Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Full-Circle with God's Grace

Face to face with the magnitude of His grace, my eyes scan the room. There’s James, Blow Pop in hand, eyes wide like a deer in the headlights, hands swiping his hair and face as if to say, “Is this for real?” Without a word, his expression speaks: “What have I gotten myself into?!?!” I love him so much. Absent all traces of fellow testosterone, he presses onward into the great unknown: a house full of squealing, giggling, non-stop chattering teenage girls for our church’s in-town weekend retreat. It’s only orientation. Thursday night. The college leader poses the icebreaker: “What is something awkward about yourself?” Answering is awkward in and of itself. Confessions spill forth. Friends cleverly answer for one another. Giggles. Laughter. How much longer will the Blow Pop last? How much longer will James last? Stories circulate. What does my expression say? Can they see the wonder? Can they see the overwhelming awe of a God who has answered the deepest desire of my heart? 

The epiphany stuns. It’s almost an out-of-body experience. Not really, but sort of, because it’s so real. So yesterday. I sat where they did, excited and anxious about a weekend event to come. Church camp. Disciple Now. Retreats. I went. I left stirred. I longed to be the godly, loving, pure young adult leader. Or the godly wife and mother who served. Smiled from the joy within. Gave selflessly. Loved unabashedly. Exuded integrity. Nothing like my insides. My sin. My shame. The hopelessness of my despair. I longed so deep. I remained so far. Yet Thursday, among our youth, I sit. There. Really there. God shows me. His power. His grace. His faithfulness. His work. His full-circle redemption. In the pastor’s office, listening, observing, remembering, I sit, the woman I always wanted to be. He’s done it. He redeemed. He transformed. A miracle. Truly. Much done. More than I could have imagined. Much to do. More, I’m sure, than I could ever imagine.

I didn’t think it could ever happen for me. Not with what I’d done. Not with the way I still struggled. Not being the hard nut I was to crack. But God. He did it. It worked because it was Him. It couldn’t be me. Me the mess I made of my life. He the beauty of what He produced from it.

Isaiah 43:19 comes to mind: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” It’s what He’s done. It’s what He will do. For me. For you. He will do the impossible. That which we cannot ask or imagine. When all we see is trees hemming us in on all sides, He sees the path. His way to redemption. Deliverance. When all we see is desolate, He sees abundance. The lush oasis of His provision. When all we see is hopelessness, He is hope.

The weekend’s theme is ROOTED. Growing roots in hope. Deep roots in Christ. Stable roots secure in the midst life’s greatest storms. Unuprootable. Roots through which the power of the Holy Spirit produces fruit. Much fruit.

Circling our home leader, ten high school girls, a young mom, and this old girl sit sharing testimonies. Tempests meant for destruction reveal young trees clinging to their Savior. And God is doing a new thing.

What new thing do you need God to do in you today? What impossibility threatens despair only He can dispel? Are you in a Sahara or a dense forest, and only God can make a way? Behold! He will do a new thing! Check your roots. Are they buried in the soil of self-effort? Good works? Independence? Financial security? Popularity? Accomplishments? Possessions? Physical appearance or ability? Career? Tolerance? The word of the media or cultural gurus? Or are your roots extending deep in the rich soil of the word of God? Are you fertilizing with fellowship, basking in the sunshine of gratitude and praise, watered with the rain of His Holy Spirit, protected under the shadow of His wing, drinking in nourishment through prayer?

My prayer for each girl this weekend is my prayer for you. For me. In Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we remain ROOTED:

Radically available
Open hearted
Open minded
Totally honest
Eternally blessed
Divinely changed

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7).

I pray the God of hope will accomplish all He desires according to His good pleasure as we become wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Prepare for Persistence!

Confession. One brain cell remains operational after taking in ten teens for a weekend retreat. Sleep deprived and staring down a school project assigned seven weeks ago and started five days ago, timing is perfect for this third and final excerpt on spiritual warfare truth from Nehemiah. It’s time to go on the offense!  

When work on the wall is complete, Nehemiah establishes protective measures by which the Jews can guard against future attacks. He knows their enemies are not going to retreat just because the job is done, and they cannot rest on their laurels. They have accomplished a huge task, rebuilding the wall in fifty-two days (Neh. 6:15). Don’t you know all they want to do is pull up a chair, put their feet up, and just relax and revel in their success? Instead, Nehemiah places Jerusalem in the charge of his brother, and issues these orders: “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house” (Neh. 7:3).

TRUTH: As we gain ground in Christ – as our obedience becomes more wide spread and our wall of holiness becomes stronger, we must implement protective measures to preserve the progress we achieve. When we make strides, we can’t allow surprise attacks to set us back. It is a time for reinforcement and prevention. By keeping the gates shut until the sun was high, the Jews are able to prevent an unexpected assault. They use physical resources to serve their defensive objectives. In the same way, we must take what we have in the natural – our time – and dedicate the early hours of the day to preventing enemy attacks. Whether we are morning people or not, I believe the early hours are the most critical. When we spend them in worship, prayer, and Bible study, we are fortifying our walls and thwarting opportunities for the devil to advance upon us. During the night, Jews were charged with standing guard at specific posts outside their own houses. During times of darkness when we can’t see what’s coming and don’t know what’s around the next turn, we need to already be in our posts, standing guard over our own house, which in the Hebrew is inclusive of our physical bodies, our home, our family, and our inwards.[1] We need to put ourselves through spiritual boot camp so we’re prepared when the enemy attacks.

