Basically, I told Him that I didn't know what the future would hold for me, but I was going to fully surrender my life to Him, for His glory.
I grew up in church, and my mom, sister and myself attended faithfully. My mom was raised Catholic and didn't know Jesus as her personal LORD and Savior until after she was married. My parents are still married today, through the Lord's amazing grace. While growing up in our family, she was the "spiritual leader.” I experienced a close-up view of two totally different paths through my parents and I knew without question which path I wanted to take.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13-14)
I visibly saw "abundant" living in my mom's life and I desired to have that as well. "A thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly. " (John 10:10)
She constantly displayed the "fruits of the Spirit" and I wanted to bear good fruit also. "But the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control"...(Galatians 5:22-23)
She always raised up the Word of God as Eternal Truth and she was constantly pouring it into us daily. "The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8) Each day I would always see my mom pray and I got to witness the power of prayer at a very young age.
I had a tenderness for the Lord since I was little, but I had an encounter with Him in sixth grade outside my elementary school, that dramatically changed my walk with Him. While attending the sixth-grade dance, I remember walking out the back door of the school alone, compelled with the desire to talk to God. I cried out to Him with everything that was within me. Basically, I told Him that I didn't know what the future would hold for me, but I was going to fully surrender my life to Him, for His glory. I was ALL in!! I lifted up my hands toward heaven and started bawling my eyes out. I experienced the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way that changed me forever. I KNEW He was real and I had a determination in my will from that day forward there would be "no turning back." I did not know what that would require of me, however, I knew nothing in this life could compare to the love of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I chose not to do what many around me were doing growing up, therefore, I often didn't feel like I fit in.
At times, the Lord required me to walk alone, however, He reminded me I had the greatest Friend always right beside me. "There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) He was constantly showing me that if I had HIM, I would always have everything I needed. Even though I was a Christian, I still struggled with sin just like anyone else. For example, I battled an eating disorder for many years and the LORD totally transformed my mind, setting me free from its chains of darkness. I also suffered from extreme anxiety for a few years and He completely delivered me from that as well. I can testify about His MIGHTY power to save to the uttermost because I am a living example of it.
I was able to find HOPE in the Lord God during the darkness, remembering that He was still on the throne and His power didn’t dimish with time. "He is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) I KNOW Him through His Word and I also know Him because I have experienced His faithfulness to His Truth.
To my great amazement, He brought my childhood dream of becoming a model to life. I got to be on TV (America's Next Top Model), covers of magazines, in NY Fashion Week, etc, but NONE of that could ever compare to “HIM” and His Presence. The things in this life get old with time, but my Jesus, oh how He keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. He truly is the lover of my soul, my all in all. I want to live my life so that it may bring great glory to His holy name. "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Jesus willingly laid down his life for us, therefore, let us choose to lay down our lives for Him. I know we live in a world where it is all about "me," however, let's aim to not embrace that mindset which opposes Truth.
The Lord says, "it is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Let's labor to bless and in so doing we will actually GET BLESSED according to His Word because God cannot lie. "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) Let's go out into this world and live out the two greatest commandments in the Bible, through the power of the Holy Spirit. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." And, "love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Let's shine so bright for Him and be selfless and not selfish!!!
All for Him,
Shannon was selected to be on the first season of America's Next Top Model. She was the girl who refused to pose nude/semi-nude for a jewelry shoot. Ever since Shannon was young, her heart's desire was always to become a supermodel. When she came face to face with her dream, she realized that no dream would be worth selling out for lowering her standards. If you don't stand for something, you won't stand for anything. Shannon got runner-up in the end because she didn't do that shoot. You can read more from Shannon at Shannonstewartmodel.com.