My Heart: My Bruises and My Scars

It has been an eventful past 5 years with Jesus. Jesus has reveal my heart’s bruises and scars through the Celebrate Recovery program.  My intention was to help my husband begin the ministry within our church.  Little did I know, Jesus would reveal the brokenness that I hid from myself and the world!

I have been married to my wonderful husband for 20 years, have a successful career as a scientist (microbiologist) and raised a child who is currently attending her first year of college. From the outside looking in, I have a wonderful life.

Most people don’t know that I have carried the bruises and scars of being molested as a child, raped as a young woman and married to an alcoholic for twelve years.  Needless to say, I have some major trust issues.

Jesus has patiently and lovingly brought out each of these past situations for me to deal with.  I couldn’t have done this on my own.  I am so grateful for My Savior and the loving Celebrate Recovery family He has blessed me with.

I thought that recovery was for the chemically dependent but I found that could be further from the truth.  Recovery is for everyone that can’t navigate this life on their own.  With the tools from Celebrate Recovery and the love of Jesus, we can’t lose!

Beloved

A couple of years ago, I started to live the concept of “one word”.  I realize that change is possible, but focus is required.  The goal is to choose one word to be my focus for the next twelve months, and to help me keep my attention fixed on that specific word.  The word for 2017 is “beloved”.

Beloved means the following: darling, dear, precious, adored, much loved, cherished, treasured, and highly regarded.  The word “beloved” has stood out in several books that I have read over the past month and in the scripture I read this week.  Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”. 

My Savior, Jesus, is my beloved and I am his!  I know this intellectually but I want to feel it deep down in my soul.  In my brokeness, I know He is there with hands stretched out waiting for me to give Him all the pieces of my broken heart.  The pieces that I hold on to for fear of rejection, even from a Savior that says he will never forsake me.

My pursuit for 2017 is to know and feel “beloved” by the Creator of the Universe!

It’s All About You, Jesus

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is upon us!

It is not even the first of December and I have already rang the bell for the Salvation Army, been in a Christmas parade, decorated the house and tree, and wrote my Christmas letter.  With many more days and activities to come, I want to take time a remember why I am celebrating.

It’s all about you, Jesus.  I celebrate Christmas because of You.

Because You chose to dwell among us, I have been given the ultimate gift of a savior who understands me, a friend who is able to redeem me, and savior who hears my prayers and understands my joy and heartache.  You chose to clothe yourself in humanity so you could relate to me.  I can’t think of better way to celebrate Christmas than remembering the love you so freely pour out for me and the world.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full or grace and truth.  John 1:14

Gratitude: A Heart of Thanksgiving

It is a couple of days before  Thanksgiving and I sit here pondering the events of last couple of years….

Six years ago, my life was in complete shambles.  My marriage was a disaster and I was trying to hold on to whatever sanity I could muster.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving I had asked my husband for a divorce.  I couldn’t keep on living with an alcoholic–the anger, resentment and just plain confusion were too much to bear.  We had been invited to my sister-in-laws parents for Thanksgiving dinner–however was I going to make it through the day.  I sat around the table as everyone stated “something they were grateful for”; I couldn’t think of anything.  I must have mumbled something that appeased the masses but I really didn’t feel grateful.

Fast forward to present day.  I am so grateful for everything God has taken me through, given me, and His love that He continues to pour out on me.  My husband celebrates 6 years of sobriety, my marriage has been restored, and our daughter is a senior in high school.  We could have only made this far by the grace of God.

Everything I am, have, and love is due to Jesus, My Lord and Savior, and I am eternally grateful.

Take Heart

I have dropped off the pages these past couple weeks, but I did, however, complete “the 30 day praise challenge” by Becky Harling.  I recommend this daily devotional for anyone wanting to experience a closer walk with God through praise and worship.

Over the past eighteen years, I have suffered depression.  Five years ago, the depression was at its worst and this was when I rededicated by life to Christ.  At this particular time in my life, I could not rely on my feelings or my heart when it came to my salvation and walk with Jesus.  I diligently sought the Word of God to know what He thought, felt and his plans for me.  To say the least, I have had a huge head-heart disconnect ever since.

My walk through “the 30 day praise challenge” began to restore the head-heart disconnect I have endured.  Spending time in praise and worship of My Lord and Savior softened a place in my heart.  The softened places now allows my heart to beat again solely for Him and to rely on my feelings. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Please listen to the following interview and song by Danny Gokey.  Danny reminds us where ever we are in your walk; let Jesus, “tell your heart to beat again”.

