I Chose Her

Shawn Michael —  July 15, 2015 — Leave a comment

You don’t get to choose your family – you just get whoever you were born into – and I’ve been amazingly blessed with mine! I love my parents.

But a wife? I got to choose her! You get to choose your spouse, too, and you’ve only got one shot at it (barring the messiness of separation or divorce). So, my advice: take it slow and choose wisely. Talk about pressure!

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My family fist met Deanna at a hotel buffet line shortly after we had transitioned to the new-to-us city of Pierre, SD. I was going into my sophomore year. Deanna was a senior. We had an interesting first interaction my first week of school and I was immediately smitten. She had invited me to the homecoming dance with a group of her friends and there was something about her infectious smile, room-filling laugh and fun-loving personality that grabbed hold of me instantly.

We might of seemed like an unusual pairing, but we got to be quick friends. I was the quiet, shy, artsy new kid and she was the good-looking, outgoing, fun, athletic starter on the basketball team.

Early on, Deanna invited me to her youth group’s before-school devo-worship time at a church right across from the school. I was excited that she loved Jesus and was eager to meet up and get to know her more. I went to the first church I saw right across from the school the next morning and, about half-way through, realized that I was in a Mormon church. Doh! I was devastated, thinking that maybe we weren’t the same faith — and I had already had my eyes on her as potential girlfriend material. When we saw each other at school we both blurted out, “WHERE WERE YOU?!” Turns out she was in the church building just next door to the one I had ventured into. Phew! I started attending right away and fell in love with her pretty quickly. Her friends and youth leaders were pretty great, too.

By that January, I had asked her if she’d be interested in a romantic relationship. It was the first time I had ever pursued a girl — and the last. She said, “Yes!” 

We dated for four years. I fell hard and fast. I felt like this was God’s one for me and, in my heart, knew that I was going to marry her someday. On the other hand, in her wisdom to not rush things, Deanna was pretty slow to trust me… and even tried to gracefully ditch me three times! But I wouldn’t have it — I kept on relentlessly pursuing and I’m glad I did. She has been my greatest treasure.

One afternoon, when Deanna and I were on the phone with Mom (we were both students in Dallas at the time), she challenged us to “just get married and stop burning in lust” — haha! Wow. We got off the phone. Had a quick conversation that resulted in “Yeah, we should get married! What are we waiting for?!” It was elated — didn’t get much sleep that night, I was SO excited! But Deanna did caution me, saying, “You still have to propose to me, and it BETTER be good because I’ve already said ‘yes’!”

That’s a story all on it’s own. But I planned the proposal. And it must have been GOOD because she said “yes” again!

We married. I was 19-years-old at the time. And I have fallen more deeply in love with her ever since. We’ve walked through some really tough stuff together. And, well, having 5 kids is no piece of cake some days. Neither is all of the moving and transitions we’ve made over the past 5 years. Marriage, in and of itself, is not easy. Loving Deanna is, but not always marriage. And I know I’ve fallen far below the bar many times as a husband. I can be pretty good on my good days, but pretty darn low on my low days.

Thankfully, Deanna has put up with it all. I mean, how blessed am I? It’s no joke that I feel like the luckiest man alive. As I start to see more grey hairs on my head every day, I keep coming to the realization of how amazing she is to me.

No particular reason for this post today. Just reflecting and feeling thankful for mi amore. Sometimes in life that I’ve made poor decisions, but Deanna wasn’t one of them. When I chose her, I made the best decision of my lifetime.

 

So today was my last official day on staff at NorthRock Church. If you missed the news, you can catch up here…

Anyhow, it was also the graduation service for our 2015 Echo ELN students. And they just made my year. Seriously. I love these kids.

First of all, they all stood around me in a circle and made me cry happy tears, saying many very nice things. I love these guys and have been so privileged to spend one-on-one time mentoring and coaching them this year.

Then they handed me this box, saying that it looks pretty unassuming on the outside…

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…but inside, there are many treasures — “just like you”. I opened it up in front of them and found this Cross…

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This card with several deeply meaningful personal notes from the students…

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And a couple of DVD’s. The first one featured a light show that Devin had mixed and performed. Devin presented all of this stuff for the group when we were at the church and called me a “brother” as he was sharing. Gosh… This was amazing…

And the other DVD had this pic and caption on the cover…

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For those of you that know, this is in reference to an opening line from a song off of my pop-rock album, written mostly when I was a teenager. The students made a big deal of this song all year long, making “Make That Change” — the title of the song — a catch-phrase around the church and a hashtag on social media on several of their posts.

Their mission was to “make me famous” when we went to Honduras and they christened several of the kids we worked with there by placing their hands on their heads and saying “Make That Change. Make That Change. Make That Change…” The kids were saying it back to us before we left!

Anyhow, they are still on that mission. And, so… they made this incredibly awesome music video that I will forever cherish…

Lastly, our very own Echo student, Elijah Tamez — to which I am called “Host Daddy” and Deanna is called “Host Mamma” — painted and put together this flower pot which now sits on our front steps.

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Dude, you are loved and will always be thought of as a #rockstar and our “host son”. We know that God goes with you and has more amazing plans for you than you even know!

Needless to say, we felt very, very loved today. From the Echo students and all of the other gifts, cards, hugs and kind words shared from many others at NorthRock today. YOU BLESS US!

Lots of fun with family and friends. Bella shot the video and I edited it :)

This video was shared at NorthRock Church today. I’ve been on staff since last January and have fallen in love with the staff and church family during this time, so this makes this announcement all the harder. Regardless, we know this isn’t a surprise to God, that this decision wasn’t easy on the part of the NorthRock leadership, and that God will provide for all involved, including NorthRock Church and my family.

Because this is still “fresh”, we do not know yet what the next steps are for us. We are in the process of asking, seeking and knocking and would appreciate your prayers of agreement as we figure this all out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Shoup family will be moving again and, if that’s the case, we might be able to serve on a volunteer basis with our NorthRock family — it all depends on what employment I am able to find.

I will say that my heart beats for ministry and I am looking for ministry roles first. I also love my Foursquare family and I’m thankful that the district staff would like to keep me in the NextGen / Media / Communications role where I also serve — that’s good news to me! Deanna is hoping to continue her medical education and our kids are open to and praying for whatever all of this means and wherever God leads us.

With all that said, we’ve been overwhelmed with the support, encouragement and prayers of friends far and wide. THANK YOU! It means so much to us.

The kids and I are beyond blessed…