Hello my name is Shanell Henry and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to share my testimony. I received Jesus as Lord and savior at the age of 13 years old. I remember it being so real. As I aged and got older I began to stray away from the things of God. Then I began to just love God with lip service. My husband and I have been married now for more than 15 years. He and I were pretty much just “playing” church. We would go to church as if we were paying God a favor, just here and there.
Running Things My Way
I would get high, drink be in the clubs. I had lots of pride and would gossip about people. Just lording my own life really and not allowing the Lord to lead me in my life. As a rapper I did secular, non-Christian rap. That was one of the main excuses I would use for not really wanting to surrender my life to the Lord. In about 2002 I released an album and I had a major release party in the city. I had a lot of people come out and support me. Again that was one of my excuses, if I became a Christian I wouldn’t be able to promote my music in the clubs and do my music. My album cover was very promiscuous looking and it truly wasn’t even me. I was actually embarrassed for people to see that album cover. I released that album and after it was almost like God was telling me “now what?” I felt a struggle starting, I couldn’t even write raps anymore. I would struggle to write a song and in the studio. It was almost like God has zapped the gift from me. I would have to roll up to the studio high just to get that song out just to record a song. The Lord was continuing to tug at me to surrender. It was really personal for me. No one else was telling me I needed to get my life right. It was truly divine. God was really dealing with me. I started having panic attacks. I would wake up in the middle of the night with shortness of breath. I had no peace. Later I found out that the Bible says, “There is no peace for the wicked.” There was a void I tried to fill with marijuana, drinking, clubbing, pride, greed, envy and joyously.
Fear of Death & My Breaking Point
I remember now Aaliyah the singer I admired her as an artist and I will never forget how I felt when she died in a tragic plane crash. Then God really began dealing with me through that tragedy. It really hit close to home I kept thinking about it and I always had a fear of death. Whenever someone else died I really feared that it could be me next. Finally I just sat down and out of the blue I felt this nudge for me to go to a Bible store and get my own Bible. It was so strange because I felt like something was going to happen when I went into this Bible store. When I went in and I found a Bible I wanted to buy I went to the music section to find a CD. There I saw my neighbor at the listening station and she was weeping with the headphones on! So she handed me the headphones and said you have got to hear this. I started playing the song and the words were teach me to be more like you. This was something I had been praying to God as he was dealing with me. I was moved and started weeping too! We were both just standing there weeping in the music store. I remember driving home and It was raining really hard I was still weeping and the music was playing and it felt like the sun came out in and I felt a break in me, a real change. I walked into our house that night and fell into my husband’s arms and said, “I’m tired of running from God.” We both went back to church. I’ll never forget the altar call came and we both looked at each other and said, “Let’s do it.” So we went down and both rededicated our lives to the Lord. I remember not telling anyone for about a month. It was almost like I didn’t want to share this with anyone else because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to be accountable to what I had committed to. A friend of mine invited me to church and I go into the church and sit down and then found out it was a testimony service. So I sat through some testimonies and my heart began to pound, heavier and heavier and harder and harder. It was like I had to share, so I got up and shared that a month ago I rededicated my life to the Lord. All of the sudden I started giving God glory and praise for how things were changing on the inside of me. The strongholds I was holding on to were falling off of me. I will never forget that service it was really a moment of freedom and liberty for me. I left that church service and I saw someone on the road I knew and I rolled down my window and yelled, “I’m saved! I gave my life to the Lord!” From that moment on I just began to confess and tell people what I had done. All those excuses I would use for not coming to the Lord, like my love for the club, drinking and getting high and as I looked back at those things God showed me I would no longer want to do them anymore. He actually took the taste out of my mouth, to even desire to get high or be in the club. A lot of people started saying I should do gospel rap and I said, “I don’t even know enough about the gospel!” I stopped writing and put the music down. I didn’t care about any of that anymore I just wanted to grow and learn more about the things of God. Also to learn what my purpose was. So as I pressed into God, the word says, “If you draw near to me I will draw near to you.” And that’s exactly what happened. I drew near to him for real and He drew near to me. God divinely delivered me from a lifestyle of serving self.
Since Then, Things Changed
Since then I’ve been writing music, recording and traveling doing Christian rap. No longer exalting me like I did as a secular rapper but exalting Him. So I use music as a tool to send His message forth to people who may not know Him.
So if you are out there today and are maybe wondering, “What does it even mean to be saved?” Do I have to stop doing this or that? Do I need to talk this way? Look this way? To be saved is to be saved from a life of damnation. If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, you need to confess it with your mouth and if you believe it in your heart then you’re saved. Everything else, sin will fall off. Allow the Lord to walk you through that. Trust and know He will do it. If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Don’t look at other people or your circumstances and let nothing come between you and God. Press in and learn to have relationship with Him. Just like I’m sitting here talking to you, talk to Him he’s real. Love Him. He desires for you to love Him. He loves you no matter what state you’re in He loves you. There’s nothing you can do, no wrong that you can do that will stop God from loving you. Thank you. God bless.
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14