Monday, December 29, 2008

17 years ago today...

I asked Jesus into my heart. I was 10 and didn't have a huge grasp on what I was doing, but believed His Word that says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." I love that salvation is available for all and even a child can receive it. I love that our salvation is still taking place as we are sanctified more and more to be like Christ. I love the blessed hope that one day our salvation will be complete. My mom lead me to Jesus. That should come as no surprise. She played a huge role in shaping my spiritual life and being one of the godliest examples in my life. Her example still inspires me today and hopefully for the rest of my life.

We had a beautiful Christmas. I loved that so many were praying for us. I got to feel a small touch of how God comforts His children. I've been amazed by the name "Immanuel" this Christmas season. Scripture says that it means "God with us." I'm so thankful that we are able to experience God with us more than 2000 years after He came to this earth.

17 years ago today I asked Jesus to come live in my heart. I am so thankful for that day.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

To Mom on your 64th Birthday:

Sixty-four years ago today you entered the world and I am so thankful for your day of birth. About five months ago, God chose to take you home to be with Him. I am trying to learn to be thankful for that day although it broke my heart deeper than it had ever been. I have been trying to imagine Heaven for the past few months and cannot comprehend. I think of you every day and try to do things like you would do them, although my cooking experiences still leave much to be desired. I am thankful for your relationship with Dad for over 40 years and how I continue to learn from it. Your kids have done their best to take care of Dad. He is a strong man with great faith, although he sometimes gets lonely without you.
I think of you everytime I am around your grandkids. I hope God allows you to see them a little bit. They are growing so fast and I cannot help but think of how much you adored them. I cannot wait to tell my children about you someday. I have so many great things to share.
I cannot help but think of you being with Jesus. I wonder if you would tell us that it is better than you could have imagined. I keep thinking of the part of the song from "O Come All Ye Faithful" that says, "For He Alone is Worthy." You lived your life like that and I am sure you are getting to see that first hand.
My heart misses you more than words can express. I saw what I thought would have been the best Christmas card for you the other day, had a few tears in Hallmark. You would've understood. I miss my Mom and I also miss my dear friend. You were the best and will always have a piece of my heart.

Until We Meet Again,
Shawna Joy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I might love this day more than any other, although the rolls that I made did not rise. Three things that I am thankful for, they have been on my mind all week. The top 3 for this year if you will:

  1. My Mom is no longer suffering from the horrible effects of cancer.
  2. God allows our faith to be shaken and stirred, not to harm us, but to show us how dependent we are on Him. Faith comes from Him and Him alone.
  3. God Word, the Bible, has proven to be such a comfort and encouragement to me this year. When I read the pages, I see that God's Word is so alive and relevant for me. It has proven to be a true help and comfort, more than any other book or words that have been shared with me. I am so thankful for the words of peace and promise.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 12. It is a beautiful hymn of Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some randoms...

It is the week of Thanksgiving! It may be my favorite holiday. It is definitely in close contention with Valentine's Day. Imagine a single girl saying that, I love Valentine's Day because of about a zillion wonderful memories. I remember a lot of them better than I have remembered most Christmases. Here's some things on my mind:
  • I'm tired of hearing about the movie Twilight. I am totally against it for a lot of reasons. I am sad that believers will take their children to see this movie. I hate it that the things of this world can have such a huge impact on the lives of believers.
  • I'm excited for a new president although I did not vote for him. I believe it is a big step for our country and I pray that his presidency will break down some racial barriers that are still prevalent in our world today, especially in my city. I believe that Christians have a responsibility to pray and support whoever God allows to serve in the office of the President.
  • Speaking of authority, I am struggling with some thoughts. We are finishing up with students in Colossians. Colossians 3 speaks of submission, first concerning wives to husbands, then children to parents, and finally employees to employers. I agree with how we respond to these relationships show our submission to God, but there is more. I think it is easy for men to preach that women should be in submission and I agree that it should be preached on. However, many men I encounter devalue women in the process of speaking on submission. If a man desires a woman to submit to him, treat her with care and respect. She is valuable in the eyes of God and should be given the same consideration in the eyes of man. (Disclaimer: This was not a problem in the preaching in my church, but some comments were made following the message.)
That's enough for tonight. Lots of controversial stuff anyways. I will write this week of the things I am thankful for, I can think of three that top the list.

