Melanie Shankle & Marshawn Evans Daniels have both learned how to move beyond what they thought “should” happen for their lives, and develop willing hearts to allow God to move them to a place beyond what they could ever have imagined. Melanie Shankle is a writer and a speaker, who in her past, tended to “limit” herself, based on her fears, insecurities and what others thought of her. When she learned to dispel these lies, she learned to never again underestimate what God could do with a willing heart. Marshawn Evans Daniels, author, speaker, Miss America finalist and participant on “The Apprentice,” was the picture of a successful woman. She shares about what she calls her “split rock moment,” after finding out the day before her “dream wedding,” that her fiance had been unfaithful, and how she had to let go of her plans, and allow God to take over.
No Limits: Melanie Shankle & Marshawn Evans Daniels Let God Direct Their Steps – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode #92
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling podcast. Today, we speak with two guests who strive daily to resist fear and embrace the plan God has for their lives with willing hearts. Melanie Shankle and Marshawn Evans Daniels. Melanie Shankle is a writer and a speaker who has learned to recognize how God wants to move us beyond the limits we place on ourselves. She discusses how important it is to recognize how much bigger God is than our fears and what we are capable of in His strength.
Recognizing Our Value In God’s Eyes
Melanie: My name is Melanie Shankle. I’m a writer and a speaker. I live in San Antonio, Texas, and I’ve been married to my husband, Perry, for 20 years. We have a 14 year old daughter, Caroline, who’s a high school freshman. I’ve written four books and now a devotional book: Sparkly Green Earrings, The Antelope in the Living Room, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, Church of the Small Things, and my new devotional is a 100 day devotional called Every Day Holy.
I grew up in Houston, Texas for the most part and ended up going to high school in Beaumont, Texas. My parents got divorced when I was 8 years old, and so my childhood definitely had some tumultuous moments. There was a lot of moving around and a lot of moving parts, and so for me, recognizing my value in God’s eyes has been a lifelong struggle.
I can trace that back to my childhood and the way I grew up. I think, sometimes, when the people who are supposed to love you the most, don’t or can’t, it leaves you feeling this void. It’s very much made me a people pleaser where I want everybody to like me. I want everybody to be happy.
So through high school and college, I went through this series — I’d grown up in the church — but just really rebelled and kind of went away from everything I’d ever known and that left me with so much guilt and shame. Even as I came out of that, I just felt like I was beyond what God could use… I had made too many mistakes. I didn’t think that He could — I felt like, “Sure. He could forgive me,” but He’s not going to actually bless my life with good things because I don’t deserve those because I’ve screwed up so much.
“I felt like, ‘Sure. [God] could forgive me,’ but He’s not going to actually bless my life with good things because I don’t deserve those, because I’ve screwed up so much.” – Melanie Shankle
That was a long journey of being able to walk out of that and a lot of healing had to take place. It took a long time. I just don’t think that’s an instantaneous thing, and I think you’re so quick to go back to that spot when you fail or when you mess up, as we’re inevitably going to do. You’re still going to make mistakes, and then you would go back to that, “Ahh. This is why I don’t deserve nice things. This is why I can’t have nice things because I screw them up.” So it’s that whole thing.
I don’t mean to go all Church Lady with Satan, but I do think we don’t know what we’re capable of, but I absolutely believe that we have an enemy that knows where we’re capable of. And I think that he is aware of what God could do with a person who has fully surrendered and trusts in what God has for them. If we would quit believing those lies, I think there’s no limit to what God can do through us.
“If we would quit believing those lies, I think there’s no limit to what God can do through us.” – Melanie Shankle
It doesn’t catch God by surprise when we screw up, but that He still says, “I delight in you. I sing over you. I have your name engraved on the palms of My hands.” That’s a God who loves you no matter what, and I think we put our human limitations on that. So, for me, kind of the stabilizing force of my life was really when my mom moved my sister and I to Beaumont, Texas when I was in seventh grade. At that point, we lived down the street from her parents, and then my dad’s parents lived across town. My grandparents really became a big force in my life in terms of shaping who I am and what’s important to me and all of that stuff… just to see the way that they faithfully lived out their lives.
