1 Corinthians 12:27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
However, I do believe the church should hold within it five roles and structure as laid out in Ephesians 4:11
Ephesians 4:11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
So what have I created? Well, first, I haven’t created anything – Jesus, through Holy Spirit has. If I were to place a label on it (doesn’t the human mind love to categorize things?), I would consider it something like a para-ministry. And what is a para-ministry? I’m glad you asked:
A Parachurch ministry is a ministry that operates outside of the confines of a traditional church. While many of these organizations have some type of connection to a church, those taking part in the ministry look at ways that they can give back to the local community and others in need in ways that a church cannot. Reference
This ministry began as a blog in September 2014. You can take a trip down memory lane if you like, by visiting HERE.
It wasn’t until 2016 another direction began to emerge from the blog and I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart about sharing what He was sharing with me with other women. Up to that point, I had been asked by other women to lead a challenge and have an online group, one for encouragement and support. Before I knew it a group of twenty women were joined together for one purpose, and without any self-promotion (also important to me). Even then, I drug my feet. In August 2016, I had reached out to the church leadership at the time, for prayer for direction. A word was spoken I still hold dear to my heart. Prior to going any further in the composing and editing phase, I asked my pastor, with my family surrounding me, what his thoughts were on publishing the book. "Go for it". Ok. My sense coming away from the conversation was that anything I could do would be blessed, because we need to move when God asks us to. I did.
Why was I timid? I had been burned (self-inflicted) before (this has been a ten year journey my friends) and I needed to KNOW God was the One moving me, or my relationship with Jesus, my marriage, children and other relationships were going to suffer.
In 2017, so many things shaped up. While I didn’t host any challenges, Rise Up Devotions was published, along with Courageous Humility and Rise & Pray. “Anything I can do is blessed”. In October 2017, when I sensed God wanted me to minister in person with other women, I really struggled. What would this look like? Who did I think I was? Am I “allowed”? All these questions came to mind.
I sought the council of my closest friends. I sought the council of the Pastor at Times Square Church, as I believed him to be the pastor of my family’s home fellowship. I sought spiritual leadership from a spiritual mother. I sought the Lord in prayer and through multiple requests for confirmation. "Yes". When we visited a new church in our community, the minister spoke about Rahab the Harlot. If He could move through her, He can surely move through me.
Rahab wasn’t educated, trained, or indoctrinated. No. She only had the testimony of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites and would soon have her own. "Shanon, you have my blessing – GO".
When the curriculum was created for the Rise Up Commitment in late 2017, I asked my “spiritual mother” to review and provide feedback. She read, reviewed, and blessed the content. I believed, again, this was blessing and confirmation to move forward.
Even as I moved forward, I was always very upfront with gals, “I did not go to seminary. I am just a woman who loves the Lord and His Word, who wants to see others connect with His Word in the same life altering way I have”. My position? I am learning right along with you in many regards. We can trust Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and make truth known.
With the first commitment going well, I still longed for a covering and continued blessing for what was being done. I was concerned with operating outside of an unsanctioned covering. My spiritual leader was unavailable. The home fellowship pastor was impossible to connect with. Finally, God placed two gals on my heart to connect with. One? An associate pastor, now pastor. The other? One who had once been a mission’s pastor and embarking on a new journey with God. When I spoke with both of them, I simply shared I wanted to be accountable to others and have a covering, and that God shared both of them with me to reach out to. I believe they could sense my willingness to submit as the Lord needed.
My husband and children continued to bless my involvement with the ministry (although they might admit it's not always the easiest to share). My closest friends committed to prayer and correction when needed. My spiritual leader prayed and led when she was available. Gals agreed to cover. God had brought them all to my mind, and I knew I was to submit to them and prayerfully receive any guidance or correction God may lay on their hearts to share.
Para-ministry, that still seems to be the word fitting the best. What God does here is in addition to, a supplement if you will, to the local church and bodies each gal is connected with. Coming alongside women on their journey, with discipleship and growing together, in conjunction with their pastoral care. Many times when meeting on a weekly basis, the gals express to me their pastor spoke something very similar to what we had discussed. Thank you for confirming, Lord.
My focus on women only, is also a good indication this is not a church (in the traditional sense). God has never placed it on my heart to minister to men. His heart for this ministry? Minister to my Sisters in Christ (and soon to be Sisters) well, and they will minister to their husbands and children well, as Christ leads. I’m only a conduit. A conduit who may not hold pastoral accountability, but certainly feels accountable for every Word He places on my heart to share.