Just as Nehemiah’s enemies come against every effort to remain steadfast in his obedience to God, I guarantee your flesh is going to resist the Spirit’s work to bring you into total obedience to your loving and faithful Father. The moment you believe on the name of Jesus and make Him Lord of your life, you enter a war. While Nehemiah’s battle was against other men and nations, and the Jews held swords as they rebuilt the wall, our battle is in the spirit with weapons of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:12 explains: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” What do we do with that? How do we fight these unseen forces that are out for our destruction? Our fight for holiness requires the full armor of God and intense training in His battle strategies. The first step in doing this is to disarm ourselves of the ways of this world and recognize the battle we fight, by what power, and for what purpose.

I think my last brain cell just fell asleep. May the God of heaven, through the power of the Holy Spirit, strengthen us with all might today as we become wholly His.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

[1].      Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for bayith (Strong's 1004)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. Accessed April 30, 2011, http://

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fight or Fall

Conversations with several friends lately confirm the urgency of spiritual warfare. It’s raging, whether we’re engaging or not. Nightmares involving real attacks from demons. Good kids confronting bad choices. Children who once desired nothing but Jesus deciding He’s no longer important. Moms whose hearts break for the hardened hearts of their young ones. Rapid fire media attacks from every direction, tearing down family values and lifting up perversion. War has been waged. We must fight or fall, knowing we do not battle 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” (Eph. 6:12). Continuing from Monday, let’s look at a few more truths Nehemiah demonstrates as he attempts an impossible task in the face of insurmountable opposition. Here is another brief excerpt from my upcoming book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His. The Lord brings Nehemiah’s enemies’ plot to nothing, and the Jews fix their focus on the task at hand, arming themselves as they rebuild. I love how God’s word is alive and active, full of ancient stories with modern application, such as this:

TRUTH: We, too, must equip ourselves with the armor of God as we hold our weapons in one hand and rebuild the wall of holiness around our hearts and lives with the other hand. And we must not allow the devil to divert our attention from the work the Lord has before us. We must not bite the devil’s bait of distraction no matter how persistent he and his cronies may be.

In Nehemiah chapter six, their enemies continue unrelentingly in their attempts to defeat Nehemiah’s efforts. First, they attempt to trick him into a face-to-face meeting that will take him away from his work. Their request appears harmless, and I’m sure to the undiscerning eye it appears to be a good thing; one that no reasonable person would deny. But Nehemiah knows their true purpose and is not derailed. He declines each of the four invitations they send, explaining in verse three, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Nehemiah knows his purpose. He knows what he is supposed to be doing, and he does not allow his attention to be diverted. He does not pursue a good thing that is not a God thing. 

TRUTH: We must have the same determination as we study God’s word and do what it says. When the enemy tries to get us off track, we can refute him with the confidence of our conviction. When the devil tries to distract us, we have to know that it’s going to appear to be a good thing, and he’s not going to give up when his first and subsequent attempts are unsuccessful.

When Nehemiah doesn’t fall for Sanballat’s repeated attempts to lure him for a meeting, Sanballat threatens to tell the king a lie that will put Nehemiah’s very life at stake. Unmoved, Nehemiah responds, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart” (Neh. 6:8). Nehemiah knows they are trying to stir fear in the hearts of the workers to weaken them and halt work on the wall. Rather than succumb to fear and doubt, Nehemiah prays in verse nine, “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”

TRUTH:  When we recognize the devil’s attempt to intimidate us and plant doubts in our minds, we can turn to the Lord for strength to resist the devil.

Facing another failed attempt to derail work on the wall, Sanballat and Tobiah hire a secret informer to trick Nehemiah into entering the temple against God’s ordinances in order to protect his life from his enemies. But because Nehemiah “perceived that God had not sent him at all” (verse 12), and because he knows God’s laws governing the temple, he remains invincible in the face of his enemies.

TRUTH: As we walk in the Spirit, the Spirit will give us the same discernment and determination to follow the ordinances of scripture, thereby making us impenetrable to our enemies.

Lord, secure blinders on our eyes and swords in our hands as we engage in the battle of our lives. The enemy is organized, intentional, and ruthless. Let us be equally deliberate, proactive, and tireless. By Your Spirit, give us discernment, determination, and diligence. Hedge us behind and before, and lay Your hand upon us (Ps. 139:5).

What battle are you fighting today? Are you waging war in the flesh or in the Spirit? What truth speaks loudest to you? Are you sidetracked by good things that aren’t God things? Are there ways the devil is intimidating you or planting doubts? How can you apply the truths of Nehemiah to your current circumstances? Engage!

The fight is worth it as we become more wholly His!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Godly Intentions? On Guard!

