The Anniversary Card

0612181013aTwo years ago, several weeks before my 22nd wedding anniversary, I got an idea for something different.  Like…real different.  Like…so different a few might even call me a complete kook.

That’s OK.  I specialize in kook.  Wear it like a badge, baby.  Oh yeah.

So with my certified Kook Badge pinned securely to my chest one night, I presented my idea to Steve:

“I’ve been thinking…..”  I paused as I began.  “Let’s not buy anniversary cards for each other this year……Let’s ask the Lord to give us an anniversary card instead.”

Like I said…different.

But here’s what was rolling around in my head:

I knew Steve would pick out a lovely card for me, just as he’d done every year.  But this particular year I wanted to shake it up.  Get out of the box.  And allow the LORD an opportunity to speak His word to us on our special day.

I knew the Lord could do it.  What’s more, I sensed the Lord wanted to do it.  And I explained to Steve that I envisioned us shopping for the card together on our anniversary until we landed on “the one” we just knew was from Him.

“So what do you think?”  I asked Steve.

“Sure!” Steve answered enthusiastically.   He liked the idea.  He was all in.  He’s a kook too.

All righty then!

Now I was excited.  I just knew the Lord was about to do something wonderful.  Our upcoming anniversary was destined now to be a true adventure!  A kind of heavenly treasure hunt.  Searching together until we found “the” very card, filled with “the” very words we sensed the Lord Himself speaking to us on our special day.  I was stoked.

What would the Lord say?  What would the card look like?  Would it be funny?  Serious?  Sweet? Where would we find it?  Who knew?  I just knew I was excited, and so was Steve.  This was going to be FUN!

”Speak, Lord!  We’re listening!” our hearts said to Him that day — on Saturday, June 18th, 2016 — as Steve and I hopped into the car and began The Hunt.  Woo-hoo!  Here we go!

First we went to this store.  Ehhhhhh……nope.  Then that one.  Hmmm….nope.  Then another.  Nope nope.

Not to worry, we told ourselves.  The day’s still young.  “Keep on keepin’ on,” that’s our motto.

And we did.  Kept on keepin’ on, that is.

Sure did.  Kept right on, undeterred.  Went here.  Went there.  Searching.  Digging.  Scoping.  Praying.

Are we there yet?  No?

No.  Not yet.  In fact…not by a mile.  Somehow, no matter where we went, the outcome was always the same:  NADA.

Next stop?  Same thing.  For all our effort, for all our clinging expectation:  Zip.

What gives? I thought to myself.  I was confused. I was sure the Lord had inspired this idea.  So why weren’t we having success?

Perhaps because Steve and I shared one stubborn, uncompromising resolution.

The resolution?  Just this:

We were not gonna fake this.  If it’s really God, we said, when we see it, we’ll both KNOW it.  Cuz the card’s gonna have to reach up off the rack and smack us both in the face — or it isn’t the Lord.  

That was our deal.  And thus far, we were plum smackless.

Moving on, we tried another store.  And again:  NOT.

All afternoon we continued on like this.  Driving about.  Hunting.  Searching.  Praying. Digging.  Pulling out potential cards, one by one.  Showing it to the other.  Only to agree seconds later in deflated unison, “Naaahhh.”  Then back to the rack it went, as the relentless search continued.

Reading.  Returning to the rack.  Reading.  Returning to the rack.  Reading, retur — AHHHHKCHT!   


OK, now it was serious.  The day was still young, sure.  But we weren’t!  We were hot.  We were tired.  And, above all, a crushing reality was beginning to set in:

It appeared we were fresh out of options.

Sitting inside our car in the Wal-Mart parking lot — exhausted, immobile, and deflated –the engine running to cool ourselves in the blessed air conditioning, Was this really how it was going to end?  I couldn’t accept it.  Couldn’t make myself.  God had promised.  I knew it.  I still believed it.

Yet where was the evidence?  Nowhere thus far!  And that was an inescapable fact I could not deny.

My heart was caught in a wrestling match.

Oh, Lord.  Help.  What’s going on here?   Where is this word from You?  This special anniversary card I believe You’ve promised us?  Why have we not found it?  We’ve looked everywhere.

The wrestling match continued — until!

Until wait a minute! Wait just a minute!

I looked up.  And suddenly realized!  No, we had not exhausted all our options! There was still one more place we hadn’t yet checked….could it be?

“Hey!” I said to Steve, “We haven’t checked out Dollar Tree!”  With this, I was out of the car and already 12 steps ahead of him, making a b-line for the front door.  “C’mon!”