My goal is not to have anyone follow me, or rely on me. I’m like Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scene where he is connecting the two extension cords hoping to light his house up – I want to facilitate a direct connection to, and hunger for, God’s Word and Holy Spirit so each gal learns to rely on Him as they grow increasingly more sensitive to His Spirit in their lives. Why? So they will RISE UP each day in their homes, communities, church homes, and places of employment as God empowers them to do so.
That’s it. That’s my hope and prayer.
The avenue to doing so is by meeting women where they are on their faith journey to becoming whole in spirit, soul and body, and then to teach, encourage and facilitate some degree of healing as His Word and Spirit leads me to do so, through the gifts He has blessed me with. This avenue has transitioned from an online platform to in-person, which is something many yearn for in this hyper connected era.
My prayer is also to continue to respond to His leading in all things... prayer, guidance, next steps - ALL THINGS - and be open to going wherever He may lead next. I hope that is your prayer as well.
Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. And as always, I am happy to meet you where you are and join you over a cup of coffee or via a message, prayer or chat.
If you have never read it, I suggest you do. I then read about John G. Lake and Smith Wigglesworth. Leonard Ravenhill’s Revival God’s Way struck my soul to pray, as did Eric Ludy’s Wrestling Prayer. This was meaty stuff! Couple these words with God’s word to study the subject of LOVE and pray as I was learning – I was all in. My life finally became Jesus Christ’s FULLY! I have no doubt this set the course of the past ten years, regardless of the “giants” and challenges, and led me to this place, a modern day testimony taking place over the past couple of years I would like to share.
September 12, 2017 – Sent an invitation to all pastors in Whitley Co.
October 9, 2017 – Prayer Event
October 19, 2017 – Shifted focus to developing Rise Up Commitment
October 27, 2017 – Received a reply to connect with someone from the Prayer Room, to which I placed in my "back pocket"
November 3, 2017 – Dr. Ronnie Floyd President of the National Day of Prayer announced 2018 theme Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3
February 2018 – Moved to reach out to a female pastor in our community
April 28, 2018 – Meet a gal hungry for Holy Spirit and connected to NDP
May 3, 2018 – Attended 2018 NDP – I sat beside the gal I just met and learn she will soon to be lead for our county’s NDP chapter
June 13, 2018 – Current NDP lead and I meet in the prayer room in our community and discuss NDP
February 2018 – Two gatherings, one heart: prayer and worship for the glory of God and discipled souls in our county
PRAYER IS POWERFUL! And not just my prayers. This is not a rundown of what God is doing through me alone. No, it is a testament of prayers that have been prayed YEARS before I was probably even thought of. It is the testament of others who have prayed fervently for years since I was born. It is a testament of God’s desire to have His people humble themselves and pray. It is a testament God will unite the folks He has called to pray, and who are RESPONDING, in one accord for His purposes. It is a testament of hope for things to come. Revival. Freedom. Deliverance. Unity. An outpouring if His Spirit and Love! It is a testament that it is time to pray, and allow Him to transform our burdens to building as He leads for HIS Kingdom.
As we continue to focus on prayer in the Rise Up Community and Beyond experience for the last eight days of February, I want to encourage you to PRESS IN. I want to encourage you to lay everything else to the side and see what God has to say. Pray selfless prayers. Pray to know the heart and mind of God. Pray for Jesus to be seen and known through your life. Pray for Holy Spirit to intercede when you don’t know what to pray. Simply, pray.
Would you like some transparency?
I have a box of snotty tissues full for you.
I’m breaking. Breaking in a snot won’t stop, “God what is wrong with me?!” – breaking kind of way.
We don’t talk about breaking. We especially don’t talk about breaking for those leading. Leaders don’t break, right? Well, if that is a title or role or responsibility assigned to me, I’m going to be real and open and authentic and raw, we break – and I won’t pretend or fake.
There is a heavy on my heart and mind, coming from all sides. I’m grateful for the rest I found in January, because if I weren’t nestled into the heart of the Father right now, oh it would be worse.
My heart is breaking for the church.
My heart is breaking for what goes on between brothers and sister in the church.
My heart is breaking for the deceived.
My heart is breaking for the truth to be seen, heard and to reign.
My heart is breaking for the soul comfortable with malicious behavior and acts towards others.
My heart is breaking for the children who will never get to take a breath and live their calling for the pleasure of our King.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking for wives whose husbands are unable or unwilling to love them the way Christ would.
My heart is breaking for men unable to receive FULLY the love of God and be led, to lead.