Sharing a piece of my heart today through an excerpt from my upcoming book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His. Coming home from a conference for moms, pumped up with inspiration and great intentions and challenged to be more intentional in discipling my children’s hearts, I am on guard, knowing the devil doesn’t normally sit back idly while the Lord sanctifies. I am ready for battle!

The moment you determine in your heart and actions to be holy as He is holy, you can be sure the devil is going to come against you to steal, kill, and destroy what the Lord determines to bestow, breathe new life into, repair, renew, and restore. We see this in Nehemiah. As soon as he and the Jews start rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, their enemies become “furious and indignant” and mock them (Neh. 4:1). Sanballat, the ring leader of the bunch, says: “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish – stones that are burned?” (Neh. 4:2). In the same way, as we rebuild the walls in our lives through obedience, the enemy is mocking us, saying: “What is this feeble Christian doing? Will he or she actually obey? Will they do what the word of God tells them to do? Will they set aside their flesh and become holy? Will they really believe God and His promises to them?” Let the answer be yes!

Nehemiah’s unwavering faith in God, obedience, and firm stand against his enemies bring great success in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. His surrendered advancement toward the goal the Lord puts before him, no matter what is going on around him, position him for victory over his enemies. He is able to recognize their scheming tactics, and he will not be diverted from God’s plan and purpose for his life. I love how Nehemiah firmly plants himself in the will of God, trusting exclusively in Him, and then confronts his enemies as he stays on task for the Lord. Here’s a quick summary of this part of Nehemiah’s story and some great battle truths we can apply as we fortify our path to holiness.

When the Jews build the wall, and the entire wall is joined together up to half its height (Neh. 4:6), their enemies become angry and conspire to attack. The Jews set watch day and night, but Judah reports in Nehemiah 4:10, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” The Jews are feeling intimidated and discouraged because they have shifted their eyes from the Lord to the rubbish around them, and the same thing will happen to us if we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on the ruins left behind by our sin and disobedience.

TRUTH: The enemy will use this rubbish to destroy our resolve, so we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We must heed the words of Nehemiah in verse fourteen of chapter four: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” We must take our eyes off the things the enemy uses to distract us and focus on the greatness of God! The fight is worth it when we realize it’s for more than just ourselves – it truly is for our children, our families, our friends and neighbors, our co-workers, and so on.

Fortunately, God brings their enemies’ plot to nothing, and having returned their focus to rebuilding the wall, “those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon” (Neh. 4:17). Don’t miss this! The Jews rebuilding the wall arm themselves as they rebuild!

Sword in hand, I’m ready to rebuild!

Lord, I ask You in Jesus’ name to bring to nothing the enemy’s schemes against me, my family, every person reading this, and their families. I thank you that we fight from victory, not for it, as we become more wholly Yours today.

Tune in Thursday for more!

Shauna Wallace

Holy His

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unspeakable Sorrow. Unspeakable Joy.

Sorrow for the families who lost their daughters lingers. The wonder of it all turns in my head. Memories of my own loss mingle. Crowds pack churches. Their vibrant smiles still light up the room. Laughter and tears lose themselves in one another. Out of the mouths of those for whom the loss is greatest flow words of hope. Rejoicing. Celebration. Comfort. They stand before multitudes, broken hearted and full of joy. I marvel. I start to ask how it’s possible, but I know. I’ve experienced it. The power of God strengthens. The grace of God carries. The love of God fills. The peace of God consumes.  And even in the moments when grief cripples, God is more than able.

I didn’t know Anne. Yet I weep. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m not a crier. I wish I was! There’s such cleansing and release in a good cry. Sitting among loved ones and friends, as the family remembers and shares, then says their final goodbyes, I weep. God’s word whispers. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).

I knew Katie. Loved her. Prayed with her. Absolutely adore her family. One of hundreds at Katie’s wake, it truly is a celebration. Standing before the coffin that holds their daughter’s body, mom and dad hug, comfort, smile, laugh, and talk about God’s goodness. Now. In the midst of their greatest loss, they can’t say enough about how great their God is.

Hands raised high, voices lifted up, Katie’s funeral is an all-out worship service. No tears. It’s almost as if it would dishonor her desires to cry. She was a worshipper. She is a worshipper, just now it’s in heaven. We simply join her. And God’s word whispers. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

You see, these families do not grieve as those who have no hope. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (I Thess. 4:13-14). I look up sorrow in the Greek. As expected, it means to grieve. Not expected: “to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow; to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple” (, I Thess. 4:13, Strong’s G3076, Feb. 15, 2012). These families grieve, but they don’t grieve without hope! As they grieve, hope shines forth. They affect others with joy, not sadness. They cause rejoicing, not grief. They throw others into celebration, not sorrow. They put others at ease, protecting them against hopelessness and despair. In them, we see the hope of eternal life. And the gospel goes forth. In rejoicing and weeping.

I think that’s how we do it. Help them. When the busyness of wakes and funerals eases. When they re-remember every morning when they wake. When going through their belongings leaves them doubled over on the floor. When there’s nothing one can do to take away their pain, what do we do?  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Those days are close. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe you know these families, or you know others reeling from death right now. Or perhaps you’ve been through it yourself. When only the supernatural will do, what practical things can we do in the natural to rejoice with them and weep with them? What does that look like when we have no idea what to do?

