SHAUNA LETELLIER is an author, writer, and Bible teacher. She weaves strands of history, theology, and fictional detail into a fresh retelling of familiar Bible stories. Drawing upon her bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, she drapes the fabric of fiction over the framework of Scripture to help worn-out people find permanent rest and relief in Christ.
Shauna is the author of three books and numerous articles. Her writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Day Spring’s (in)courage, The MOB Society, For Every Mom, Living By Design, and in MomSense, a publication of MOPS International. She teaches women’s Sunday school in the local church and speaks at women’s events.
With her husband Kurt, she has the wild and hilarious privilege of raising their three boys along the banks of the Missouri River where they fish, swim, and rush off to ballgames.
On a Personal Note…
Hi! I’m Shauna.
I help worn out Christians find permanent rest and relief in Jesus by retelling gospel stories that display Jesus’ kindness toward ordinary people–like you and me.
In my books and on my blog I weave strands of history, theology, and fictional detail into a fresh retelling of familiar Bible stories. I started writing them, because I needed them. Readers told me my stories made the Bible come to life for them, too.
I’m married to Kurt and we have been on the wild ride of raising our boys for nearly 20 years–we have the emergency room bills to prove it.
When I’m not in the bleachers or waiting in the ER, I’m either scrubbing grass stains out of baseball pants or begging those boys to smile for a picture. I have the same success rate with the grass stains and the smiles.
In 2012, shortly after a very ragged season of life, I had a “book idea.” After seven years of handwringing, research, and a mixture of sad and happy tears, that book idea morphed into three books.
Why a Non-Writer Wrote a Book
I’m a former foster parent. Expert second-guesser. Experienced over-analyzer. A recovering religious accountant who was trying to maintain my salvation by “earning my keep.”
I’m not sure how I arrived at such a place. No one laid it out for me like that. I certainly didn’t see it at the time, but I viewed my relationship with God as some divine checking account.
Sometime in junior high or high school I began to “take our relationship seriously.” Because I was supposed to, and truthfully, I wanted to.
So I subconsciously devised a strategy. I would make steady deposits into my account with God–read my Bible, pray, encourage a friend, serve–then, when I arbitrarily determined I had made enough deposits, I could make a withdrawal. Enough “funds” in my account with God meant I had earned the right to make a request.
And let me tell you, in those days it wasn’t anything too spiritual. I’d ask for His help on a test I hadn’t studied for. I’d ask Him to help me get to my violin lesson on time when I’d spent too much time socializing after school. I’d even asked Him to make some handsome boy like me.
So off I’d go to do those good things I mostly enjoyed. To make deposits. To earn the right to ask something of God. To prove to Him and the world, that I was indeed His follower. “They will know we are Christians by our love,” I reasoned. What better way to show love for God and others than by DOING lots of things.
To be honest, even it high school it didn’t feel like a drag, and I wanted to follow Christ in these ways. This is not to say I didn’t have serious lapses in judgement (ie. willful sin!)
If something went wrong for me—I did poorly on test, got in trouble at home—I figured I had overdrawn my account. Insufficient funds!
When I choose to sin–because sometimes sin looks super rewarding–I’d try to make it up to God by doing more good things. I considred them deposits to pay back my sin debt.
But somehow, those “deposits” became the goal. Rather than being the natural result of love for Jesus, they became a means to get what I wanted from Him.
Hadn’t I had earned those favors?
Wasn’t it God’s job to help me out with my agenda?
But I was no beggar! I wasn’t going to ask for help without offering something in return.
This wildly distorted strategy followed me into my marriage and then into motherhood. Only I found out that not everyone in the world was such a good religious accountant as I was. Some people, felt no obligation to earn God’s love or favor at all.
But rather than investigate why (and find the liberating truth!), I kept on honing my religious accounting skills.
It led to living life in a state of low-grade panic. I was thrashing around hard to earn answered prayer, to prove I was a good Christian, loving wife, fun mom, nurturing foster mom, engaging Sunday school teacher, healthy cook, organic eater, regular exerciser, frugal saver, thrifty spender…
But I was failing on every front.
I supposed my account was empty, and I didn’t have one shred of spiritual, emotional, or physical energy to fill it back up.
Finally, one ordinary Sunday afternoon I put my kids down for a nap, collapsed into my chair, and cried for two hours.
I was too tired to even formulate a prayer. There was not one single thing to pray that I hadn’t already prayed. I didn’t have any more clever suggestions for God. I was failing at all the most important things I had hoped to do so well–marriage, parenting, foster parenting, health, spiritual disciplines. Surrounded by evidence of my failures, I had nothing to point to as payment for His intervention.
I told myself crying wouldn’t help, but I couldn’t stop.
I had worn myself ragged trying to prove, earn, and deserve.
Drowning in guilt and regret over all I had not done and could not do, I was the beggar I’d tried so hard not to be. I uttered the only prayer I had left. “God…help.”
And He did.
Through His Word he showed me His love and grace cannot be earned by anything I do. As such, it cannot be lost by anything I don’t do.
His love and grace for me–and you!–is a gift. It’s undeserved. It can’t be earned. It can’t be repaid. It can only be received.
All my thrashing efforts to be, do, produce, and perform left me ragged enough to open my hands and receive grace, without trying to earn it.
And just as He’d promised, He gave me rest.
I found that His kindness led me to turn away from my restless proving, and earning. His light and easy burden freed me to simply thank Him. Love Him. Worship Him with great delight.
The funny thing is, His kindness and rest, and the work He’s already completed on my behalf, makes me want to get up and do something!
Or, in my case, sit down and write something.
It’s my prayer that whatever you read here will demonstrate the gift of God’s grace through Christ–His rest and relief for when your soul feels ragged.
If you could use some permanent rest and relief, download a free Bible story devotional here.