Categories

The Beauty of Obedience: Purely Loved 2018 Recap

1 Samuel 15:22-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

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This past weekend was the 2nd Purely Loved purity retreat. This one, I lead. I took over the reigns from my dear sister who started this all in 2017. I felt the weight of it all. The pressure, the burden of going to war for the entire retreat and every woman involved. There were many times I wanted to just leave it all! Not because I didn’t want to have the retreat but because the warfare was so great! Satan was not happy and he was making it well known that he was not going to stop his antics. So I had to stand in faith and choose obedience. Hearing some of the stories over the weekend showed me that the ladies had to press through and choose obedience as well! We chose to obey God and trust Him. I’m so glad we did! My dear friends, if God told you to do something, you have to make up in your mind that you will stand firm and press in and through to the finish! We never know who needs what God has given us the honor and privilege to give to others! It was an honor to serve my beautiful sisters in Christ this past weekend! It was an honor to serve alongside some of the most selfless women I’ve ever met in my life! My God’s hands were all over and in this entire event! Everything spoke to me! Every challenge, every push back, every tear, the fears, the laughter; God used it all to speak to me. And while speaking to me, He was healing and blessing the hearts of His daughters! He’s a powerful, multipurpose, multitasking God who truly does more that we could ever ask, think or imagine!! At one point I was so overcome with the love and presence of God that all I could do was cry like a big baby! And you know what, all these ladies, most of who’d just met me for the first time, came and formed a group hug around me and told me that they loved me! I’m about to cry now just thinking about it! The love that was shown to me and that the ladies showed to each other was just overwhelming! I can proudly say that we made the devil very mad this weekend! Chains were broken, wrong thoughts renewed, hard hearts softened, walls torn down and joy was restored! These beautiful women left being reminded of their rightful place as royalty in the hands of our great God! (Isaiah 62:3) What a beautiful experience to have women from different ages, stages and backgrounds come together to share their burdens and leave walking in freedom! Only God can do something like this!

I never thought in a million years that I’d be working with women, because I’ve had not so great experiences with women in the past but even this, because of my obedience to Him, God has redeemed. I’m so grateful that He did! I have an incredible circle of strong godly women around me now! Obeying God when it goes against everything in our flesh is even more rewarding!

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This retreat was filled with the Spirit of God! The weather was perfect, the setting was beautiful! God’s presence met us there, stayed with us throughout the entire weekend and sent us down the mountain with a bang! In our Sunday prayer time before check out, God showed up in a mighty way with words of encouragement, confirmation, affirmation and prophecy! I’m still in awe of all that happened this past weekend and I’m so grateful to have been a part!
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So now as I plan for Purely Loved 2019 coming in March, I’m keeping in mind that I must obey and that just like God was with me in this past retreat, He is with me and has already gone before me for Purely Loved 2019. Purely Loved 2019 will be a bit larger, longer and is requiring me to dig in deep to trust God like never before! The warfare has already begun, so please keep me in your prayers! If you’re interested in attending, send me a message at purelylovedretreat@gmail.com and I will put you on our list so that you’ll be among the first to know when registration opens in September. Interested in being a sponsor, send me an email for that as well!! If you’d like to see more pictures of Purely Loved 2018, click on our SIFH Sightings page to get the full experience!

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Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories, freedom

The Evil Heffa: Comparison

freedom from comparison (1)

 

Hi!!!

First of all, I do know that it’s spelled heifer, but I’m a southerner and in Georgia, it’s pronounced heffa. A heffa, in the south, is usually a name given to a female that you don’t like or just really don’t want to be around. Comparison falls in that category for me. I hate comparison but yet fall victim to it sometimes. Comparison is a joy stealer and killer. The bible tells us that the only One we should compare ourselves to is Jesus. We are here to be His hands and feet, His body, serving in different capacities, but yet we fall into the trap of comparison.

