My ONE came into my life a little more than seven years ago. When I heard about ONE Focus at our church, I knew right away that Shawn was my ONE. I knew that I would pray for him without ceasing. Though my pastor said that our ONE should probably not be someone of the opposite sex, Shawn had come into my life through my niece, who had a relationship with him. I knew that I could pray for both of them to come to know Christ; however, the Holy Spirit urged me that Shawn was my ONE.
This young man had a beautiful heart, but he placed a powerful shield around it and would only drop it occasionally. He had grown up in a broken home, fought for his place in life, and came to believe that he was a misfit. As I watched him from a distance, my heart broke for him. The wounds from his past would often explode in bursts of anger. He sought escape in drug and alcohol abuse. As I watched him travel down this dark road, I continually asked God to save him.
Unfortunately, Shawn and my niece had a baby out of wedlock. Mistakenly, I thought that the birth of this beautiful little girl might serve as the catalyst to turn Shawn’s life around. The responsibility of his child and his relationship with my niece, though, only created more stress. His life spiraled deeper into darkness and even worse habits formed, which eventually resulted in his arrest and conviction. Shawn spent eighteen months in prison.
During this time, he went to three different prisons in Louisiana. He said that he did not want to make a “jailhouse confession” and blow it when he was released; however, he did start seeking the Lord while in prison. He faced many challenging and humiliating circumstances, but in all of them he prayed and gave God thanks.
Towards the end of his sentence, Shawn got the chance to participate in a work-release program through which God put him in the hands of a family in the area that owned a farm and a roofing company. The Lord used this godly family to draw Shawn into the Kingdom. One evening each week, they would keep him in their home through dinner. Afterward, he would sit with this family to pray and to talk about life. This family demonstrated God’s grace and mercy, and they showed him what a loving family looks like.
Once he had served his time, he had no home to which he could return, no job, and no transportation. That all changed. As we prayed about his circumstances, God blessed him yet again. My husband and I invited him into our home, his grandfather gave him an old but reliable pickup truck, and within a couple of weeks, he had a good job. I know that God provided Shawn with all of this.
About this time, I made a public commitment to pray earnestly for, serve, and look for witnessing opportunities for my ONE, Shawn. As you might expect, Satan tried to keep Shawn away from God. Within a few months, Shawn’s old habits surfaced. I knew that I had to keep praying for him and loving him in Christ.
The day Shawn finally gave control of his life to Christ gave me the most wonderful joy. I am so thankful that God used me in this young man’s life and allowed me to point out God’s hand in all things. He used me, my family, and my church to make an eternal difference.
By the way, my niece came to know Christ several months prior to Shawn’s conversion. She has followed the Lord in baptism. What an awesome God! To Him, I give all the glory!