Hello Friends! I am Shanon Roberts. A wife (celebrating 17 years in February!) and mother of two teenage daughters Kendra and Skye, with a sweet Labrador named Zep, a devoted Morkie named Sadie, and a feisty Doberman named Ollie. I am also a writer, designer and artist, whose calling is to love and nurture my family while also creatively encouraging, supporting and edifying other women on their unique journey with Christ.
This past year, His Year, has been a year of transformation. A year where I have learned through experience, more than ever before, what it is to die to self, or the flesh nature. In this season of transformation and dying, I have been empowered to truly LIVE. Let me explain…
In early October 2016, I found myself bawling like a blubbering baby in the driver’s side of my Toyota Camry on my way home from work. Only about ten minutes into the trip while listening to worship music, the Holy Spirit came over me in a very profound way, with a directive, “You only have twelve months to live.” Note I said directive, not sentence. At the time, my heart felt as though it was a sentence, but now I see where He intended it as a directive.
The encounter was so tangible, once I was home, I spoke with my husband – eyes puffy and swollen, snot seething, poor guy had no idea what he should do! I even called my girlfriend over, to ask her to help with our daughters, should something happen to me. I planned in my heart the conversation with another girlfriend, because she too would be a wonderful godly role-model for our children should I go home to meet my Maker.
The month of October, I continued to return to those moments. Praying, “Lord, if I really only have twelve months to live, what would you have me to do with the time left?” I sensed a variety of things. Love your husband. Quit your job! Love your children. Live it up! Do not go to bed angry. Eat all the things! Seek Me. Drink the wine! Pray. Write the words. Go where I need you to go. Trust where I’m taking you when you don’t know where you’re going. Remain in the will of God; for if that moment ever came to ascend to heaven on high, I did not want the Lord to say to me, “I never knew you. Get away from me…” (see Matthew 7:23). Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:37-39). The latter verse was my life verse, had been for eight years.
Another, Exodus 34:10, He reminded me of, came from a gal who had prayed for me earlier that year and shared, “Listen, I am making a covenant with you in the presence of all your people. I will perform miracles that have never been performed anywhere in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people around you will see the power of the LORD–the awesome power I will display for you.”
Both verses were revisited and remembered often throughout the course of this past year, when it felt like the kingdom of heaven and the darkness of hell were bopping me back and forth like an inflatable boxing bop bag from the 80’s. Anyone remember those? Fun as a child doing the punching, not so fun as an adult receiving the blows.
I declared 2017 to be HIS YEAR. I wrote it down. I made it the cover photo of my Facebook account (it’s still there if you would like to check it out). This year was going to be His Year. My arms were going to remain wide open and I was going to do my best to cooperate and allow Him to flow through my life in the way He needed to, for His glory and the sake of others, rather than resume in the fetal position if I got knocked down.
The first couple of weeks seemed to be a foreshadow of things to come. I was ill. My children were ill. My grandfather-in-law went Home to be with the Lord just a few days before my husband and I’s wedding anniversary. This is still His year, I whispered to my soul.
Love your husband. We had experienced many a trial throughout the course of our marriage. God had brought transformation into our relationship. However, we found ourselves separated by night and day differences, as he drove to work at night and I left for my career by day. God really compelled me to press in MORE and believe for a day shift position. I did. My Sisters in Christ did. Perhaps a new shift would lead to alignment spiritually. I believed.
Love your children. Admittedly we had found ourselves in a rhythm of “busy”. God compelled me to pray for them intently, to be filled with His Spirit. He compelled me to write words for them in hopes of leaving an eternal inheritance for their lives, rather than only temporal. I did. He compelled us to set aside digital technology. We tried. We really did.
Do not go to bed angry. The painful reality I had not experienced just yet was that even Christian friends and family will disappoint. Folks will feel threatened, or entitled to judge, or in a position of superiority because of their “seniority” in the Kingdom. Some may just grow plain tired of hearing what God is doing in and through you. Many a night I had to pray, “Lord, help me not go to bed angry”. I also had to pray to not be angry with myself. For some reason, and maybe it’s just me, there was a thought that transformation takes place in an instant. I would become frustrated if I didn’t meet my standards, rather than allowing God’s grace to elevate me to each new place of change in HIS timing. When I didn’t succeed at not going to bed angry, I prayed for a song of worship when I awoke. A fresh beginning at the dawn of a new day.
Seek me. My morning routine continued to be getting into His Word first thing, followed by sharing a post and prayer, and then a half-hour of worship on my commute to work; this was a routine that took several years of attempt and fail to settle into. When at work, I was able to listen to worship music throughout the day, take walking breaks to pray, or listen to sermons from Pastors I trust God had placed in my life for His purposes.
