From Setbacks to Strength ~ How God Corrected My Sight

warrior women series Mar 21, 2024
Black woman praying

God's Warrior Woman ~ Shaniece's Story 

I've always felt the presence of God, but it wasn't until I experienced His intervention countless times that I truly understood His purpose in my life. It was in these moments when I learned in my soul that He wasn’t granting me grace, He was wielding his purpose for me and everyone I encountered.

My story began with failure, but it was in those moments of defeat that I realized I was destined for greatness. I always hated the discouragement of others, I refused to accept mediocrity. Instead, I leaned on God for guidance and found strength in my weaknesses.

In God’s perfect timing my four major failures have pushed me into the training grounds of understanding my purpose and the steps I need to take to move from one glory to the next.

My earliest significant setback occurred at the age of nine when I failed the third grade. My Mother, grappling with her own challenges including an unhealthy marriage and a son with mental illness, struggled to provide the support I needed. Despite her efforts, I found myself unable to meet the expectations of my teacher, who deemed me unfit for her class.

Confused and disheartened by my mother's frustration, I realized that relying solely on my own abilities was futile.

It was then that I understood the necessity of seeking guidance from God and redirecting my focus towards success, knowing that everyone around me was battling their own struggles.

When you seek God's guidance and redirect your focus, you can expect success despite the struggles.

Making sure I never make that same mistake again led to my second failure graduating high school only as Cum Laude (students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher) still wasn’t good enough to receive full scholarships for colleges out of town. After failing third grade I became an IEP student (Individual Education Plan) in public school. This simply means your highest goal is graduating high school on time, with little to no expectations of succeeding outside of vocational professions. Let me clarify, there's nothing inherently bad about vocational jobs.

However, when you sense deep within that God is calling you to something greater, beyond mere childhood dreams of wealth and success, it's a different story. 

This is where many of us stumble – attempting to navigate life solely by our own will, oblivious to God's guidance and provision for us.

I joined the Army a month after graduation with a full scholarship in conjunction with military benefits as well, in hand in the year of 2009. This is how my third failure came to be with the silly dream of having everything I want all at the same time. This is when God simply laughs at his children. I believed God wanted me to have a successful relationship, multiple degrees, promotions, and to become a highly decorated Soldier in the U.S. Army. I’ve succeeded in most of these goals but struggled with the rest of my goals.

The “rest” exploded in my hands leaving me a little more broken with each step. Trying to create the life I desired for myself distorted my sight greatly.

I was always praying and studying the word of God, to the best of my ability, but still it seemed like life was getting harder and harder the more God would reveal Himself to me. The deeper my understanding of the Bible became the more trouble I was facing.

At twenty-seven years old, my fourth failure came to pass, and I ended up at God’s feet pleading with Him.

I found myself confronted with allegations of sexual assault from a junior Soldier, supported by five of his peers who claimed they had seen the incident. Frankly, I understood why this all-male unit was hostile toward me; I maintained strict discipline and had 95% of my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training committed to memory. At this stage of my career, I was understood their motives.

After eight years of service, I had reached the rank of E-6 in just seven years. I felt I was excelling and had a clear idea with God about what the next level in life would be. When this complaint arose, I believed it was so outrageous that nobody would take it seriously. Until then, I had always managed to resolve any situation I faced. However, it seemed that God had different plans. I was demoted and felt embarrassed in front of my Soldiers. Nobody believed that I was the one experiencing sexual harassment and disrespect, rather than the other way around.

On top of this chaos I had a broken ankle, failed two physical fitness tests (adding another cause for separation), an unpacked home, a failed personal relationship and started to gain weight excessively.

Everything was out of my control. I could not believe God would allow me to go through this suffering despite my efforts to be a good person.  I strived to excel in every role I was given, yet I still found myself condemned, as though I had lived apart from God.

Meanwhile, all I could do was study His word and focus on healing the parts of myself that I had control and wait.

I thought I was supposed to have His favor more than others. I came to Christ when I was four years old. There were evil people all around me and they laughed at God’s name, but they were still standing.

 I prayed and fasted like never before, for days and months because I wanted God to take the pain away and restore me.

A year later, I found myself in trouble once more, this time for larceny, specifically “Stealing Gas,” an act that isn' possible on a German Military base.   Despite the severity of the offense, my unit decided to press charges against me, aiming to highlight a pattern of misconduct.  The new Commander had made it abundantly clear to me that his job was more important than mine.   However, on the day of my conviction, my Captain, visibly shaken, began to tremble, he apologized to me. He admitted he had been misinformed about the correct procedures for payment of gas.

As this commander wept, I heard a loud but quiet voice say to me,

I inflicted you because I knew you could handle the attack.”  "Your troubles are not about you they are mine to strengthen those around you.

"This man will go on to lead hundreds of Soldiers; he will remember this moment and lead better because of it." In that instant, I realized my insignificance in the grand scheme of things, yet I understood the profound impact I could have on the world. My ego was shattered, my body was tired, and my Soul wept.

Since 2019, my perspective on the world has shifted dramatically. The confines of the U.S. Army began to feel limiting as I started to perceive and empathize with people in new ways.

Three years later, upon leaving the Army, I started my journey to help others correct their SIGHT for God's plan for their lives as well.


Make sure you check back next week for another Warrior Woman!

You Are An Overcomer!

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The Warrior Women Series will offer motivation and inspiration through heartfelt stories, illustrating that you can overcome challenges through the powerful combination of prayer and fasting.

Shaniece Marie Stokes is an an Abundant Life Coach that empowers and equips women to correct their Sight with Christ by aligning their mind, bodies, and Souls with God’s will for their life.

She resides in Tampa Bay, Florida and served in the United States Army for eleven years where she trained Soldiers in Logistical support. She has lived in three different countries where I became well diverse in ability to lead and succeed in life through many challenges.

Shaniece is currently pursuing a Psychology degree with a desire to achieve her doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Her goal is to have a private  practice where I can provide therapy, life coaching, and ministry services in her local community.

You can connect with Shaniece on her website, Facebook, and YouTube

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