My heart is breaking for every child whose burden became so big; they chose to end their lives.
My heart is breaking for all the parents who miss their children so badly words are ununtterable and tears are the soft whispers many won’t hear, except the Father.
My heart is breaking for the families whose presence is taken for granted and screens and scrolling and schedules replace genuine time together.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking for the woman, young and old, desperately trying to cover up the open wounds or scars of emotional and physical abuse, deception, ridicule; being called stupid or fat or dumb; rejection or promiscuity; addiction to food or binging or starving, approval, drugs, alcohol; and decisions made from lack of trust fueled by self-reliance, that led or is leading only to heartache. I have the same scars.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the pain and disappointment of divorce.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the loss of a husband passed too soon.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the loss of a parent or loved one.
My heart is breaking for every woman fighting some debilitating disease – seen and unseen.
My heart is breaking for every woman feeling alone, lost, unseen, unheard and uncared for – I care.
My heart is breaking for every woman sleeping in a jail cell – physical or mental – I’ve slept there too; freedom can be had.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking because there are folks around the world living without clean water and food.
My heart is breaking because there are people living without health care for their wounds.
My heart is breaking because there are souls without much who will give richly out of their poverty.
My heart is breaking because I have touched the faces of babies and elderly in the worst of places, left to be unloved, waiting to die.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking because my oldest will be leaving soon, and the youngest will follow not long after.
My heart is breaking because the days were long, but the years were shorter, and now here we are – asking, “Where did the time go?”
My heart is breaking because I know, and I can’t get them back.
My heart is breaking because I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT I KNOW NOW! God I wish I would have known – twenty years ago! I wish I would have been equipped with the knowledge of what only learning the “hard way” in the wilderness and fire has taught me.
My heart is breaking because many a child will grow up knowing and choose to toss the truth aside.
My heart is breaking because many a parent will teach with their lips, but not live a life aligned.
My heart is breaking because families fall apart seemingly without desire to reconcile.
My heart is breaking because this is only a glimpse of what God sees.
And it breaks me.
My heart is breaking, because there is a gift, an answer, many won’t receive.
Holy Spirit – Healer, Comforter, Teacher, Truth, Life and LOVE.
My heart, while breaking, KNOWS there is healing; healing coming from the anointed ointment of the presence of the Spirit of the living God, welcomed and free to come in and mend, heal and sooth like a cool salve.
And I am hopeful. I am hopeful because like with Nehemiah, the weeping and breaking leads to burden which leads to fasting and prayer which leads to building – building as He leads and provides and makes so.
Weeping endures for a moment (or maybe days), but joy is sure to come in the morning! Such joy will lead to Holy Spirit building in a way where no enemy from hell can stop the plans of a living God fixed on saving every soul through the blood of Jesus Christ.
I pray Holy Spirit in all His manifestations is welcome in our lives, healing is received on the other side of breaking, and joy unspeakable is manifested in a way only Jesus can create!
I love the people in my community – especially women who have wrestled, or are wrestling, with worth and feeling discouraged or unsupported. Trust me when I say – YOU ARE WORTH BEING LOVED BY GOD – and He finds your love worthy. You are also worth being supported and encouraged by others, regardless of where you are on your journey.
Now that you know who I am, here’s a little about what I do.
In day job one, I do orthopedic product design and have for nearly nineteen years. That is so weird to type! I honestly don’t feel like it’s possible for that much time to have gone by. Before that, I was a graphic designer for a sign company. Before that, I loved creating art, school and learning – I still love art and learning.
In day job two, I do internal digital communication efforts for medical missions within the organization I also design and develop product for. It is such a blessing to connect with patients, write their stories, and communicate testimonies of the underserved in a variety of ways. This role is a direct result of my obedience in the ministry God has raised up in my life the past four years.
In addition to my marriage and children, God has called me to the Rise Up ministry: to meet women where they are on their faith journey to becoming whole (spirit, soul, body), teach, encourage and facilitate healing along the way. I take great joy in meeting with our local community of gals in person on a weekly basis. I have also been blessed by the recent interest for monthly gatherings. Of course, I am grateful for where both began, online via blog and social media.
With the online portion of the ministry you, and women like you around the world, can be encouraged, equipped and empowered with a variety of resources. You may enjoy the Shanon Roberts Podcast, both on Stitcher and iTunes. You may also enjoy or prefer the YouTube channel. Or, you might like to complete one of the two online devotions found on YouVersion’s Bible App: Courageous Humility and 12 Days of Thanksgiving. I have also been honored to share as a Christian speaker at a few events. Finally, you might like a copy of one of the eight self-published books made available via hardcopy or Kindle, on Amazon.