Steve didn’t share my enthusiasm.  “I doubt we’ll find a card in there.

“Don’t say that,” I shot back over my shoulder.  “Ya never know!  Let’s try it!”  

“I’m not saying I’m not willing to go in there, I’m just saying it’s doubtful,” Steve responded.  He was weary from the chase.  So was I.  But this was our last shot.  And God had promised, or at least sure seemed to, as I felt this whole thing was His idea. Not mine.  Not really.

Onward we pushed.  We went inside.  Straight to the card rack.

And just a few minutes later, would you believe?

There we stood, Steve and I, in the middle of DOLLAR TREE, for the love of Pete, smiling up at each other, as we held — drum roll, please — “THE CARD!”  YES!

THE CARD with the Heavenly Hand inside that rose up outta the rack and smacked us both across the chops!!  Hallelujah!  We got smacked!  This was it!

And here it is.  The Lord’s precious message to us on our 22nd wedding anniversary:

(The message on the front cover:)

Your Anniversary Is a Gift from God

(The message inside:)

Look back with thanks

for all the joy

the Lord has brought

to your marriage.

  Look forward with faith

to all the blessings

He has planned

for both of you.

 God Bless You Both


Steve and I were overjoyed.  All that we’d prayed for, and believed for:  The very words, and the very card we knew came directly from the heart of the Lord to us on this, our 22nd wedding anniversary.  This was it.  There was no mistaking it.

The Card had been there all day, just waiting for us to discover it on our Anniversary Treasure Hunt, hosted by the Lord.

It was an anniversary neither Steve, nor I, will ever forget.

Thank You, Dad.  You’re THE BEST! XO

Today I keep this precious treasure ever before me — right here on my desk, next to my laptop.  A constant, daily reminder to me of the great joy that comes when we step out of the box and invite adventure into our relationship with the Lord.


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The Elephant in the Room

elephantToday I want to talk about the elephant in the room.

Depression…in the life of the believer.

Oh yes.  It happens.  It IS happening.  All around us. And unless we, the church, come to grips with the truth of this fact, and learn how to respond to our hurting brothers and sisters in a way that is both biblical and Christ-honoring, we will never function as the Body of Christ on earth as God intends us to… loving, nurturing, and taking care of our own.

“If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it…” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:26

That’s what God’s Word says.  But do we really believe this?  Or do we think we can just turn a blind eye to those suffering with depression, and it will just go away, with no consequence to the body as a whole — including us as individuals?

No.  God has told us point blank:  If one of you suffers, all suffer.  If one part of the body is diminished, it diminishes us all.  In the very same way our personal bodies are certainly compromised when any body part is hurting, ailing, lacking strength.  No different.

And I see the truth of this scripture on display on a regular basis.  We do indeed all hurt when one member is suffering with depression, unable to function in their role in the body.  But because too long we have been unwilling to address this epidemic head on – depression in the life of the believer – it remains the great elephant in the room.

This has to stop.

As one who has suffered with depression in the past, I can usually spot from afar another tormented soul.  They don’t have to say a word.  They may even be found in church with a big smile on their face as they interact with others.  But deep calls unto deep, beloved…

And deep within my soul, my heart sees.  I see the pain.  The emotional devastation.  And my heart cries out.  Because I know only too well just what that precious brother or sister is dealing with.

Been there.    depression

Nevertheless, in my observation, the church by and large seems perpetually put off by the notion of a depressed Christian, as if it’s a sign of lazy self-indulgence, or some kind of oxymoron: “Why are they depressed?  God is so good!”

And the result?

Sufferers are left with no alternative but to hide in shame, and pretend all is well. To live, as it were, in private torment.  Not feeling able to seek help.  Or even ask for prayer, because to do so would be an “admission” that they have failed miserably as a believer.

That’s not me saying they failed miserably as a believer —  that’s the lie of the enemy saying it.  And it’s a lie which too often finds fertile ground in today’s churches where no one is willing to talk openly about this elephant in the room.

So let’s change course right here, and right now, shall we?  Let’s talk about this elephant in the room.  And what to do about it.  And together let’s put an end to the enemy’s work of shaming those who suffer terribly, in secret silence, with this debilitating disease.

But first, this is the perfect time for me to interject how very grateful I am to be in a church where my pastors have recognized and made provision for this great need in their flock, actually dedicating office space in our church facility for use of a bona fide Christian counselor.  To quote our wonderful pastor’s wife and my dear friend, Carolyn:  “Well, we just saw the need was so great and we couldn’t possibly address it all ourselves.”