With a heart of thanksgiving,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Bracelets

I've been in the blogging mood lately, but have been too tired or busy to blog. I took this picture the other day.
If you see me on any given day, you would probably see these as well. I started wearing the gold and pearl bracelet on August 1 or so. It is a Heaven bracelet and can be purchased here. The idea of the bracelet is taken from Revelation 21:21, " And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass." It is a visual reminder to me of the beauty of Heaven and the people and treasure that await for those that know Jesus. I started wearing the green and silver bracelet around the first of September in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. The same lady who made the Heaven bracelet made a the Ovarian Cancer bracelet to my specifications.

These are two things that I cherish, not because of their value, but because of what they represent. I love that I know I will see my Mom again and enjoy eternity with her. Ovarian Cancer is a silent, but deadly cancer and much awareness and research has been done for early detection and a cure. Greater advancements need to be made before more ladies suffer from this deadly disease. I wear these bracelets in honor and in memory of my mom. My life was impacted by her for 27 years and she still continues to influence my thoughts and life even though she is away from my presence for a short time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

How to Continue

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:1-5

These were mine and Mom's verses that we read while I was on Mission Trip to Brazil in 2007. I would read them over and over again in Brazil, knowing that Mom was back home battling cancer. She was reading them daily as well in an effort to continue to fight. We knew that the outcome would produce something that would bring hope in our lives and glorify God.

What I have been struggling with is how to take the God things that we did together and continue these practices in my life. I could always share Scripture with her that had made an impact in my life and she would want to read it. She would often tell me a story from her past and how those Words had served as encouragement or provided conviction in her life.

For the last few months or so before she passed away and was able to talk on the phone, we would pray together each evening. We had three things that had to be included in our prayer:

  • Give thanks to God for one person who had been a blessing to us that day.
  • Give thanks for one thing that God had blessed us with that day.
  • Pray for someone who was going through a more difficult time than us.

I remember the prayers so vividly and the people that God had allowed to cross our paths during that day. I remember the hurting people that God had placed in my life and ministry and how Mom would carry that burden with me.

So, what I am trying to figure out is how to continue to live out this legacy of faith that she has passed on to me. It is not the same since I don't have her to share it with me, but I am certain that she would not want me to stop praying specificially or getting excited about God's Word, even though I cannot tell her about it. This is obviously not a problem, but a good thing as I am being challenged to continue on in what I have been taught and know to be true.

Friday, October 24, 2008

3 Months Update

Yesterday was three months since my Mom experienced her Heavenly treasure. I wish I could say my family is doing great and things are moving along quite well. I can say that most of the time my family is doing great and things are moving along quite well, but we have our moments. One thing about this time that has been so crazy for me is the lessons that I am learning. Often, I feel like I get a new lesson each week. God knows I could not handle too much at once, so I think that is obviously the point of showing something new each week. The biggest thing that I have seen in the past few days is that how one deals with the death of a loved one is significantly related to the faith of the one who passed away and the one left behind. This may not seem like a big deal, but it has been a big deal to me because I have actually seen it. I've encountered people in the last 3 months who have struggled with a death as a nonbeliever or as a relatively new Christian and it is interesting to see how difference their experience has been. My grief has been so real, but the hope that I have in Christ has been so much greater. Christ is the true foundation of my faith and my faith being shaken has not changed that in the least bit. The Word has been the biggest comfort to me, even more than the sweet words of some people or having my family by my side.
Of course, there is much more, but that is going to be it for now. God has been so faithful. I have been listening to a CD by Jami Smith called "Faith in You." It is amazingly honest. Life is changing for the better I believe, I am reading a ton and I love it. So many great books, so little time.
Of all the lessons I have learned, the thing that comes to me over and over again is that God is an ever-present friend. Oh how we need Him.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One More Week of Waiting

I preordered this months ago and cannot wait for it to come out.

I love a good Study Bible, and am sure that this will be my favorite cause the ESV is my preferred translation. You can check it out here and even order one for yourself.

Happy Rainy Tuesday!

