The following is an excerpt from a letter Sharnessa wrote during the year she was "nannying" in New York. (She was doing this to earn money to attend the School of Creative Ministries in London, which she did go on to do the following year, graduating from there in July 1999.)

      

   

Pioneer Girl

by Sharnessa Shelton

(at age 19)

   

  

I was on the phone with my mom, and we were talking about Eric and Leslie's "Romance God's Way" seminar. And for some reason, I started, just in my mind, getting upset. Not about the seminar, or anything my Mom was saying!  But I started thinking to myself, "Why do I always have to be such a loner in the major areas of my life?...

   

In being part of starting a "weird" church (Shekinah Christian Center), we were pioneers...  [from Mom: Sharn is quoting the word "weird" here because we were considered "weird" by many people in the area who believed that hymns were the only kind of music that should be heard in a church, which should be housed in a traditional church building, with hand-raising (in worship) and "gifts of the Spirit" absolute heresy and emotionalism.  If you are reading this article and agree with that, my prayer is that, even if those are your preferences, you will allow God to open your eyes to there being more than "one right way" in all these matters. ]

   

In homeschooling, we were pioneers.

   

Then the whole "courtship" thing, we were pioneers.  At least we didn't know anyone else who was doing it!  (By the way, I donít really like to use the word "courtship"!  It's not really a "method"; itís just "purity and Godís timing in relationships"!)  

   

So for all of my life, I've dealt with people constantly questioning me, and thinking I was "not the norm." (Which actually doesn't bug me! I know I'm weird!)  

   

All of this was going on in my head!  And then, all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed by this feeling of total exhilaration, total joy! 

   

This thought then popped in my head, "But God has given me the right character, the right attitude, the right spirit to be a pioneer!  I'm my mom's 'Little Joan of Arc'!  I love to be different! I love to be challenged!  (You could say, without sounding too weird, that I "get-off" on challenges!)  I'm a "fighter!"  Not with people, but in my spirit, in a good way. 

      

In fact, a quote from "My Utmost For His Highest" that I highlighted and double-underlined was:

       

"Huge waves that would frighten

an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill

for the surfer who has ridden them."

    

Isn't that incredible!  I just freaked out when I read that, because that is SO me! Anyway, back to the point. Well, later that day, I read my little daily saying calendar thing, and guess what was that days quote?

   

"It is not easy to be a pioneer,

but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade

one moment, not even the worst, for

all the riches in the world."

   

Can you believe that!  I just started bawling!  I called my mom and read it to her, and of course, she started crying too!  That was one of those "Whoa, God! You are so awesome!!!" things!

   

   

 

 

 

 

Addendum from Mom/Barb

  

  

Here is a neat quote I found that I love:

     

"There are

pioneer souls

that blaze their paths

where highways
never ran."

 

~Sam Walter Foss

(American Writer; 1858-1911)

 

So what do I love about this quote? Well, on the cover of my high school book, Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la, I put this:

  

"For those bold enough to go where few have gone before."

  

Since the well-worn "beaten path" of education in our culture today is taking "the crowd" places that WE sure don't want to go (see my "Are You Eccentric?" article), it is imperative ~ non-optional, really ~ to pave NEW highways if we do not want to run toward ~ and then over ~ the same cliffs much of our culture is falling over.  True, many do not go over, but it is only by focused effort that ~ if ~ they don't.  So why waste precious time "preventing" or "rescuing" when we can seek a better way of educating our children ~ God's way ~ and enjoy the process and the fruit SO much more!

     

~ Barb Shelton

  

  

   

I got this lovely background from:

   

I got the covered wagon from:

   

    

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