“When my mom passed, one of my dad’s preacher friends came to visit us. And his prayer was “May God’s glory be revealed even in this thing”, and that is a prayer I have remembered to this day.”
From Durham, North Carolina, Shelby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Graduating with a degree in Communications, she is now a college advisor but aspires to be a social worker. Her dad is a pastor, so she grew up with faith being at the core of everything her family did. It was so empowering to listen to her share her story, and her ability to see God in absolutely everything was inspiring – because she truly embodied what it meant to rely on your faith even in the darkest of times.
What Is Faith?
“I knew how important church was, but it was not until I started going through some things on my own in high school and college, where I had no choice but to rely on God. If I could define faith, I would say that it is believing in something that is bigger than yourself. For me it’s hard to describe, but it’s something that you do. My parents may not have been the richest, but they for sure gave me Jesus. And that alone has attributed to a lot of my success in life”.
Shelby’s mother passed away in December of 2015, around the time that she was taking finals. Something that she thought was interesting, was that leading up to that point she had had this intense desire to pray and read her scripture much more than she normally would. As she says, it was like God was preparing her for that moment.
It Was A God Thing.
“People always ask me, “Shelby how are and were you so strong from losing your mom to how you healed from it?” and I tell everyone all the time that it was not me. I felt that it was a God thing because of how he was guiding me through it. I felt such peace through it all. What is interesting was that during my mom’s passing I was also in a toxic relationship and looking back I can say that that was NOT a God thing because I felt like I was fighting for peace”.
Something that we all long for yet find difficult to achieve during some chapters in our life. How are we supposed to know when we have found peace versus when we are fighting for it?
“In situations where you are introduced to yourself in a negative way, you are going to always have to be fighting for peace. In the situation where I was fighting for peace myself, I was introduced to a version of myself that I had never seen before. I was jealous, insecure, not confident in myself, and that ultimately was an indicator for me that it was not a God thing. When my mom passed away, it was like I was constantly getting validation from God that this was something from him. I would tell someone to ask themselves, what picture of yourself do you see of what you are going through?”
Talk about Watering Your Garden, Shelby could not have watered my garden any more the day that she and I talked. What she was saying was so deeply profound in terms of helping us all discern situations that are ultimately for our good – and ones that we should let go. But part of being able to discern, is being able to sit and listen to our emotions in their raw authentic form. As we all know though, sitting with our emotions is one of the hardest things that we will ever be asked to do.
“It is hard to sit with our emotions because it is a reminder of us being weak. It took a while for me to be able to sit with my emotions and understand what they really meant. It is always uncomfortable, but by not addressing our emotions they can become detrimental and affect our lives on a much bigger scale than we think”.
For anyone who has lost a parent, or loved one, or going through a hard situation – Shelby gave some advice from what has helped her on her own journey:
- “Call on God, and he will show himself to you. If he is a real God, if you give him a question he is going to answer because he IS the answer. Ask God why is this happening and what are you trying to do.”
- “God gives us grace to process our emotions, so in turn we won’t be overwhelmed by them.” – therapy. Shelby is a huge proponent of asking for help when you need it and believes that therapy is a great place to find that assistance.
So inspired by your vulnerability, Shelby. We are all grateful for you today.
Water Your Garden always.