Heads up! I know my weaknesses and you might appreciate knowing them too. My grammar is not the best. I talk fast, stammer and use my hands A LOT when I’m REALLY fired up with God’s thoughts and heart. I have had a pretty intense walk with God, but I haven’t been to seminary and have no degree (although I am now an ordained minister – TOTALLY a God thing!). I sometimes have to cease an activity I thought was God, in order to do what He actually needs me to. Because I’m human, I continue to learn to discern His voice. When it is Him, He provides the way – when it isn’t Him, I stress and strive.
I pray you are blessed in some way by the ministry and content here (regardless of comma placement and the occasional misspellings ;) ) and I look forward to meeting you where you are. God is SO GOOD. Always!
PS – if you are great at grammar and are led to help a sister out, I would love to hear from you :D
January 21st. We are already twenty-one days into the new year. I pray it has been an abundant blessing to you already!
The first few weeks of the year for me has been blessings mixed with expected challenges.
January 1st was set aside to embark on the year with prayer, thanksgiving and a unity in spirit of where God would like to go this year.
January 3rd my health made its way to the front line – again. However, resolve to walk with God closely wherever He leads moved me to not become distracted.
January 4th joined in unity with others to pray for our community and future opportunities to unite around the purpose of prayer and worship. God reinforced He is MOVING!
January 5th I was caught in the whirlwind of a battle not mine to fight, a place where healing was prayed to be the outcome. It became a moment for Him to step in, I to intercede, for the sake of health in His Body.
January 6th I could not ignore it any longer. God needed me to have a conversation; a difficult, but necessary heart to heart. My voice trembled, the tears flowed, but so did compassion and healing! Oh give praises to the King of My Heart!
January 7th God surprises me with an opportunity to hang out with a dear Sister in Christ AND connect with other creative, like-minded women! What a GOOD GOD WE LOVE!
January 9th I find myself on the bathroom floor during my break at work, crying to God for others. Arrested hearts know no place unacceptable to intercede when He calls them to it.
January 11th Travel to Tennessee with a new friend, better said Sister in Christ – God’s presence accompanying us the entire way; my how time flies when Jesus is at the center. The Lord continued to speak to my heart and share His vision for what’s to come. It. Is. Exciting.
January 14th & 15th Knocked on my butt. Just like the enemy, he seemed to sweep in and ATTEMPT to steal from me the deposits of God in my soul. No doubt, sabotage was on his mind, as the January Beyond event was just a couple days away. BUT GOD! He shared very clearly with me the heart of the message for the gathering, one that stopped me in my tracks and reinforced the necessity for each and every one of us to ENSURE we are reading and hearing the Word of God.
January 16th it’s time to GO. I had this sense before the beginning of the year. However, a meeting at work confirmed, I will in fact be going. Serving others, sharing stories, and engaging many for the purpose of providing care to the underserved all around the world. That evening? Confirmation among others His vision in our “corner” of the world. Woot woot! Go God!
January 17th Plans and preparation for a medical mission meeting coupled with plans and preparation for the January Beyond gathering? God, thank You for moving through and entrusting with what matters to YOU!
January 18th God near instantly provided answered prayer to the concerns of several. Clearly pointing to His Word the TRUTH and heart of the matter. Again, PRAYER, attention and sensitivity to His Spirit the components to ensuring moving forward would be honoring to Him and loving towards others.
January 19th School of His Presence conference enthralls me with the Lord’s heart. Confirmation after confirmation of what the Lord has placed on my heart to share with others, and encourage them to pursue in THEIR lives. Sheer giddiness at the thought of a GREAT AND MIGHTY GOD.
January 20th Nearing the end of a committed season of fasting, God calls me into the Secret Place. The place where He shares His heart, after confirming – AGAIN – through my pastor at Times Square Church, His presence is where we can be with Him, and He makes us like Him. The place He desires each and every one of us long to be.
Today? Today I continue to be amazed at how He pours out His love and somehow causes us to only see His vision on the horizon. Though there may be mountains and challenges designed to distract us, He prepares us to move beyond them, call them to move, RISE above them, and GO. He is a way maker to the soul willing to make a way for Him – in all places, seasons and circumstances.
Friend, if this is just the first twenty-one days of the year, can you imagine what the next 344 will be like?! I can try, but I have a sense what He is going to do is FAR BEYOND ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE OR THINK POSSIBLE! My prayer is you see He has this for YOU as well.