If you’ve experienced the comfort of others in loss, please comment below and share the things they did that made a difference in your grief. Let’s be a forum where we spur one another on to good works by teaching and training in areas where we have experience that will benefit others.

To the right below my signature there’s a link that counts the comments for a particular post. Just click that link and it will bring up a comment box.   

A few things I can share from the loss of my mother:

1.       Call. Even if you don’t have any idea what to say, call. Tell them you love them. Ask them what you can do. Know the answer is likely going to be, “Nothing.” And keep calling.

2.       Ask. I love to talk about my mother. It keeps her alive to me. I felt like people were tired of hearing me talk about her. They had moved on with their lives, yet my life didn’t go back to normal. When a friend  would call and ask me questions about my mother, it helped. It healed. It kept her alive.

3.       Pray. Prayers can be felt. Literally. Tangibly. And it makes a defined difference.

4.       Understand. On the days when the pain cripples, be there. Be near. Be available. Hold them. You don’t have to say a thing. Just be there. If there’s something pressing they feel must be done, do it for them. Run interference. Cook. Grocery shop. Clean. Run errands. Take the kids. If it’s a need you can identify and you have the ability to meet it, do it.

5.       Remember. Sorrow flows in waves. It comes crashing when you least expect it. Even when life seems normal again, remember. Cycle back through one through four.

Even though we don’t grieve as those without hope, there are days it’s going to hurt. Debilitate. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. To the ones who have lost, and to those who are watching.

Please comment! Share your experience or a word of comfort for those who mourn.

May the Lord love through us as we become wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Hearing from You

I've heard from some of you that you've emailed me about some of the posts you've read, and I love to hear from you! Sometimes I'm a little slow, and as I thought about this yesterday, it occurred to me that I'm not getting these emails. If you hit "reply" to the email that now comes directly from my blog, I am not receiving those emails. If you have not heard back from me, please know, your emails are not reaching me. Don't stop emailing though! If you would like to contact me about a post, please email me at or use the comment section below each post.

May the Lord bless you today and give me much grace in learning this new world of blogs and social media!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Untimely Death. Timeless Hope.

It’s Friday afternoon. We turn the car over to the valet and saunter into our first store. Just making a return. My two youngest plead with me to make it quick. It’s one of those home stores where I love to lose myself. Love to get ideas. It’s one of those stores they love to hate. I promise it will be quick and head for the sales associate at the register. In the middle of trying to figure out why I received a bed skirt I never ordered, the phone rings.

“Hey Jennifer, what’s up?”  

“Did you hear about Katie?”

“Katie Walker?”

“Yes, Katie Walker.”

“No. I haven’t heard anything. What’s happened?”   

“She was killed in a car accident this morning.”

“What? You’re kidding me! Are you serious? Oh, Jennifer, there’s no way! Oh, the family!”

And it happens. In an instant, the lives of two vibrant young women end and countless more will never be the same.

Shock. Unbelief. Heartbreak. Nausea. I try to imagine what her parents must be feeling. It hurts too much. What does that say about the reality of what they must be experiencing? If I can’t stand the pain of imagining, what must they be experiencing?

Calls keep coming. People wanting to know if we we’ve heard. What can we do? What do they need? What in the world happened? She spent the night with a friend. They went to Bible study and back to her friend’s house for the night. Her friend was bringing her home that morning. The streets were wet. They hydroplaned into oncoming traffic. The passenger side took the impact. She died instantly, the police say. Her friend passed away before the constable arrived. How do we make sense of something that seems so senseless?

I go to bed, heavy hearted. I wake up, heavy hearted.

Lord, the Walkers. Oh Father, what can I do? What can I pray? It’s unbelievable. How can a vibrant life be here one moment and gone the next? No warning. No wrong doing. No drugs, alcohol, rebellion. She wasn’t doing something wrong in a place she shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t the result of any form of foolish or criminal behavior. She just spent the night with a friend and was on her way home. And the young man in the truck. An innocent victim who now shoulders the sorrow of being the driver of the truck they hit. Lord, cover it all with your presence. Your power. Your comfort. Your love. Your mercy. Your balm. The pain doesn’t go away, but joy and comfort mix in. She is in Your presence now. We rejoice for her, Lord, and mourn for those left to figure their way through her absence. We celebrate Your saving grace for her, and our hearts break for her family. And Your grace is sufficient, even in the loss of a child. Your grace is sufficient in any loss. Any tragedy.

I think of the Steven Curtis Chapman family. I think of my own mom. The phone call.

It was eight years ago. Checking my voice mail after lunch with a friend, I unlock the car and help the girls get settled in the back. My sister left two messages about an emergency. Someone must have broken a bone or something. I call her back. “Hey, what’s up?” I ask. “Mom’s dead!”

She never showed up for work that morning. She never called to say she was running late. Very out of character for her. Her staff called 9-1-1 to check on her. They found her dead on her kitchen floor. We had no warning. No idea it was coming. No idea cancer had taken up residence in nearly every organ and system in her body. The life of a 62-year-old vibrant woman ends, and countless others will never be the same.

