I became acquainted with Shannon Milholland after posting on Suite T, the blog for Southern Writers Magazine. She is an amazing woman with an amazing testimony. I trust God will use it to encourage many hearts today.
God Speaks Through Our Pain
I stared at the ceiling through eyelids thickened by depression. I would get out of bed but only for the sake of my two little girls. The smell of the beach clung to everything but I most assuredly was not on vacation. If anything I needed to take a vacation from this new life I was starting as a single mom.
I navigated the streets of a city where I knew not a soul to my new job. The only conversation I’d had that morning was with my kids. God and I were no longer on speaking terms. I blamed Him for the current state of my life.
The silence was deafening.
Just before it was time to leave for the day, a coworker stopped by my office. He wanted to check on my pencils and make sure they were adequate. He wasn’t just interested in my pencils, if you know what I mean. Daily visits followed as he checked on the whole entourage of my office supplies. Never had I known someone more diligent in their position.
In no time I heard the office gossip. He too was going through a divorce. Somehow God allowed me to peer behind his happy façade and see the pain within his heart. During one of these ordinary visits, I heard the whisper of God in my heart to share Him with this stranger.
This was a ludicrous idea! What would I tell him? That a God with whom I wasn’t currently speaking wanted to have a relationship with Him. Absurd!
But His voice was unmistakable.
Deep within I knew God was with me. He hadn’t shut off our communications. He still cared and I did have a well of hope – a hope I could share with a desperately lonely man.
I summoned courage I didn’t know I had and offered, “Look, I’m not trying to pry into your personal life but I want you to know I’m going through the same thing you are. Even though these are the hardest darkest days of my entire life, I still have hope. If you’re interested in having hope in your life, I’d like to tell you where you can get some.”
My offer hung in the air like an unwanted visitor.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he had been sitting alone in a vast empty house night after night fingering his weapons and considering his options. He had no way out. One lonely night he stumbled across the Bible his grandparents had given him as a little boy. He cracked the pristine spine to no place in particular and cried out to God for help. God sent the most unlikely of help. God sent me.
Six months offer he accepted my offer of hope, he accepted Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Six months after that he offered me a diamond ring.
When I had the least, God offered me the most.
When I loved Him the worst, He gave me His best.
When I stopped talking, He shouted His love in a whisper.
Scott asked me to marry him and my two little girls to be his daughters. Within three years of marriage, we were blessed with two more girls. Out of our greatest pain, God grew a marriage, a family, a home abundant in love.
God spoke through me so eventually He could speak to me. He speaks through our pain.
Shannon is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary living. She finds joy among piles of laundry and miles of carpools and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. She recently wrote the free 30 day prayer guide PrePrayed: Preparing for Life’s Events. She is also the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine where she shares her arsenal of secrets about how to be successful in the sometimes intimidating world of social media.
As a speaker, Shannon is straight forward about her own struggles. She is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the life of her audience with a message of hope and encouragement.
When not writing she enjoys her favorite job of wife to Scott and mom to four daughters from preschool to high school.
Let’s Talk: Do you know Shannon? Say hi. Introduce yourself. And tell us about a time God spoke to you.
Do you have a story you can share? Don’t miss out on the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop on May 4th! Click on the link for details.
I’m over at Shannon’s blog today, talking about the importance of a listening posture.