Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shannon Sullivan: Walking in His Word Guest Post...

Today, I would like to introduce everyone to Shannon Sullivan. Shannon is in a Proverbs 31 Critique Group with me and has graciously agreed to guest post on Dawn's Dialogue. She has been happily married to her best friend for 20 years. They live with their two children and three Boston Terriers. Enjoy the post and visit Shannon's blog:

"All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s path to follow our own.  Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all."  -- Isaiah 53:6

Photo Credit: Dew Photography
Everyone at some point in their life has strayed off the path and not followed God like we should.  It’s not that we have turned our back on Him, we just put ourselves and what we want first.  I personally have had more than a few speed bumps on my path.

As a teenager, I strayed.  I wanted to do what I wanted to do.  Unfortunately, that was drinking, drugs, smoking and premarital sex.  My parents had been divorced since I was eight and I had four step parents by the time I was seventeen.  I didn’t really have a curfew and pretty much did whatever I wanted.  My dad had always made sure we went to church when we were with him, but he moved to California when I was thirteen.  I lost my way but I was always conscious about it.  I knew what I was doing was wrong but did it anyway.  I felt like no one cared about me, so why should I?  There was someone who did care about me though.  God.  My guardian angel took quite a beating for a few years.  It took being raped to get my attention and starting back on my path.  I still drank and did drugs to cover up the pain.  I went to church one Sunday with my Meme and cried the whole time.  I felt God’s conviction and straightened up.  I asked for His forgiveness and things turned around.

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

I met my husband when I was twenty.  Jeff was raised in church.  He had done some partying but for the most part led a pretty honest and straight forward life.  His parents had never been divorced and I used to tease him about growing up in ‘Leave it to Beaver’ land.  We dated, got married and had a daughter then a son.  We have been together for twenty years and married for eighteen.  

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

Despite my picture perfect life, I strayed off my path again.

After nine years of marriage, I succumbed to the attention of another man.  Things with my husband and I were strained because of some extended family issues.  This man paid attention to me, told me I was beautiful and made me feel special.  I had three best friends at the time and we were all close with each other.  They knew about the friendship between this man and I.  One even encouraged me to cheat on my husband.  I had started drinking again and didn’t have my heart where it needed to be.  Ironically, I was teaching Kindergarten at the Academy our church supported and my friends were the principal, PTA president and homeroom mother.  I was also head of the Children’s Ministry at our church.  I was a huge hypocrite.  Eventually, my friend that had encouraged an affair told my husband that I was in fact having an affair.  I wasn’t physically but I was mentally.  I asked forgiveness from my husband and no longer had any contact with the other man.  I resigned my position at the church and lost my best friends.  I also quit my job because I needed to remove all traces of temptation and bad memories.  Slowly but surely, I got back on my path.

Photo Credit: Dew Photography
I have not yet found another church.  It has been over nine years since I regularly attended.  I am afraid of the hurt that I felt by my church family when we left our old church.  We had attended there for six years and I was known to everyone, young and old.  
When we left, no one, not even my pastor, called to ask why or check on us.  
No one else knew of my indiscretion except my three friends as far as I know. 

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

I lost my way for a while, but am back on track.  I work for a Christian man who lets me listen to Christian music while I work and decorate my office with Bible verses and crosses.  He encourages me and my other co-workers in our walks with the Lord and is always there lending an ear and offering prayer.  I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  My husband and I are closer than we have ever been and my children are the brightest part of my day.  I participate in online Bible studies and continue to visit churches.  I know God will tell me when I have found my new home.
Although I have strayed off my path and found my way back.  It breaks my heart to know that I broke the Lord’s heart and my sins are what held Jesus Christ on the cross.  His grace is a gift I don’t deserve.  I know the evil one will continue to throw things in my path but as long as I keep my eyes on the Lord, I know with His strength, I will be okay.

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