Friday, October 03, 2008

You are Everything

I realized that my blog was starting to depress even me. So many good things are going on in my life. This is quickly becoming my new favorite song:

You Are Everything - Matthew West

I’m the one with two left feet
Standing on a lonely street
I can’t even walk a straight line
And every time you look at me
I’m spinning like an autumn leaf
Bound to hit bottom sometime
Where would I be without someone to save me
Someone who won’t let me fall

You are everything that I live for
Everything that I can’t believe is happening
You’re standing right in front of me
With arms wide open
All I know is
Every day is filled with hope
You are everything that I believe for
And I can’t help but breathe you in
Breathe again
Feeling all this life within
Every single beat of my heart
I’m the one with big mistakes
Big regrets and bigger breaks
Than I ever care to confess
Oh but, You’re the one who looks at me
And sees what I was meant to be
More than just a beautiful mess

You are everything that I live for
Everything that I can’t believe is happening
You’re standing right in front of me
With arms wide open
All I know is
Every day is filled with hope
You are everything that I believe for
And I can’t help but breathe you in
Breathe again
Feeling all this life within
Every single beat of my heart

You’re everything good in my life
Everything honest and true
And all of those stars hanging up in the sky
Could never shine brighter than You
You are everything that I live for
Everything that I can’t believe is happening
You’re standing right in front of me
With arms wide open
All I know is
Every day is filled with hope
You are everything that I believe for
And I can’t help but breathe you in
Breathe again
Feeling all this life within
Every single beat of my heart
You are
You are
Jesus, You are
You are everything

Another musical thing that I ran across that was incredible was this interview with Lecrae and Mark Driscoll. I saw Lecrae in concert a few months ago. He is definitely the real deal and even calls Memphis home.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2 months

It has been two months today since Mom got a better offer to leave all earthly cares behind for brighter Home. In some ways, my heart is completely empty as I think about her not being here, and in other ways, I have never been so loved by a Heavenly Father and my family. I read from one of her books on the morning before she went to be with Jesus that afternoon. It is a quote from Spurgeon, "Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties." We have experienced the difficulties and we are seeing glimpses of the grandeur. We have mostly seen God glorified. God took my Mom so that He could be glorified. No other reasons, but His glory. This is one of many lessons I am trying to grasp.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mom's Ring

Sometimes I wear my Mom's mothers ring. It has the birthstones of all 5 of our family members on it. Her birthstone is blue and it is in the middle. When I know that I am going to have a tough day I wear it. I don't need a reminder of her, everything reminds me of her. When I look at it, I am reminded of her strength and courage when facing tough situations. I want to be like her. I want to be strong and courageous, but often I feel weak and helpless. This month has been so hard. The missing her doesn't seem to go away, some days it is greater than others. I think that I wasn't through needing her yet, but God chose to take her. I am thankful that she is free from suffering and pain. I just wasn't ready to be without her. I miss that she listened better than anyone else. I miss her voice on the phone. I miss knowing whenever I went home, she would be there. I miss her.

Monday, August 04, 2008


My mom joined Grandpa in Heaven on July 23, 2008. I didn't think it was possible to miss someone so much. I'm not sure when I will want to blog again. I wrote a lot while she was in the hospital. I may share some of that. We have many great memories, although my heart has been broken.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George Kelly Jr - May 19, 1918 - June 14, 2008

My grandpa went home to Jesus a week and a half ago. I miss him a lot. God gave him 90 years on this earth and I was fortunate to know him for 26 of them. So many good memories, my last one is from breakfast on the Sunday before he passed away. Grandpa and Grandma were eating breakfast and wearing red shirts. Grandpa told me that everyone should wear red shirts on Sunday. This past Sunday, I wore a red shirt. His love for Jesus will affect me as long as I live. Thank you Grandpa for your Godly legacy. My heart will always miss you.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Tomorrow night at 6 pm, I am graduating from Union University with a Master's Degree in Christian Studies. I am psyched! I cannot believe that it is finally here!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The simpliest things

I get joy from small things in life, like whip cream in the can, happy hour at sonic, waking up and realizing it is Saturday and I can sleep. Ya get the picture. Well, my mind has been on Theological things since I am reading this Systematic Theology book by Wayne Grudem. I usually read the book with the Bible by my side for looking up verses when he only gives the reference or for looking up the context. Anyway, I was reading about justification and came across these verses in Isaiah 55:6-7, "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." I love these verses. I know I have read them many times. Here's what jumped off the page as a finished reading: verses 8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Yes, more familiar verses.
Before now, I had not realized that those verses were hanging our next to each other. How incredible of God to put these together for me to read! :) I love it that when I seek God in His Word, He continues to impress me and show me more of Him.
Simple stuff, yet brings joy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Theological Thoughts... sorta...