In an instant, life as I knew it changed. Shock. Unbelief. Debilitating grief. Disorientation. Denial.

You were there, Lord. You went deeper than the grief. When no one or nothing could make it better, You did. You are sufficient. You are able. You are faithful.

There’s a truth here. A lesson.

No one knew my mother would never call again. No one knew Katie would never come home. No one knew it would be the last time to hug, say I love you, give assurance, see her face, hear her voice. Only the Lord knows the number of our days. Tragedy is a painful reminder. Lord, let me be the one to extend the hand of grace, forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation. You’ve given every one of us who are Yours the ministry of reconciliation. Let us be faithful in it. Let no anger sit. No offense take hold. No bitterness take root. No unkind word leave our mouths, within our families and without. Let us learn truth through this. Let us train our children. Let me, Lord, love more vulnerable, extend more grace, assume more humility, let more go, encourage more generously, reconcile more quickly. Oh Lord, make it all better for this family according to Your perfect plan.

Even when we don’t understand the heartbreak in our lives, we will not stop loving You, trusting You, praising You, worshipping You, rejoicing in You. We are not promised understanding. As Your word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6). I don’t know why this happened, Lord, but I do know what Your word says about You. I know You will never leave or forsake Your children (Heb. 13:5). I know You will work all things, even catastrophic loss, for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose (Rom. 8:28). I know You are ever present, all powerful, all knowing. I know You love this family more than can be measured and will carry them through. I know Your angels have charge over them now to keep them in all their ways. In their hands they bear them up, lest they dash their foot against a stone (Ps. 91:11-12). I know You are their “very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). I know “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). I know You are Him who comforts us (Is. 51:12).

Talking to Katie’s mom, I think I know what Katie would say to us. We no longer hear her voice, but she speaks. Her love for Jesus speaks loud and clear. She wanted nothing more than for others to come to know her Jesus. People will hear. Her funeral will be a celebration of a young woman whose Savior was her passion. Perhaps she will reach more lives for Jesus in her death than she ever could in her life. She is with the love of her life. She is not mourning. She is in a place our minds cannot even fathom. Her family has that guarantee. They will miss her for the time they remain, but they will be with her forever.  I will miss my mom to the day I die, but when that day comes, I will be with her forever. It is the source of hope in the face of despair.

There isn’t anything any one of us can do to take another’s pain away when death takes a loved one. But Jesus can. He is the answer for now. He is the answer for the afterlife. Our time here on earth is temporary. Guaranteed. Where we go when we leave is also guaranteed. Jesus came to earth in the form of man to die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin. My sins deserve the death He endured, yet He paid that price for me. For you. So that we don’t have to. No one has the ability to not sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Nothing we can do will save ourselves or earn our way into heaven. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When God opens our eyes to our sin and moves on our hearts to respond to His call, and when He gives us faith to believe in Jesus, we are saved. Like Katie. Like my mom. Jesus guarantees: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47), and, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). If God is calling you, respond. Believe. Don’t put it off. Another lesson tragedy teaches. A guarantee that is yours for the taking. Today. A guarantee that guarantees hope, even in the darkest hour.

God will be glorified. Through Katie’s life, and through her death. Through her family. Even in their grief, their heart is for the Lord, for the salvation of others.

Lord, give us an eternal perspective for this temporary existence. When pain overwhelms us and we can’t see how we’ll manage our next step, turn our hearts to You. I cannot begin to imagine the loss of a child, Lord. It hurts too much to put myself in their shoes. Go deep, Lord. Go intense. Go complete. Go wide. Go full. You are the answer to every question. Every fear. Every hurt. Every tragedy. Answer the cries of our hearts.

May the Lord give us His perspective and His peace in all things as we become wholly His.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Wicked Tongue

As soon as I said it, conviction seized me. My daughter stood there, shell shocked, wounded by my words. Without saying a word, her expression spoke of the betrayal she felt. I hurt just remembering. Tears threaten. I don’t even remember why I was so frustrated with her, which shows you how important it must have been. I can guess it was probably over disobedience, or arguing, or negotiating, or complaining. Chances are I was neglecting my responsibility to hold my kids accountable to first-time obedience, or I was slacking in holding them to the Lord’s standards. And in frustration, I let what was in my heart escape my tongue, and my daughter was a casualty of the war that rages inside of me. I do remember exactly what I said. Even though I asked for forgiveness, the words can’t be taken back. How I wish they could! I pray she doesn’t remember so clearly. That the Lord in His great mercy and love takes an eraser to her memory and wipes clean the sinful words of her mother. The one who is supposed to lift her up and encourage her in the Lord. Oh, Father, forgive me! Not just for that instance, but for every time I’ve used my words as a weapon against my family and those I love.

The temptation of the tongue is great. It relentlessly lurks in idle time, uncomfortable silence, anger, hurt, revenge, pride, humor, frustration, confusion, uncertainty, ambition, competition, insecurity, bitterness, discontentment, and unforgiveness. It thrives when we allow a controlling, critical, or judgmental spirit to rule our hearts. When we succumb to the lure of a loose tongue, the consequences are deadly. Oh Lord, I need Your word! I need Your rescue. I need Your grace. My tongue betrays what’s in my heart, and my eyes witness the ugly truth. Out of the outflow of my heart my mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34).