Grandparents’ Love Makes A Difference
The thing that I look at when I think back on them is how much they loved their family. As different as they were — my dad came from this big Italian family; my grandmother had eight brothers and sisters that all lived within two blocks of her for her entire life. So you had that. And they were loud, and there was always food. And they hugged and kissed you on the mouth whether you knew them or not… that was kind of their personality. And then you had my mom’s family which was different. They were quieter. They were from the panhandle of Texas and were more preserved and just a little different. But to me, what they both prioritized and what I saw was that family was the most important thing. They absolutely loved their family.
They loved their friends. They just invested in life right around them, and so there were always people — no matter which house I was at — where you had friends and family come in through the door, and they welcomed them with open arms and there was always food on the table.
I definitely can look back and think, “I remember feeling safe.” When I was with them, I felt safe. I knew that I was loved. I knew that I was adored. I knew that they were going to take care of me, and that, even though I probably couldn’t put a name on it, I knew that feeling and appreciated that feeling even as a kid.
A Gift To Write Stories
I look back, and I always loved writing. I loved to write stories. One of my memories that stands out to me is in fourth grade. I remember we had to write a creative story and read it in front of the class. My teacher had me read mine in front of the class, and it made the whole class laugh. I remember a light went on where it was like, “Oh! This is something I can do. I have maybe found a gift.” At the time, you don’t really know what that is, but I was like, “Oh! I really like this.” So that kind of went from writing funny little stories to always having a diary where I was writing thoughts and feelings. And then you go through those junior high years where I wrote a lot of really dramatic poetry that would probably make me cringe today.
To me, it was always writing. That was what I loved. I loved English. I loved reading anything I could get my hands on. That’s always been who I am and, so when I got to I went to Texas A&M, I basically chose my major based on what required the least amount of math classes, and that happened to be speech communications. So I ended up majoring in speech communications at Texas A&M and minored in journalism, so that gave me the chance to write and to speak, which is so funny looking back because your career aspiration is, “I think I want to be a writer and a speaker” because that is kind of like saying, “I think I want to live in my parents basement forever and never eat. I never want to make any real money.”
From Financial Sales to the Big Mama Blog
I ended up getting a job in San Antonio and moved to San Antonio. I was doing financial sales, so I always say, “If I look like somebody who evaluated your financial portfolio between the years of like 1994 to 1997, you may want to go get that checked out again. I apologize profusely.” I believe I made a D in Personal Finance at Texas A&M, and then somehow I got this job in financial planning. So that was my job. I was working in a hospital and was live in by myself, and Perry and I just really started off as friends. We were just great friends for about six months before we realized like, “Oh, I think maybe this might become something else.”
It’s so funny looking back because I started the blog in July of 2006, which I know it wasn’t the dawn of the Internet, but looking back now, that kind of feels like it was the dawn of the Internet. I mean, just think. Adults weren’t really on Facebook yet. There was no Twitter. There was no Instagram. There was none of that. It was just blogs. And so for me, at the time, I had been in pharmaceutical sales for about 10 years — I had transitioned into pharmaceutical sales — and then I had my daughter, Caroline, in 2003. While I was on maternity leave with her, I kind of discovered blogs because, you know, you spend a lot of time as a new mom Googling: “How do I know my babies doing the right thing?” or “How do you make your babies sleep at night?” or whatever. And that led me to stumble upon what I guess were the first mommy blogs at the time, and I loved them. So I got into reading them, and the whole time I kept thinking, “I think I could do this. This is a good outlet.”
So right before Caroline turned 3, one night on a whim… just because she was at that age if you’re a parent, where she was saying all these funny things, and we had all these funny things happen, and I thought, “I’m never going to be a scrapbooker, and I’m never going to be together enough to actually order the pictures off Shutterfly to put them in an album, so what if I start this blog where I just write about our life and our day?” And so that’s what I did. I started it. I named it Big Mama, which I really regret now because I didn’t know who it was going to be lasting thing, or I would have maybe thought about that name a little bit more. But at the time, it seemed real funny and appropriate.