Welcome to April. I love everything about Spring, except for allergies. Last night, I started my last class in Union University Master's of Christian Studies Program. The class is Theology 2. Theology 1 was obviously prior to this and I don't think that I have ever been so challenged in my beliefs. Maybe challenged is not a good word, but I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for Scripture.
Sometimes I wonder though if people have theological discussions to impress other people. My dad reminds me to be careful of words that are not Bible words and I think that some theological ideas can come from words that men deem important. We had this discussion last night concerning peccability and impeccability. The meaning of these words have to deal with the question of Jesus being able to sin and choosing not to or not having the ability to sin. In my class and the Biblical people that I am around expect you to have an opinion about these ideas. I kinda straddle the fence when it comes to this. I think the important thing is that Jesus lived a sinless life. The Bible definitely affirms this!
I don't want to know more about Theology because it impresses people. I want it to strengthen my faith and affirm things that I believe from Scripture.
My favorite verses that I have come across as I have been reading lots of Theology is found in Jeremiah 9:23-24. Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
I hope that my knowledge of God increases through the study of Theology. Imagine delighting the Lord. That's the desire of my heart!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A few things I love about a Mac

My Macbook has been a small source of joy and fun since coming to live at my house. I am totally enjoying widgets! Who knew that there were so many. I gotta keep myself under control, I mean how many widgets does one girl need??? :)
Second, something that is not really a Mac thing, is iGoogle. More specifically, the How To on iGoogle. I loved todays: How to Remove Gum from Clothes
Good times. I feel smarter every day! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tough Skin for the Ministry

Mondays are usually a little crazy, but for the past two Mondays, I have been torn down by people that I think would normally care about me. Two times, people have referred to my face of those who work in youth ministry as immature and needing to grow up. Granted, that is often the case. I am immature and I have a lot of growing up to do, and I don't have years of experience behind me. Isn't that something that should be valuable in youth ministry? I think the students have the opportunity to see the flaws and kinks that come from learning as I go. I'm so glad I do not have the Christian life figured out. I still desire to learn and grow. I want to learn from these people that God has placed in my life, but today they have hurt my heart.

What is exactly the point for acting this way? I'm trying to be a little tougher when dealing with different people and situations in the ministry. I'm still a girl and my feelings/emotions sometimes get the best of me. I am reminded for every hurt there are so many words of encouragement. I am so grateful for the encouragement.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

no temptation

So many good things happening lately! February was a tough month and I'm glad for March and some sign of winter being over! Funny story, I got an email from Starbucks advertising the new Honey Latte. I deleted it quickly. I'm definitely gonna have to check it out after this Starbucks fast is over! :) I will not give into temptation.

On to other things, my Sunday morning girls have been challenging me! God is doing some incredible things in their lives and we have begun to read the Bible together. They have been so faithful and I have loved the dialogue and questions that it has prompted! I keep telling them that they have potential. They like to say it back to me, "We know we have potential!" I get excited about teaching them.

Theology class just happens to be the most time consuming challenge for me right now. I read about 400 pages on The Doctrine of God. It was incredible. In class we had to pick 2 attributes that we would teach lessons on about God. I chose Independence for the fact that God does not need us, yet chose to create and love us. The other one was Holiness. To me it is one of the coolest things about God, He is perfect in every way, and calls His children to live holy lives. It is something about God that I do not understand, but am trying to grasp. My mind is boggled each and every week. It is awesome!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

a little withdrawl

I need to clarify what I am about to say. 1. I am not Catholic (Southern Baptist is my current denomination affiliation). 2. I do not adhere to lent.

That being said, I have given up Starbucks for 40 (actually 41) days. This giving up just happens to coincide with Lent, but it is more of me disciplining myself to see if I can actually live without something that I would consider an addiction. Yes, I definitely miss my Tall Non-fat Cinnamon Dolce Latte Extra Hot w/Whip, but I am surviving. A couple of times I have actually thought about giving up coffee altogether, but I don't think I'm ready to jump on that train yet.

