by Shanna O'Donnell
Hello family, my name is Shanna O’Donnell and I am a grateful believer. I have been an official member of Parkway for the last year, but have attended off and on for most of my adult life. I have been blessed with a crazy beautiful marriage to the love of my life for 16 years and I have 3 awesome teenagers that experience autism. Life is busy and my connection to the Lord and my church family is extremely important to me.
I was raised in a household that believed in God, but did not believe in the church and I was never really acquainted with the bible. It wasn’t until I got married to my amazing husband that I was introduced to the idea of attending. Being married at such a young age and living in denial about my 3 children, I struggled with self worth, depression and crippling anxiety. Untreated and unconnected to Christ, I fell into the darkness of sin and addiction.
Out of desperation in 2007 I hit my knees and have since been on a journey with the Lord that I never thought possible. I was scared to surrender and resisted the idea that I was loved. I tried out multiple religions in an effort to justify my sins, when in reality I was looking for the freely given love of our Savior. Every time I attended church, I was overwhelmed by the Spirit and my own emotions would scare me away for weeks, sometimes months.
I wanted something different so I tried out different churches and embarked on a relationship with Jesus. In November 2014 I gave my life to the Lord and was baptized. The church I was attending lacked the personal connection I so desperately craved and I once again found myself in the balcony of Parkway. Overwhelmed by the Spirit, I knew I had found my family.
Being a part of the recovery community here in the Rogue Valley, my path to restoration was lacking the influence of Christ. Knowing that I needed him to be successful, I started attending Celebrate Recovery on Thursday nights and focusing on the truths of God instead of the lies of the enemy. The love of Jesus Christ has filled every broken space in my heart that I tried to fill with people, places and things.
In January of this year, my marriage took some brutal blows from our past and we reached out to the pastoral staff here at Parkway for guidance. With the help of our mentors and God’s unfailing love, my marriage and my life in general is overflowing with joy. The love of Christ alone brought me out of the darkness of my self induced chaos. I am now on the leadership team of Celebrate Recovery and you can find me every Sunday morning at Parkway praising my heart out.
In January, Parkway will kick off a seven week testimony series. Each week you will hear a story from people who have lived lives of brokenness. For some, the brokenness was “out there” and for others it was well hidden, but all suffered the consequences from their own choices and from the choices of others. Stories will be on abuse, addiction, sexual brokenness, homosexuality, pride, legalism, and for most a combination of consequences.
God showed the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that we are all pots shaped by the Lord and when we break, it is in His gentle hands that we are picked up and stitched back together with seams of gold. We are even more beautiful for our scars, yet WHOLE and able to serve in His kingdom. We proclaim our brokenness as a testimony of His love for us.
In this series of testimonies, you will hear how broken and mended vessels have become a tool for ministry in our communities. We are all walking across the bridge of ministry, going from chaos to stability and back into the chaos as our stability
leads to ministry.
Join us in 2018. Enter into the stories. Be a part of the conversations. Bring a friend or neighbor to hear from one of our own. Come and witness grace.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
To read the full newsletter this article appeared in, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, December 2017, Vol. 1, Issue 5.