Don’t Lose Heart

What happens when “one of those days” becomes one of those weeks? Or, one of those months? What happens when you’ve been stuck in a rut off and on for years? When one bad thing happens after another, and you don’t know how much longer you can take? What do you do then? This is the place I’ve found myself more times than I can count… it’s discouraging and disheartening. But,   today the Lord reminded me of what the psalmist, David, said…

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me?”

I find myself thinking and asking this question so much lately. It’s so frustrating, and I’m over it. I want to feel happy all the time. I know how amazingly good God is, and I literally get annoyed with myself for not being at that mountaintop level that I believe I always should be. It’s like I’m constantly waiting  and expecting for something amazing to happen – for some major life breakthrough – only to be disappointed again. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve experienced some major mountaintop moments… but, they don’t last. Why? 

Because we are made in the valley. 

The valley is the place we are most vulnerable… where we look up to our rescuer. It’s the place where we learn to trust the most, the place we are truly changed. We are made in the valley. 

The scripture goes on to say…

“Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.”

In the valley, we learn to master the art of waiting expectantly. 

“When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you…” 

In the valley, we learn to stand on the truth we know. Even when it’s simple. Even when it’s just three little words – God is good. 

My life is nothing like I expected it to be. It’s better in most ways, but it’s heart wrenchingly tragic in others. But, in all of it, there is one thing I’m certain of – I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Thanks to Pastor Ray for the reminder!) 

Don’t lose heart. Keep going, and, like Journey said, “don’t stop believing!” 

Xo,

Shannon 

Here’s to Living

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset“Whether or not you discover your talents and passions is partly a matter of opportunity. If you’ve never been sailing, or picked up an instrument, or tried to teach or to write fiction, how would you know if you had a talent for these things?”

I think that after you lose someone you so desperately loved, you almost end up living two lives. It’s not just in the way I’ve described before – life before Christiano and life after him, but there’s also this strong desire to continue choosing to get up and live your own best life every single day… because you feel this is the best way to honor your loved one who didn’t get that luxury. But, there is also this deep, deep urge live out the life your loved one was robbed of.

I remember that first year after Christiano went to heaven, I wanted so desperately to hold onto him. I wanted to walk where he walked, watch what he watched, talk to the people he loved to talk to. I wanted to be in his world, the one he’d left behind… the one that I wished I knew more about. I wanted to love others and inspire people JUST like Christiano did.

As we approach five years, (seriously how has it been five years?!) I’ve evolved so much as a person. I’ve diminshed in some ways, too. I’ve learned and I’ve lost – both in heaping quantities. In five years, I have dealt with the most excruciating pain, I have had three different jobs, (four if you count the second job I picked up back in May) graduated with my Bachelors, spoken at churches, taken thousands of pictures, written millions of words, uttered some of my most heartfelt prayers, lost friends, gained friends, hurt people and been hurt by people, missed it sometimes, but killed it more times, gained a ton of weight, lost a little just this year, witnessed two of my children graduate, became a youth director & a bookkeeper at my church… yes, I know it’s a weird combo!

As I’ve journeyed to find myself – unintentionally, but unavoidably, I’ve gotten lost MANY times. I have really struggled to find my way in this process. It’s been incredibly painful, but undoubtedly worth it. Each time I’ve gotten lost along the way, I heard the still, small, voice of my Savior. He always managed to help me find my way back to center. He’s held me and kept me from walking off the cliffs of confusion that seem to be everywhere. He’s shown me a confidence I would have never known unless I had gone through the valley of the shadow of death…

With all that being said, I’m now in a really good place. I’m allowing Him to teach me all the things He needs to while getting from point A to point B. He’s so good! “Truly, there is wonderful joy ahead.”

This is my new and improved website. Like me, it’s still evolving. I’m thankful to a fearless friend – Michelle – who said “who cares if you have multiple giftings?! Don’t let anyone put you in a box. You like lots of things, and you’re good at them, so do all of them if you want to!”

YES.

Those are the words I needed to hear. Those are the words that lined up with my heart and spirit. I can do whatever I want! As long as the Lord is with me, I cannot fail. So, hey… here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to squashing every single insecurity, doubt and worry. Here’s to laughing without fear of my future. Here’s to writing, dabbling in photography, getting healthy, speaking, teaching, living and loving all the same time.

Xo,

Shannon