Wrong words have found a comfortable place in my family. All kinds of wrong words. “Unwholesome talk,” as Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) calls it. “Rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless” talk, if you look it up in the Greek (, Strong’s G4550). Other versions call it corrupt communication (KJV), corrupt word (NKJV), foul or abusive language (NLT), corrupting talk (ESV).

My default response is to address the words. “I’ll do better next time.” Or, “I just have to hold my tongue.” Or I’ll memorize a scripture and quote it to myself and my kids. Better yet, we’ll all memorize it and that will fix the problem. I’ll make the kids role play appropriate words. Yeah, that will do it! Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. We should make an effort to discipline our tongues. We should memorize scripture that we might not sin against God (Ps. 119:11). We should teach and train our kids to say things in a God-honoring way. But the spoken symptoms simply signal a deeper problem. In me. In my family. A heart issue that requires a gospel solution. Only the blood of Jesus can satisfy the penalty our words deserve. Only a genuine love for Him, birthed out of gratitude for the magnitude of what He’s done for us, can compel us to submit to his scalpel. Only a desperate realization of our destitute state without Him. Remembering that Jesus died for all sin for all time. He died for all the things we’ve said and the things we will say. He satisfied the demands of a holy God. In Christ, covered by His blood, we have too.

Our salvation is secure. Our sanctification is ongoing.

We need the Great Physician to be our great heart surgeon, cutting out tumors and healing sickness and disease in that part of us that is “the centre and seat of spiritual life; the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors; of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence; of the will and character” (, Matt. 12:34, heart, Strong’s G2588).

Unless the Lord changes our hearts, our tongues will tattle. In all things, including the secrets of my inner life. When James asks me for help, and I ask him if he can’t see the piles on my desk that need my attention, is that a tongue problem or a heart problem? Both, yes. But the root of the issue is in my heart. If my heart was truly submitted to the Lord, to serving James and being his help mate, my words would reflect that. When I’m resisting James’ authority and he puts his foot down, only to have his wife salute him with the words, “Heil Hitler,” is that a tongue or a heart problem? When I critically comment on a person’s clothing or look, is that a tongue or a heart problem? When I rant and rave about how someone has offended me, is that a tongue or a heart problem? When a child needs my help at the most inopportune time, and I let out an exasperated sigh, is that a tongue or a heart problem? When I get frustrated with my family and my words fly like daggers, is that a tongue or a heart problem? When I don’t know what to do in a relationship, and I talk to other people about it, is that a tongue or a heart problem? (More on that Monday.)

Lord, exert Your holy influence on my heart! Please, Lord, give Your grace that turns me to Jesus, keeps me there, strengthens me, and increases my faith, knowledge, and love for You, and compels me to walk in Your ways.

When our hearts change, so will our words.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). No matter what You find, Lord, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). I beseech You, Lord, to strengthen me to obey Ephesians 4:29-32:

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Heavenly Father, I do not despise Your discipline. I am not discouraged by your rebuke. For you discipline the ones You love. (Heb. 12:5-6). I welcome Your discipline, Lord.

May the Lord discipline each of us right where we need it in order to become wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When a Mole Hill IS a Mountain

I am relieved to report I am surviving! I have more peace today than I did a week ago. Not all the time…yet. But more of the time, and you know what? I’ll take it! I am rejoicing…still. Even when I don’t feel like it…still. And I am in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He heard my cries for help, and He answered, above and beyond the itty-bitty realm of possibility from which I asked. Honesty was risked and friendship restored. Humble love was risked and a child poured out their heart, even the struggles for which I was to blame. Lying bare at the foot of the cross, God covered me. Carried me. Caused me to seek after His plan. His purpose. His ways. And then He gave me more. More of Him. More of His truth. More for my children. The more I was troubled, the more ready I was for anything He had for me. I didn’t care what the truth was, or how hard it might be to receive, I just wanted truth. And He gave. And some of it hurt. It was about me. My shortcomings. My sins. My neglect. My selfishness. My desperate need for a Savior every day. My desperate need for grace every moment. My insecurities. It hurt good, though. The kind of hurt that brings an end to the bleeding. The kind of hurt that marks the beginning of God’s healing. God’s treatment. God’s rehab. God’s deliverance. By faith.

Faith. Jesus says, “I say to you if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain , ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you’” (Matt. 17:20). A mustard seed. That’s not very big. My mole hills become mountains, and I wonder what that sliver of faith looks like. Does the fact that I’m struggling mean I have forsaken faith altogether? God shows me the answer. No! Faith isn’t always some catastrophic, life-changing moment when we say yes to God to the accompaniment of angels singing the Hallelujah chorus. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith simply as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is the conviction we have that what we hope for in Christ is actually a reality today. It is the proof we and others need of the reality of what we cannot see. Faith is evidence of Jesus. It is evidence of salvation. It is evidence of hope. It is evidence of grace. Things that happen in a realm undetectable to the bodily eye are tested and proved by our faith. Sometimes it’s faith to do the big stuff God requires, like leave everything that’s comfortable and familiar, and follow after Him. But other times, like for me these last few weeks, it’s the faith to turn to God every three minutes because that’s as long as I can make it before my mind wanders to worry and He has to turn me back to Him.