That was it. I started it, and it really became my creative lifeline that brought me back to what I love to do. I felt like in those early days, it was more of us really being our real, authentic selves and sharing our struggles with motherhood and with life and with all of those things, and I feel like in a lot of ways now. the Internet has turned to: “I need you to see how fabulous my life is.” And I think we kind of do this fake authenticity thing like, “You wouldn’t believe. Look, I left a curler in my hair today when I went to bed,” but I don’t think we’re maybe digging as deep. And I don’t know that that’s across the board, but I just think about fashion blogs where you need everything to look perfect at all times because that’s how you’re going to get people to buy the clothes that you’re featuring, or if it’s a home blog, you need it to look great and your house needs to always be fixed and styled and ready. So it’s different. We’re seeing a different view of people than maybe sometimes the real thing that’s going on.
What Really Changes the World
I mean, now you could look at any given time and see all the things that people are doing, and so much of it is stuff that you would never be aware of without social media. You wouldn’t know that somebody has just started a church or adopted a child from Africa or started some incredible non-profit ministry or whatever it is that people are doing, but now we constantly are bombarded by: “Well, this person is doing this, and this person is doing that.” Truthfully, I’ve always said that when I write my books, whatever God is do it in my heart is kind of what becomes what I write or speak on during that season. It’s what I’m wrestling with and what God is teaching me, and so Church of the Small Things was the book that I wrote because of my own struggles with: “Am I supposed to be doing something bigger than this?” or “Why am I not doing something bigger than this. Why hasn’t God chosen me to do this big thing or put on my heart…?” And I would lay awake at night be like, “Am I supposed to adopt a child from Africa?” I would feel this pressure. “Am I supposed to start this thing? Am I supposed to be out making this huge difference?” And I just kept coming back to — it was funny because to circle back to thinking about my grandparents — I just kept coming back to them and thinking about what a difference they made in their family going forward and the legacy they left just by loving and living in their everyday world.
“What a difference [my grandparents] made and their family going forward and the legacy they left just by loving and living in their everyday world.” – Melanie Shankle
We have this little sphere of influence that may seem insignificant, but I believe so strongly, and God kept bringing me back to: “I put you here for a reason. I made you the wife to this husband and the mother to this child and put you in this community that you’re in for a reason and a purpose.” And so, if I want to try to change the world, you start within the walls of your house. It doesn’t have to be this… you don’t go from point A to Point Z. There’s are steps along the way.
And ultimately, as Christians, what if the biggest thing God calls us to do is just wake up in the morning and go, “What do You have for me to do today?” Like, “Show me what You have for me today, whatever that is.” And ultimately, if that’s supposed to be some big thing, He’s going to lead you to that. But a lot of times, even if we get this vision for something and think, “Oh, I think God is going to have me here,” how many times even in the Bible do you see where God say, “I’m going to have you here,” and then 30 years later you see that person is actually there? It’s long, slow steps of faithfulness that usually lead us to the bigger things that God has for us.
The Power of Devotions
Narrator: Melanie goes on to talk about writing her new devotional “Every Day Holy.” She also discusses how the Jesus Calling devotional has been a beloved part of her own personal devotion time.
Melanie: Writing the devotional — as much as I love it now that it’s a finished product — was the hardest thing I’ve written. Here’s what I’m going to say: “Kudos to Jesus Calling and 365 days” because I got to like day 50, and I really had this moment where I thought, “Well, I’ve said everything there is to say in the Bible.” You know? It’s like, “I’ve covered it all. There’s not a story left to be told.”
It was so hard, but it was like anything that you try to do. I was trying to finish it and power through in my own strength, and the devotional really came back to: I couldn’t just rely on being funny or being able to write a good story. It was like I really had to rely on God to give me the words and the message and to put things on my heart that I felt like we’re supposed to be in that book. And so I can look back at it now that it’s a finished product and go, “Wow! That’s amazing what God did with that and the way He gave me the words.”