Social media doesn’t help us at all does it? We supposedly use it for inspiration, information and connecting with others. Too much of a good thing isn’t good and if we’re not careful, we begin to question our entire existence! I’m sure that men struggle with comparison but we as women really have it bad! We see all the highlight reels of how our bodies should look, how our marriages should be, how our children should act and how our careers or ministry should look and achieve! Seriously!! It’s overwhelming! The enemy satan uses these images to really wreak havoc in our minds.

For instance, I was scrolling through Facebook and someone I follow posted a picture of their happy little family enjoying family time at the beach. Then out of nowhere comes all these thoughts; why do they get to go to the beach? Did she lose weight? Why are her children so perfect? Y’all I’m telling you, being a wife and mom is hard but throw in some comparison issues and it seems as if you are nothing and you’re doing everything wrong! I remember thinking after a hard day of being home with the kids, ALL DAY, Lord, what in the world is wrong with my kids? They were running around chasing each other and the dog and fighting over the remote, fighting for attention and it was overwhelming! Then I think, where have I gone wrong God? Why is that when I mention reading the bible the girls look at me as if I’ve rained on their parade and my son won’t sit still long enough for me to teach him to count to 5!!! Not to mention those days where Hubby and I can’t seem to finish a conversation without it turning into an argument and no matter what each of us says, it’s just the wrong thing to say!

Well, when I had a moment of quiet, I heard Holy Spirit say, in all His love, grace and mercy, “I gave your children and husband to you for My purposes. They need what you have to offer and you need what they have to offer. If they were supposed to act like sister such and such’s kids then I would have given them to her.” Well, how can you argue with that? He also reminded me that what He put in my children, He will use for His kingdom, He’s using them now!

There are greater things going on in our lives than we could ever wrap our little minds around! Christ’s death on the cross freed us from the bondage of comparison! When ever we compare ourselves to others we negate what He’s done on the cross and treat it as if it doesn’t even matter! Here are a few things to remember the next time you fall prey to that heffa Comparison:

  1. You are who God created you to be for a great purpose! He needs what He placed in you for His kingdom and no one else can do what He’s called you to do the way that you can do it! They can try, but it won’t be the same. The anointing won’t be the same and others won’t receive it the same. If God called you to start something that someone else is doing, do it anyway! For instance, I’m very straight forward, bottom-line me type of person, so flowery language kinda annoys me. Just get to the point. But for others, they enjoy the flowery language and need it. So, there has to be bible studies and devotions for the straight forward people and for the flowery language people. If God said it, then He knows who needs what you are offering and will make sure that they find you.
  2. You are enough and you can have what others have. God is a good, good Father and desires to give us good gifts. God’s timing is everything! You may not have some things that you want right not because it’s just not time! God wants what He gives us to be a blessing to us, not a curse. If given to soon, then the blessing can draw us away from Him instead of to Him. Whatever or whoever you desire to have, sit tight, it’s coming. We must trust His timing. I’m so preaching to myself on this one too!
  3. If you’re not where you want to be, change it! Yep, get off your blessed assurance and change it! Don’t like your body, put in the work and change it! Exercising sucks sometimes but I’ve noticed that when I don’t, my body doesn’t function the same and emotionally I’m not as stable and sharp. Seriously, exercise is wonderful for our minds and bodies. Even if all you do is walk for 30 minutes a day or 3 days a week, it’s getting you closer to where you want to be. Want more money, tired of not having what you want, then take the next step and do something. Get your GED, degree, apply for what you want. Give God something to work with. Often times He’s waiting for us to move in faith. Faith without works is dead! Without faith it’s impossible to please God! If you’re healthy and able-bodied, then you have no excuse especially if you’re a child of God. He promises to never leave or forsake us and that He will bless us with what we need and the desires of our hearts, so move forward, trust God, take a step and leave the rest to God. He will do His part, but you must do yours too!
  4. Lastly, remember how incredibly blessed you are! There’s always something to be grateful for. I may not be able to buy that backpack purse I saw on Amazon, but I’m healthy, my family is healthy, we have a roof over our head and we’re not hungry! My hot hunk of chocolate husband loves God and me! Are we where we want to be, nope, not yet but man, we’re not where we used to be and to me that’s evidence that God is working and moving in our lives, but all things in His timing.