Now that is what I call true shepherds after the heart of Jesus.  Feed My sheep, Jesus said.  And they are.  Tend my lambs, He said.  And they are.


But, sad to say, in my experience this kind of proactive, compassionate approach is the exception to the rule.  As all too often, over the years, I have had to witness tragic responses of saints toward believers in their midst suffering with depression: Going from simple lack of understanding all the way to open disdain for what is perceived as a weakness at best and/or some kind of character flaw or sin at worst.

Now I’m no psychologist, and don’t pretend to be.  Still, God’s Word provides us with bountiful clues as to what kind of heart attitude pleases – and does not please – the Lord as we encounter the suffering of others.  And I think we honor God by exploring them.

Look no further than Job for the first clue.

CLUE #1: 

Don’t make assumptions and rush to judgment at the suffering of others.  That’s what Job’s friends did.  And it didn’t end well for them.

So sure were Job’s friends that his suffering was God’s punitive justice in action for some hidden sin in Job’s life, they all rushed to pronounce him, “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

Ha!  Talk about missing the mark by a mile.

Little did Job’s “comforters” know that the one they were so ready to judge and accuse of sin was in fact a favorite of God.  Was in fact God’s trophy child.  Was a man marked by God as so very excellent in spirit, that God knew He could trust Job not to curse Him even if he were plagued with one vexation after another.

Job.  Not picked ON.  Picked OUT.  Picked out by God from the whole world’s population as the very model of righteousness.  Trustworthiness.  And faithfulness to the Lord that could be counted on — no matter what.

“Have you considered my servant Job?” God bragged to the devil.

Nuff said.

Oh, brethren, let us never be found as Job’s accusers were — demanding of a depressed brother or sister, “What have you done to cause this?”


Such a response is not the heart of the Lord.  Not even close.

If a believer is openly engaging in sin, obviously that’s a different story.  With a different remedy.  And not the subject of this discussion.

Rather, this discussion is about the struggling saint, particularly those weakened by an unresolved state of depression. The saint who loves God.  Isn’t engaging in any known sin.  Yet finds himself helplessly swallowed up in a black cloud of depression.

How does God respond to these broken ones?  Let’s look.

CLUE #2: 

The Word says, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves those who have a crushed spirit.”  
~ Psalm 34:18

Therefore, we can be assured that the Father is certainly not wagging His finger in the sufferer’s face, commanding His sheep to “get happy” when they are down.

Commanding, coaxing, pushing, and prodding someone to be joyful (“Just praise the Lord more, that’s what you need to do! You just need to praise the Lord!”) when they are depressed isn’t the love of Christ.  It’s bullying, plain and simple. And worse, bullying dressed up like holiness. And those who engage in such “ministry” to the downtrodden are woefully off the mark.

How do I know?

I know because God has already told me in His Word exactly how He wants me to respond to those who have sunk to the depths.  God has instructed me…and you…

 Clue # 3: 

 “WEEP with those who weep.” 
                         ~ Romans 12:15

How much clearer instruction could we get from the heart of God?  In this verse we’re not simply instructed to forbear with the crushed in spirit.  No, God has set the bar so much higher.  He says, Enter in to their sorrows!”

“Weep WITH those who weep.”

And as I read this verse in my Bible, I don’t see a little asterisk beside it leading to a footnote that states, “Oh…well except the depressed person, of course.  Don’t weep with that person.  That will only encourage them to stay down, and THEY just need to snap out of it.”

In August of 2017 I watched with deep appreciation as Marilyn Hickey confessed publicly how calloused she used to be toward individuals who were depressed, even going so far in her head, she confessed, as thinking, “OH, put a rubber band around your head and just snap out of it!”

However, once she experienced depression personally — to the point of wanting to die — everything changed.  And she no longer has that “just snap out of it” attitude toward those suffering with depression.  God opened her eyes.  And heart.  And I so admire her open candor and humility in making a public confession of it.

God is near to the brokenhearted, beloved.  He is weeping with those who weep.

The question is:  Are we?

I’ll never forget years ago observing a dear, sweet woman where I worked who was going through a deep depression.  One day I watched as she ate her lunch in silence across the table from a co-worker who knew she was depressed, yet like a dolt kept chirping away before her about how great life was.  Chirping, chirping, chirping, first about this, then about that.  “God is so good!  Hallelujah!  Isn’t it great?  Isn’t it wonderful? Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!”

He never came up for air.  Just kept singing songs of rejoicing before her, while I watched, cringing, as the dear woman just sank deeper and deeper before him.

