Courtney Shaw: Before she was Mrs. Florida

Woke up to the wonderful news this morning that my friend, Courtney Shaw, was crowned Mrs. Florida last night. She now gets to go on to represent Florida in Mrs. America. I thought it would be quite appropriate to share my radio interview of her. She is an extraordinary woman of God! Florida is SO blessed to have her wearing the crown.


What a Week it’s Been!

The Lord is Near Broken HeartThis has been quite a week for me!

The scab was torn off a wound that was well on its way to being healed. The wound …  a deep, re-opened mess. And I was bleeding. Badly.

For two years I’ve grieved. Processed. Talked it through with God. Talked things through with my best friend. Surrendered. Dripped mascara stained tears onto the pages of my precious Bible. Forgave. Laid on my face before God. Processed some more. Dripped more mascara stained tears. Then forgave … again. Grieved some more. Lamented. Surrendered again. Let go. A process that would be repeated over and over … and over again.

It’s the Shelly Brown process of healing. 🙂

But it works.

Yet now, here I sit, working again trying to stop the bleeding.

I realized this week how vulnerable we are to the enemy (the father of lies), when we feel so deeply wounded. We are so busy tending to the bleeding, that our minds become a raging battlefield. The energies we so diligently used to guard our hearts and minds are now diverted to simply keeping our head above water, while we nurse the hurt and replay over and over in our mind, the scenes that brought us back to this painful place.

My healing won’t take as long this time, as this was merely a set back. The enemies’ fiery darts hit some vulnerable and exposed areas of my heart and mind. But, he didn’t win! I’ll do what I’ve done over the last couple of years …

Process. Pour out my heart to God. Cry. Grieve. Talk it through with my godly best friend. Saturate my mind with Truth from God’s Word. Surrender. Let go. And forgive. Then … repeat, over and over … and over again, until the only evidence there was ever a painful wound is the scar, a beautiful scar. My beautiful reminder of how there is nothing too broken for God’s healing power.

Dig deeper: Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts (minds) with all diligence because out of our hearts flows all the issues of life. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 offers a very simple blueprint for guarding our hearts and minds.

When Nothing Else Matters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you ever had a “stop in your tracks” type of moment in your life? A moment where you realize that nothing else really matters. Your life successes no longer matter. Building your dream home no longer matters. Your profession no longer matters. Your coveted season tickets to your favorite sports team suddenly doesn’t matter. Your awards you’ve accumulated over the years no longer matter.

What kind of moment causes everything else to seem so incredibly insignificant?

The moment you hear that your baby girl is now fighting for her life. The moment when you hear that your cancer has spread. The moment when you hear that your husband of 20 years no longer wants to be your husband. The moment when you hear your adult child has made a tragic life-altering choice. The moment when you realize everything you worked for your entire life, is gone. I can describe these scenes because sadly, these are fresh realities of women I know and love.

Moments like these, take our hearts and minds to places we never knew existed. We witness first hand how frail we are in our humanity. We realize that at the end of the day, all that really matters is something so intangible that all the money this world can contain can’t buy it, dreams can’t fulfill it, the brightest minds can’t create it or duplicate it.

When we have one of those “stop in your tracks” type of moments, and I pray, oh how I pray, that these moments are few and far between in your life, we immediately, as if instinctively, do one of two things: 1) in longing desperation we turn our hearts toward heaven; or 2) in bitter anger we shake our fist toward heaven.

Either way, we look toward our Creator. Instinctively, we embrace Him or we blame Him.  We look to Him to be our refuge and comfort or we look to Him to cast blame and outrage.

It is in these “stop in your tracks” moments when we are forced to come to terms with our own mortality. Our frailness. Our insufficiency. Our brokenness. Our utter dependence on our Creator.

So what does matter in moments like these? What causes us to turn our hearts to Him instead of shake our fist toward Him?

It is the intangible becoming tangible … embracing the supernatural love of God poured out all over us. It is experiencing first hand the supernatural phenomenon of having great strength in our weakest, most vulnerable moment. It is drawing on the resurrection power of Christ to sustain us. It is the eternal … knowing and accepting that every life truly is a vapor, but eternity is never-ending. It is loving God and loving others. Jesus said, in Matthew 22 that “the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.” Then Jesus said, the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

THAT’S what really matters!

I am determined like never before to focus on what really matters. Time is short! Oh so short. I have responsibilities, goals and dreams, all of which I will continue to press into daily, but, with a newly determined eternal focus of loving God and loving others.

What is one of your “stop in your tracks” kind of moment? What was your biggest lesson learned through it?

More Valuable Than Diamonds

file9411244999123Imagine walking through the wilderness stumbling on natural diamonds. Most of us would ignorantly walk over them and perhaps even kick them down the path, treating them as mere clumps of dirt. Having no clue as to their value and how exquisitely they would look if they were polished and expertly cut.

Aside from being a girl’s best friend, a diamond’s value is not based on what it can do, because the reality is, a diamond is an inanimate object and can do nothing for anyone.

It’s value is based solely on what someone is willing to pay for it.

I have some great news for you today! YOU and I are worth far more than all the diamonds this universe can contain. God paid a higher price than all the wealth that a million years could bring. 

He gave His Son, Jesus to have a LOVE relationship with you and me!

HE ALONE determines your value.

Your husband does not determine your value.

Your ex-husband does not determine your value.

Your family does not determine your value.

Your friends (or lack of friends) do not determine your value.

Your employer (or ex-employer) does not determine your value.

When you have experienced rejection, abuse or abandonment, it’s easy to put your value into the hands of those who hurt you. But, like the one stumbling through the wilderness, ignorantly stumbling over natural diamonds, they could not possibly know your worth.

Paul says in Ephesians 3:18 that Christ’s love for us “passes all knowledge.” In other words, Christ’s love for us is so extravagant and so deep that there is no possible way we could fully comprehend His love. This love is the love that led Jesus to leave the majesty of heaven, to become a man of sorrows. To be reviled and persecuted. To be put to death in the most shameful manner on a cross. Who could possibly comprehend that?

No other time in the past or in the future would any love compare to that.

Back to Ephesians 3, Paul was praying for the Church of Ephesus that they would be rooted and ground in Christ’s love and that if they could simply grasp how loved they are that they would experience the fullness of God.

When the enemy whispers in your ear that you are unloved or worthless, immediately capture the thought and replace it with the Truth of God’s Word. “I AM LOVED WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE!” Write it on an index card. Carry it with you!

Oh that we would could catch even a glimpse of the breadth, and length and depth and height of God’s love for us! When we do we are FOREVER CHANGED!