So, the next time that heffa comparison comes around, tell her to kick rocks!

Father, thank you for the way that you created me! Thank you for freedom to embrace who I am. Forgive me for believing the lies that have been swimming around in my head. Help me to believe Your truth about who I am. You don’t make mistakes and in me you have placed all that I need to receive all that you have for me. Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross and setting me free from comparison. To God be all the glory, honor and praises! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories, Sexual Healing Series

The Past is the Past (Sexual Healing Series)

Happy Monday! Today begins our Sexual Healing Series and I’m so excited to begin this journey with you! I’ve been praying for God’s direction for this series and I’ve been praying for you all as well!

A few things before we get started:

  • Pray for Holy Spirit to be with you and guide you through this process as you won’t be able to do this alone.
  • Get a prayer partner or accountability partner or join our closed Sexual Healing group on Facebook here.
  • Be open and honest with yourself and transparent with your prayer partner or accountability person about any struggles or issues you’re having.
  • Enjoy the journey knowing that God is on your side and is more than willing to heal you!

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Scripture: 

Philippians 3:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Pressing toward the Goal

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,


The first time I had sex, I was 14 years old and the guy was 22 years old. I’d just really started taking an interest in guys and was still rather awkward and shy around them but I did notice that I liked the attention that I was getting. My mom had a pretty serious drug and alcohol problem and the attention from the opposite sex proved to be a relief from my current circumstances. He’d told me that no one had to know and that he wouldn’t tell anyone, that everything would be ok.  That he would stop if it hurt too badly. I’m thinking, he’s older and he’s cute and out of all the girls, other than his girlfriend that he lived with, across the hall from me, he chose me. So I agreed. When his girlfriend had left, I went over to their apartment and that’s where my I gave away a very precious gift. Only, I didn’t know how precious it was because no one had ever told me, not even my mom, because she didn’t know either. The experience was very painful, not at all like the scripted lies that we see on TV and in the movies. The first person I told was my sister. She knew something was up because of the big smile I had on my face. I was smiling because I’d just done THE thing that everyone talks about. However, I didn’t know that this one event would change my life forever. It lead to lots of heartache, heartbreak, pain, depression, and many pointless relationships.

Path to Healing:

Looking back, all the sexual experiences I had outside of marriage contributed to much pain inside my marriage.  Contrary to popular belief, marriage is NOT a magic wand that will make all the pain of your past just disappear! We will definitely cover this in the upcoming sessions of this series! The first important step I had to take was to let go of my past. The enemy, the devil, used my sexual past to try to destroy my marriage. There was so much shame and guilt (which we will also deal with in another session) that I couldn’t enjoy sex with my husband in the beginning of our marriage. In the scripture above, we see that we have to forget those things which are behind and reach toward those things which are ahead. The only way I was able to even approach this was with the help of  the Holy Spirit. With each experience that was brought back to the forefront of my mind, He gently told me that I was forgiven and set free, that He didn’t see me as dirty and filthy! When we surrender our lives to Jesus, our sins are remembered no more by God but sometimes we have a hard time of letting go because we haven’t let His words uproot the accusatory and shameful lies that we hold on to. What I had to do was sit and think about what happened to me, all the experiences and give them to God, lay them at the foot of the Cross and leave them there. I had to turn to His word and what He said so that I could embrace Him and who He is and embrace who He says that I am. The enemy told me that I didn’t deserve my husband but God said otherwise. I was also told that God would punish me for my sins and that one day I wouldn’t be able to have children, but God has given me 3 beautiful children! I had to take hold of the new me and let go of the old. Now you have to do the same.

