These are the words that the Lord spoke to me in October 2011. I was asking him why so many things were going at me at that particular time in my life. I had a plan that I was trying to move forward with… regarding Gulu, Uganda….
But sitting one night in service at IHOP-Atlanta, He answered me as quickly as I asked….
“I hit the pause button.”
The only thing that I didn’t understand about the pause button was why He felt the need to press it upon my life….and my plans…..and my visions.
Now I know….because they were becoming Mine….and not His.
The pause button meant that though He pressed it, He would press it again! There was a promise attached to it…that the same song would continue to play, right where He left off. The song never changed. He didn’t press the “stop button” or the “rewind button”…..He pressed the “pause button”. His desire for me was to wait while certain things have had to happen over these past four months. My job was to trust in the “pause button”. To trust in knowing that the song would play again….that the call upon my life would resound in my heart again.
So let me share what has happened during this “Pause Button”…..
During these past four months, the Lord spoke directly to my heart that a certain man I had met was my husband. He had spoken the same thing to him…..and I married him. The Lord blessed me with the most precious man of God. I wasn’t even looking to marry….remember, I had a plan of my own that I was trying to accomplish. But the pause button started off as a good thing. 🙂 The Lord showed me that John and I are called together to serve….and together we are stronger for the kingdom. How very blessed I am to be John’s wife….to be chosen to complete him.
Also during this time, I was hit by a drunk driver on the way to work on Interstate 85 at 5:30 am. It was freezing cold and in a matter of moments, my life flashed before my eyes as we were rearended at a high speed and pushed into another drunk driver. Trapped in the car, my mind raced as I wondered if my life was about to be over. I thought that in a matter of minutes an 18 wheeler would hit us. We escaped out of the driver side door and ran across 4 lanes of expressway. When the police showed up, they were shocked that my co-worker and I made it out of her totaled van alive. We both suffered neck and back injuries and myself, a busted chin….but looking at the van after the wreck, we knew God had His hand of protection upon us. I still hold my breath when I think of that day, I still get a knot in my stomach. A man later approached me that afternoon after hearing my story and said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this…but I know that I know that you will never be the same after today. I know God spared your life because He has work for you to do. This story will bring Him glory.” I don’t even know the man’s name. But he was right. I’ve got work to do. I’ve got people to tell about Jesus.
Many of you know that my dad battled cancer during this time….he passed away at the end of January. Wow. No one ever told me what this would feel like. My dad was the most special person in the world to me. We didn’t have a father/daughter relationship where he treated me like a princess….No, he challenged me. He believed in me. There have been days where I’ve cried so hard that my eyes hurt and ache. I’ve fallen to the floor crying without catching my breath. It is the deepest pain of my soul. I would give a million dollars to see my dad watch me walk through the international gates at the airport as I leave for Uganda again. I’d love to see him, stretch his neck to watch me until we couldn’t see each other anymore. Oh, how I loved him! And oh, how I miss him. He just “got” me. He understood me. He knew how I felt even before asking. He knew if I wasn’t being honest when he challenged me with a question. He even knew what I needed…He himself prayed for John for a long time….”a man of God to lead Shannon and the kids”. He told John before he died that he was an answer to his prayers.
The missing is fierce. No one told me that there would be days that I would still pick the phone up to call him….because I knew he was always available at 9:30 pm (he was a night person)…only to realize he’s gone and I can no longer do that. No one told me that I would think that I see him in public…and that would make me cry. I still have his voice mails saved on my phone. Its the only thing I have left that makes me feel as if he is near. But you know what God showed me one day? That my dad hears the best music in heaven and participates in the greatest worship ever. That my dad sits down at a feast with the King of Kings. I ask God to show me my dad in heaven. He is always laughing and smiling. And that makes me smile.
One of my CURE team members sent me an email that said this, (she had recently lost her cousin in a tragic accident)…”it is people like your dad and Thane that sent us to Africa, people like them who embellished us with love so that we could give it to others, people like them who truly cared. And even though we didn’t want them to go so soon, we know that they too, “belong to Him.” And the next time we set foot in Africa, they will be setting foot there with us too.”
Praise be to the living God! I couldn’t have said that any better.
Now after all of these months, the Lord has removed “the pause button” and spoke so clearly to me as I took a hike through the woods the other day, next to a beautiful river. My husband had prayed that I would recieve a deeper revelation of God’s love for me that day. And I did….
As I walked, the Lord began to remind me of all the things that I have been through over this past year….some things mentioned here, and some not. I saw each circumstance come before my mind..like a “check-off list” and the Lord would say, “You trusted me in each situation and in each one you obeyed. Everything that you have been through has been for training and preparation for Uganda. I choose those that endure. I choose the strongest. You have learned to trust and obey.” When He spoke this to me, I felt a shift in my spirit of “why God?” to “Thank you, God!!” I smiled so big!
Thank you, God for the “pause button”! Thank you for choosing me to endure. Thank you for the trials! Thank you for the tears!! Thank you for taking my dad to heaven! Thank you for holding me when I did not understand. Thank you for these tests! Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for making beauty out of my ashes! And, above all, thank you for sending me a mighty man of God who wants to serve You too!
I’m back 🙂