“I really had to rely on God to give me the words and the message and to put things on my heart that I felt like we’re supposed to be in that book.” – Melanie Shankle
I couldn’t get through it on my own strength. I really needed God to speak to me; which is so appropriate that it becomes this Everyday Holy because it really is about going back to God for the source of everything. “What do you have for me today?” So that was kind of how the devotional came to be.
Starting Your Day With Jesus Calling
I’ve tried to think back to when I first knew about Jesus Calling. I just remember a lot of friends having it, you know? It kind of became one of those things where it was like, “Oh, I’m doing this Jesus Calling devotional.” “Oh, have you heard of Jesus Calling?” And I was like “No,” and so I picked it up.
Here’s what I love about Jesus Calling. It’s the way that Sarah… it’s the way God led her to write it. There are so many people — and I even see it on my Facebook feed and I laugh — where it seems like whatever it is that you need that day, it always works out with Jesus Calling where you’re like, “This is exactly what I needed today.”
There have been so many times, because I feel like that’s just become one of my standard devotionals. Even if I’m doing something else, I always start my day with Jesus Calling. So when you read those words, and you’re just like, “Wow, I’ve been struggling with anxiety today, and this was exactly what I needed to read this morning.” It just shows how, as humans, we all struggle and deal with the same things over and over again. You look at God, and you think when He created us, it’s like the things that He’s saying to Sarah are the things that He is saying to all of us, and they resonate in our lives whether we’re dealing with fear, or worry, or feeling like we’re not enough, or wondering if He’s still good even in the midst of trials.
That’s what kept coming up as I wrote my devotional. I kept thinking, “Is this because this is a universal thing because I feel like anxiety and fear is one of my biggest things?”
God Created Us For a Purpose
I tell this little joke in my devotional that I saw somewhere where it was like, “God told the angels, ‘Look, I’ve created man.’ And what the angels responded was: ‘What You’ve done is mess up a perfectly good monkey… look how anxious and fearful that thing is.’” This made me laugh so hard because we are. We are so anxious and fearful.
It goes back to that message that so many of us need to hear: that God created us for a purpose and has plans for us, and He gave us all the special gifts, and ours aren’t going to look like somebody else’s. We’ve got to find our unique purpose and that exists.
“God created us for a purpose and has plans for us.” – Melanie Shankle
I think there’s no limit to what God can do through us. I think that every time we believe those lies, we wrap ourselves back up in that fear and that insecurity and that feeling that we’re not good enough. And I think we have a God that is so big that He’s like, “You never outrun My love and grace, and there’s not one thing you could do or have done or will ever do that will disqualify you from what I can do with you and for what I created you for.” You just look and go — I mean it’s in the Bible over and over again — like, “Every good gift comes from God.” He so wants to give us good. And the thing about it is from the dawn of time, from the minute Adam and Eve were on the earth, we proved that we were going to screw up our nice things. It doesn’t catch God by surprise when we screw up, but that He still says, “I delight in you. I sing over you. I have your name engraved on the palms of my hands.” You think, “That’s a God who loves you no matter what.”
God’s just like, “Okay, let’s start over. It’s a new day.” I think if we lived in that truth, we would be unstoppable. And I think it goes back to the fact that we have an enemy that knows if he can if he can continue to feed us that, we will stay in the little small space, and we won’t really branch out into all that God has for us. To me, you just look and go… I always think about when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, and he walked out, and He was like, “Take off your grave clothes.” And I think that’s it. We’ve got to take off our grave clothes. We’ve got to say, “This is the dead in me, and it is gone.” And I think you look at God with fresh eyes, and I think, “Never underestimate what God can do with a willing heart.”
Narrator: To read more from Melanie Shankle, visit her site at TheBigMamaBlog.com and find her new devotional “Every Day Holy: Finding a Big God In the Little Moments” everywhere books are sold.