Do you know what the Word of God says about this kind of exchange?

CLUE #4: 

Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.”
~ Proverbs 25:20 NLT

Here again, how could the Lord make it any more plain?

Here we learn that when someone is depressed, we are not to sing cheerful songs to their heavy heart.  And not just because it doesn’t help.  But worse.  Far worse:  Because such behavior actually brutalizes the person, increasing their pain, increasing their sorrow.

What, then?  What are we to do?

Well, I think this scripture gives us the clue.  Instead of brutalizing the heavy heart by  singing cheerful songs to them, I believe the Lord would have us do the exact opposite.  Cover…wrap…encircle that precious soul with the soothing warmth of God’s love – and keep our mouths shut, if we have to, rather than singing cheerful songs to them.

Let us learn the way of Jesus, about Whom scripture says:

CLUE #5:

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out… “
~ Matthew 12:20a-b New InternationalVersion

“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle…”
~ Matthew 12:20a-b New Living Translation

All God is calling us to do is revealed so plainly in scripture:


“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”

~ Galatians 6:2

Just love one another.  Bear one another’s burdens.  That’s it.  That’s all.

And leave the scrutinizing to the One Who alone is able to judge men’s hearts infallibly.

As stated earlier, if someone is in abject sin, that is obviously another matter, not under consideration here.  Here we are talking about the bruised reed, the flickering wick.  Specifically the sufferer of depression.  And for that there is one remedy, and one remedy alone:  The gentleness of Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Not the rod of correction.

The law of Christ is love.  If we do not bear — and bear with — one another’s burdens, we love little.  We are to love as Christ loves, Who bears all things, and loves us on our good days and bad.

Here is a real-life illustration from my own life:

Once when I was going through the absolute toughest time in my life, I experienced a powerful lesson in love, reflected in two vastly different “counsels” offered by two different friends.  You see, in the midst of my struggle, I reached out to both, desperate in each case for encouragement, consolation, and a listening, understanding ear.

And what I got back from the two was like a study in contrasts – a contrast of biblical proportions.

First, there was “Friend A.”

As I cried out in pain, Friend A never once consoled, never once comforted, never once “wept when I wept.”  Instead, in every single instance, bar none, whenever I expressed my great personal and ongoing struggle, this individual pushed back in a spirit of religious anger toward me — clearly not “approving” of my expressions of personal grief and sorrow.  In fact, one time they actually made light of my distress, trying to “get me to see” that in the scope of things eternal, what I was going through was really nothing. Nothing at all.  They spoke religious platitudes to me.  There was no love.  No compassion.  No mercy.

In Friend A’s religious mindset, I didn’t have the right heart attitude.

Now I want to say here before going any further that I have categorically and without any reservation forgiven this person for all of this. Definitely.  For the fact is, they suffer a blind spot, as we all do — myself included — a place that simply has yet to be touched by the Lord’s light of truth, and I continue to pray for their own healing of heart.

But that said, not surprisingly, in response to their loveless “counsel,” I was made to feel shame at my depression, like my personal struggle was somehow a major disappointment to God, and proof that I didn’t measure up, and wasn’t pleasing to Him, since I obviously was failing miserably the test He was putting me through.

This was the “fruit” of Friend A’s ministry to me.  All rotten.

Then there was my other friend.  “Friend B.”

And oh my, oh my.  What a difference.  Talk about night and day.

One evening – trembling inwardly, as I was all prepared to be judged again just as I had been judged by the other — I poured my heart out to Friend B, compelled by the sheer desperation of my plight.  And to my utter shock and relief, what I received back was not the icy cold grip of judgment against my ailing heart, but the warm, healing affection of a tenderhearted soul for the bruised reed before them…the flickering wick before them.

I am not lying when I tell you that after leaving Friend B’s presence I felt I had just had an encounter with Jesus Himself.


Well.  First of all, this friend didn’t preach at my pain.  They just listened.  And listened so intently they were actually able to hear everything I was experiencing at the time. At one point, so shocked was Friend B at what I was going through, they interjected, “Oh, Cinnie, these things you’re telling me are not little things!  This is truly a desperate situation!”

To say that Friend B’s respectful care and concern toward me was like balm to my soul would be a massive understatement.  As I said, I truly felt I was in the presence of Jesus, with HIS heart of compassion expressing itself before me.  Having my friend speak back to me their own words of shocking reflection upon what I was telling them, I felt so completely validated, so understood.


There was not a trace of the “religious spirit” in their attitude toward my struggle.  No death blow to their counsel.  Just love.  Pure love.  And without measure.

