Hello beautiful people!
Y’know, I had an epiphany lately: I know some really great women.
Not to be flowery, sappy, “OhEmmGeeeeeee, everyone I know is awesooome!!”( who…me?), but honestly I have been blessed to find some really phenomenal women from all ages and stages of life, and to exist in this constant state of inspiration and iron sharpening iron. Some of these women have advanced degrees, and some are just starting or returning to school. Some are my age, others younger, still more are a generation apart. Some of these women, like the one I will feature below, I have known for years, and others are more recent gifts, however, the common thread that runs among them is that they all have the capability to minister. Beyond views or likes or funny pictures, the ultimate point of this blog is to reach someone who didn’t think that they were capable of being reached, and to see something here that connects with where you are or where you believe that God is taking you. It is my hope every time that I push publish that there is something here that a soul needed to see. If nothing else, know that the only requirement for your covenant friends is that they chasing Christ and encouraging you to chase Him, too.
I am not egotistical enough to believe that I have the lock and key on a word in season. Ephesians 4:11 mentions the evangelists, the shepherds, the prophets, the apostles, and the teachers, and Matthew 24 talks about the gospel being preached not only locally but all over. We can’t, I certainly can’t do that by myself! Today, I am excited to host my best friend Shannon. We have known each other since our first year of high school, and I jokingly used to call her my wise owl. Shannon is thoughtful, perceptive, intelligent, and she is sharing her story, her testimony, and her views below!
1. Jump in, jump out, Introduce yourself! What are three things not many people know about you?
Hi there! I’m Shannon and I’ve been friends with Stephanie since our freshman year of high school when she tried to steal my locker in gym class. What started out as me constantly beating her in badminton (no matter what she says, that’s how it went down) has blossomed into a beautiful, life-long sisterhood and I am so grateful that God saw fit to place us together all those years ago.
A few lesser known things about me: my favorite snowball flavor is egg custard, my guilty pleasure is historical romance novels (the kind where some Duke touches some Lady on the elbow and she swoons and falls in love), and I used to want at least three kids … until I had the one.
2. What would you say is your biggest testimony right now?
I’ve recently decided to start blogging about what I believe is my biggest testimony right now: the tale of a first generation active, full-time mom to an energetic, fearless toddler.
When I think of myself as a “first generation” mom it is in the same context as a first generation college student. First generation college students enter the world of higher education with no guidance from their parents because neither parent went through the experience, and so the parents have no clue how to counsel the student and can’t really help with setting or managing the expectations of college life.
That sense of breaking new ground in the family has its own set of challenges that often makes the student feel totally alone and, to a degree, puts the student at a disadvantage compared to students of college educated parents who have likely been groomed for the college experience by parents who have “been there, done that.” In that same sense, I am breaking new ground by being a full-time, active parent because neither of my biological parents raised me.
It’s a testimony that has often been hard for me to articulate. But I am learning that it’s important to share your story even when – especially when – the story is not necessarily neat and pretty so that you (and others) can learn, heal, and grow from it. You can read more about my story at http://www.firstgenmom.com.
3. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
One of my favorite bible verses is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Since becoming a parent 2.5 years ago I have really come to understand what that verse means and the true depth of God’s love that one sentence portrays. I have one child. She is my world. Even when she drives me nuts I can’t think of a person, living on this earth or otherwise, that I would give up my one and only child for.
So that God would give up His one and only Son so that I could live – on earth but also in heaven with Him once I have breathed my last breath – is beyond humbling to me.
I am not worthy of such a sacrifice. And yet, knowing fully that despite my best efforts I would always fail in comparison to His beloved Son, God still saw fit to scarifice His one and only Son for me and you. How amazing is that? How much must He love us to make such a sacrifice? And if He loves us enough to give up the one thing that I know I as a parent could never sacrifice myself then we must each be so incredibly important and valuable to Him.
So whenever I doubt myself or my abilities I try and remember that our God gave His one and only Son so that if I just believe in Him that I might live eternally, and therefore my purpose on this earth (which I am still figuring out) must be magnificent.
4. What is life teaching you right now?
Life is teaching me to be patient and listen for God’s guidance. Lately, when I find myself anxiously plotting my next move and trying to jump ahead to what I think God has for me next I feel like God is blocking my moves like that basketball player in that Geico commercial. “No no no. Not in my house!” I know that what God has planned for me is amazing but if I keep trying to force my hand he will continue to block my ill-advised shots. So I am learning to wait, listen, and pray twice as much as I shoot.
5. What does being a Christian woman mean to you?
Being a Christian woman means that it is both my responsibility and my privilege to make a conscious effort daily to live and walk in God’s image. That doesn’t mean that I think I am perfect or that I have to pretend to be. It simply means that I consistently try and choose to be kind, generous, loving, faithful, and forgiving – even when it is hard and unpopular to do so.
Man, Shannon said a mouthful, didn’t she? (I knew she would!) I sincerely hope that something you saw here resonated with you, and I can’t wait to come back next Wednesday with another Phenomenal Woman!!