Pray. I would pray almost all the time, asking God to always be very present in my life, speaking to my heart.
Write the words. I struggled at first, but finally solidified His desire to compile and write Rise Up! Devotions, and released this year. A book once created only for my daughters was now going to be shared with others. I wrestled with giants of inadequacy, fear, failure, the inability to properly edit and identify grammar errors, and promoting. Oh how I loathe promoting. I wanted people to see God alone. Not see me and potentially have it twisted in their minds I was promoting self. But it wasn’t my place to assume. I followed Him, and released the book April 13th, on Amazon.
Go where I need you to go. Among the seeking and praying and writing, He was orchestrating a few mission trips. In March, He sent me to San Juan, Dominican Republic for medical missions with my place of employment.
Remember the darkness of hell that was contending? Well it took several full on swings while I was in the DR. I grew very ill with a virus and dehydration, combined with what was later speculated by my home doctor to be ZIKA. There was a battle for sure, but I witnessed my husband connect with other men for the Kingdom of God, and I believed it was all worth it. Upon return, my husband began working the day shift at a new organization that was an answer to our desperate prayers.
God was moving.
In May, He sent me to Guatemala for another medical mission with my place of employment. Again, I became very ill. The illness this time was worse than before, and also required IV medication and saline, just so I could get on a plane to get home. Fear struck me to the core. Anxiety I had been delivered from tried to rear its ugly head. My body wanted to react in ways it hadn’t in years. I seemed to be losing control of my faculties. But I did not lose control of the grip I had on my Savior, and the Word and promises He had spoken to my heart: all the people around you will see the power of the LORD… love the Lord with all your heart and love others too. I decided to write and share. I also decided to continue on with the thirty-one days of prayer He had placed on my heart to lead within the online Rise Up Community. And as surely as I write and you read this in your jammies with a cup of coffee (or tea) on a Saturday morning in November, I near instantly felt the enemy flee at my obedience to the Lord. I made it home.
In June, He again sent me. This time, I would return to a different part of the Dominican Republic and as a chaperone for my daughters who have hearts for mission ministry. Thankfully, I did not grow ill on this trip, as I was proactive in my preparation weeks beforehand. PLUS – I had a message on my heart God was preparing within me. Courageous humility.
The result of the prayer vigil, and a phrase, that would later become an online six week study. Near the end of June, however, I found a lump on my chest. A doctor’s appointment became a mammogram, a mammogram became an ultrasound, and an ultrasound became a biopsy. I thought, “This is it. This is what He’s prepared me for. My twelve months are almost up.”
The enemy’s blow had me lying on the side of self-pity, defeat and tempted to not move forward with the Courageous Humility study. But the wind of the Spirit came rushing in, lifting me up, and positioning me to stand. The day we kicked off the study, is the day I had a biopsy of the solid mass lurking within the tissue of my femininity. Two days later the report came. Cancer free.
Keep going. But I couldn’t. I was tired. Overwhelmed. The wind that had so quickly picked me up and set me on my feet, seemed to be sucked right out of me, like a helium balloon on a child’s birthday – but it wasn’t funny. I needed to rest. My doc agreed. Rather than prescribe medications, she instructed rest, laughter and conversation. Yes please, and thank you!
I was able to give the Lord my all for the Courageous Humility study. I was able to spend time with my daughters. I was able to tend the needs of my home. I was able to hear the Lord. My heart for you is your home. It always has been. It always will be. Love your husband. Love your children. Love your community. Help others. Glorify me. Focus on encouraging other women. Focus on your community. Missions may come later.
In early August, I received the call to again pray. Literally. The Call organization publicly announced on July 27th they were hosting a day of prayer in Washington D.C. on October 9th, titled Rise Up. Naturally I thought I would be going. Supernaturally, God had something else in mind.
As I sought the Lord in prayer and asked others to pray for clarity, I 100% wanted to go and was ready, but wasn’t 100% sure that’s what He wanted. I sensed I was alone in my prayers. I sensed others, for whatever reason, were exasperated with my requests (after the year I had had at that point, the requests seemed without ceasing) and unable to support in prayer or presence. I desperately clung to the Lord. Only the Lord and carpet threads within my closet hold the secrets and understand the desperation and magnitude of my heartfelt cries. He DIDN’T want me to go. He wanted me to stay and pray in my own community. Not just on October 9th, but every Sunday morning leading up to it.
Right away a place came to mind, in proximity to the courthouse, where I would spend my Sunday mornings. Thank you, God. My first inquiry regarding the space was shadowed with doubt. My second, received with a resounding yes, plus a discount on the space for the day! My invitation to over half the churches in my community and county resulted in one response. One. The Wind remained beneath my wings (thank you, Bette Midler, we’re thinking of your song now!). He continued keeping me upright as week after week I circled the courthouse alone, praying as His Holy Spirit led.
