Changed By Jesus I

by Element Christian Church

My name is Shannon Harris.

My journey of how I got to the place where I wanted a relationship with the Jesus is a pretty long story, and I will have to shorten or you could still be reading this booklet long after the baptisms are done.

I was not brought up in a house that went to church. My mom would tell us about GOD and how he was “out there somewhere” and could hear all your prayers and see all your sins (He kind of sounded like Santa Claus). But in my head, I thought “Whatever, how could He see all and know all?” When I was 18 years old I was engaged to my first husband whose family were strict Catholics. His family wanted us to get married in a Catholic Church...for that to happen I had to attend “night School” to get all of the Catholic Church “requirements” done.

I attended class once per week and by the end of the year I had been baptized and received “holy communion” and my “confirmation.”
Honestly though, by the end of that year all I can truly say is that I was even more confused about “religion” than I ever had been before. We had our big Catholic wedding and then we became “Holiday Catholics” where we only attended on the major holidays.

Ten years later, I was getting divorced from my first husband, finding myself a single mother of 3 children. I was pretty devastated and felt
I couldn’t go on. A friend from work invited me to her “Christian” church. For the first time I really enjoyed it and was learning a lot about who God is and what it meant to be a Christian. My life got back on track, and

I finally realized that I was going to make it through the divorce and would be fine. After about a year and half of attending church I started hanging out with some of my single girlfriends (we were going out at night and meeting a lot of guys and having “fun”)...and guess what? My attendance at church got less and less over the next few months.
When I did attend church I felt so guilty and ashamed of my behavior that I would cry at church. So instead of getting the picture that God was sending me those feelings, I just stopped going to church all together.

The guilt of my new lifestyle was keeping me from the path of true life that God wanted for me. I continued this lifestyle for the next six (almost seven years)...and though I thought I was having so much fun, I became more and more unhappy with my life. I was looking for happiness but wasn’t able to find it.

In 2007, I started praying again for God to show me the way to this happiness I was seeking. The more I prayed, the more I didn’t want to go out with my girlfriends anymore. I continued my own relationship with the Lord by praying and reading a few books, but I still couldn’t get myself to go to church because I felt I was not worthy of stepping foot in a church.

One day I met a man at work named Jason. I asked him out and gave him my number (because that’s what you do when you are interested in someone), but he never returned my call. About six months later, out of the blue, he actually came to my work and asked If I wanted to go to a “country western concert” (yes, Aaron probably freaked out when he read that). At the time I didn’t like country music but said “Yes” anyway because Jason was cute.

After that night we went on a few more dates, but I thought it was strange that Jason did not try to kiss me or anything. I was wondering if something was wrong with me. Then one night I began to understand, because God stepped into our relationship. I went to Jason’s softball game; after the game he said he needed to talk with me and asked if I wanted to get something to eat with him. Little did I know that Jason wanted to talk to me about Jesus and ask if I was a Christian. He was scared to ask because he liked me and wasn’t sure what my answer was going to be.

We went to Subway because I was a cheap date and there was a homeless man in line behind me and I handed him a coupon for a sandwich. He thanked me and then handed me a bible tract that stated something to the effect of, “Do you believe the Lord is your Savior?” When I sat down to eat Jason asked me what the man had given me and I showed him. God works in such amazing ways because it gave Jason the opportunity to ask me, “So what is your answer to that question?”

I responded that, “ya, I believe in God.” Jason then said, “I didn’t ask you if you believed in God, I asked if you believe that the Lord, Jesus, is your Savior.” I looked at Jason and just started crying….After I finally stopped, we had the longest and greatest talk.

I began attending church with Jason every week in Arroyo Grande.
We were engaged six months later, as believers, and fully in love. I know now that God saw me through all the painful decisions I made throughout my life. He took my decisions and placed me on a road, that had been so broken, and blessed me enough to lead me to Jason and back to Him.

A little while ago Jason felt a calling to be engaged in a church in the community where we lived, so we were trying out local churches.

We actually stumbled upon Element by accident (but I guess nothing is an accident with God). We were out trying churches in the Santa Maria area and heard of a church on the radio that was supposed to be by Lakeview Junior High school (see, we were actually going to go somewhere else)...but when we got there it was 9:20 and the service didn’t start until 10:00, I noticed Element across the street and the service started at 9:30. I told Jason let’s try that church across the street. We attended that day and never looked back. We loved the service, felt it was relaxed, and love the humor that is placed in the messages. It feels so easy to relate to scripture when it becomes practical. That was over two years ago, and we are still coming faithfully and look forward to church on Sundays.

Since coming to Element and marrying Jason my whole life has changed. I feel loved, not just by Jason but by God as well. Jesus has made all things new and I am even a new mom again. My friends and family have all commented on how much I have changed and how much happier I seem. I know I would never have found this happiness without God leading me and loving me first. I hope that I can be a living example to my family and friends who have met Jesus or who are searching for the same happiness and yet still so lost. I hope that they will also find it in a relationship with Him, because that is where true relationship begins.