Like the priceless perfumed oil that Mary Magdalene “wasted” by pouring all over the the feet of Jesus, then mopped up with her own hair and tears…a sacrifice of love that meant so much to Jesus.  That was what my friend’s ministry to my desperate soul felt like:  Lavish.  Extravagant.  Priceless.


And it didn’t end there, either.

Friend B then went on to say they were going to make this a matter of urgent personal prayer.  Priority prayer.  They assured me they would not forget to pray for me even while on their vacation.  And that they would be engaged in the battle with and for me — until such time as there was a breakthrough.

Now that, dear friends, is what it looks like to “weep with those who weep.”

And you know what?

Ten days later, there was indeed a breakthrough.  And no surprise.  For the Word of God declares that “the fervent effectual prayer of the righteous man avails much.”  James 5:16

I will never forget the ministry of my second friend.

I will never forget the encounter I had with Friend B that night when I was prepared to be judged all over again – but instead Jesus showed up, with skin on.  The REAL Jesus – through the heart of a saint who knows how to love the hurting, entering in to their pain and suffering with them.  Taking it on as if it were their own.

depressed image

There is depression in the Body of Christ, saints.  There is pain in our midst.

Let us not judge the pain.

Let us not preach to the pain.

Let us not sing cheerful songs to the pain.


Let us not break an already bruised reed…

Nor snuff out the already smoldering wick.

But let us enter in, beloved!  As my second friend did.

weep with those who weep

Let us weep with those who weep.

And let us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  (Romans 12:3)

For in the end, if I pray all the time, go to church all the time, tithe all the time, and do all manner of sacrificial service in God’s name, yet have not love for my brother or sister in anguish — what does God’s Word say of me then?

God says this:

I am nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

For “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”  (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus is among us, brethren…hurting…weeping…and heavy of heart…

Let love abound!

Talk to me…

Have you ever suffered with depression, and felt like you had to hide it from your church family, for fear they would judge you?  I certainly pray this is not the case, but let me assure you that if this describes your situation this post was written just for you. And here’s why I can make such a statement with absolute confidence:

Several years ago the Lord began to place this topic very heavily on my heart, impressing upon me strongly that He wanted it dealt with…to send abroad the news, Heaven’s Headline, that JESUS UNDERSTANDS!

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”                Isaiah 53:3  Berean Study Bible

Let that truth sink in:  Jesus is not judging you; He understands!   And He’s right there with you, loving you, right where you are.


Heaven’s Gain: Linda Shinault

 Linda Shinault
July 16, 1949 – January 25, 2018

The world has lost a giant today.

Not a “giant” as in one possessing worldly notoriety, fame, or fortune.  Nor one you would even recognize on the 6 o’clock news, being part of that company of movers and shakers so often heralded by the peoples of the earth.

But in heaven, this giant – Linda Shinault — is known well.  Because she is known by one of the most laudable titles in the Kingdom:

“Prayer Warrior.”

Yes. This was my friend, and my beloved sister in Christ.  Linda Shinault:  Prayer Warrior and Prayer Leader extraordinaire.

Very early this morning – on this Thursday, January 25, 2018 – Linda left this lowly plain, and rose to see her Savior at long last face to face.  She is in the heavenly embrace now forevermore.

And as my head swirls now with so many thoughts as I contemplate this immense loss, I am reminded again of a quote that I saw many months ago which first caused me to think of my sister – and hero – Linda Shinualt.

The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet – that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God.
~ Oswald Chambers

When I first came across the above quote, I immediately thought to myself:

How true! For how many in the Church honestly rush forward to volunteer for the service that offers little to no recognition, rare thanks, and certainly no public affirmation?  

Not many.

The world seeks fame and notoriety.  And sadly, even members of Christ’s own Church can sometimes exhibit this same mindset:  Loving position and notoriety.  Seeking to engage in service that assures attention is drawn to themselves in order to gain applause. Perhaps that is why Oswald Chambers said the real test of a saint is not even one’s willingness to preach the gospel.

Now some might be shocked at such a seemingly outrageous statement.  Maybe even deeply offended.  “How could he say such a thing?!” they might ask.

But in reflection, I am persuaded it must be for this one cause:

You see, in the pulpit there is still the potential to receive the applause of men.  Criticism, too, for sure.  No question on that.  The litany of abuses perpetrated upon faithful men and women in the pulpit are legion.  And it is tragic.

But there is also available the potential for applause.  Great applause for those who preach.  Now who can deny that?

