A story by Jared Wilkins
Sunday, August 7, 2005, is a day that forever changed my life. That hot North Carolina summer afternoon, I met Shauna Renee’ outside the West entrance at my father’s church. She was (and still is) captivating! There was a presence about her that was strong, yet gentle, that caused me, for a moment, to be at a loss for words. After normal pleasantries and some awkward moments (because of me) I finally stumbled over the phrase “I hear you are in school, what are you studying?” She responded, “Forensic Science with a concentration in Crime Scene Investigation. I am going to be a CSI.” I responded, “WOW!”
Fast forward 13 years, and every day Shauna continues to “WOW” me. From navigating crime scenes, investigating deaths, teaching at conferences, and testifying before juries, what Shauna has done to wow me the most….is being a mother. Not just being a mother, but being a CSI mom. Shauna became a mother 8 years ago, and as I reflect over these last 8 years, these are 3 things I have learned:
Shauna embodies courage. Courage to continue to transform every messy situation into learnings of love. Whether it’s when Naomi has blowout, playing referee when Makena and Declan are in a disagreement, or Zoe throwing a temper tantrum, Shauna can miraculously mold these moments into love. I remember the day we came home with Makena, our firstborn, and we didn’t know what we’re doing. With unflinching courage, her presence stabilized the chaos.
Through motherhood, Shauna taught me how to live sacrificially. Everything from giving of herself through losing sleep or when our big bright eyed boy asks “Mommy can you lay with me?” And of course she does. One of the biggest sacrifices Shauna made was her career as a CSI/death investigator. I’ll never forget the moment we found out we were pregnant with Zoe and she wrestled with the idea of walking away from forensics. For years, this is the work she felt called to do— went to school for it, spending hours studying and years practicing—and the fact that she considering walking away was hard. But I will never forget what Shauna said, “I’m willing to sacrifice the life I have to experience the life I want to create!” You taught me that sacrifice is not losing what you have, but giving space to create something new!
You are an inspiration! When I see Makena and Zoe mimic you in positive ways, I know it’s because they have an innate desire to model your life. You inspire our daughters to be strong women, who will have their own voices and make meaningful contributions to society, just like you have. You inspire our son Declan to treat women with respect and honor because that is the lifestyle you modeled to him. Your life inspires our children to leave a positive mark on this earth. Your courage and sacrifice inspire me!
Shauna, as I reflect on the last 12 years of dating, 10 years of marriage, and 8 years of motherhood, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to watch you and teach me through your life. You have Led Courageously, Loved Sacrificially and Lived Inspirationally. The world is better because of your presence and I am a better husband and father because of your actions. Even though you don’t practice Crime Scene Investigation right now, you are and will always be a C.S.I. Mom.
Celebrate Mom at Willow Creek this weekend, May 12/13! Learn more here.