Being Visionary << Interview with Shannon Ashley Fitzgerald >>

♡Will you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?  What are your favorite pass-times?

::Well, a bit about little ole me: My name is Shannon Ashley Fitzgerald, and I'm a 19 year old southern girl living on the beautiful East coast of the Sunshine state. I'm a daughter to two amazing parents, a sister to the most charming little brother, and a lover of life, laughter, and the Lord Jesus my Savior. I'm a lifestyle and wedding photographer, writer, adventure seeker, five feet tall and blue eyed girl who delights in the simple things of life, like barefoot strolls along the ocean shore or quiet fireside chats with friends. I'm a friend of large books, hot coffee, and living passionately for Christ with my whole heart. I'm a home-school graduate and am currently taking college classes in Biblical studies, growing ever more in love with my Savior. So there's a tidbit about me!

♡Can you tell us about your family?  Growing up, what were your family's convictions?  Have they changed?  If so, in what ways?  What are your family's dress standards?

::My family... oh boy. :) My family is a huge blessing in my life, and I would not be who I am without them. My sweet parents have striven to lead me in the fear of the Lord, raising me up with His Word as the standard for my life, continually instilling in me His truth and commands. I've grown up hearing, seeing, and holding fast to the Word of God, and praise Him for putting my sweet Mom and Dad as the shepherds of my heart. And then I have my amazing, 14 year old brother, who adds so much joy to my life. He understands me more than words can express, laughs with me, talks about anything and everything with me, and keeps the young at heart within my soul. We love spending time together, and on top of all the joy and laughter he adds to my life, He's also my counselor and encourager. He's pretty much my best friend. My family's convictions have been founded upon and grow in 1 Corinthians 10:31, which declares that "so whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." We feel that what we watch, what we do, what we wear, and how we act all must be to the glory of God, so that the world knows to Whom we truly belong. Our convictions have pretty much stayed the same throughout the years, varying here and there with whatever seasons the Lord fills our life with. Our family's dress standards involve modesty in all areas, put balancing it with grace and mercy, not judging others who may not share those same convictions, but living the love of Christ in all areas. For me, I love to dress with femininity and grace, and am most times found in a dress or skirt. And yet I can be found in jeans or shorts, but wearing them in a modesty, and still feminine, style. I want the world to see me not as they appear, but as set apart, and dressed in strength and dignity. And style. Just my version of it :)

♡How have YOUR standards changed as an individual as you have matured in your faith and gotten older?

::My standards have changed and matured in the sense that I am less judgmental... I'll be honest. Growing up through middle and high school, if someone didn't share my convictions, I believed they were in the wrong. I was passionate for the Lord, yes, but not with mercy and grace for those who may not have the same mindset as myself. I built up walls and didn't bother with anything that took me out of my comfort zone, even if it was pure and holy. The Lord has done soooo much in my life throughout the years. He's taught me to show mercy and grace to others, even if we don't quite agree on dress, convictions, or doctrine. He's shown me how to love unconditionally and how to forgive when I would rather hold a grudge. And He's taught me how to balance things, such as dressing modestly and yet without making it an idol in itself. I've learned to see what purpose lies behind things, and to align them to the Word of God... and am ever still learning and growing!

♡As a stay-at-home-visionary-daughter, how do you serve your family?

::I earnestly desire to be a corner pillar in my home... to be a visionary daughter who supports her family and grows in the Lord alongside of them. I want to be a wife, homemaker, and mother, and until the Lord brings that in *His* timing, I'm going to live contentedly under my father's authority. I serve my family in numerous ways: from making meals, helping to maintain our home, to running errands or just offering a listening heart. We grow, learn, and embrace life together. Sometimes its spending the afternoon painting the house with my brother, and at others, its watching the sunset and listening to the thoughts on my Dad's heart. I love that the Lord has given me my family to walk this narrow path alongside of.

♡Since you don't work, what are some ways you bring in some extra money for yourself?

::Now, at this season of my life, I felt the Lord leading me to start investing in working somewhere. I've spent time with home businesses, such as selling soaps, breads, and other small endeavors. But I knew the Lord was calling me to more. I love the idea of being able to work for my father, under his guidance and business, but the type of job he has wouldn't allow such a position. So, in the Lord timing, He opened up an exciting door, and one that I treasure daily. I am blessed to work with my church family, receiving guests and helping in our church office as their receptionist. I love it... the time spent with my pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ, and relish in the thought that I have a job that is founded in the Lord! I want to be a diligent worker, such as illustrated by the Proverbs 31 woman, working with "willing hands" {Prov. 31:13} and providing and saving for the future. It helps to bring in an income and yet allows me to fulfill my duties as a daughter at home at the same time!

♡What are your views of dating and courtship?

::My views of dating and courtship.... this could get long. :) I'll try to keep it brief, if that's possible! My convictions, alongside my family's convictions, are that when the Lord brings a time when two Spiritually mature people feel like they are ready to begin a closer friendship, after much prayer and counsel over the matter, in order to see if it is the Lord will for them to join together in marriage, they will do so through a season of "courtship". In my standards, this is a time of growing together in friendship and in the Lord, delighting in His Word and the gift of life together. After a season of courting, {which is different from dating in that it has a purpose and and desire for commitment through marriage, and is not a "date/break up, pick and choose" game with other's hearts} if the Lord leads them to commit themselves to loving each other for the rest of their days... well, time for some wedding planning. :) I feel like courting {which has so many different "definitions", according to who is doing it and what their standards are} is the most pure and holy way to guard one's heart while growing in a relationship with another brother or sister in the Lord, and is a conviction that I shall carry throughout the years. It is what the Lord has lead me and my house to hold fast to, and is what we feel to be the most Biblical means of finding a spouse. 

♡What are some words of encouragement/advice/wisdom that you can give to the young ladies that are reading this?

::Words of encouragement.... I guess I would love to encourage you sweet young ladies to continue to trust in the Lord with all your heart. I know we hear the beautiful phrase often, but when we really surrender all to Him, all our hopes, fears, dreams, desires, convictions, and love, we will find that the greatest joy and peace will overflow in our hearts. Trust in the beautiful plan which the Lord has created for you... know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, loved with an infinite, unfading love, that no one can change or take away. And continue to anchor your self in the cleft of His Word, growing in His truth and falling in love ever more for the Savior. You are precious, priceless, and ever so loved by your Heavenly Father... trust Him, dear hearts. Enjoy the life He has gifted you with, and shine His love for all to see. Let others see Jesus as your deepest desire 

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