I was obsessed with being thinner because I had so many folks telling me how big I was, fat, my stretch marks disgusting and if I could get paid to eat I would, because I loved food.
Words spoken led to my mental illness?
Who knows? I don't care.
I stand here today, seven months from forty, knowing WHY I see who I see, although in my mind I'm not her.
In my mind, I'm someone strong. I've chosen to not fixate and obsess on a number, be it weight, BMI, body fat percentage or the like. I've chosen not to measure my worth by the size of my pants. I've chosen not to ground my identity in my appearance.
Rather, I've chosen God. I chose to fixate on the countless number of Scripture telling me I am God's and who HE says I am. I have chosen to measure my worth according to what His written and spoken word says about me. I have decided my only identity is found in Him.
According to Him, I am His beloved. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher of His Word. I am an encourager to others. I am a facilitator of healing that flows from Him. In Him, I am light and love. My weight, size and shape do not impact who He says I am.
166 lbs 8 oz. The heaviest I have been in years. My weight had to be captured when today's four month post surgery lumpectomy (which resulted in an ever present hematoma needing follow-up) revealed a couple more spots in need of assessment. Gosh!! Did it HAVE to be right after Christmas break?! I'm fluffy people ;)
Have I let myself go? No, I've let God. I have allowed Him to firmly root me in love, His Word, and His truths.
Do I advocate being at an unhealthy, disease fostering, weight? No. I advocate holistic health in spirit, soul and body. I advocate being a physically healthy vessel of God, able to serve, go and minister wherever He may call one to go, at any capacity He may call to do so.
Conversations with the Lord lately have revealed a release to again become more healthy (beyond my weight and these lumps, I am fit as a fiddle!), build muscle again, lean down again, return to an optimal BMI and body fat percentage (for me), again.
He has spoken to my heart, experimenting with Beyond and allowing others to witness my transformation will support the theory: balancing the seven areas DOES reflect Christ - causing others to SEE His transformative power, be amazed and place their trust in Him as well! Also, with a couple medical mission trips on the horizon, He needs me to be physically well and fit, in order to serve others well.
For now? One day, one step at a time. The next step is ensuring my body is healthy and without disease. After that, the Lord will continue to lead me in the areas of nutrition, fitness and rest, while maintaining my relationship with Him and His call on my life as first priority.
Ladies, you are WHO GOD SAYS YOU ARE. Be encouraged to get into His Word and see what He has to say about you and His love for you. Let your self go and LET GOD.
I keep hearing this and similar phrases…
I know you’re busy… I know you have so much going on… I don’t want to take your time… I don’t want to overwhelm you… I know you have a lot… Coming from people I love and care for deeply.
I want you to know my heart. Whenever I share ALL that God is doing, it is NEVER to communicate that I am busy. It is simply to communicate what He CAN do through a willing vessel.
Have I been battling and fighting? Yes. I have. The enemy has his knickers in a knot and I sense him breathing down my back more than I like. But guess what? That is exactly where he belongs, behind me!
I recently went through an intense several days; thoughts and comments coming at me from all directions, tempting me to throw in the towel – in more ways than one. But it wasn’t because I am too “busy”. It is because powers and principalities in the unseen realm were raging, and I was the target.
My tribe, whom I love dearly, prayed for me. Some, God tapped directly on the shoulder, and they called others to intercede. I needed it. I needed to be fought for, because I was weak and stumbling. This isn’t new. This happens. Simply read Nehemiah 4:18-20 for a great example.
As one called by God to lead, there is a wrestling and discerning on what to share, and what not to share, when it comes to personal challenges. My conviction? I have to communicate my weaknesses. I have to communicate my struggles – past and present. Otherwise, you and any other woman reading this, might inaccurately conclude I am sharing from an “ivory tower”. A tower where I couldn’t possibly relate to the depths of your pain, places of shame, wore torn battle fields, and struggles.
I DO relate. I relate because those are the places I come from. Those are the places I find myself somedays now, as well.
I recently saw a post that suggested busy is an acronym for “Being Under Satan’s Yoke”. Woah. That will stop you and challenge your thoughts. Won’t it? Doesn’t that seem a little dramatic and excessive?
It might be. However, consider what Hebrews 4:11 states, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Our striving should be to enter the REST IN JESUS.
Does this mean I was striving outside Jesus? I don’t believe so. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us to Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
What then does this rest mean, then? With where I find myself today, I take it to mean rest in Jesus Christ, allowing His Holy Spirit to flow through our mind, will and emotions, so God’s will comes to pass on earth as in Heaven, and Matthew 28:19-20 is lived out.