Work it out:

Take some time, sit quietly and go back to your past, this time, knowing that Jesus is with you. Let Him minister to your heart. He never meant for us to experience sex outside of what He created it for. He knew that doing so would cause tremendous hurt and pain. Going back for me, I learned that I couldn’t blame myself for what I didn’t know. I couldn’t blame my mom for what she didn’t know. I don’t care what anyone says, ignorance is not bliss. God let me know that He loved me so much and that His plans for me are so much greater than my pain. Through this process, take time to write out these scriptures and meditate on them throughout the week. Begin to commit them to memory.

  1. Philippians 3:12-13
  2. 1 Corinthians 5: 17
  3. Matthew 11:28-30
  4. Psalm 139 (I know it’s long but if you don’t want to write the entire thing, pick the verses that speak to you the most)
  5. Jeremiah 19:11
  6. 1 John 1:9
  7. Isaiah 43:18-19
  8. Galatians 2:20
  9. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Prayer:

Gracious and loving Father, thank you for your unconditional love, mercy and grace. Thank you Jesus for the forgiveness of sin.  I pray for every person who decides to take on this challenge and that you will give them the strength they need to press through. Bring to their remembrance experiences that they need to lay at the foot of the Cross that they may press forward towards all that you have for them! Father, begin to replace the lies that they believe about themselves with your beautiful truths. In Jesus’ name, Amen

I look forward to hearing about your experiences this week and if there are any othre scriptures you’d like to share, questions or you just want to chat with someone who’s walking this same path, join us in the closed Facebook group here!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories

September Scripture Writing Plan

thank you lord for

Here it is! September’s scripture writing plan is all about God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. August, we took time to really dig into scripture to see what God’s Word says about sex. If you’re like me, you found out about the ill effects of sex outside of marriage the hard way. Walking in purity is for everyone whether you’re married or not and we can’t walk this walk without God and the power of His Word. We in our flesh can’t stand against all the temptation but with Him all things are possible!

Now that we know the truth about sex, let’s learn about God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness for us that was given through the blood of Christ! This is all for us, His children, IF you’ve surrendered your life to Christ.

Take this month to learn God’s heart for us and what Jesus’ death on the cross has done for us! Praise God for the Blood and for His grace, mercy and forgiveness!!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

September SWP

Categories

38 Things I’ve Learned In My 38 years of Life

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  1. God is….(whatever you need Him to be :-))
  2. Guarding your heart is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
  3. Health is definitely wealth.
  4. People are people are people.
  5. You can only change you!
  6. Sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing and sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing.
  7. No matter how much wisdom or wise counsel you give, ultimately, people will do what they want to do.
  8. People will ask for your advice and still go do something stupid.
  9. Guilt can always be seen on a person’s face.
  10. People, situations and some circumstances are seasonal and that’s perfectly fine!
  11. You won’t always get what you give.
  12. You can’t put your expectations on others.
  13. You are responsible for your own happiness.
  14. No human will and isn’t supposed to “complete” you.
  15. Pain can definitely become your purpose.
  16. Not everyone is your friend, they’re really an acquaintance.
  17. A person will avoid telling you things because they know that what you’ll say isn’t what they want to hear.
  18. Life sucks sometimes but it could be a lot worse.
  19. Sex outside of marriage never satisfies and it never will.
  20. There’s no such thing as perfection on this side of heaven.
  21. Being different is a great thing!
  22. People really are a blessing or a lesson, geez!!
  23. Always  check your circle!
  24. People will dislike you for something that’s in their own heart.
  25. It doesn’t hurt to smile 🙂
  26. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen, nothing more, nothing less.
  27. It pays to be observant.
  28. You get along better with perfect strangers sometimes better than your own family.
  29. You can’t want greater for another person more than they want it for themselves.
  30. Truth will repel those who aren’t ready/willing to hear it.
  31. Kindness always wins.
  32. It’s painful to check yourself but so very necessary.
  33. Children have selective hearing!
  34. Marriage is work!
  35. Family definitely doesn’t always mean biological.
  36. Learning from others mistakes is priceless.
  37. Loving others is risky but beautiful.
  38. The only way someone can steal your joy is if you allow it!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories

Why Submit?

