Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.These verses really sustained me this past couple months. At the beginning of the summer Joe and I had an amazing summer vacation in Puerto Rico. We celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary on a beautiful island with lots of culture and great food. We stayed at an amazing resort, walked the beach, toured the city, and danced every night. It was magical. But shortly after our return home, we faced incident after incident. Nothing life-threatening or anything, but definitely spirit-crushing.
It started out with some major systems in our home breaking down to two of our cars giving out on us. It was like the devil said "I'm going to let them have their fun, but as soon as they get back from vacation, it's on!" Seriously, it was like a domino effect. We had never faced so many issues at once.
All the while, we stayed the course. I was working; Joe was working. We were going to church regularly, serving and recording new videos and music. In September I was asked to do two major performances. The first performance was at Crossover Church; the other hasn't happened yet but its BIG! (I will give more details sometime this week.) As soon as I found out that I would be featured on Crossover's new TV show, SOULMag TV I decided, "I need to build a real show". I had already been thinking about working on my stage presence, so the decision to recruit dancers came naturally.
For weeks we searched for dancers, to no avail. It was like there was no one in the entire city of Tampa who was serious about dancing, or wanted to display their talents beside another artist on-stage. Now, obviously I know that isn't true, but boy, did it feel like that. It was like we kept getting to dead end streets with every prospect. Finally, my husband decided to post an ad on Craigslist, as kind of a last resort. All the while, I stayed positive and I knew that God's will would be done no matter what.
One day, while trying to convince yet another dance crew why a gig at Crossover Church, for a show that would be featured on JCTV would be a good idea, (and I say that very sarcastically), we get a voicemail from a female dancer. She stated that she was interested in an opportunity to dance and had even sent an email with a resume & photos attached. I was blown away by the professionalism she displayed, especially compared to all the lackluster people we had been coming in contact with.
I called her, spoke to her about the vision for the show, the budget, and it was history. She initiated rehearsals, created choreography, and even taught me the steps. The show was coming together. The day before the show, I go to my friend Mike's to record a chorus for one of his songs, and at the end of the session, I stubbed my toe on his ottoman. I prepared myself to be in pain for a few seconds and then be okay, but the pain just got worse. I looked down and discovered I was bleeding. (If you're squeamish don't read the next part) My toe nail had split in half! Mike ran to get a first aid kit and my hubby Joe quickly attended my foot.
So here I am, less than a day away from taking the stage and dancing with two other beautiful ladies and my toe nail is split in half! I was panicked for a quick second, but then I reflected on the verses I mentioned above (from the book of James) and was comforted. I identified this as an attack from the enemy and decided not to focus on it. With that decision came a miracle! I went home and stayed off of my foot the rest of the day and the skin underneath my nail had healed completely by the next morning; it was like I was never in pain the day before! Although my actual nail was still split, my toe was free of pain and I was able to perform and dance the next day, in heels!
The dancers came through and even brought a make-up artist with them; who hooked us up on an insane time crunch. God anointed my voice and people were touched during each service. I was blessed beyond measure that day. I could have focused on all the negatives I faced over the past several months leading up to the performance (hurt, rejection, disappointment, fear), but I chose not to. The end result was that God was glorified. I didn't quit because things were hard and I persevered. Through our various trials God was building our character as individuals and as a couple.
God will get the glory for who He is no matter what. The question is, will we let the enemy keep us from being used by God in the attainment of that glory? Life is tough, that's a fact, but it's in those moments when you feel like your back is up against the wall that you have an opportunity to grow character wise. I'm not saying everything is perfect. We still have to a lot to deal with, but in the midst of all that we have decided to let God use us no matter what. I encourage you to do the same. :)
P.S. Enjoy the pictures from the performance! :)
|Morning Services :)|
Photo Credit: Carlos Espinel
|Photo Credit: Carlos Espinel|
|Ministering to the kids! My fav part of the day!! :) They were crunk! LOL|
|Morning Services :)|
|Getting my face beat by Diamond of D_Chanel Hair Bar :)|
|Loved my 80's themed makeup!|
|I know now that God created me to bring glory to His name with my talents.|
|These ladies made my show more than a success!! I am so blessed to have met them.|
They are so hard-working and selfless. True artists!
From L to R: Clyla, Diamond, & Beryl
|What's a show without friends there to show love? Thank you for coming back Shandora! :)|
|Love these beautiful ladies!|
|I made some new friends & fans hehe! Such sweet children! :)|
|Chopping it up with people who watched my set. :)|
|Thank you Pastor Tommy for the opportunity. Crossover is the place where I learned what it looked like to be a Christ follower. It is also the place where God developed my talent. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve! :)|