So no.  No, says Chambers.  The real test of a saint is not even one’s willingness to preach.

But the test is this:

Who among us is willing to do the work that means nothing to the world, but counts as everything to God?  

I can answer:  Linda Shinault.

Hidden away from the world’s view but conspicuously open to heaven’s view, my friend Linda was willing, day after day – indeed, decade after decade – to do that work which is unheralded by the world, but counts as everything to God.

The private, hidden work of prayer.

And make no mistake about it.  It IS work.  It is the work Linda was called to, and which she took up faithfully.  A lifetime of dedicated prayer.  Not only did Linda live it personally.  She inspired it in others.

Many years ago, when God first called Linda to begin and lead a prayer group, she didn’t feel qualified, which — paradoxically, and even rather comically to me — is the very thing that in my view instantly qualified her, as Linda clearly had no confidence in her own abilities.  She had no regard for her own strength or wisdom or intelligence.   She was nervous.  Even a bit intimidated.

But Linda knew God had spoken.  So she pressed in to God. And moved out in faith.

And today?

Today, in addition to her devoted family, Linda leaves behind a company of dedicated prayer warriors who can still be found gathering together each and every week in the Prayer Chapel of her home church, interceding for the needs of others.

And all because Linda first answered her own call as a lifetime Prayer Warrior.

Now, as I contemplate Linda’s entry through heaven’s gates this morning, I can hear the thunderous sound of applause from the company of heaven who know what powerful good was wrought by the intercession of this one humble saint.  For they know what God’s Word announces to us in James 5:16:

The fervent effectual prayer of the righteous man accomplishes much.   It accomplishes much.

What can we say, then, of this life lived in ceaseless devotion to prayer?  This very life which Linda lived.

We know and can say this:

Linda’s life work, though hidden, was deadly powerful.  Posing a direct threat to the kingdom of darkness every single day. Her relentless cries to heaven lifted the sorrowful, encouraged the fainthearted, strengthened the weak, broke down walls, pulled down strongholds, conquered the enemy, and destroyed the wicked schemes of the evil one.

God placed His mantle upon Linda Shinault.  And Linda, being faithful to fulfill her call, shirked not her duty – but fought on, soldiered on, selflessly, sacrificially.  Decade after decade. Never once giving up, or turning back, not even to her last precious days on earth.

Such is the work, and the life of a true soldier-saint who travails in faithful service to the King as a Prayer Warrior.

Such was the life of Linda Shinault.

Yes. The world has lost a giant today.  One who changed the very world around her, one life at a time…one day at a time…from the secret place of her prayer closet.  Through her faithful, fervent, effectual, powerful – glorious – prayers which availed much.

Well done, my beloved friend.  You have fought hard the good fight.  You have fought well.  You have finished your race.  Take your rest now.  I bid you farewell.  But not forever.  For we shall see each other again in glory.

A Word to the Weary

images (17)Last year while fellowshipping with the Lord, suddenly I had a vision.  I recorded it at the time, and just came across it again last night. Today the Lord has instructed me to share this word to the weary.  May it bless all who read it.

Excerpt from my journal entry of August 11, 2016:

I closed my eyes just now and I saw a whole herd of sheep, and I saw the Lord in the center with His staff in His right hand and holding a little sheep in His left hand close to His breast.


I don’t know what this means, but let me watch some more.

Now He is smiling and cuddling the little sheep in His arms, and the little sheep is smiling back at Him.  images (22)The Lord is occasionally looking away to use His staff to prod some of the sheep forward, but never meanly, or with impatience, just pushing them to go along, but His true attention and His heart is clearly to get back to the loving looks between Him and the little lamb in His arms.

I ask:    Who is that little lamb, Lord?

And I hear:   It is those who have been forgotten by the herd.  The herd moves along and some of My lambs would be run over if I didn’t lift them up.  I am taking SPECIAL care of the little ones in My fold who are too often overlooked, whether because to the big and mighty they seem insignificant, or because they are wounded by the herd, and the wolves have sought to destroy them.

But though the whole flock of sheep may not see the lost little one in their midst, I see every single one who is lost, and I seek them out.

The “lost” sheep can even be in the midst of the fold, they are in your very midst, and they are forgotten…BUT NOT BY ME.

For I adore the weakest among you.

images (15)I am the ultimate Shepherd, and I RUN to cover, protect, and advocate for My weakest ones, and nathan-greene-limited-edition-lithograph-lamb-of-god-4rebuke the devouring wolves who always look to attack the weakest among the fold.

But greater is He Who is in the LEAST of these, than he who is in the world.