During this time, the Courageous Humility study was brought to a close, and underwent the process of being compiled for a book publication. In parallel, the thirty-one days of prayer in May were captured and also converted to book format. Just for kicks and giggles, the Lord allowed me the opportunity to express my artistic gift once again, and I created works of art for a local exhibit. The main presentation? Jesus at the center of my husband and children. Oh, “Praise God!” you may be thinking, the be-bops from the enemy stopped! Not exactly.
Storms were brewing and downpours came flooding in. My daughter, also experiencing spiritual warfare, was in the throes of her own battle. The Holy Spirit had provided insight and we were slowly working through her challenges. The weekend before I was to travel south to a statewide prayer meeting, all hail broke loose in our home. True colors were revealed. Motives made known. The remnants of spiritual, mental and emotional hail damage lie all around. As if it wasn’t enough to tempt me to stay home rather than go, no measures from the enemy were withheld and I found myself smacked right in the rear of my vehicle by traffic. Are. You. Kidding me?!
Hard conversation and a little loopy, later, I resolved to go to the prayer meeting the next day, regardless. I knew I needed to be there. That evening I hopped in our old beater car to drive down, when one last ditch effort to hinder my obedience came. The car would go no faster than idle. I turned it into the drive of a field, turned off the ignitions and CRIED OUT! “What is going on? I’m trying to do YOUR will! Why is all of this happening?! Car! You are going to start and I am going to get to this prayer meeting, and that’s that!” I turned the ignition, the car started, and I safely made the two hour drive there and back, to the prayer meeting.
A meeting which was Spirit filled and fanned the flame within my heart to proceed, regardless of the drama. Regardless of the opposition. Regardless of the whiplash. Regardless of no response. Do for God as He has done for you…REGARDLESS.
Two weeks later I reserved the space. A week after that, I released Courageous Humility and Rise & Pray on Amazon. A piece of artwork I had submitted for a magazine had been accepted for their cover. My vacation was approved, it was time to pray and fast. God met me in my prayer closet more than once. He instructed me to maintain distance in some relationships, but to grow closer in others. He reminded me that He had been moving to draw loved ones in as He had placed it on my heart to share gifts, and crochet (not to be confused with macramé, but fun to say) afghans, and feed and nurture with food and the Word, those who at one point had been faithful supporters. He compelled me to pray for the healing and assured me, I may very well be the only one to show up on the day of prayer, but He would be there.
And He was. On October 9th, God was with me all day. Six people showed up to believe God with me, two of which were my daughters. Another showed up by “coincidence”, and we had a good conversation. A shift took place that day. The twelve month anniversary of the directive was on October 9th as well, and I was alive. ALIVE in CHRIST like I had never been before! Thoughts and worries and concerns I had held on to before seemed to pass away. There was a much larger part of my flesh finding itself six feet under in the spiritual earth God had prepared. Old things passing. God, now with a vessel ready for something new, full of trust in His unending faithfulness and love.
In the few weeks since then, God has confirmed to me to be connected to teaching and encouraging. He has restored my artistic gift (a gift and talent I laid on the alter years ago for the sake of my family), to creatively serve others. He moved me to create an online portfolio that captures all He has done and is doing in this life.
Recently, that portfolio was viewed for a prospective job opportunity with someone who declares the Kingdom, and loves Jesus, and considered me for a full-time position as a graphic designer for an online education program in the medical device industry. Following the position interview and much prayer, God made it clear to continue on right where I am, to better serve both my family and others via His established online ministry.
He is establishing new connections with others through the artwork on the cover of the magazine, released on October 20th. He has also transformed the Courageous Humility study from what began as an online study, to content on the YouVersion Bible App, and promoted this ministry to partnering with YouVersion as a Content Partner.
He also seems to be inching the door open to speak and share with others.
God is Good! He TRANSFORMS and RESTORES! He will transform the soul willing to keep their arms, eyes, ears and hearts wide open to the Spirit of the living God within them. If we are willing to die to self and truly live for the Lord, He will keep us and see us through when the enemy attempts to reclaim his ground. God will restore, if we will humble ourselves and allow Him to do as He needs for a season, and trust Him to give it back again, when we are able to glorify Him with the gift He provides. And if He doesn’t give it back, His heart is happy when we are content with Him alone.
Be well. Be encouraged. Be transformed and restored by a faithful God whose love and mercy endures forever. God bless.
Connect with Shanon
Facebook & Instagram: @riseupdevotions