Regardless of the measure of faith we have at any given moment, we simply must have faith. When we are saved by grace, it is through faith (Eph. 2:8). It is not of ourselves, but God is the one who deals each one of us the measure of faith we have (Rom. 12:3). He moves on our hearts to respond to Jesus with the faith He gives, and He saves us. Based on Hebrews 11, look at what He accomplishes by the faith He gives:

By faith, we gain understanding. By faith, we obey God from a right heart. By faith, the lives of those who have passed before us still speak to us today. By faith, God delivers. By faith, we are saved and can do the really hard things God requires. By faith, we become heirs of the righteousness that is according to faith. By faith, we can obey when we have no idea where it will lead. By faith, we can live temporarily, anchored only to Him. By faith, we can experience the impossible. By faith, we can consider Him faithful who has promised. By faith, we can seek a heavenly country. By faith, we pass the tests we face, even the extremely difficult ones. By faith, we can bless our children and speak of the future. By faith, we can defy evil rulers without fear. By faith, we can refuse position and heritage in order to be who and where God calls us. By faith, we endure. By faith, we see the unseen. By faith, we can do things that have never been done before. By faith, we can experience miracles and deliverance against all natural odds.

Everything is by faith in the unseen. Faith requires focusing on the heavenly. Faith makes the impossible insignificant. Void. Ineffective. Faith gives God all the glory. Faith preaches from our lives long after we’re gone. Faith strengthens others to faith.

The greatest faith truth for me this week? By faith, I can leave everything behind and find the ability to sacrifice even what is closest to my heart. The hard truth? Many times, the thing closest to my own heart is my own self. By faith, I can sacrifice self. That is what is on the alter right now. Me. My desires to control my children’s lives. My desire to have and be their answer. My desire to figure things out so I can fix things for them. My activities and accomplishments that supersede God’s priorities for my time and energy.

Hebrews 11 chronicles the big leagues of faith. The all-stars. Faith’s hall of fame.  Abel. Enoch. Noah.  Abraham. Sarah. Isaac. Jacob. Joseph. Moses. Rahab. Gideon. Barak. Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel. The prophets. All big players. All simple men and women. Just like you and me in some way. Imperfect. Inconsistent. Interfering. Tempted. Stumbling. Manipulative. Sordid past. Yet, God gave them faith, and their faith is the evidence we need today for our faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Thank You, Lord, for the measure of faith You have given me. I ask You now, in Jesus’ name, please increase my faith.

And I ask You, Lord, please give every person reading this right now greater faith as we become more wholly Yours.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All Stirred Up

Anxiety stirs. Ever since news of a sexual assault at gunpoint in a neighbor’s backyard last week, something in me just won’t settle. Or is it news that one more of my favorite companies openly declared its support of same-sex marriage? The world shrinks. The back yard is no longer safe. There’s one more business I won’t support, one more option off the table. Perhaps it’s the heartbreak I can’t shake for my daughter who doesn’t understand why her friend isn’t playing with her anymore. Or the unresolved issue with another child who isn’t hearing. Then of course there are the piles of paper mocking me from the top of my desk, stalking me with the worry of unfinished business. Uneasiness plagues me. Hormones mix it up worse. Peace escapes me. All I can manage before running out the door at 8 a.m. to begin a day full of meetings and errands is twenty minutes to dump the craziness in my head and the heaviness of my heart on to the lines of the page where my eyes witness the cry of my heart to my God who just has to hear me. A knot forms in my throat several times. I swallow it. No time for tears.

I drop my daughter off at class and head to my first appointment. “Lord, please, you just have to give me a scripture to stand on today, a verse to which I can train my thoughts when these same concerns cycle through my head again and again.” The one about being anxious over nothing comes to mind. I search anxious in the Bible app on my phone. Found it! Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” A glimpse of relief peeks back at me. I wonder what the previous verses say. I read them. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (verse four). Rejoice??? Really??? And it’s exclamatory, not just a casual suggestion. “How do I rejoice, Lord, when all I want to do is cry? I don’t feel like rejoicing, but it’s right here in Your word, before you tell me to be anxious over nothing.” As if it’s a prerequisite to peace. I’m desperate. I obey. Not because I feel like it, but because I want the peace so badly. I want to do this His way. Thankful that onlookers would likely assume I was engaged in a passionate cell phone conversation via Bluetooth, I declared firmly and loudly: “I rejoice in You, Lord, that You are creator and ruler of this universe! I rejoice in You, Lord, that none of my struggles are a surprise to You! Lord, I rejoice in You that You are not caught off guard by any of this! I rejoice in You that You know all things and are all powerful. I rejoice in You that You will give me the information I need when I need it. I rejoice in You that You will accomplish Your purpose and Your plan in all things.  I rejoice in You, Lord, that where I am lacking, You will complete the work You started in me and my children.” I look up rejoice in the Greek. It means to be exceedingly glad in the Lord. I focus my attention on my God – on those things about Him for which I am exceedingly glad – and my concerns begin to ease. In light of the bigness of my God, my worries become a bit smaller.

