Today, Shaela speaks to us about how prayer is a dialogue, the books she is gathering for her son, and a passage from Scripture that has been a guide in this new season of motherhood.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I thankfully grew up in a Christian home and had two loving parents who dedicated their lives to making sure my sisters and I had everything we needed. When I was 10 years old, my oldest sister, Christa, died from Hepatitis C. There is a cure for this now, but there wasn’t back in 2002. It was devastating for our family and almost ripped us apart, but by the grace of God He held our now family of four together and guided us through that time.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Ephesians 6 – the Armor of God passage. Our first son was born in October of 2019, so we are fresh parents and this passage has helped protect and guide me through the sleep-deprived and crazy times, and given me the motivation to always be discipling our son.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Theology! I have a Masters Degree from a Seminary in Christian Education, but I am trying to pursue learning and studying who God is and why I believe what I do. When I disciple other girls, I go through a Theology Bootcamp with them that I created. Currently, I am updating that so I have been focusing on working through more practical theology topics. I have also been focusing on prayer and recently went through Mark Batterson’s 40 Days of Prayer Challenge.
Profession: Personal Trainer (and new mommy!). I specialize in prenatal and postpartum fitness.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be: Petite Powerhouse: A Story of Fierce Strength & Relentless Grace
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My first encounter with God was when I was very young. I remember (as silly as this seems now) I was looking ALL OVER for my special bear, Mr. Bear. I had lost him in the abyss that was my room. I remember closing my eyes, putting my hands out and trusting the Lord would guide me to where Mr. Bear was. I was probably all of 7 or 8 at the time. The sweet part was, God met me there. He didn’t have to, because God isn’t a genie God, but He does meet his children where they are at, and He did for me that day. I remember walking to the desk we had and bending down and finding my bear underneath. As silly as this sounds, I knew God had helped me get there, He met me in my little 7 or 8 year old heart and taught me to trust and obey Him through everything. He still meets me to this day in my desperate need and want.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? If it weren’t for my relationship with the Lord, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be married to the man I am married to now— I would probably be pursing the world and its idea of who a woman should be instead of a biblical worldview of a woman. My relationship with the Lord has made me stronger, it has empowered me, equipped me, and made me feel like I am enough in this world, without being too much.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Accountability and discipline has helped me grow spiritually through this new season of motherhood and being an entrepreneur. Accountability has come in the form of another fellow business friend and believer, and discipline has come from me being determined daily to meet with Jesus.
Just read/currently reading: I have recently completed Mark Batterson’s 40 Day prayer challenge, and WOW did it challenge me in my prayer life. It really made me turn to Scripture to see how God intended prayer for His people. I have also been working through Priscilla Shirer’s Prince Warrior series. Since we have a son, I have been trying to collect and read books that I think will be good for him one day! I am on the final book (the 4th one), and I have loved them so far and hope my son will too one day! Hopefully, we will be able to discuss the deeper theological meaning behind the series and how to truly use the armor of God in everyday life. I have also started the book called Spiritual Mothering – a Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women – I want to always be a disciple maker, not just hold all the knowledge and wisdom the Lord has taught me for myself.
Top three essentials: 1. Good pair of workout pants (Athleta is hands down my favorite); 2. Juice Plus+; 3. Cultivate Power Sheets.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, God really woke me up to how He speaks with me. My son was napping, so I was finally able to sit down and read in my Bible and journal a little. While I was reading, my mind was so distracted. I kept thinking of all the things I needed to say for an event I was speaking at that night. My mind was swirling with ideas and dreams for the future and for the event. I was so frustrated because I felt like I was letting God down by not being able to sit and be still in His Word and in His presence. Instead of wallowing in those feelings though, I decided to move on to read a chapter from the 40 Day Prayer challenge book, thinking that it would help get my mind in the right space. This particular quote struck me hard, “Prayer is not a monologue; it’s a dialogue. We speak to God with everything from words to groans to thoughts. And God speaks to us through dreams, desires, promptings, impressions, and ideas.” It was so powerful because after beating myself up for being so distracted, I realized I was robbing Holy Spirit of the opportunity to speak into my life and over my life. He was prompting me with those desires and dreams, and He was speaking to me in that moment, but I was too worried about how distracted I was to notice the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart. It was a beautiful moment of realization, grace, peace, and hope that He is always present, even when I think I have to meet with Him a certain way, He shows me that He wants to meet with me too and bring to light His plan for me.
Hobby: Reading, exercising (of course!) and playing with my son!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
– Do things even when they are hard – read your Bible when it’s hard and even when you don’t get anything out of it, write down prayers even when you may not believe what you are asking for or who you are asking from, just keep doing even when you don’t feel like it, because a relationship isn’t just about feelings;
– Journal ups, downs, prayers, praises, all the emotions and reflect upon it regularly to see how the Lord moves; and
– Worship regularly even by yourself.
Favorite person in scripture? Ruth because despite her circumstances to remained faithful and obeyed (SO HARD TO DO!) and King David (her great grandson!) because despite his failures and sinful nature, he continued to pursue God and His heart.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That there is joy, strength, and grace in Christ. No one will live a perfect life, but this world was created by a Creator, and He wants to have an intimate relationship with every person. In Him we can find the deepest joy, the fiercest strength, and the relentless grace.
How do you engage with your community? My husband is a student pastor at a local church, so we are constantly trying to find new ways to reach our community through connecting with local schools, meeting with students, leaders in our ministry, and parents.
Favorite holiday? My favorite holiday is definitely Christmas. I love what it represents, and I love that in central Florida (where I live) thats around the only time of year it gets a little cooler too (although beach days around Christmas have happened before). I love Hallmark Christmas, decorations, warm coffee, sitting outside on the porch in the mornings and snuggling with a heated blanket all day!
A goal you have? A goal I have is to be able to work from home and still continually provide for the needs of my family. On a more fun note, a goal I have is to always make my children’s birthday cakes! I am terrible at decorating cakes, but I can’t wait to try and get better.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: During Christmas time the stocking stuffers and one present was always from Santa, and the rest was from my parents. Something we will definitely continue with our family.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? What blessings did I miss out on simply because I didn’t ask or was “too busy”?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I would love to raise awareness for women that they don’t have to stay “stuck” in mom mode 24/7. As a new mom, I know how tempting and easy it can be to put others first all the time to the detriment of ones health, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Women and moms can stay healthy and be the pioneers in nutrition and fitness for their family, they just have to figure out how it will work for their family. Eventually, we also want to foster or adopt so that has always been something that I want to raise awareness for.
What does your morning routine consist of? My current morning routine changes because of having a baby at home, but my regular routine was wake up, exercise, breakfast & coffee, devotional and then wake the baby! Currently, my exercise is usually when our son is awake and my devotional is during his first nap.
What is on your nightstand? Juice Plus+ Omegas, a mini coffee pot, water bottle and sometimes flowers when my husband surprises me with them!
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is making the choice to be better, love harder, seek to be more like Christ, make disciples, and always sharing His love with others.
For more Shaela:
Until next time, keep witnessing!