Shawna Sullivan

The line stretched down the aisle. One by one they came with hands open, ready to receive the elements as if their next breath depended on it. 


Our New York City church plant relied on the elders and deacons to offer communion each week. As an elder’s wife, I joined my husband to serve most Sundays, and it quickly became one of my favorite roles.


This sacred moment of church tradition often caused my eyes to swell with pools of tears. As I greeted each sister and brother, I recognized the hearts before me represented a failed marriage, a devastating miscarriage, a joyous engagement, or a recent promotion.


As each familiar pair of eyes met mine, my mouth uttered, “His body was broken for you. His blood was poured out for you.”


In that moment standing before the church, I realized God had lovingly broken through areas of my life over the past seven years and led me to a posture of surrender. It had been a painful process, but God knew I needed to let go of good things—furthering my career, living life near my family, and expecting financial gain—so that I could remain open to the story He was writing. 


At the same time, He had asked me to pour out in ways I never thought possible. In addition to balancing ministry positions inside the church, I was utterly weary as a mother of three young children at home. My days felt inconsequential and draining, yet the call to press on each day in love to those under my roof was sure.


Gradually, my death grip on earthly comforts was loosened as my gaze fixed on a good God who was broken and poured out for me. He was worthy of my trust in all things, which included raising a family in Manhattan without the promise of earthly reward.


As each finger unfolded, hidden entitlements and unexpected idols were revealed, and my heart became broken for the needs around me. With open hands to my own story, I was able to grow in love, ready to serve others despite unfulfilled longings. I began to realize the significance I longed for resulted from a life of service, rather than accomplishment, as these daily investments in loving others and those under my roof were eternal. 


Even now, in a season with four children and a writing ministry, opportunities to pour out continue to surface and challenge the comforts I am tempted to hold dear. With our eyes fixed on eternity, may we embrace brokenness, continue to pour out, and offer hope freely, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit.” Romans 5:5 ESV


It is in the receiving of Christ’s love for me at the communion table that I am strengthened and sustained to continue pouring out His love to those around me, confident that my everyday investments matter. Whether it’s in the breaking through or the pouring out, may it all lead us back to Him.


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About Shawna:

Shawna is a wife, mother, home educator, and chauffeur to four children. Through challenging seasons she has found the courage to live intentionally, embrace adventure, and find joy in a life surrendered to the mission of Christ. 


Now back in Texas after 13 years in New York, she will never take a backyard, air conditioning, or her own laundry room for granted. Shawna writes regularly on her website, sharing truth-filled encouragement and practical ways to find a fulfilling life by investing in that which is truly valuable.


Grab this FREE download: A Practical Guide for a Purposeful Life, where Shawna helps you view your real-life through a new lens shaped by long-term purpose rather than short-term performance.  


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