When I felt heavy, when I felt burdened, when I was struggling, it was not because I was stressed, overwhelmed or because I had too much going on. It was no doubt because of what God was ABOUT to do the week ahead…
RESTING IN JESUS, LIVING OUT THE GREAT COMMISSION, AS HOLY SPIRIT LEADS. You can bet the enemy was throwing a tantrum.
The Lord’s yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give is light, we read in Matthew 11:30 – and this is exactly how I felt resting in His promises and divine appointments – AFTER the battle – a battle and spirit of heaviness that could never come from God.
You, my friend, are in my life for a reason. You will never be viewed as a burden, stressor or distraction. As I shared with a sweet friend on the phone last night just before our weekly gathering, whomever is right before me, is right where God needs me to be.
He will cause us to rest and balance, when we ask Him to. He will also fight our battles when the war is raging.
Praise God, He is good and His faithful love and mercies endure FOREVER! Where do I even begin? This morning I am rejoicing!
I couldn’t go to sleep last night. I tossed and turned. The faces in the room, the voices in unison around the reckless love of God, I standing deeply rooted in who I am and who God has made ME to be – it’s nothing short of a miracle, one that has been progressive and began six years ago today.
Six years ago today, I found myself on the bathroom floor in my place of employment – convinced it was my time to die. Convinced I would never see my then eleven and eight year old daughters again. I was convinced I had failed them and was not leaving behind the best for them.
My shirt was up and off, men and women gathered around me hooking things up to my body, while I lay on the floor asking for my brother to come in and pray with me before I left. Remember, I was at work. It was quite possibly the most horrific experience in my life. But it was a wake-up call.
The emergency room staff assured me I was fine. I was possibly stressed from the holidays, although it was noticed my heart rate was erratic and my potassium levels extremely low. The anti-convulsion medicine the emergency responders had given me seemed to calm me on the way to the ER. However, in the hospital it began again. My husband by my side, I begged him to call my former Pastor’s wife – my spiritual mother – SHE could pray me through this! Instead, I received another drug, rolled out to the car in a wheel chair, and crashed until late evening.
These episodes continued on for DAYS after. Christmas came and I wondered if I would get through. I was grateful to have another Christmas with my family, and grateful God seemed to be giving me more time. I was told I was anxious and needed to relax, quit worrying. I believe I was even diagnosed with panic disorder. Huh? I had a lot going on in my life, but how in the world can your mind cause your body to respond in such an intensely terrifying way? I wasn’t convinced, but what followed was text book.
Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere, and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.
This is exactly what happened. I couldn’t work for months. I didn’t go anywhere without my husband. I rarely drove my kiddos anywhere. I rarely did a thing. Once I returned to work, I had to take medication just to get there and back. This lasted the entire year. However, regardless of what I may have thought at the time, my circumstances were not indicative of the future before me. Here’s a little rundown of what has come to fruition since…
All of 2013 All I could seem to do was sit on the couch and watch the world through Facebook and Pinterest, growing a little angry with God, wondering if this was what my life was going to end like.
By 2014 the episodes had dwindled to one a month or so, anxiety medication, and other prescriptions seemed to make things worse. I kept sensing I needed to quit all medications and focus on Scripture, clean eating, and exercise. With my doctor’s approval, I did. Live Eat Sweat was born in the fall.
2015 I focused on fitness and my marriage. We had separated twice over the course of a couple years. Yes, as a Christian, Jesus loving, woman. God had to make it clear to me divorce was not to be in my vocabulary. We completed two Spartan races together, the sprint and super, he completed the Beast. That fall, I hosted the first LES 45 challenge, where we focused on Scripture, Whole30 foods, and exercise.
2016 I hosted a second and third challenge, became connected with medical missions at work, and began to think about LEGACY – and the imprint I sensed God was calling me to leave with my family and community. Rise Up! Devotions was composed; initially for our daughters and then for other women with the same stirring in their heart.
2017 Self-published five books (with the help of an amazing assistant), supported three mission trips in Dominican Republic and Guatemala, prayed for our community weekly for six weeks leading up to October 9th where I hosted a prayer event, became a Bible app contributor, invited to be a part of an art exhibit with Jesus at the center, and formulated the Rise Up Commitment. All of which were steps of faith and saying YES to the Lord’s leading.