Narration: We’ll be back with our second guest after this brief message about a free offer from Jesus Calling
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Marshawn Evans Daniels On Believing Bigger
Narrator: Our next guest is Marshawn Evans Daniels. Marshawn was the picture of success: a Miss America Pageant finalist, a participant on the TV show The Apprentice, and the founder of highly successful sports firm. Her world came down on the day before her “dream wedding” when she found out her fiance was cheating on her. She shares what she calls a “split rock” moment in her life where God was preparing her for a whole new future she could have never imagined.
Marshawn: I am Marshawn Evans Daniels, a reinvention strategist, life catalyst, founder of Godfidence Movement, and author of Believe Bigger: Discovering The Path To Your Life Purpose. I help women of faith increase their walk with God, their income, and also their influence in the marketplace.
I grew up in the suburbs of north Dallas. My mom and dad were first generation career professionals. Both sets of my grandparents grew up in the Deep South during a time where they didn’t have a lot of educational opportunity, and so my grandparents mostly cleaned homes and buildings for other people. But they were very passionate about education, and so my mom went on to being one of the first in her family to go to college.
My dad didn’t go to college, but he made a career for himself in the Federal Aviation Administration as one of the first African-American air traffic controllers. So both my parents were kind of trailblazers in Social Security and in federal aviation, and they were very passionate about my brother and I having every opportunity that we could to succeed and to thrive. They moved us into the suburbs of north Dallas during the early 80s, and it was a wonderful home life in terms of having both parents and learning about who God was as a young girl.
Even though it was the 80s, for my school, my brother and I were two of maybe three or five black kids in the whole school. So it felt like integration for the first time for us, and it was for a lot of the teachers even though it was the 80s. So there was a lot of labeling and being called a problem child. I adopted the rule book that if I am successful, I will be accepted and that determines my worth and my validation. That’s why I got good grades, not because I even cared about what I was learning. I didn’t want to be rejected. I didn’t want to embarrass my family. I didn’t want to be. At least if I could get some attention, it would be attention for thriving.
“I adopted the rule book that if I [was] successful, that I [would] be accepted–and then that [would] determine my worth and my validation.” – Marshawn Evans Daniels
The Success Addiction
My upbringing was very loving at home, but I also developed a very strong addiction to success. I was a competitive baton twirler. I went on to compete at the Miss America competition. And I’m legally blind in my left eye, so doctors said it would really be impossible for me to be able to… much less be baton twirler versus a competitive baton twirler on an international scale. I ended up being national two-baton champion, and I remember being on the competition floor reciting Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ strengthens me.“
So this was an understanding that we can do what we are here to do, and there are no limits with who Christ is. That’s really where I learned to believe bigger at a very early age, and I’m grateful for the example that my parents set in being trailblazers.
Being minorities in the time that they were, when they had opportunity in America, it takes a lot of faith to believe past stereotypes and barriers and to pass that on to us without causing us to think small. But they taught us at a very early age to believe bigger, but not only just believe in ourselves but to believe that all things truly are possible through Christ who is the One who gives us strength.
I went to Georgetown University for law school. I had the opportunity to go to compete at Miss America. I was third runner up to Miss America and also started a sports agency, managing pro athletes in the NFL and the NBA. I had this vision of being this sports agency that was Christian-based, woman owned, and we were just going to be the biggest thing on the planet and really reinvent how athlete representation was done. I wanted to bring my law degree and bring my faith, and so I wanted to put it all together in this sports agency.
I started to feel a little bit of a tug saying, “I think it’s time for you to pause.” And I felt the Holy Spirit really leading me in that direction, and I was confused because I really had only been been in this space a few years. I was a baby lawyer, only practicing two years, and had been off the show The Apprentice just a little while. I had all these great opportunities, and I was set with, “God, this is what You told me to do, so this is what we’re doing.” I put the money into the office. I’ve built it out. I’ve got a staff. What do you mean it’s time to rest? To pause? To pull back?”
