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Burn the Ships (an important update on my life)

Written by: Shannon  |  Found in: General  |  473 Comments »
Ship Burning Ceremony at East harbor, Taiwan

I’ve started writing this blog post a hundred times inside my head. And now, the idea of these words finally spilling out upon the page feels akin to the concept of “burning the ships.” You know, when a commander orders his crew to burn the ships upon arriving on the shores of a hostile country, so they have no option but to fight and win…or die trying. It’s do or die. A point of no return.

Similarly, uttering these words out loud, outside my safe cluster of supportive and knowing friends and family, who have embraced and witnessed the true essence of my story, feels reckless and yet entirely necessary. That old ship, beached and abandoned on the shore of my life, no longer serves me well. And to run fully and passionately into my future, I must have no other perceived place of retreat. Part of that “running fully” is in this telling. I can just feel it.

Some of you may have picked up on the signs. Photos of my husband have long since disappeared from my Facebook page and website. There has been no mention of him in my online bio or reflections of daily life for several years now. Photos of me and my son are now just the two of us together – no third party. Some of you have even e-mailed me asking why I haven’t done a recording project in such a long time, hoping for new songs to grace your iPods.

All of these signs and symptoms have been pointing to an underlying tsunami that had been building over time and finally came ashore, tearing through my life beginning about two and a half years ago. Divorce. A catastrophic, devastating, destructive-on-every-level divorce.

I didn’t choose or desire it, but over time I did see it had become inevitable. Nothing more could be done, said, counseled, fought for, or salvaged. In January of 2016, the person to whom I had been married for nearly twenty-three years decided to leave and file for divorce. He dove into an engagement and marriage within six months of our divorce being finalized and now lives out of state with his new wife.

A year-long battle in family court also found me fighting to keep my son here at home full-time with me, within Colorado state-lines. The outcome of that battle did not end the way my team of allies and experts anticipated nor believed would be best. But it was out of my control. I felt decimated. The unravelling felt like it would undo me, as I curled up with my dog Chloe, writhing in pain, clutching the last remnants of my hope and possibly even my sanity, choosing to trust my God who promises “all things work together.”

Over two years have passed now. My circle of Jesus-loving, fiercely-fighting, truth-reminding friends and family have stood beside me and around me like a battalion of the angelic host, as I’ve fought, healed, renewed my mind, created new safeguards and boundaries, and stepped into my future, albeit with a limp, but also with newfound joy!

When I needed to be reminded what was true, a phone call from a trusted friend would serve as a war-cry against the enemy of my soul. When I simply needed someone to sit with me in court, I found a whole courtroom of friends filling the benches behind me, crying silent tears with me, as my life crumbled before our eyes.

When I wasn’t sure how on earth I would manage even the daily things of life – like where would I live? How would I pay that bill? What would I do now as a divorced woman in ministry, because the church so often shoots their wounded (which, sadly, I experienced in a couple extremely hurtful ways)? – I would, at every turn, have manna drop from Heaven. I kid you not.

A check would arrive in the mail that I never anticipated. A phone call would be received overflowing with prayer, Scripture, or a reassurance of who I am in Christ. A kindred-spirited friend would come sit with me, even flying across the country to be with me, as I wept or just vented my pain and anger. A bedroom or basement in a friend’s home would be opened for several months, as I grappled with where to live and where to go from that broken place. A job fell into my lap from the hands of God via compassionate Jesus-followers.

Over and over and over, I can trace God’s relentless pursuit of me, His undergirding of every detail of my life, and His commitment to demonstrating His faithfulness and compassion through what felt like a living Hell. I was being carried…and I am to this day.

“He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms.
He will carry them in His bosom and gently lead those that are with young.”
(Isaiah 40:11)

In all the chaos of the last several years, there has not been one moment He has failed me or turned His ever-watchful eye from me. Has He felt a million miles away at times? Yep. Have I wondered why THIS messy thing had to unfold in my life? Absolutely. There’s been too much mess for too many years. Have I yelled at Him desperate for intervention and relief and wondered at the disparity of the outcome? Yes and yes. But, ultimately, I have found Him to be faithful. Oh so faithful. Tenderly loving. Ever-pursuing me. I have sensed His arms of comfort wrapped around me, His words of truth redefining me, and His sweet whispers giving way to courage and evoking bravery for this new season of my life.

And so, my hope in writing this particular blog is not only to “burn the ships” in my own life, but to share with you who have loved me, though some from more of a distance, what has been going on in these somewhat “silent years” of my life. I want to let you know that I am doing really well! I have been healing and coming back to life! I am spending a wonderful Summer with my son here in Colorado. I am beginning to write again and sense a new project is around the corner. I am loving life and falling more and more in love with this King who takes my breath away, as He loves and pursues me. I have seen no shadow or inkling of unfaithfulness in Him. I have looked into the eyes of pure Love.

So, thank you for walking with me, my extended circle of friends. I am grateful to share this chapter of my story with you at long last. It feels both terrifying but oh so good to burn the ships, because I want to run full speed ahead into the adventure my King has ready and waiting for me. It is going to be so good.

Will you pray with me, as I continue to seek Him and discover all the ways He wants to show Himself to me and use me for His glory? I want that with all my heart. I want to pour myself out and love with the love He has so tenderly and passionately given to me. I don’t want one ounce of this pain to be wasted. I want to live well, serve wholeheartedly, and love deeply.

May beauty come from the ashes in every way, in your life and in mine.

With so much love and gratitude,

pics Shannon