Featured Guest Blogger: The Anchored Mama
I am so excited to introduce the Pieces of Jessika© readers to my friend Shandyn of The Anchored Mama blog. Shandyn and I met through a group of contributing writers for the website, Her View From Home. Over the past year, we have been encouraged by one another, and it has developed into a beautiful friendship, one for which I am grateful.
Yesterday I sat down with Shandyn for a Facebook Live Q&A. I find that hearing someone’s heart always helps me to draw closer to them. I hope you’ll consider catching the playback, but if not, read on to learn more about this Godly woman and why I asked her to join in encouraging you here on the Pieces of Jessika© blog.
Jessika: Have you always wanted to be a writer? Tell us a bit about how God called you to writing.
Shandyn: I’ve always loved writing and words. I loved having a diary as a little girl. The idea of having a lock on it made it all the more appealing. I could write any thought down, and only I had the key. I never had to worry about my words being read, but it was therapeutic to get them on paper. I think it’s always been something I’ve loved.
I remember high school being a turning point for me. My high school English teacher was really instrumental in my desire to write. I wrote mostly poetry, but I remember sitting in my closet one day holding a spiral-bound notebook and wanting to fill the pages with my story. It was there when I first had the dream of one day writing a book. I wanted to tell my story in hopes that it would speak to others who might have a similar story.
Many years passed before I felt God actually call me to writing. It was 2015, and my youngest son was about a year and a half old. He was not the best sleeper, and most nights, I was up with him at 2 AM. I love my sleep, so it’s safe to say I was not always thrilled to be awake. But, I found myself there in the dark, rocking my baby and just spending that time in prayer. I hadn’t been to church in several years. I knew a lot about God. I knew all the stories. I could quote scripture-- but I didn’t KNOW Him. I actually felt really lost during that time. But every night, I would pray. I would pray for my baby to sleep. I would pray for God to come near to me. And I believe that He did just that. In those 2 AM feeding sessions with my son, I felt the Lord call me to writing, specifically with a blog.
Jessika: What is the inspiration behind the name of your blog, The Anchored Mama?
Shandyn: My blog comes from Hebrews 6:19, which says, “We have this hope as an anchor, firm and secure.” Honestly, the only way I can explain it is that God gave me the name of my blog. Like I said, I was lost, and I was searching and seeking. I knew more than anything that I wanted that firm and secure hope. I wanted to be an anchored mama. I didn’t want to be anchored in anything else but Him. I don’t know that when I actually started my blog I was anchored, but I desperately wanted to be, so I just spoke it over myself until it became realized.
Jessika: What is the mission of your blog, The Anchored Mama?
Shandyn: When I first started my blog, I wanted to minister to the hearts of women, specifically mothers. That's where I was in life, and I felt that was the most natural thing for me to write about. I felt somewhat qualified because I was a mother, but really that’s where my qualifications ended.
In 2019 I took a year off. I really felt the Lord calling me away from social media. It had become a really negative thing in my life. I had been feeling Him call me away for more than a year before I was finally obedient. When I did get rid of social media, I quit writing also. I felt there was no point because I didn’t have much of a following from my actual blog site. Looking back on it now, I can see what a blessing it was for me to do that. I call it my “sabbath year.” During that time, I read through the entire Bible. I devoured His Word. I couldn’t get enough of it. I wasn’t reading it for any other reason than to nourish my own soul.
Last year when we were quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I finally felt ready to write again. I got back on social media and started writing on my blog again, but this time with a much fresher perspective. My mission of The Anchored Mama has evolved to encouraging women to experience a personal relationship with Jesus. I want others to know Him and recognize His presence. I want others to be immersed in His Word so it takes root in their lives. More than anything, I want them to know that Jesus is with us in every season of life- the beautiful moments, the broken ones, and every moment in between.
Jessika: What can readers expect from your piece that will be featured on Pieces of Jessika©? Can you give us a teaser? Who is the piece to? What is it about?
Shandyn: The piece I wrote for the Pieces of Jessika© blog comes from a very personal place, yet I think many people can relate to it. I've struggled with certain relationships my entire life- I think it's just one of those things that's part of life. For me, the struggle of this relationship has been something that comes and goes in waves. It's forgiveness I think I've given, but then something happens, and the issues and struggles come back up. It’s like a wound that is finally scabbing over and then gets scratched off, opening the wound all over again. I wrote this piece for those who have ever struggled with relationships and how to respond to those struggles of our flesh wanting to take over instead of being guided by the Spirit. I know I am not alone in this. I know others must share the same struggle to respond with love and grace since that is how Jesus always responds to us.
Jessika: What is one thing you want readers to take away from your writings?
Shandyn: I hope that my readers feel a sense of authenticity and vulnerability when they read my words. I want them to feel hope and encouragement for anything they might be facing. I believe we all have a story, and I believe those stories matter. I share on my blog so that others don’t ever feel they are walking alone in the midst of whatever life may be throwing their way. I may not have been down their exact road or experienced their situation, but we have the same Father, and He loves me just as much as He loves them. What I want people to know is we have this hope as an anchor, and it's firm and secure.
Be sure to check back tomorrow to read Shandyn's exclusive piece for the Pieces of Jessika© readers. In the meantime, you can read more of Shandyn's pieces on The Anchored Mama Facebook page or by subscribing to her blog.