Grace For a Larger Mission
Also, during that time, I was engaged… engaged to a man in a different state. So, we were traveling and having a long distance relationship. I was getting ready to become a bonus mom to his three kids, and on top of the business and the relationship, I was also traveling with a book that I had at the time about women being successful in their careers and having confidence in their careers. So this just seemed like a really odd time for God to be saying “pause” as opposed to saying “grow.” But we were a few days out from our wedding… it was a dream wedding. I felt like I had met my Prince Charming. Then, the morning of the day that my fiance was scheduled to come into the city for wedding week — this was six days before; it was a Monday morning, and I remember it very well — I got a message that completely shocked me and changed my life and really split me wide open.
I discovered that he was cheating on me. I didn’t believe it at first. I wasn’t sure if this was true. Of course, you go through all of the different range of emotions. It was absolutely devastating, but it was really also an awakening for me. I learned so much about why and how you can actually sleepwalk through things. I had this big plan. I had this vision for my life, and I felt like I was following the vision that God gave me. But what I realized later… it was a difficult process to not only just call the wedding off but then there’s the engagement. The wedding is just an event. The engagement is the relationship and all of the decisions that needed to now be unmade from the wedding dresses were paid for, the venue is paid for, the pastor and the spiritual advisers… everybody is set, and a lot of people couldn’t get their money back.
I’ve talked to a lot of women who said it was very brave for me to call off the wedding, and I felt like it was grace. One of the things I write about in Believe Bigger is how grace… we often think of it as this soft and fluffy and pretty thing, but really, it is what equips us for battle. It’s like the full armor of God that covers us and shields us from things that we don’t even know we’re not capable to handle within our own strength.
“[Grace] is what equips us for battle.” -Marshawn Evans Daniels
These moments where we have disruption… so many times we want to run away from the pain. We want to run away from obstacles or we even think that we’re under attack by the enemy, and when we understand that grace is really equipping us for battle. Sometimes, that’s what grace has to do to protect a larger mission and a larger plan that God knows. He’s got to do whatever He needs to do to keep that sacred and safe. That was the beginning, though, of me reinventing to another level my walk with God and reinventing the way I approached life and success.
I wanted to figure out, “How did I end up here? How did I end up sleepwalking when I’ve walked with God my whole life? I teach the Bible. How did I end up in this position? How did I end up with this man? How did I end up in this place? Why am I here?” And it was through asking that question that I discovered elevated levels that were available for me to enter with God, but also for a greater mission that he wanted me to step into as well.
Part of the reason why it’s so necessary and why I’ve written this message about “believing bigger,” is not just about believing for a bigger blessing. It’s about believing bigger about who God needs you to be in this season. What He wants from you. Because for us to step into our life mission and our purpose, we’re going to face opposition and resistance, and the disruption is usually the doorway into the greater destiny. And what I found through infidelity — of being faced with something that I didn’t think I would ever encounter —
“For us to step into our life mission and our purpose, we’re going to face opposition and resistance and the disruption.” – Marshawn Evans Daniels
“Split Rock” Moments
What I’ve discovered is in Isaiah 48:21. It talks about what I now call “split rock moments,” and this scripture was one of the things that really helped to me to understand that this did not happen to me; that this, as hard as it could be to understand, really did happen for me, but because of what was within me and something new that God was trying to do through me. I said, “God, where are you sending me now?” That helped me to have context to begin to understand maybe this wasn’t about what happened but about where I needed to go. Because in Isaiah 48:21, it says, “They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made water flow for them from the rock. He split the rock and water gushed out.” This scripture captivated me while I’m basically in the bed every day in a place of depression, staring at the ceiling, and not sure, again, of “How did I end up here?” Certainly, it was feeling like a desert season, and I kept seeing the words “desert” everywhere. So this scripture was like an oasis in the middle of a desert.
