To sit down and have coffee with Shanda Piggott is like a breath of fresh air. Her genuine love of God and people are evident in everything she does. Her smile makes you want to know what she is thinking. I found out what is behind the smile, it’s her love of God. Raised in Williamsburg, VA she didn’t have a typical church upbringing, in fact she only went to church when her grandmother took her. A grandmother she now cares for on her days off from Camp Peary, where she is a police officer. Those Sunday’s were the only seeds God needed to plant to grow the warrior for Him she has become.
Shanda was 11 when she accepted Jesus into her life and was baptized. In her words, she “knew what that meant but didn’t understand it.” Her true knowledge of the Lord started later in life. Her belief in God was solid, but she didn’t follow His leading until after college. Her journey led her to working at a juvenile detention center where she found a Bible.
King David is her favorite hero. He was the one that would draw her back to the stories of him found within the pages of the historic text. Those stories led to a simple prayer, “God love me like you loved King David.” God answered. First, she noticed her friendships changing, growing more distant. She felt God telling her He would develop “new friendships” for her. The relationship she was in fell apart. Approximately six months after praying that prayer, she was introduced to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Her journey was just beginning.
Shanda’s spiritual mentor, the pastor’s wife of her church is who invited her to BSF, an international women’s comprehensive Bible study. They were studying Genesis that first study 8 years ago, God confirmed, this was her new beginning. Another 6 months goes by, she is asked to lead in the children’s ministry. She accepts God’s call and serves faithfully for the next five years, the picture above is from this time period. Just at the point when she is thinking of taking a break from ministry, this single mom of 2 incredible boys, gets another call. This time she is asked to consider being a Substitute Teaching Leader to the 400 women who attend the Wednesday morning Sunday. She once again accepts God’s call on her life, and steps into her new role. A role she continues to hold after 2 years. The role in which I met her. My first day at BSF she was the speaker, her talk was on Acts. Her passion was evident as she taught us the lessons learned in the early church.
Her leadership impacts others as well, part of her role as STL is helping grow other leaders. Her passion for what she does was evidenced when I asked my group leader about Shanda. Marybeth Antcliff told me she is “amazed at how effortless she makes it look. She’s a natural, but also very prepared and very professional. She is a great listener and is good at making the people around her feel important.” When I asked Bebe Dove, Teaching Leader of BSF for one word to describe Shanda, without hesitation she said, “Authentic.” Caroline Mellen, a BSF member, enjoys Shanda’s speaking. In her words, Shanda is “Confident. She speaks not through her notes, she speaks with her heart.”
Our time together was short, but our conversation was rich. Her love of the Lord, her passion for following Him are contagious. One can’t help but feel His presence when you sit with Shanda for a few minutes. She sees Him in all of life’s events. She watches closely for signs of His works in her life. She understands, He’s in the small things as well as the big things. She devotes her two days off a week to BSF and her role as leader. When I asked her for an interview, she willingly agreed, even though she had no idea who I was. She has a heart for the Lord that is rare to find. The Lord is continuing to love her like He loved King David, the evidence is in her life.