Am I learning anything by giving this up?? Maybe, time will continue to tell!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

You probably saw this on google today! It made me smile everytime.

My grandparents have been married over 65 years and my parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. Quite a legacy to live up to...
To those that I love - I love you every day of the year, not just February 14th.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In honor of Valentine's Day...

I love Valentine's Day. With or without a boyfriend, I have some fun memories. When I was little my mom would make us a special dinner and we would eat by candlelight. My mom pretty makes every holiday special and Valentine's day just happened to be a fun one. In honor or this week of Love, I'm wearing pink or red everyday. I will also be toting around my new red moleskine. I think I may be addicted! :)

What do you love about Valentine's Day? Yes, it is a Hallmark holiday, but you should never miss an opportunity to let people know that you love them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A short rant...

I'm pretty tired of hearing about celebrities with drug/alcohol addictions checking into rehab. I refused to waste my time watching the Grammys last night, but I saw on all the major news websites today that Amy Winehouse won the most awards. Yeah, she couldn't even make it to the states because her life is like a train wreck at this moment. These are the people that are glorified in our society. It really makes me sick.

While, I am ranting. I have a little NBA news to add to this. Why did the Phoenix Suns take Shaq and give up Shawn Marion. Shaq was great about 8 years ago. Unfortunately for the Suns, they got shafted!

More positive stuff later.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Favorite

Call me a sappy person! This is my favorite commercial...

FYI - I'm going to something really cool tonight! Hopefully, it will live up to my expectations and I will blog about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What to Say?

I've been thinking about my Sunday School girls all day long. They are 9th graders. I had them when they were in 6th grade as well, so we are pretty comfortable with each other. Over the past couple of weeks, I've dealt with some of them individually concerning spiritual issues, relationships, and the list goes on. Here's what I'm trying to figure out. What do I need to teach them that goes beyond the every Sunday lesson? What do I wish that someone would have shared with me when I was in the 9th grade? These girls are great listeners and love some discussions. I want to give them truth from God's Word, while making it practical for the here and now. What a task! Not so sure how I am doing with accomplishing it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Energy Drink

So, today my boss dude, Nathan, and I were checking wikipedia (an unreliable source) for information on what was in his energy drink. We found out that one of his favorites had Guarana in it, which is the main ingredient in
This stuff is the best drink in Brasil. It is kinda like Ginger Ale, but better. Anyway, the energy drink contains guarana, which has 3 times the amount of caffeine as coffee beans. I think I may need to switch from coffee to energy drinks. Why can't coffee contain guarana?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


That one word would probably best describe my feelings of today. I guess working in the ministry would bring that about from time-to-time. I hate it when it happens. I feel like my gifts, talents, and abilities are pretty much worthless. A few times today I wanted to take the work that I was doing and just start over. I desired something fresh and it seemed like all I could come up with was leftovers.
I've been reading in Proverbs lately and most of the chapters seem to deal with my issues of pride, inability to control my tongue, and more. God's Word is so convicting, it gets to me like nothing else and I see myself as completely inadequate with a deep dependence on God. I've been thinking of the words to some worship song, I think it's called "All We Need." I love the chorus, "And we have all we need in you, and all we need is you, all we need is you." If only my heart would match up with the words that were coming out of my mouth.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How much?

Sometimes I wonder how much information a blog should really contain? Should I get real personal and tell some stories or should I just give some deep thoughts and go on? I like personal, transparent, honest information. Will this ever show up in my blogging? Maybe. For now I'm thinking... some things may just be too personal.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Still gets me excited!

Christmas happened and so many other good things have come into my life lately. I am living in a new place, enjoying a macbook, starting a new class (most interesting, I would have to say.)

Nothing compares to sharing Jesus with someone. I had the opportunity to do that a few days ago on our Student Ministry Ski Trip. This person wasn't just a student, she was a college student and was completely broken over her need for a Savior. It may have been one of the coolest conversion experiences I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. God moved in such a powerful way, the only thing for this girl to do was accept Jesus. I'm so glad I got to share in her joy. I'm so thankful for the power that God has to change lives. Thinking about it, still gets me excited.