I wish to encourage the weakest among you that your days are NOT going to end in misery, but I have a plan for your life; though you may not see the sun shining, I am in your midst, doing a work to bring you your heart’s desires, and to solve all your problems.

It is not unlike a tangled piece of string.  With many knots.  On your own you do not know where to begin to untangle the mess that is your life.  But I know the first string to pull, the next string to pull, and I know not only exactly what to do, but exactly in what sequence to pull out every last knot in your life that has had you bound, to make every crooked way straight so that you are able to walk in a freedom yet unknown to your heart, and one which may even seem like a fantasy because your wounded heart says:  “Too good to be true.”

But I say to those who doubt, to those who see only darkness and evil around them and who see no way out, I say:

Behold, a door opens before you.  And when it opens you will know it is I.  Because I open doors which no man can close.  And I close doors which no man can open.

Therefore I say to the weakest lambs among you – REJOICE!  Begin to rejoice now because your freedom and your deliverance is coming, one untangled knot at a time.   And do not think it has to be a long work of redeeming and restoring the years that the locusts have eaten, for I say to you that in a single day a nation was created when Israel came into being.  And can I not make your world new in a day? 

Do not become so wearied that you lose sight of your Shepherd Who even now comes toward you, smiling, with so much love in His heart for you before He sweeps you up, and carries you laughing and smiling, and wiping away every tear, as He carries you into your anointed future.

1783Peace, My children.  The weakest among you in this hour have My special ear and protection. Good shepherd

I will NOT let the enemy be victorious over you.

Be kind to one another, and simply rest in My love, and you will see it.  Your promises will blossom before you.  Just believe.  I am doing it.  And soon faith and hope will become sight.  I bless you, My little ones.

Talk to me…

Has this word from the Lord ministered to you?  Can you relate?  Have you ever felt completely alone?  And like no one understood?   My prayer, in posting this word, is that all who come by will receive the joy and comfort Jesus intends, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not alone! And certainly not forgotten!  Oh how He loves you, beloved!  Receive this encouraging word.  It is heaven’s headline to YOU.

 “’Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'” 
~Matthew 11:28  NIV 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
~Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  
~Psalm 34:18 NASB

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. “
~Isaiah 40:11 NASB

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”  
~Psalm 23 KJV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.” 
~Psalm 18:1-3 ESV

The Best Wedding Gift of All


June is a big month in my life.


Not just because I married my best friend on June 18, 1994 — a gift for which I am profoundly grateful.  By God’s grace and kindness, after 23 years, Steve and I are still together, and going strong.  Praise God.

But there’s also another anniversary for me to celebrate every June.

I’m talking now about the day I received a wedding gift from the Lord Himself!   Yes, directly from the Lord.

On June 14, 1994 — just four days before my wedding — He delivered it to me. Miraculously.  And now, in this, my double-anniversary month of June, I’ve just got to tell the story.

Here’s what happened…from the beginning.

In 1993, when my mother died, my dad was devastated.  Daddy and Mummy had built a life together over the course of 45 years, and now that my mother was gone…so was a part of Daddy.

After my mother’s death, when I would invite Daddy over for dinner at my little condo, he would leave at the end of the evening, saying, “I’m going home to be with your mother.”

Of course Mummy wasn’t back there at the house then anymore than she is now.  But somehow, Daddy found a certain solace and comfort sitting quietly inside the cozy kitchen where he and Mummy had whiled away so many evenings together across the years.

In point of fact, I knew my mother was safely and gloriously ensconced in the loving arms of Jesus…as I had had the honor and privilege of leading her to Christ just 13 months before her death.

After my mother died, I would ask Daddy if he wanted to “pray with me the same prayer Mummy did to receive Christ.”

The first time I asked him, he answered simply and bluntly, “No.”

The second time I asked Daddy, he kicked me to the curb with, “My mother taught me how to pray when I was three years old.”

Ok.  Well, clearly Daddy was put off by the notion that he might somehow need any kind of “help” in any kind of way to come to a saving relationship with Christ.  However, from where I sat, it was all too plain to see:

Whereas Daddy may have gotten an “A” in *religion,* he was failing miserably in the relationship-with-Christ department.  And what else is salvation than a relationship with the living Christ?

As the Gospel of John says:

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  ~ John 17:3 NKJV

Daddy was still living as ruler of his own life, and had never surrendered his life to Christ.  And I have often told the Lord that if I only had one prayer in life that could be answered it would be to see every member of my family saved.