When the scripture said, “He led them through the deserts,” I was like, “Is it possible, God, that You led me here? Is this where You need me right now?” Because we think, “Why would God take us to a desert? I’m your daughter. Why would You put me in the desert?” And then it goes on, and it says, “He made water flow for them from the rock.” So, I’m like “Okay, how is this possible? They’re in a desert, but they’re not thirsty. God led them into the desert, but then, He made water flow for them from the rock?” I don’t know a lot of rocks that have a lot of water on the inside, and so I remember being in college and taking geology, but that’s not something that I remember being a common principle… maybe some moisture but not massive reservoirs of water. And then it said, “He split the rock, and water gushed out,” and it was in that moment it just really resonated with me. I probably studied the scripture for a full day and then meditated and sat with it for weeks, and what I realize is that if God split the rock, that maybe the disruption — what I was facing was what I now call a “split rock moment” — is because there’s something on the inside that’s waiting to burst out. It says, “The water gushed out,” and it’s been trying to get out. Maybe the only way God could get that new life… because that’s what water symbolizes.
That was what really began my true awakening. I would say the disruption happened the moment I got the message that my fiance was cheating on me. It was a surrender to say not just, “Why?” but, “Where? Where are you leading me God? I know that my life is not my own. Teach me. You have my attention. If I have been distracted by success and by busyness, God, I lay it all down, and you striped it all away. So here I am.”
“Where are you leading me God? I know that my life is not my own. Teach me. You have my attention. If I have been distracted by success and by busyness, God, I lay it all down and you strip it all away. So, here I am.” – Marshawn Evans Daniels
I don’t have any animosity towards my ex-fiance now. I did before. That’s the human, honest response. And it took me some years. It took me some time, but the less I focused on him, the more I focused on what God wanted me to understand, but really, where did He want me to go? Because where God wants us to go in our lives will be indicative of where He wants to grow you inside of you. Everything about our life is about our purpose. It’s about our assignment. It’s about our mission. Salvation is just getting in the game. Once we’re followers of Christ, that’s just the beginning. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that He has put inside of us for us to accomplish for us to do, and for us to execute to be His hands, to be His feet, and to be His heartbeat here. So where does God want me to go?
“Where God wants us to go in our lives will be indicative of where He wants to go to grow you inside of you. Everything about our life is about our purpose. It’s about our assignment. It’s about our mission. Salvation is just getting in the game. Once we’re followers of Christ, that’s just the beginning.” – Marshawn Evans Daniels
When God’s Plans Are Different Than Our Own
I had a conversation with God, and I asked the question. I didn’t word it perfectly at the time, but, “God, why did this happen to me?” were the exact words that I said. But in my heart, I was like, “Where are you going with this?” I needed to know — I didn’t care who was around, I just… — and He very gently said, very clearly and swiftly, “You are going to be able to change the lives of women like never before.”
This is the day after my wedding. Now, I’m working with athletes. I’m working mostly with men. All of my mentors are men. I am used to be around the guys, and I was one of those women who said, “I don’t really get along well with women, and it’s not really my thing.” And what God was doing… He was showing me a place that I needed to grow. I needed to have more empathy to have the ability to step into my assignment. Our Divine assignment isn’t usually attached to what our perceived strengths are. They’re attached to our weaknesses where we think we’re not good enough and where we don’t want to go. And our purpose is often hidden inside of a place of pain. That’s the “split-rock” moment. The new life is hidden in a hard place, so the place I didn’t want to go is where He’s saying — the day after I was supposed to have said “I do” or was scheduled to have said “I do” — He said, “You’re going to go to the very place that you think you would never want to go… ever want to go… and that’s working with women.” If we’re not anchored in what God wants from us, He will “split-rock” our world until He gets us where He needs us because there’s something that is from Him that only lives within us, and that is what He will use any means necessary to allow to break out and gush out.
A New Business And A New Partner
God’s been giving me these dreams and these visions for decades, and they’re like, “Finally, I’ve found somebody who is not just about business, but believes in the full gospel from Genesis to Revelation and is teaching it together. And so it wasn’t intentional, but I just took one step, and it has evolved into what’s the largest coaching company for women of faith in the country. As I worked with women day in and day out through our coaching programs, our conferences that have grown — that first event had 35 — now we have five hundred women in a room for business or faith, and we have worship together while we’re learning about business branding, marketing, and sales.