Submission

What is submission? Some women see this as the man walking all over a woman, the woman has to do what the man says, the woman has no say in anything whatsoever.  Neither of these views are true. I used to think this way as well until I got married and found out God’s definition of submission and what He meant for and by submission.

sub·mit

 [suhb-mit]  Show IPA

verb (used with object), sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting.

1.

to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).
Now just looking at the definition alone could give you the wrong impression about submission.  But I think the key word here in this definition is yield.

yield

 [yeeld]  Show IPA

verb (used with object)

4.

to give up or surrender (oneself)
5.

to give up or over; relinquish or resign: to yield the floor to the senator from Ohio.

As children of God we are to submit, surrender, yield our will to God.  He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He knows everything there is to know about us even before we were born (Psalm 139). He’s greater and can do far more than we ever could in our fallible humanness.

Here’s what I’ve learned about submission.  Maybe this will help to change your view:

Submission is for our protection, period.  When we submit to God, it means we’re in His will and are protected, yes protected.  Submitting to God shows that you trust Him with your life.  Not saying that this will be or is easy, not saying that what He tells you to do will always make you happy but it’s for protection.  We have to remember the advantage that God has; He’s omnipotent and omnipresent.  He knows all and sees all. So when He says yes to something, I look at it as everything’s all clear.  If He says no, or there’s a delay I look at it as if He’s working some things out on my behalf, hence Romans 8:28.

Submission in marriage, same thing, protection but also peace.  In marriage, God has set an order: God, Husband, Wife, Children, everything else. When the woman tries to take over or lead, hence being out-of-order, things get crazy and it goes against the order that God has set.  By me submitting to my husband, it means that I am trusting God’s order and His design for marriage.  I may not always agree with the decisions my husband makes but I have to trust that my husband and God have been communicating and when hubby makes the final decision then he’s heard from God and that’s that.  Which is why, single ladies, you need to have a man who knows God, trusts God, hears and submits to God. If not, there’s no telling where this man may lead you and your family! Submitting to my husband even when I think he’s wrong is me submitting to God, my husband is head.  If my husband makes a decision that isn’t what God wanted I still have to have complete trust in knowing that God will not let us fall, He knows we’re not perfect and that He has our backs.  By me obeying God and submitting to my husband, I’m protected and at peace.

Flowing in God’s order and submitting to Him gives us peace.  We’ve done our part by entrusting our lives to Him, He takes care of the rest.  Submission, in its divine purpose, brings peace and protection.  It’s God’s way of saying, I love you and want to protect you, stay close to me, abide in me.  You can’t get better protection than that!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

 

Categories

Everything!

depend on GodAs a woman of God, whether single or married, you have to get to a place in your life where you know how to go to God for EVERYTHING!

I mean every need you have be it physically, yes, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Why? Because the people and things in our lives are only meant to compliment our lives, not to become our lives.  Humans can only do and handle so much.  It’s impossible for people to keep up with our every demand, emotion or need.  It’s exhausting! Have you ever tried to be everything to someone? It’s impossible! You will wear yourself out! For instance in marriage or seeking marriage, we often look for someone to be our “knight in shining armor” to “complete us”. These expectations were truly meant for fairy tales.  These are unrealistic expectations that will truly set you up for disappointment.  I learned this the hard way.  In the beginning of our marriage, I expected my husband to love me unconditionally, do what I needed and wanted when I needed it and wanted it done.  I wanted him to be affectionate, loving, make me feel good about myself, make me feel secure, take care of me and always see me as beautiful whether I was looking good physically or not! I wanted him to complete me because I felt so empty. I put all these unrealistic expectations on him that when he failed even once, my life was devastated! Then came the thoughts that tormented me about him not loving me, or caring all because he missed one of my many unrealistic expectations.  He’s a man, he’s human and can only do so much.  The greatest mistake we can make is in looking to find someone to complete us! Not possible.  You are setting yourself up for failure if you’re looking for another incomplete person to complete you! The only One who can complete you is God and thonly One that complete the person you’re seeking to complete you is God.  Two incomplete people equals a whole lot of mess!