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

Everlasting Love

Day 8 of “the 30 day praise challenge”

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3

Today’s challenge was praising God for His unwavering, everlasting love.

My earthly father broke my heart when I was thirteen.  I will never forget the moment, he sat me and my brother down to declare he was going to divorce our mom.  He said, “He had gotten married to young and had children to young.  He just couldn’t do it anymore!”  My teenage brain scrambled to come to terms with these statements and I ultimately concluded that I was a mistake.  I would live with these conclusions plaging my thoughts for nearly 25 years.

God has taken the wound left by earthly father and over the past five years replaced it with unconditional everlasting love.  As I sat back in praise this morning; it was like curling up in Father God’s lap and laying my head on his shoulder.  I could hear the whispers of His sweet voice, “I love you with an everlasting love”.  All is well with my soul and thank you God for loving me into wellness.

How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture

Beauty: Where Do You Find It?

Day 7 of “the 30 day praise challenge”

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  Romans 1:20

Today’s challenge was a reminder that God created us for beauty.  One of the easiest ways for me to see beauty is to be out in nature.

One of my favorite past times is aimlessly wandering around my yard looking at the trees, flowers and wild life that has happened to find their home in our yard.  Yesterday was one of the glorious days where I had the opportunity to wander and let my spirit take in the beauty of God’s creation.

The tulips and daffodils have poked out of the ground and the lilac bush is in full bud.  The same couple of sparrows that built their nest in the crab apple tree last year were back and singing a “sweet” song to each other.

Thank you, Lord, for orchestrating this beautiful scene for my enjoyment and to remind me that everything you create is to reflect Your glory.

At Your Name by Phil Wickham

Please Be My Strength

Day 2 of the 30 day praise challenge by Becky Harling

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Becky states in Part One “the challenge”, “Praise awakened my heart to His voice.  Many mornings before my alarm clock went off, He woke me up with an invitation that went like this:  Wake up, My child.  Come and be with Me.  Praise Me and enjoy My presence.”

As I stated in my previous blog, I am recovering from a respiratory illness that has knocked me out of commission. Yesterday was the first full day of work that I was able to complete in over a week.  During this time, I feel like Jesus is inviting me to rely on Him.  I woke up this morning and the last thing I wanted to do was spend time with and “praise” the Lord. I wanted to go back to sleep, my body is still sick and tired. Not only did my alarm go off in the bedroom but the other cell phone alarm was ringing in my prayer room. It may not have been the sweet whispers Becky mention above but it worked.  God is good; time to get up!

Today’s lesson was on praising God for His boundless strength and endless power.  I am in desperate need of His power and strength at this moment (maybe every moment).

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Thank you Jesus for reminding me that my strength is found in you.

“God, please be my strength.  Please be my strength.  I don’t have anymore, I don’t have anymore!  You are my strength, You and You alone, keep bring me back home.” Gungor

Please listen to following song by Gungor.  Every time I hear this song, it brings tears to my eyes and my heart closer to God.

Please Be My Strength by Gungor

Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10

I am currently recovering from a respiratory illness.  It has been a somewhat slow process full of relapses because honestly, I do not know how to be still!  Curious, I looked up the definition of still in the online Merriam Webster Dictionary.  Still:  free from noise or turbulence.  Hmm…well that is not my life!

I  want a closer relationship with Jesus and may be it is time to try something new.  I have decided to embark on “the 30 day praise challenge” by Becky Harling.  Becky states, “Praise changed me from being fearful, frantic, and insecure to being a calm person filled with passion and purpose.”  That sounds promising!

My hope is that this time spent in praise, a time free of noise or turbulence of life, will allow me to hear the still small voice of God.  The noise and turbulence will be replaced by pure delight of serenity as I sit and praise My Lord.

Please listen to this great worship song by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser:

No Longer Slaves

Hi, My Name is…

My name is Shawna.  I am a 45 year old follower of Jesus Christ first and foremost.  I am a happily married wife of 18 years, mother to a gorgeous 17 year old young lady, career woman, and co-ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery at our local church.

All that being said, “Life This Side of Heaven” can be glorious, interesting, intimidating and just plain hard at times.  This is my walk as I pursue a relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and try to navigate life this side of heaven.

I hope you will join me as I learn, fail and pick myself back up again.  Hebrews 12:1-2 is a perfect reflection of my previous statement, “Therefore we also,  since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I look forward to sharing with you, my life this side of heaven!