2018 This year I have hosted two Rise Up Commitments (where thirty-six women’s lives have been impacted), launched a podcast, self-published three more books, and have been given opportunities to apply the skill set learned in this ministry, in my career in orthopedics and medical missions. Medical missions that will next year likely take me to Guatemala, Honduras and possibly Ecuador.
Last night, I stood in a room with thirty-seven women, twenty-six of which I had never met or connected with before. We worshiped in a coffee house in our community, and belted Reckless Love like we just didn’t care – and we didn’t – there was a sense God was there with us!
I will share with you what I shared with the amazing group of women last night. This post and testimony is NOT a way to pat myself on my back – at all. This testimony serves a few purposes:
1. Give GOD ALL THE GLORY for taking this apparently panic riddled woman whose only future appeared to be rotating sides of the couch, to where He has me today – firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, focusing less on self, sharing with you, and ministering to others. Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
AND PLACE YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD! This is my prayer; this is my heart’s desire! To be a conduit that connects YOU to every last ounce of God’s goodness, so you too can live freely in His love for you, going beyond where you find yourself today.
If fear, anxiety, panic, worry, or apprehension has taken over your life - there is FREEDOM to be found in Jesus! His perfect love CASTS OUT ALL FEAR and will send you places you never knew you were meant to go!!
If at this very moment, you find yourself without Jesus Christ in your life – will you consider reaching out and allowing me to pray with you? I know God has an amazing future for you if you will simply take one step towards Him, and allow Jesus in.
If you’re reading this and you have been wandering, feeling lost, hurt and broken with Jesus as Savior, will you also reach out and allow me to pray for you? I know God is eager to rush right to you, give you direction, purpose and hope, while healing your wounds and broken heart, all to lead you into ALL the promises He has for you.
If you’re reading this and Jesus is both your Savior AND Lord, but you’re feeling drained and dry due to religion, will you reach out? I know Jesus desires to restore love and life to your relationship with Him.
If you’re reading this and you’re GOOD, praise God! I want to encourage you to continue to press in and press on to an EVEN GREATER MEASURE of the Lord’s goodness! There are STILL promises He has for you that far surpass what your natural mind is able to imagine.
Finally, if you are not connected with a community where you are challenged and encouraged to grow and be transformed, I pray God lead you right where you need to be so YOU can go BEYOND in YOUR faith journey to becoming whole in spirit, soul and body – all to reflect JESUS to the world around you.
A community of other women is priceless in this world. A community of PRAYING, SUPPORTIVE, ENCOURAGING WOMEN with Christ at the center, is divine – and necessary to walk out our faith in this life.
It was a Sunday evening just over two years ago when I received the call.
“Could you please pray? It has been reported one of the students at the middle school took his life.”
He was a middle schooler in our community. Bright eyed, enjoyed sports and loved going to his youth group.
I committed to prayer. My daughters joined me on the bed in my bedroom and we began to pray. I began to weep. I couldn’t imagine.
As Monday rolled around, I was still in shock. If I was in shock, how was Payton’s mother, Ann, feeling? I cannot imagine. She began to lay heavy on my heart. I continued to pray.
Wednesday morning, I made my way to the middle school for the weekly Campus Life meeting. The atmosphere was somber as class and team mates rolled in, heavy with the weight of their emotions, questions and feelings. The young men seemed softer, the young girls in disbelief.
We broke out into our small groups. The girls cried. I asked the grace of God to help me comfort.
As the day went on I had Owen, Payton’s younger brother, Ann, the middle schoolers, and our entire community on my mind. I was led to go to the heart of our county and lift everyone up in prayer. A couple girlfriends, their kiddos, my kiddos and myself joined on the lawn and prayed for Ann, Owen and our community. We prayed for comfort for all wrestling with the pain and hurt.
As the viewing rolled around, my heart was tugged to go and give Ann a hug. Even though I didn’t know her all that well, this mamma had to put her arms around another mamma experiencing the unthinkable. I went. I sat with other women pouring into her. We left.
Life went on. People found their new “normal”. The kids and community healed. The report seemed to change. But it didn’t matter. A young man full of light and love had lost his life and there was a mother and younger brother, as well as a father and others experiencing the void of his presence.
Fast forward one year and a couple months later, to December 2017. Ann wanted to be a part of a small group I was encouraging. You know that moment where you KNOW that you KNOW God simply needs you to say "yes"? I had that moment. There was no doubt, no question. God had moved others and myself to pray and intercede on her behalf. He was moving others and myself to minister and encourage her.