See, there’s a place for people and things in our lives and there’s a place for God.  We try and try to fill God’s portion with people and things but as God would have it, nothing or no one will ever come close to filling His part, but Him.  He did this purposely so we would always depend on Him.  We were created for Him! Now, having learned this lesson, I receive what love and devotion that my husband can give in his human self. Whatever I feel may be lacking for some reason or another, depending on the day it is, (because we women are emotional creatures), I know how to go to God and ask that He fill or help me to deal with what I feel that I’m missing. I’ve also learned to go to God first to fill me so that what love and affection I receive from my husband and children and those around me are just beautiful bonuses. So if one day I don’t get what I need from the people in my life, it doesn’t devastate me, I have God and have been filled by Him.  When I need to be held and hubby isn’t feeling all lovey dovey, God takes care of it in His own way.  God knows me better than I know myself so He knows exactly how to take care of me.

We all need to get to  a place in life where we teach ourselves to go to God first, then, He takes care of the rest be it through people, things or Him.  Don’t put unrealistic expectations on people and things.  You will live your life in great disappointment. Depend on God for everything and you will never be disappointed!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories

One Word, One Verse!

Happy New Year!!!

So I guess everyone’s made their resolutions, or not, but the New Year screams new beginnings for so many.  The tendency is to make this long list of things that we listed last year and the year before that didn’t happen.  Well, this year, I’m not doing that to myself! A wonderful life-saving email appeared in my inbox and totally stunned me! Such a wonderful concept!

I have the bible app via www.Bible.com and the email I received from them was to choose one verse to focus on this year. Seemed simple enough so I began to pray about it, but then I also saw this plan on there that was about focusing on one word for the year, even better! So I started the plan, which is only 4 days long, and was amazed at how my one verse and my one word seems to go hand in hand! God is awesome! For more information about this, click here.

SO my one word is Purpose and my one verse is 1 Timothy 4:16.  This is so freeing for me because, now instead of killing myself with all the things I need to change or accomplish, I can go through my own process of elimination and if whatever it is has nothing to do with my purpose or verse that was given to me by the Holy Spirit, then I waste no time or energy trying to pursue or change it.

Now, I know there  will be challenges along the way as the enemy will definitely try to knock me off course but I can always go back to my one word and one verse to get me back on track.

What do you think? Does this sound simple to you, freeing even?  Check it out for yourself.  Let me know what your one verse and one word is.  Maybe we can walk this out together this year and see if this approach is as good as it seems so far 🙂

Here’s to an amazing 2014!!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories

God’s Voice vs Satan’s Voice

Thought this was an awesome reminder as to how God encourages and reassures us while satan seeks to discourage, condemn and tear us down.  We need to know the difference!! Praying this blesses you!

 

God's voice vs satan's voice

 

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

Categories

Soapbox Moment!

Ok, ladies….(big sigh) I know some of you are tired of being single and are really wanting companionship. I know some of you may be in a relationship and you’re settling for Mr. No Good all because you want to be in a relationship and for the sake of saying that you have a “man” and I use the term “man” very loosely! A man does NOT beat you, curse at you, verbally abuse you, treat you like crap, manipulate you, threaten you, use you, destroy your life and make things worse than they have to be or take advantage of you!!! You are God’s daughter, His beloved! God delights in you! He Loves you beyond measure! He has a MAN set aside for you, but first God must become your man!! Your value and worth comes from Him not a man! Stop settling and taking crap! You were created for more!!! You are stronger and wiser than you think! Stop letting fear run your life! God didn’t give you a spirit of fear but of a sound mind! Get up and leave him alone! GOD WILL DEFINITELY TAKE CARE OF YOU! But, only if you allow Him to. He’s not forceful, He’s love and perfect love casts out all fear, there’s no fear in love. God doesn’t condemn but has compassion and He’s waiting to love on you the way you deserve to be loved! Trust God, not man!!
Ok, I’m done now…<3

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon