Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When the Shoe Drops

Two pink lines. There they were, plain as day. I must have done something wrong. Let me try that again. Wait, did they turn pink faster that time? Are they actually darker and more pronounced? How could that be? (Don’t answer that, because I really do know.)
Exactly one year ago today, this is the conversation I had with myself standing in my water closet wondering how in the world I was going to let my husband, James, down easy. You see, our oldest of four had just turned twenty-two and our youngest nine. James’ favorite daydream involved some form of us, all by ourselves, traveling and enjoying life while our grown children started families and gave us lots of adorable grandkids. All I could envision was me stabbing his empty nest balloon with a gigantic epidural needle! Trembling with fear, unbelief, and excitement, I held my tongue all day until he came home from work. Apparently, it had not been a good day, but there was no way in the world I could hold my mud for better timing. I invited him to our room, shut the door, asked if he wanted to sit down, and dropped the bomb: “I’m pregnant.” It was the first firework of the New Year! My husband took the news very well. We agreed that if God gave us life, we would embrace it, and then I proceeded to tell everyone we know. My children literally would not believe me, and the most common response from friends and family was, “Is this a joke?” I remember with a smile on my face. In January, we jetted off on our family vacation, and when we returned, I had my first doctor’s appointment. That’s when the shoe dropped.

“There’s no baby.”
The ultrasound screen showed a little sac, but it was empty. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. My previous pregnancies had been free of complications. The thought had never even entered my mind that this one would be any different. James was waiting for me in the waiting room. All I had to do was pull it together enough to get from the exam room to his arms. And there I fell apart. Convulsing sobs made my speech unintelligible. Even though we weren’t planning to conceive, the moment we learned I was pregnant, that child became a part of our family. Now that child would never be?  I literally couldn’t believe it. We talked, and I looked on the internet and found hundreds of stories of women who had received the same diagnosis of a blighted ovum and later found out the diagnosis was wrong. Filled with hope, we put our faith in God and not in the doctor’s reports. Here are excerpts from an email I sent to friends and family for prayer:

While the doctor expects that I will have a miscarriage, I am waiting on the Lord’s report. God is good, and I am standing in faith that the work He has started in me He will be faithful to complete. I put my faith and trust in Him to show me exactly what’s going on, as He truly is the only one who can know. I found a web site where tons of women have posted their stories about being diagnosed with a blighted ovum and told to come back in a week or two for a D&C. When they did, they had one last ultrasound just to be sure, and there was a baby and a heartbeat. I don’t know what’s going on. The doctor’s can only say what they see with their machines. But the Lord knows, and until He tells me different, I will proceed with this healthy pregnancy. I have hope, because my hope is in the Lord. Several people have texted and emailed me words of encouragement with the same message: We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. God is so good, and I will praise His name forever no matter what happens.
This was the beginning of a journey that threatened and strengthened my faith. The doctors never found a baby. But I’m here to tell you, God gave me victory. In the midst of walking through one of the most difficult, heart breaking times I’ve ever experienced, God made Himself and His word alive to me. It’s one thing to hear His truth, but when He makes it real in us, we receive something no man and no doctor and no bad report or rotten circumstance, sickness, or disease can steal away. The irrevocable truths He instilled in me are forever mine, and in His omniscience, He knew I would need them throughout the year. Stick with me on this. I pray you find it worth your time to read a bit longer of a post today.

IRREVOKABLE TRUTH #1: “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (I Cor. 2:5). We are surrounded by the wisdom of men, referring to human wisdom. We’re full of it ourselves, aren’t we? But no matter what man says, no matter who a man is, the schooling he has, the authority he has, his expertise, position, or place in your life, he is still man, and we are not to put our faith in his wisdom.  No matter what scenario we contrive as the best for us, we are to place our faith in the power of God, not a particular outcome. As I placed my faith in seeing a baby appear on the screen, I wavered in unbelief when it didn’t happen. My faith was misplaced in my own wisdom. When the Lord gently and lovingly redirected my faith to His power, I found myself anchored solidly to Him. No matter what you’re facing, and I know many of you are facing much more devastating circumstances than mine, God’s word never changes. Place your faith in the power of God.
IRREVOKABLE TRUTH #2: Weak faith requires the faith of others to survive. We MUST join our faith together to survive the testing of our faith. I’d like to share the story as I tell it in my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His, in the chapter titled “Power-Packed Prayer on Coming Boldly to the Throne”:

I’ve also experienced times of testing when the prayers of others have given me the strength to keep going and made the difference between winning and losing a battle of faith. During the writing of this book, I found myself taking a stand of faith against the reports of doctors who told me I was pregnant, but there was no baby. My family chose to believe the report of the Lord over the reports of the doctors, and it was an unprecedented test of my faith to stand, and then having done all, to stand. Without the prayers of my friends and family, I would have failed. We must hold each other up when we can’t hold up on our own, just as Aaron and Hur do for Moses in Exodus 17:8-13 when Joshua and the Israelites are fighting the Amalekites:

Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Our battles may not be in fields against enemies with swords, but they are real, intense, and deadly nonetheless. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” As we’ve already seen, one of our mightiest weapons is “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). This means seeking, asking, and entreating God for one another! When we do, we are holding each others’ arms up so we can win the battles of faith!
Anchor yourself firmly to the faithfulness of God today. My blighted ovum was the beginning of a year when the other shoe actually did drop. Several times. Maybe you’ve had a year like that. Maybe you, too, lost a baby, or someone close to you received a cancer diagnosis. Or your husband lost his job. Or someone you love died. Or you lost your home in a fire. Or your child is wayward or moving far away. Perhaps you’ve been devastated financially, or your marriage is falling apart. Maybe you face criminal charges and legal troubles. Whatever circumstance you face, I pray you will put your faith in the power of God and allow others to join their faith with yours until victory becomes your reality regardless of your circumstances.

Stay tuned Monday for the second blog in this series on discovering God’s faithfulness in the midst of disappointment: “Where’s my truck?”
May the Lord bless you today as you become wholly His,

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chipped Nails in Jesus' Stocking

I now know why I don’t polish my nails. Our church had its annual women’s ministry cookie exchange last week, and being new to the church, I looked forward to getting to know some of the women. Eager to make a good impression, I crossed all my beauty t’s and dotted all my preening i’s. You know how we do…we style our hair our favorite way, pick an outfit we love, and top it off with a great pair of shoes and the perfect accessories. That day had been crazy with back-to-back commitments, starting with a funeral, immediately followed by a birthday party, then to a Christmas dinner with dear friends, and finally to the cookie exchange. In between all the running around, I had to finish my seven dozen peppermint shortbread cookies, at which time the dish full of melted white chocolate chips slipped from my fingers and exploded all over my kitchen floor and cabinets. At some point during my harried day, I noticed the perfectly polished nails from my manicure several days earlier had become a jagged mess.  Instead of opting for my normal natural buffing, I went for it and had the nail technician paint my nails a sparkly pale pink for the holidays. Something out of the ordinary and fancy for this special time of year. And I do love to have polished nails, but since it only lasts about two days on my fingers, I don’t do it often because I know I won’t take the time to keep them looking nice. So, by the day of the cookie exchange, my nails looked more like tattered rags then shiny riches. I made a mental note to remove the polish before jetting off to the cookie exchange and promptly rushed toward my next deadline. Two days later, on Christmas Eve, I was in the shower and noticed my scruffy nails. I never removed the polish!

I don’t know if God speaks to you in the shower, but I have received some powerful revelations in that quiet, private place. Maybe it’s because it’s generally a time of total uninterrupted peace, and I can reflect on my day, consider what’s in my heart, and look to the Lord for answers. As I looked at my nails and wished I would have removed the polish the moment I noticed their state of disrepair, I thought about obedience. When the Lord tells us something to do through the Bible, or by speaking to our spirit, or by revealing His will through a sermon, conversation, or circumstance, He wants us to obey right away. When we put it off and disobey, don’t we find ourselves full of regret?  When I don’t do what the Lord tells me to do immediately, I am likely to stare down a state of disrepair at some point in the near future. How many times have I regretted my willful resistance to a heavenly directive? My silly nails truly are no big deal. But putting off God…that’s a big deal.
Being that it was Christmas Eve, later that night, my family enjoyed our annual tradition of sharing the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus and what His birth means for us in His death, burial, and resurrection. After that, we all present a gift to Jesus. The gift is an area of our lives we believe the Lord is asking us to commit more completely to Him. We write it on a card and share it with the family so we can pray for each other throughout the year, and then we place the card in a stocking for Jesus. Before we present the current year’s gifts, we each read last year’s card and share any progress we made. Guess what my gift to Jesus was last year? You got it. Obedience! I wrote: “Jesus, I will obey without question every time.” How did I do? Overall, the Lord made great progress in me toward total obedience. But on the matter of immediacy, I still have a long way for Him to go with me. But I think this year’s gift is the answer. I gave Him my love and adoration. John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Then in verse twenty-one, Jesus says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

For the last several months, the Lord has been pressing on my heart that loving Him is the answer to every wrong condition of my heart. It is the answer to every habitual sin, every despicable attitude of my heart, every misdirected belief system, every disappointing relationship, every misplaced desire, every frustrating challenge. He’s showing me the reason Jesus named loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind as THE first and great commandment (Matt. 22:35-38): If we love Him, we will do what He says. If we’re doing what He says because we love Him more than anything in this world, we won’t be doing the wrong things that reflect our love for self and the things of this world. If He is our first love, He puts everything else into order in our lives. Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.
So I put my chipped nails in Jesus’ stocking, and this year, I long to love Jesus and my heavenly Father to the point of immediate obedience no matter what.

What is your gift to Jesus for 2012? Whatever it is, I pray you become more wholly His this year.
Shauna Wallace
Holy His   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sinderella: A Christmas Story

I have a bonus blog this morning. It's not my scheduled day to post, but in the interest of the timely telling of a good story, I decided to publish this today.
It’s Christmas Eve, and death to self took a whole new twist this morning. I’m seeing a theme in my life that perhaps God wants me to die to self in all areas of my life. Today, slumber and the perfect quiet morning were called to the altar.
Due to sleep deprivation during the week, I cherish Saturday mornings as a catch-up day. All I need is one a week, and I’m good to go for another six days. This morning was the perfect sleep-late day! It’s a holiday. No one in the family is working today. Our kids are old enough that they all snooze late. It’s cold and rainy outside and cozy under the covers. However, my body’s alarm clock went off at 6:18 a.m. Try as I might, I could not fall back asleep, so I consoled myself with the idea of a perfectly quiet house all to myself. I could savor my morning coffee and time with the Lord without interruption and maybe even have warm blueberry muffins fresh out of the oven for my family as they stirred. I grabbed my cozy red robe, slipped out of my bedroom, and was met with a stench no human being should encounter before their first cup of coffee, and I would argue, what I faced was unfit for human contact at any time. I will spare you the gruesome details, especially for those of you who aren’t dog lovers. I don’t think I am any more as of today. Let’s suffice it to say our large standard poodle is having intestinal difficulties and left evidence trailing through the living room, gallery, and entry of our home.

I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered a mess of disheartening proportion, but this disaster knocked the wind out of my sails and nearly brought tears to my eyes. Determined to rise above it all, I flipped on the lights, which take 10 minutes to turn on because they’re those energy saving ones, and as I surveyed the enormity of what lay ahead of me, I stepped in something wet. Yes, it got worse. Yet, as I thought of who to blame or who to wake up to be company in my misery, it just didn’t seem right to disturb another’s precious sleep to suffer with me. So I grabbed an arsenal of cleaning supplies, stopped the flow of air in and out of my nose, suppressed all gag reflexes, and went to work.
As I scrubbed on hands and knees, one caked-on spot after another, one overwhelming waft after another, pondering the repulsive nature of the entire experience, it occurred to me our sin must be just as repulsive to God. Just as disgusting. Just as nasty of a stench. Just as extensive a mess. And as I worked to erase all evidence of the incident, I thought about Jesus. I was just as helpless as my dog to clean up all the messes I made in my sin. Likewise, as Prisca in her canine nature couldn’t help relieve herself when no one was awake let her out, I, in my sin nature, naturally indulged sin’s urges and left a trailing mess behind me. And just like my dog, who is completely incapable of cleaning up her own mess, we are completely incapable of cleaning up our own sin. So God sent His only Son to earth in the form of man to die as the payment for our sin, and when we receive His grace and respond in faith to His tug on our hearts, confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, He sweeps in and cleans up sin and all its messes in our lives.

After disinfecting the floor, my hands, and everything I touched, rinsing the mop, disposing of the sullied paper towels, and starting a sanitary load to clean the rags, I re-entered the once-soiled rooms, and everything was like brand new. That’s what Jesus offers us: a clean slate.
This is the Christmas story. John 3:16 unwraps the greatest gift of all: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”Then, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And when the Lord cleans up, He is thorough, and it is final, as Psalm 103:12 explains, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  As if that’s not enough, He promises all things new: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

On this day, as we finish all our preparations for Christmas Eve activities and traditions, and as anticipation grows for tomorrow, let us take a moment to praise and thank our heavenly Father for the inconceivable gift of new life, eternal life, forgiveness, and a clean slate. Without Jesus, life is a hopeless mess, just like the one to which I awoke today. Will you unwrap God’s gift to you today?
May the Giver of the Greatest Gift bless You with His presence, His peace, and His salvation today.

Merry Christmas,
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Want Me to What???

Tired and exhausted, dealing with hormonal craziness after losing a baby at seven weeks, staring down a hectic week that was supposed to be quiet and relaxed, mentally juggling everything that still needed to be done for Christmas in less than a week, I encountered the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You may have experienced something similar: He puts a thought in your head of something you can do to show God’s love to another person, and even though you have no human reserve from which to draw, you know beyond a doubt that the Holy Spirit is looking to you to do it. Being the super spiritual woman that I am, I had no desire to do what He was asking me to do. I had nothing left to give to another person that day. It was after ten o’clock, I had an early morning and long day ahead of me, and I just wanted to relax and go to bed.

In these moments of obedience, I generally do one of two things: 1) I reason away the prompting by telling God and/or myself all the reasons it’s too much to expect or isn’t really the Holy Spirit speaking, or 2) I pray and ask the Lord to give me the strength to do what He’s asking me to do in spite of myself. This night, by God’s grace and His power, I responded with number two. And that’s when it occurred to me:

          When it’s in me to do something beyond me, it has to be Him!

This is where He wants me all the time. And it’s where He wants you. The most incredible thing about it is this: He will always be the one to cause us to do that which He wants us to do. We simply have to make ourselves available.
Philippians 2:13 tells us, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” This is such a source of comfort and encouragement for me because, so much of the time, all I see is the futility of my own efforts. You know, the good intentions that result in nothing but regrets when my flesh fails to do what the Spirit prompts? So when God opened my eyes to the truth of this scripture, the revelation came with an overwhelming sense of hope. GOD operates and puts forth the power within me in order that I will desire, resolve, intend, determine, and delight in doing His work, and then HE will cause me to do that work according to His will, kindness, delight, pleasure, satisfaction, and desire.
So if God is the one to instill in us the desire to serve Him, and then He’s the one to cause us to act on those desires, what is our part? I believe Romans 12:1 holds the answer: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” There’s an exchange to be made. God extends His compassion to us, and in return, the only logical and reasonable response is for us to be His hired help, even to the point of being willing to die a victim for Him. We are to be at his disposal, continually in a ready state to actively, vigorously, effectively, and powerfully lay ourselves on the altar of selflessness, having an exciting reverence for Him, being pure from every fault, innocent, and modest, acting in a pleasing and agreeable way to God. Not out of a begrudging or religious obligation, but rather, out of love for Him because of what He’s done for us.
Wrapping it all up, here’s the amazingly simple truth of it all:
          He wills and does. We make ourselves available.

Thank you for sticking with me today. Thank you, heavenly Father, for the truth You faithfully reveal to each of us, and for giving me the words to share what You’ve shown me. I pray what I see so clearly in my head and feel so strongly in my heart has come across distinctly on the pages of this blog.
Blessings to you as you become wholly His,

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I had never seen it before, and then a pastor pointed it out in a Sunday sermon: the word DIE is smack in the middle of obedience. Do you see it? It's not just semantics. It's reality. In order to truly follow after Jesus, we must die first, just like He did.

His obedience was to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:20). Our obedience is centered on the death of self -- the death of our flesh! The death of what I want to be doing instead of what He's asking me to do. The death of having things my way. The death of pursuing the things of this world. The death of being right. The death of pride. The death of personal aspirations. The death of luxury and pleasure. The death of having my own time to do what I want. The death of fitting in. The death of looking good. Sometimes even the death of a eight hours of sleep every night!

Jesus Himself said, "He who finds his life with lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matt. 10:39). As the Lord completes His work in us to become holy as He is holy, our flesh must die in order that we might fully life. Romans 8:13 tells us, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." It is God who will complete the work He starts in us. He turns our hearts toward Him, but we must respond with obedience. We must respond with the willingness and desire He places in us to follow Him, no matter what. As He draws us to the altar, we must surrender to His loving arms that lift us up in order to lay us down, a living sacrifice.

How do we arrive at that place of uninhibited sacrifice? The path to obedience is a simple one. It's not self-determination or will power. It's not through resolve or promises. It's not by doing all the right things or following a formula for right living. It's not reading every spiritual self-help book or following a strict to-do list. It's not reading the Bible more, praying more, worshipping more, serving more, or going to church more. It is falling in love with Him. The Lord is showing me that when my focus is loving rather than doing, the doing naturally follows. But if my focus is on the doing, I fall into a works mentality, and it becomes about me and not about Him. You see, when we love Him, our motivating desire will be to please Him. Funny thing is, as we're falling in love with Him, we will do all those things listed above, but it will be the result of our falling in love with Jesus rather than a means to manipulate a life of obedience by our own efforts.

Will you join me in falling in love with Jesus today? Will you spend some time reflecting on what He's done for you? Will you spend some time reading the word and learning more about Him? Will you spend some time talking honestly with the Father about where you are compared to where He wants you to be? Will you make it your heart's cry that the Lord would turn your heart more fully toward Him and give you the desperate love He wants you to have for Him?

May His transforming love draw you to the altar of obeDIEnce today.

Becoming wholly His,

Shauna Wallace

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Are You Following Me?

I recently heard something that has stuck in my mind like food stuck between teeth. I just keep going back to it. It was this: It is not until we change that others will follow. Think about that for a moment. If we want change in those around us, we must first change so they have something to follow.

If I want my children to stop barking at one another, perhaps I must first look at myself to see where I am barking at others. And I must change. If I want my children to respect me and their father and other authorities, perhaps I must first look at my attitude toward authority. What tone of voice am I using with my husband? What kind of attitude greets him when he needs me to help him with something? How do I talk about authority figures I don't like or with whom I disagree? And I must change. If I want my country to embrace biblical values, perhaps I need to look at myself and see where I have comprimised. And I must change. If I want others to desire Jesus, perhaps I need to look to see if He can be seen in me. And I must change.

But how? I believe Philippians 2:1-8 holds the answer.

"Therefore, if [there is] any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love,
if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
[Let] nothing [be done] through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem others better than himself.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests,
but also for the interests of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant,
[and] coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death,
even the death of the cross" (NKJV).

When we have the love of Christ, when we have the humble mind of Christ, when we think more highly of others, when we make ourselves of no reputation and become the servant of others, and when we are obedient to the word of God to the point of death, we will be worth following.

I want my life to be a platform from which the Lord can proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's not going to happen by accident. Our marriages won't be transformed by accident. My children aren't going to be obedient, respectful, helpful, kind, and others minded by accident. Our country isn't giong to change by accident. We must change.

Will you accept a challenge to be the one to change? Will you be the person others can follow to bring about the change we desire in our families, communities, church, and nation? Will you join me in making Phillipians 2:1-8 a verse by which to live? Friend, I pray your answer is yes.

Many blessings,

Shauna Wallace
Holy His