Throughout the first few months of this year, our small women’s group witnessed Ann transform right before our very eyes. She went from a woman sometimes unable to do anything but cry and lament the loss of her son, to, in her own words, “Have HOPE again.” I share this not to pat anyone on the back, but to GIVE GOD THE GLORY for the deep healing work He did in her life through a loving and praying community.
Just around the corner was an enemy ready to steal, kill and destroy the hope she had laid hold of. Bit by bit, life became overwhelming again, the memories of Payton she would never create were vivid, the sadness paralyzing. Slowly she began to disconnect and things began to slip.
One evening in late summer, she and I went for a walk around the high school. She shared she was tired of being under the dark cloud again, and ready for change. With the fall women’s group just ahead, I invited her to once again connect with us. She did.
She came the first night with a restored joy and glimmer in her eye. She was not the same woman who sat before me earlier this year. SHE had become a conduit of hope to others, finding herself one evening going between hospital rooms of two friends in need. God had TRULY transformed her mourning into JOY. She continued, week after week, sharing, opening up – expressing the deep wounds and pains related to the loss of Payton. She shared her hope of being able to minister to others.
This evening, the dark cloud is back and appears darker, blacker, thicker and heavier than ever. She will tell you the truth, she let things slip and she feels horrible for it. She saw, even experienced, hope again. But the enemy was very crafty at causing her to believe things will never be better - she shouldn't have hoped. Hope is again gone.
For those of you reading, I ask you two things. First, please pray fervently for Ann and Owen’s future. I believe God has a glory on the other side of this unthinkable pain and heartache. Second, consider donating to help bring financial relief during the Christmas season – A SEASON TO LOVE even more those around us than we do all year long.
You can can donate via Go Fund Me, by CLICKING HERE.
Words shared from the “Celebrating Payton” event, October 2, 2018:
Payton found join in Christ's love, giving to others and making people smile. We all remember him for his generosity, kindness, and love for Christ. His life made an impact and spread a ripple that can still be seen. Payton's true legacy will come from the ripples of our lives and the choices to serve. The effects of your simple acts will provide a light and positive impact in our world.
This blog and related fundraiser have been created with permission from Ann. If you would like to send your love, prayers, and good vibes, feel free to comment.
“What would you like for Christmas?”
The question my husband asks me every year. Every year I respond with something along the lines of, “World peace, an end to hunger, perfect family nights, and the kiddos to be little again.”
A girl can dream. Right?
I wanted to give him something solid, but I have never been one to focus on material items (although I DO appreciate them!) as my love language. I prefer quality time, notes, experiences and a nice massage. Easy. Right? For him, it’s just easier if he can buy me something. You see the struggle?
A couple rocky weeks together and a few challenging discussions, I knew we really needed to be focused on one another, our marriage and our family. It’s not that we had completely let things slip off the rails, but we were honest enough to acknowledge our personal directions had been diverging. My focus? Kiddos, ministry and work. His focus? Kiddos and successfully growing in his new role in his new career. Some converging needed to be at the heart of our lives for a season.
Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart about balance. Balance in my relationship with Him, living His high calling, taking care of His temple, my relationship with my Hubby, kiddos and the gals He’s called me to encourage and support.
Balance. Something that can seem so elusive and hard to obtain, but God continues to speak to my heart is not only possible, but necessary.
Focus on relationship with Him, the calling and being there for the gals certainly became my top priorities. Hubby and kiddos were right in parallel. His temple? My challenges with complications from surgery and then being sick for several weeks, snuffed my reignited desire to focus on this temple. Then I just fizzled completely. Ugh…
Help me see what needs to be pieced together here, Holy Spirit. Eureka!
I text my husband my Christmas list…
“That sounds like a great idea!!!! Until the last word…” Ha! The excessive use of exclamation points indicated I had requested something we would BOTH enjoy. When we made it home from work, he was excited. We talked about the night we would have for date night, and agreed to hang up a calendar in our bedroom we could cross off each day for keeping our commitment. I would red line one half of an X, he would blue line the other half, and seal it with a heart. Awe……
I’m grateful Holy Spirit did some highlighting for us and we are able and willing to respond. I’m looking forward to the deep work He is about to do. I’m looking forward to lasting transformation in our minds, relationship and bodies. I’m looking forward to the foundation that will be laid as I approach forty and look beyond to half-time in our lives together. We’re looking forward to being intentional and sharing the journey…
If you’ve been thinking about balance and allowing God to make it so, please let me know. I believe I can fervently pray for you from a place of understanding and trust God will piece together His plan for your life as well.