Thus, in 1994, when Steve and I were engaged to be married in June of that year, I began to pray this prayer:

“Lord, there is only one wedding present I want.  I couldn’t care less about anything else.  There’s only one gift I’m desperate for.  Before I get married, I want to see Daddy come to Christ.  O Lord, please turn Daddy’s heart to You.”

I knew that in Daddy’s abject grief my approaching marriage actually felt to his heart like a kind of second loss…as he contemplated giving me away.

Yet I knew, too, that no matter how overcome with grief Daddy was, I certainly couldn’t be some kind of Christ-substitute for him.  Sure, I may be an encourager in my family, a nurturer, and so I’m accustomed to being leaned upon, or looked upon for a cheerful word.   I can deal with that.

But a substitute for Christ?  No.  Not gonna happen. I wouldn’t allow it, no matter how desperate my Dad’s state of mind and emotions were, I wouldn’t allow him to believe he could rely on me to be his answer to all his emotional needs —  only Christ is Christ, and Daddy was going to have to come to terms with it.

But true as this was… as his daughter, it just killed me to watched my beloved Dad wrestle against the only One Who could truly save him.

And so as the months ticked by, I kept on praying for his salvation…earnestly… desperately.

I began to take favorite old hymns I grew up with, and insert Daddy’s name in the hymn as I sang them, as a kind of prayer:

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“God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year…

“God is working His purpose out, and the time is drawing near…

“Nearer and nearer draws the time, the time that shall surely be…

“When [Dick Condit] shall be filled with the glory of God…as the waters cover the sea.”

I sang.  I prayed.  I wept.

And Steve joined me in the prayer too:  “Lord, save Dick before our wedding day!  This is our prayer!”

As the actual week of our wedding approached, the countdown intensified…and the already urgent prayer now became like a red flare before the throne of God:

“O God, O Lord God – Daddy’s LOST!  He NEEDS You!  Your Word says that the heart of the king is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord, and You can turn it whichever direction You will.  Turn Daddy’s heart to YOU, O God!  O God, do it!  Do it NOW, Lord! I ask this as my wedding gift, Lord…the only one I care about.  Please dear Lord, please bring Daddy to You before I get married this Saturday!  I ask it in the Name of Jesus!”

Seven days before the wedding came and went…six days before the wedding came and went…five days…

”Oh God, oh GOD!  Save Daddy!

Then suddenly!

On Tuesday, June 14th, 1994 — four days before my wedding — I was out doing errands. Tying up loose ends before the Big Day…when suddenly I felt a nudge inside my heart.  A distinct nudge that was unmistakable.

And I heard in my heart:

Go home!  Go home now to your father’s house.  He’s ready.  Go right now.”

Immediately I dropped everything.  Left the mall, hopped in my car, and drove straight to my childhood home, just hoping and praying I was “hearing right.”  Hoping and praying this really and truly was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and not just my own wishful thinking I had fabricated inside my head and heart.

As I drove up Daddy’s driveway, he appeared, ambling slowly down the front slate walk to greet me, his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his khaki pants.  He looked beaten down and completely weary.  I greeted Daddy as he came toward me.

Then I jumped out of my car, and cut right to the chase.

“Daddy,” I said, “I came here because I feel like the Lord told me to come over right now.  I’ve been asking you over and over if you would pray with me to receive Christ, but you were never ready.  But I’m going to ask you one more time. 

 “Are you ready to pray the very same prayer Mummy prayed with me last year, and to receive Christ into your heart?”

Daddy – this time — said, “Yes.”  He said YES!!!

 I nearly jumped for joy.  I shouted, and said, “You are ready?  Oh Daddy, I’m so excited!  I was out shopping, and the Lord told me to come over right now to pray with you, and I dropped everything to get here!”

We entered the house, and stepped out into the sun porch, sat down, and the Lord allowed me to lead Daddy in the prayer of salvation.  And then, because I wanted to make certain Daddy’s commitment was truly legitimate, I asked him point blank:

“Daddy, I’ve asked you twice before to pray with me, and you never would. What was different about this time?”

Daddy had tears in his eyes as he looked up from our prayer, and he responded simply, “Because I don’t have anywhere else to turn.”


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Daddy knew that in just four days his “baby girl” would be getting married, amplifying his sense of loss as he “gave me away” to Steve.  The Lord used this sense of loss to bring Daddy to his knees.

I will never forget the day my Dad finally humbled himself to receive Christ into his heart.

Tuesday evening,  June 14th 1994…just four days before my wedding.  My dad went from death — to eternal life.

The best wedding gift of all.