Until I was eight, my family attended Catholic Mass every week. I participated in all the age-appropriate Catholic traditions. However, after my parents divorced, my mom began a journey of spiritual seeking, which led her to a Christian church where we spent two years. During that time I chose to accept Jesus into my life. After those two years, we sought a church that was a better fit for our family and found the church that I would call “home” until after I graduated college. It was there that God truly grabbed ahold of my life and I learned some important life lessons.
My parents’ divorce radically changed my life. Even at eight years old, I felt as if the bottom had fallen out of my life—as if everything I knew to be true was really a lie. I was, and still am, a person who does not show emotion easily. As a result, for years I kept everything stuffed inside, pretending life was great.
Deep down, nothing made sense.
I was hurt and broken.
My mom is an amazing person who did the best she could as a single mom, but something was missing in my life. I bottled up my questioning, but it came gushing to the forefront in high school. I began seriously questioning the God I’d believed in; even while my mom was on church staff, I was part of a great student ministry, and was serving with junior high students.
So many people talked and taught about a relationship to God as Abba, our Father, but I’d never seen or experienced God as Abba. During this time I first heard Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT):
“The Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty Savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
As this verse grabbed at everything in me,
I knew I didn’t have a relationship with this God.
I knew God in my head, but not truly in my heart.
I began wondering if this whole Christianity thing was true or just some lie I had bought into as a child.
If it was true,
I knew that I wanted to know the God described in Zephaniah.
The God who is a loving father present for His children.
The God who rejoices over His children with songs.
Suddenly I was overly aware of this void in my life, and I thought I needed to fill it. I began seeking to fill the void in all of the wrong places and made some poor decisions. How grateful I am that even in my questioning, doubt, and sin, God never turned His back on me!
As a matter of fact, He proved Himself to be truer in my life than I ever thought possible.
Remember my mom was on staff at a church, so I had no choice but to be in church every week and participate in youth group. The junior high pastor chose to allow me to continue to serve (alongside a mentor) and he also invested in my life.
During this time, God brought amazing godly people (and families) into my life who showed me a side of God I’d never seen before. They welcomed me into their homes, openly discussed the Bible and God, and talked through so many of my questions.
They never judged me, but loved me where I was.
I began to see a different, loving side of God.
I began to see more of His character than I had ever known.
I began to fall madly in love with Jesus.
The more I sought Him and got to know Him, the more I saw how He had always loved and cared for me.
I began to see and believe I truly was a daughter of the King;
I was His princess!
From this season, God called me to ministry, specifically to children and youth. While I attended college in Tennessee, God continued to show Himself true and faithful.
During my second semester, I had a seizure. Though I was making friends, my family was 2,300 miles away. From an earthly perspective, I was very alone, However, God was there and He never left me. Through this time, I learned to depend on God in a way I never had before. God showed me once again He is always faithful! What an important lesson for my life!
As college ended and I began seeking jobs, I found closed door after closed door. Kicking and screaming (and fighting with God) all the way, I returned to Las Vegas, my birthplace and home. However, because I had learned that God is faithful and trustworthy (not in my time, but in His), I stepped out in trust. As a wise man once said to me, “God is always on time, seldom early, and never late.”
After moving back, I found an amazing church and joined the staff, where I was blessed with the opportunity to pour into children, meet and marry my husband, have our first child, and develop some amazing life-long relationships.
God has since moved my family to Illinois and Missouri. Each move has had its challenging moments,
but God continues to prove Himself true and faithful in my life.
My faith is by no means perfect, and continues to be a work in progress, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that my God is true and faithful.
He will never fail;
He will never leave me, and
He is there through every step of my life.
Not only as my God, but my loving Abba!
I have learned to cling to the truth in Scripture.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 45:11 (NIV)
“The King is enthralled with your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your Lord.”
The Message paraphrase says:
“Be here—the King is wild for you.
Since He’s your Lord, adore Him.”
That I am His daughter cannot be denied in that verse.
It is a constant reminder to me that He absolutely loves ME!
As I continue to focus on Him, to trust Him, and to seek after Him, no matter what obstacle comes my way, He has it all figured out and He will always be faithful and trustworthy!
Want to study with us? Sign up for daily Journey Studies!
Want to read more stories like Shannon’s?
Ready to share your story?!