I was able to, I believe, step into a bigger vision for what I was doing and my purpose that gave me an understanding that I don’t have to strive anymore. And then I could start praying for what I call now a ”purpose partner” that would be aligned with this new version, this higher version of me that was who I was always being led into.
I am married to an amazing man. He is a hoot. I also call him my “playmate” because he just loves to have fun. He is a therapist by trade, and he has taught me so much about what he calls dumping. And I think a lot of us who are helpers don’t get trained in this and understand that you can’t carry everything that you’re helping people with. And so we like amusement parks and superhero movies and just fun stuff, and we make it a point to laugh and to go on vacations together.
Prayers With Purpose
One of my good girlfriends, who was a maid of honor in my wedding, who’s been like a big sister to me now for almost 20 years, she sent me a screenshot of this devotional she was reading, and she and I have been such good friends. For her to say that this was a devotional she was reading with her husband, really stood out to me that he was taking the time to stop his busy life to do this with her. So that was the first time I learned about Jesus Calling, and so it really spoke to me before I read it because she said they were doing it together. Then she wanted to share a particular passage with me, and that it was really speaking to both of them in the mornings when they were doing their study time or reading time together.
Jesus Calling is a book that I have gifted to several other people. The most special person, though, that I’ve given it to is my mother. My mom is very dear to me. I wasn’t actually sure I was going to be able to do this interview today because I was possibly going to get back on a plane to go to the hospital to see if she was being taken back in today. What I asked her though, this morning, when I talked to her — I got to FaceTime her, and I saw that she was doing well, and I said, “We’re on standby. We’ll come if we need to.” — I asked her, I said, “Did you read your Jesus Calling today?” And when I left Dallas a few days ago, I made sure that she knew where it was.
The reason I mention that is when you have one of the most precious people in the world, and you want to give them what you feel is the best thing that will keep their faith, that will keep them assured that she is covered by all of Heaven right in this moment, the only thing that I thought about was giving her Jesus Calling. It was the only thing that I trusted to put into her hands. A Bible can be a lot to hold onto in a hospital because it can be thick and it can be heavy. It’s a lot of… you don’t know which page to turn to. So the level of care that went into that… it is just dripping.
I believe it is something that is going to live forever, and it was the only thing that I trusted to put into my mom’s hands. It’s also what helped guide and really confirmed for me, that even in this purpose walk of life, what is our specific assignment? Giving people what I call these simple prayers to pray and “purpose prayers” and giving them guided language. And so I’m very grateful to Sarah for being surrendered and being on the path that she was with God to allow such an amazing compass to navigate so many of our lives.
Narrator: To find out more about Marshawn’s book, Believe Bigger: Discover the Path to Your Life Purpose,” visit her website at Marshawn.com.
Narrator: Next week on the Jesus Calling podcast, we speak with the members of Point of Grace, the Dove Award and Grammy award winning contemporary Christian Group. They speak to us about their new release, a collection of hymns and worship songs entitled, “Beautiful Name.”
Point of Grace: This hymns record for us is again another opportunity to bring about songs that are so rich and are so strong in their theology, and hymns, bar none, are those. And so to keep the millennials embrace, doing a little bit of that modern worship was a nice compliment. And so it was just… it was time.
Narrator: This week’s passage comes from the April 19th entry of the Jesus Calling audiobook.
I love you regardless of how well you are performing. Sometimes you feel uneasy, wondering if you are doing enough to be worthy of My Love. No matter how exemplary your behavior, the answer to that question will always be no. Your performance and My Love are totally different issues, which you need to sort out. I love you with an everlasting Love that flows out from eternity without limits or conditions. I have clothed you in My robe of righteousness, and this is an eternal transaction: Nothing and no one can reverse it. Therefore, your accomplishment as a Christian has no bearing on My Love for you. Even your ability to assess how well you are doing on a given day is flawed. Your limited human perspective and the condition of your body, with its mercurial variations, distort your evaluations.
Bring your performance anxiety to Me and receive in its place My unfailing Love. Try to stay conscious of My loving Presence with you in all that you do, and I will direct your steps.
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