Guest post: Thank you, Shannon McKinley, for sharing your personalized testimony, in your pursuit of God. It is so exciting to watch you crave the things of God. May you continue to honor Him with each step you make.
The Journey Begins
My journey with God began before I could say “mama”, and today as a woman I have let Jesus into my heart. I am Shannon, a mom, wife, cook, maid, coffee barista, friend, daughter, sister, and child of God’s Kingdom. Below is my walk in faith, and a heartfelt testimony that God is real! He stands by you through thick and thin.
When I was only 9 months old I was in a serious car crash. The car was demolished; my brothers and father were killed. God was with me and saved my mom and me. Due to the car accident I had a head injury, crossed eyes, brain impairment, head trauma, and epilepsy. I could not drink by a bottle and had numerous seizures. So I had to be fed through a vein in my ankle. I still have the scar today. Miraculously, with the glory of God, I recovered over the course of a couple of years, and at the age of 11 was declared seizure free by the doctors.
My mother met a man, and a few years later I was blessed to be able to call him “Dad”. I was raised in the Catholic religion. I received my baptism, reconciliation, first communion, and later in life my confirmation in three separate churches: Saint Patricks in Java, NY, Saint Mary’s in Swormsville, NY, and Saint Gregory the Great in Williamsville, NY.
God watched over me during my childhood and teenage years, while I was a typical rebellious teenager towards my parents. Towards the end of my senior year God blessed me with a prom date for senior prom. While dating we both knew we were meant for each other. We were married under the Justice of the Peace in August of 2005. On March 24, 2006, we were blessed with a baby boy. The following year I gave birth to a precious baby girl. A few years passed and we were blessed again with another baby in blue. I thank God everyday for bringing us healthy and beautiful children into our lives.
Search for God
Growing up, I felt like there was more to God than I saw and felt. My fellow sister, Grace, introduced the thoughts and concepts of God back into my life in 2012, and gave me my first Bible. It is a beautiful Bible with a light lavender, leather cover with fine print typing. It will always be sentimental to me and will be cherished. Sister Grace and I began weekly discussions in the book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. We spoke a little about the apostles, John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but then she relocated to the Catskill Mountains.
In July of 2013 my youngest son was in Children’s Hospital for a number of days with a double kidney infection. It started as a UTI. The doctors didn’t understand how he got it. I was so worried and only wanted for my baby to get better. That was the same hospital I came to when I was 9 months old. God healed my little boy and he has been happy and healthy ever since.
In NY, the devil stepped into our marriage through a series of disguises including adultery, lying, consuming alcohol and hurtful and cunning words spoken. With the series of things going on, my family visited Greensboro for a week to find a place we could call home. Within a week God blessed us with a home to call our own. The actions in NY ran us out of NY faster than expected, and in less than a month we were blessed to call Greensboro our home. The first week in Greensboro I felt like a burden was lifted off of my shoulders and I was able to breath and am at peace about my own decisions. God has provided us with our needs of food, shelter and water during difficult times here. God has brought peace into our marriage and family. Oh Glory to God and Heaven on Earth he has been with us through this whole roller coaster and forever will be.
Moving to Greensboro
While residing in Greensboro, I had the opportunity to work with a woman as a home health aide. She spoke about God and how He is Glory to all and has healed her through difficult times. On Easter morning, my family and I went to a local church, because even though we didn’t attend church regularly, I made sure we went on holidays. It just wasn’t the worship place for my family and me.
A few weeks later, a firefighter, his wife, and children moved in on my street. The fire fighter’s wife, Sister Bonaparte, and her sons were praying and worshiping God through the Word and I told her I wanted to be closer to the Lord like that. I went out and bought my own Bible and a children’s Bible for my kids. Sister Bonaparte and I began our Bible study that night.
One Thursday, my Sister invited me to a Pentecostal Church, called Grace Point Church, and I felt connected with God. I told my Sister I wanted to be closer to God because my dad was, so I have been told, and that he was a regular Church-goer. Sister Bonaparte and I started having daily discussions in the evenings. I continued to go to the church with Sister Bonaparte. After a month of learning about how to repent and pray, I took the next step. I repented for the remission of my sins, and asked Jesus into my heart. Then, on July 12th, I was water baptized.
Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Filled with the Holy Ghost
The next month was a lot of ups and downs. On days that I felt at my lowest, I didn’t let the devil get to me, I just kept on praying and thanking Jesus Christ and telling Him that I loved Him. In the evening of July 29th, I was a Debbie downer and felt hopeless. I started leafing through the Bible and Bible app with despair in my heart. I started connecting with Sister Grace and telling her my troubles, she started giving me scriptures to pray with. Later that evening, I connected with Sister Bonaparte too. That night I prayed to God and felt my spirits lift.
The next day I arose on Sunday and my family and I went about our way to Grace Point church. Little did I know I was going to have an outpouring of the Holy Ghost that day. At Grace Point, fellow members of the church exchanged hugs and greetings. Service began in song (like always), and I was dancing and worshiping the Lord.
The Pastor of the church was out on vacation, so other leaders stepped up to preach. Brother Justin began preaching, and from the first thing that he said to the last, I had never connected as much as I did that day. Brother Justin was talking about opportunities — a set of circumstances to make possibilities. He began by lightening the mood with a story about driving with his wife, and how she kept reminding him of the lost opportunity when he failed to exit the driveway. I do this all the time with my husband (LOL). Then, Brother Justin started talking about how God gives us possibilities but we are so consumed in our problems that we don’t see them. He referenced Genesis 22:10-13 where God offered a ram in the thicket so Abraham wouldn’t have to sacrifice his son. He also offered scriptures from John 6:44; 1 Samuel 13:22; and Judges 3:31.
After Brother Justin preached, he had everyone grab his or her families, and asked whomever wanted to be filled with the Holy Ghost to stand in front of the altar. The church started praying and the Holy Ghost was washing over many. I stood in front of the altar and asked God for help. I was sensitive to God’s Spirit and started balling in my hands. Brother Lee, fellow parishioners and my husband offered their support. I kept asking God to help me and let Him know that I love Him and am thankful for my thanksgivings. All of a sudden I felt the utterance of tongue, my tongue started moving swiftly and I wasn’t doing it. I then felt my hands beginning to shake. I experienced the Holy Ghost and rejoiced.
Thankful to God
I hope I will remember this day as clear as I do now. The experience is amazing and possible with the Glory of God. I rejoiced with my family at a local coffee shop and felt the Spirit with me at home too. In the evening, my husband and I went to evening worship. I was presented with my certificate of receiving the Holy Ghost and I hooted and hollered!!! God is a part of my life.
This morning, I woke up, looked over at my certificate and rejoiced and thanked God for touching my life. I recollect the experience I had and praise God, thanking Him and worshiping Him more than ever. I rejoiced and danced my soul out to John P Kee & New Life Choir, “Jesus is real”. I see today, my work has just begun in my walk with Jesus Christ.
It’s been a few months, and I still am Sister Shannon singing and worshipping God at Grace Point! Giving all my glories to my God. In my family, my oldest son and daughter have both repented and have been baptized. My husband is reaching out more to God during worship, and I am so proud of him. Every night our family gathers around the ottoman and gives our thanksgivings to the Lord. God does beautiful things. Many have to let their guard down and open up their hearts. God is here waiting for you to receive.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.