanted physically and all that I need spiritually as the leader and head of our home. Had I not let the bad go and trusted God…well, let’s not go there. The point is, sometimes when things don’t go the way we want or hope, instead of getting depressed and upset about it, look at the lesson in the situation. This goes for jobs and business opportunities as well. We have to remind ourselves that what’s good isn’t always God.

Sometimes unrequited love is our visual, our proof of God’s protective love. He guides and leads us as we would guide and lead our own children. The great thing about God is that He can see the bigger picture; He can see what’s ahead of us. Why not trust Him to protect us? Even more, why surrender our lives to God and not trust Him in every area of our lives? In dealing with unrequited love and the pain involved, why wouldn’t He want to protect us from it? Here are some examples of God’s protective love:

Defends us: No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 54:17 NIV).

Guards us from attack: For the scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you’ (Luke 4:10 NLT).

Protects us from invasion (of heart, privacy, life): The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? (Psalm 27:1 NLT).

Protects us from loss: He gives prosperity to the poor and protects those who suffer (Job 5:11 NLT).

Protects us from insult: Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave (Psalms 31:17 NIV).

Covers or shields us from injury or danger: The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade (Psalms 121:5 NLT).

There will be many opportunities in this life of faith to be redirected by God’s protective love.  It’s in how we respond to it that will show if we will reciprocate His love for us, or if His love for us will be unrequited? Don’t look at redirection as the end; look at it as the protective love of God and be grateful for His hand in your life. Unrequited love could be the best thing that’s happened to you!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


God of the Storm

Sometimes things happen to us in our lives that are painful, like gut wrenching pain.  The first question we ask is why. Why did this have to happen to me? Why now? It never makes sense in the midst of it.  It just hurts. No one can offer any solace; although they mean well, their words don’t seem to take the pain away.  Somehow in the midst of all this pain you find that you get through the day and wake up the next morning realizing somehow you made it through.  What we don’t realize is that in the pain, there’s something bigger and greater going on that’s being orchestrated by Someone who’s bigger and greater than the pain we feel. When my mom died a month after I had my first daughter, my heart was crushed! My mom had only seen her granddaughter once before she died! Just imagine; after giving birth, via C-section, your mom pass and you are left with weird hormonal feelings, soreness, swollen breasts, a new baby and new husband with no guidance what so ever! I was angry, hurt and very disappointed! Many thoughts and questions consumed my mind. Why did she have to die after my baby was born? Why now Lord? I don’t know what I’m doing!  I need my mom! My baby girl (either of them, because now I have two daughters) would never know her grandmother! Who would I call when I had questions without my mom here? Who would I talk to about all I was going through on this new journey I’d embarked on?  Well, when I asked the Lord why, He heard my cry and gave me an answer as to why.  Now, keep in mind He didn’t have to tell me anything. He is God, but He is also love and He is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18).   As painful as it was, I understood why and He gave me comfort in His answer.  In spite of the loss of my mom, I became a great mother and wife and God gave me spiritual moms to provide guidance and comfort along the way. As a result of my mom’s death, our family became closer and it deepened my relationship with my sister.  I also feel that my mom’s death made me appreciate life more, realizing it is short and precious. So, I have to make the most of every moment I have with my daughters.

It is important to realize that although we go through pain, God sees all and He will help us through it.  After all, He did say that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  In this pain, I have found strength that I didn’t know I had and I have come to know God more intimately.  He became my mother and my father.  He has become all that I need and will ever need on this life journey.  Here are some pearls of wisdom I have learned that I want to share with you in hopes it will give you peace in the middle of your storm (pain).

  1. God, even though He loves us beyond words, is more interested in building our character than He is in our comfort. It doesn’t feel good and it all seems bad but, we know that in all things God works things out for the good of those who love His, who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
  2. God is purposeful.  He uses every tear, every joy, every heartache and pain to mold and shape us into what He created us to be. He is the potter; we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8).
  3. What we go through, whether good or bad, it’s for God’s glory and to help someone else along the way. We shouldn’t be afraid to share our story with others especially if you’re getting the nudge from the Lord to do so.  God has a great way of orchestrating divine connections.  You never know, your testimony may be just what the other person needed to lead them to God.  We need each other and God didn’t mean for us to go through life alone.  (John 13:34-35)
  4. What we go through will either cause us to run to God or run away from Him, the choice is ours. You will never be alone if you run to Him!
  5. He’s waiting to love on us and strengthen us through our pain.
  6. Most importantly, I’ve learned that through pain, comes purpose! Through the pain and consequences of premarital sex, came my purpose/ministry, Savin’ it for Hubby.  By me sharing my story, I help others see that they are not alone, God still loves them and wants them, and He has taken away all shame and guilt and most of all He is the Great Restorer!

I don’t know what painful situation you’re in right now but God does and will be with you through it all if you ask Him too.  If you’re going through a divorce, He still loves you and will take care of you. If you have lost someone dear to you, He will be there to wipe every tear away. (Isaiah 25:8) Nothing is too hard for God to handle! (Jeremiah 32:17). So, release your pain, trust Him and let Him give you rest.

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


Perspective!

The weekend is upon us and I am burdened with this message:

Let’s put this into real hard-core perspective: Are you really so lonely and desperate, hungry for attention, affection and love that you’re willing to give away your precious body, your virginity which is a gift you can only give once, your heart to someone who hasn’t done anything in the eyes of or the approval of God to earn it?! You’re trading yourself, a priceless gift, for nothing of value in return? Think about this as you go out this weekend or make your plans.

Really think about it: You wake up the next morning, first of all, is he still there with you? What’s he thinking? What if he left while you were sleeping? Will he ever call? Will he and what will he tell his friends? Oh shoot did the condom break? Did you remember to use one? Does he have any diseases? What if he has a disease that he doesn’t know about? Will I ever see him again? What have I done?!

How do I know this? Because this was once me!!!!!!!! I know the feeling of being scared to death and promising to never do it again but because I didn’t know who I was in Christ, I repeatedly gave in to this desperation! I remember praying that I wasn’t pregnant by some stupid guy and I remember being so upset with myself for giving in yet again! This doesn’t have to be you.

Now if you were to have a wild night and you’re MARRIED and you wake up and he’s not there, you don’t have to freak because oh wait, he’s downstairs fixing us breakfast! I know what he thinks of me, he loves me because he married me, so what if you didn’t use protection, no worries because we’re MARRIED!!

See the contrast? God created sex for the confines of marriage because He never intended for us to be tortured by the consequences of fornication. Sex was meant to be enjoyed, repeatedly and freely, in the MARRIAGE BED!

Anyway, think past the here and now. Everything we do has consequences and we can’t escape the consequences.  You’re worth more! Don’t let your desperation breed defeat!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon


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