I keep reading. “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (verse five). That’s odd. Sort of stuck there. There has to be a reason. What is it Lord? Maybe the Greek holds clues that will unlock its significance. It’s talking about my behavior. Maybe even my disposition. Any and all people who see me in my private life, my church life, my business life, at Bible study, with my friends, in public. What do they see? What is made known to them? What knowledge do they gain about me or perceive? Gentleness?  Is my behavior suitable? Equitable and fair? Mild? What about when I’m stressed and anxious, like I have been this week? Am I the same person in all places and in all circumstances? There really isn’t a private life, is there? The verse says so. “The Lord is at hand.” Both physically and in time. My Messiah and Lord Jesus Christ is positioned right near me. He is right here. Always. Sunday, when I snap at my husband in front of church. He is near. He and anyone looking saw. Gentleness is not what was known. Oh to be able to hide my face! It also implies I have near access to God. In those stressful moments when I’m not myself, He is right there. And He is soon to come. When He does, how will He find me? Even if I’m stressed? The key is in the rejoicing. If I am exceedingly glad, there is no room to be exceedingly anxious, and I can be exceedingly gentle. Lord, I will practice rejoicing!

Reading on, I come back to “Be anxious for nothing.“ I repeat it. Again and again. Just to be sure I get it. It means do not be troubled with cares over anything. Do not seek or promote my own interest in anything. That sheds some light. Is that the source of my anxiety? Seeking my own interest in all these things? It hits me. Truth. Do not be troubled, Shauna, or seek your own interest  for your daughter and her friendships. Do not be troubled or seek your own interest for the piles on your desk. Do not be troubled, Shauna, or seek your own interest with regards to danger that lurks around you. Do not be troubled or seek your own interest with regards to shopping your values and if it will one day mean not shopping at all. Even for food. (Yes, my mind does go that far to the extreme very fast!) Be anxious not over your hormones. Be anxious not. Period. And the next word is but. Really, it’s saying rather or instead. “But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (verse six). So instead of troubling myself and seeking my own interest, practice thanksgiving. Address God with my needs and wants – seeking and asking – AFTER giving thanks! Give thanks first. Rejoice and give thanks. Then I will be anxious over nothing. I can’t be thankful and full of fear at the same time. I can’t  be exceedingly glad and uneasy at the same time. We have to do something instead of worrying. Instead of fretting. Rejoice and give thanks!

The result? Peace! It’s the very thing that drove me to God for a verse on which to train my mind. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (verse seven). That’s exactly what I need!!! I need your peace. My heart and mind need guarding. Lord, I will do this. I will rejoice. I will give thanks. Starting now. Thank You, Lord, for Your word. For this very specific word. Thank You that it is alive and active, right now, for me. I need it so desperately. Thank You for being at work in and through me, even when it’s uncomfortable. Thank You that You will work all of this together for good. Thank You for the opportunity to learn more about You, Your truth, Your ways. Thank You.

And His peace does as He says as I move from appointments to errands. Anxious thoughts threaten. They are met by the word of God. They are met with rejoicing. With thanksgiving. And the peace goes deeper. On my way home, I think about the last words of the verses God gave me. Yes, I feel like they were just at the very moment I needed them. The last three words register: Through Christ Jesus. It all happens through Christ Jesus. It is only possible because He makes it possible. It is only possible for me because He saved me and I am in Him. Through Him, I rejoice. Through Him, I give thanks. Through Him, I make my requests known to God. Through Him, I can experience peace that passes understanding. Through Him, that peace will guard my heart. My burdened heart. Through Him, that peace will guard my mind. Everything is through Him. Salvation. Hope. Healing. Help.

Pulling into my neighborhood, finally done with all my running around, I vent to my sister. I need prayer. She listens. She affirms. I share the scripture the Lord gave me. She emphasizes thanksgiving. Regarding my heartbreak for my daughter and her friend dilemma, she encourages me, “You can thank Him for what you can learn from this and what Elly can learn. For the ways you can train her in the ways of the Lord through this.” Thank you, Lord. “And you can thank Him for using it to turn her heart toward her family.” Thank you, Lord. “And you can thank Him for using this as a way for her big sisters to be a good friend to her.” Thank you, Lord. Thank you for my sister. Thank you for the truth she speaks in love.

This morning, she emails me a prayer. One that pierces my burdened heart with hope. One that pierces my concerns with what matters most to God.

My prayer is that this will be a time for you all to be filled with God’s grace and peace.  I pray that you can be the gospel to your family and friends. That you will love them selflessly.  Thank you Lord for these times that you refine us and remind us that you are the ONLY one we can rely on. Please cause their hearts to turn to you and trust you in everything. 

When the devil stirs it up and steals your peace, resist! Rejoice! Give thanks! Repeat as necessary. Stir things up in the Lord. Be anxious for nothing. And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus as you become wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His