We are new to this whole blogging thing so please be patient with us. We can't promise to write anything truly inspirational, witty, or motivational, but we can promise to give you our hearts and you can take those for what they are worth.
Thank you for visiting our blog. We know that these days people are busy, and your time is valuable and we appreciate that you care enough about us to take the time to read this.
All of that said it may be months since we've seen of talked to some of you so a quick catch up on what's going on may be needed to get you up to speed on what we're up to. Therefore this first entry may be quite a long one, but I promise they'll get more brief after that.
The last 6 months of marriage have been a whirlwind of emotions, and growth in Christ. I like the analogy that I read in the book Sacred Marriage that marriage is like a magnifying glass that allows you to see all of your own personal flaws and sins. The last 6 months for me have been a period to learn how to joyfully serve my husband and put his needs before my own, which much to my surprise I was not naturally good at at all. They have also been a time for me to learn how to have healthy conflict, as this was a foreign concept to me prior. I am thrilled to have a husband who is so strong in the areas where I am weak, who shows me grace and unconditional love and is an amazing Christ centered leader for our marriage!
So in the midst of adjusting to our newlywed life Jeremy and I started attending a new church that is in the home of Doug and Joan Dorman (who did our pre-marital counseling). It is a home church, like the churches of Acts and the early church. We get together Friday nights, eat a meal, have worship (Jeremy plays guitar :-) ), and then have some type of prayer, ministry, teaching, discussion etc. We love our church community and have much appreciated the guidance and wisdom that we are receiving from older, wiser, more mature believers who are coming along side us, building into us, and just loving us in every way. Not that we are there to get our needs met, we love the community we have that ranges from age 5- mid 80's that affords us the opportunity to build into the lives of others also. Currently our church is on a read through the Bible in a year plan, which means we read on average about one book of the Bible a week. We started with Genesis, and are so far on 1 Samuel. This alone has been such a blessing to me in my understanding and appreciation of scripture and my relationship with the Lord! First of all it has taken me from having fairly regular and disciplined time in the word, to a deeper level of commitment and discipline just in my time with God. Next it has forced me to persevere through books of the Old Testament (I used to prefer the New Testament and concentrate my reading there) that I in my flesh did not have the desire to read. This perseverance has rewarded me with a whole new appreciation for God's word, how He has revealed Himself, how it should be taken in it's entirety, and has finally broken me free of the "it's all about me" or "what can I get out of this" approach to Bible study and made me realize that it's all about Him. All of that seems so simple... but for some reason it really took me a couple of years to learn it, even after I had heard it so many times.
We are currently taking a one semester long class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. This class is blowing my mind! I feel like I am learning so much that I am only able to retain about 50% of it, I'll probably be re-reading the text book for years to come. Check out information on the class at perspectives.org. The class so far has been a study of how God has revealed His plan and call for world missions throughout scripture, how missions have been used throughout history, and how God is at work through them in the world today. Each week's lesson is taught by a different instructor, who has been a missionary in a different part of the world, and therefore we are getting many different perspectives on missions, coming from all denominations, cultures, backgrounds etc. I've always known that God wanted me to have a heart for His people everywhere, but I don't think that I truly experienced that until I started to gain more of an understanding of His promises, His missionary call, and all of the lost people out there in remote parts of the world. Moreso than anything God has spoken to me and Jeremy through this course, Acts 15, and studying the diverse, cross-cultural church in Antioch, to call us into a deep love for reaching people cross-culturally. We are currently praying about and looking into opportunities to serve Him in that way. I'll save more on that topic for a later blog though, for now, join us in the prayer that He will open doors for us to reach out in love cross-culturally, and guide us in that.
We received our cross-cultural calling at exactly the right time (and as an answer to prayer)... as God's timing always is. Lately Jeremy and I have been spending a lot of time discussing all of these ways that we are getting fed spiritually... through our church, being discipled by others, our Perspectives class, our time in the word, but we were starting to feel like fat Christians who were getting filled up with all these good things, but not going out and pouring any of it out to others. What good is all of this knowledge, all of the books we read, theological discussions we have etc. if we aren't putting them into the action of actually loving others sacrificially as Jesus did? All of that would actually be doing more harm than good for the Gospel as it would be proclaiming and displaying a false Gospel. All of this comes down to our complete need to be filled with the Holy Spirit every second of every day, be aware of every opportunity that God gives us to reach out to others in His love and in His name. I for one am tired of at the ending of the day looking at all of the opportunities that I missed and thinking of how I could have responded differently or made better use of my time, talents, resources etc. I desperately desire to be a faithful steward with everything that He has given me right now, rather than waiting for Him to trust me with more. I so frequently struggle with looking ahead at the next step, like when I have "x" ministry, or when I have a baby and my own family, or when I have "x", then I will make a big impact for God. Then everything will be lined up and I can do great things for Him. How often I miss that if I'm not faithful with what I have right now then He'll never get me to that next step, or maybe He has a different next step in mind that is way better than what I have planned. Needless to say, I need to stop looking ahead, and look at all of the amazing things He's entrusted to me and is teaching me right now, and how I can glorify Him with those and fully yield my plans and ways to Him. Fully trusting in the Spirit will take the focus off of me, and my plans and bring my focus back to Him. Lord, you are awesome and I give myself to you! To quote a David Crowder song "I am wholly yours".
So this is where we are right now. We live in Surfside Beach, about 1 mile from the beach. Jeremy is a Commercial Real Estate Advisor with Sperry Van Ness, Shannon is a Senior Staffing Supervisor for Kelly Services. In some ways we are still in newlwed bliss in that we are all touchy, feely and have the fresh passion of a new marriage, but we've experienced 6 months of the real life ins and outs of marriage and feel like we've been married forever in that we can't remember what it's like to be single, and we dread the day that one of us takes an overnight trip and we might have to one day sleep in different beds for an evening. We are excited about our new endeavor of this blog, and look forward to sharing the journey with you!