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News anchor and LU alumna Shannon Bream shares personal story of persevering through pain, lends career advice to students

During Friday morning’s Convocation, Shannon Bream (’93), anchor for “FOX News @ Night,” kicked off Liberty University’s Homecoming Weekend by telling her story of growing closer to Christ through pain and uncertainty.

“I want you guys to know I pray for you,” Bream said when she was welcomed to the stage. “I pray for this campus, I pray for every student, every teacher, administration worker, and staff member who works here because there is no other place like this in the world.”

“I am confident in the future of this country and in this world because of you,” she added.

Bream earned her undergraduate degree in business from Liberty and went on to earn a Juris Doctorate with honors from Florida State University College of Law. She has played an active role as a Liberty alumna. She regularly meets with students and alumni interning or working in Washington, D.C., and takes students on tours of the network’s studio. In May 2013, Bream made Liberty history as the university’s first female keynote Commencement speaker.

As Liberty celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, Bream took some time to reflect on her own time on campus as a student. She shared her appreciation and respect for Liberty’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, and noted how far the university has come in the last few decades.

“We literally had times where we would fast and pray for mortgage payments and for payroll to be made here at Liberty — and look at it now.”

Shannon Bream (Photo by KJ Jugar)

Despite the challenges that Falwell Sr. and Liberty encountered during the university’s earlier years, Bream said that she is still inspired today by Falwell’s faithfulness in keeping his eyes on Christ.

“He would say, ‘The minute we take our eyes off of God, glorifying Christ, and spreading the Gospel, burn it all down.’ That is what this school is about … You guys are sold out (for Christ), and it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Bream then shared her story of living with excruciating eye pain. For years, despite medication and visits with doctors, the pain persisted and no clear diagnosis was given.

“There were many nights where I ended up on the floor of my bathroom and I could not put together a prayer of any substance,” she said.

With nowhere else to turn, Bream said she would repeat, “Lord help me,” over and over.

“After months and months of this, I was spiraling into a darker and darker place,” she said. “I felt the walls closing in around me. I had no answers. I had nothing but chronic pain and a mystery.”

Bream said she was beginning to lose hope.

“No food tasted good, no jokes were funny, there was not a trip I looked forward to going on, there was no one I wanted to see,” she said. “I was just in a shell of depression.”

On Friday afternoon, Bream shared career advice with Liberty’s Helms School of Government and School of Law students. (Photo by Ellie Richardson)

Now, years removed from her most discouraging season of life, Bream pleaded with students to never isolate and to always remember that no matter the crisis, the Liberty family will be present for them.

“Don’t get to such a dark place that you feel like you can’t get out. That is where I felt I was at.”

After opening up to her husband, Sheldon (a former Flames Baseball player), about having suicidal thoughts, Bream said they prayed together for wisdom. Soon after, Bream visited a specialist in Washington, D.C., who told her that she was experiencing a rare eye issue that causes continual tearing of the cornea. Sadly, Bream was told that there was not a cure.

Although healing and relief from her physical pain was what she desired, Bream said that realizing in her spirit that the Creator of the world was with her and was holding her was all she truly needed.

“It was enough,” she said. “It was enough for me to keep going and to believe that in our darkest pain, in our worst moments, He is always there.”

Although there is still no cure, Bream underwent surgery almost four years ago that has miraculously relieved most of her discomfort.

Bream said that the Lord ultimately blessed her in the trial because through her pain she has grown closer to Him than she ever has before.

No matter what the future holds, Bream told Liberty’s student body that God loves them and will bring them closer to Himself if they continue to chase the narrow way that the Bible commands us to pursue.

“I can tell you that God will be there with you,” she said. “He will show up with you.”

“All I needed to know was what all of you need to know,” she added. “Keep your eyes on God, glorify Christ, and get out there and share the Gospel … God bless you and God bless Liberty.”

On Friday afternoon, Bream visited with students from the School of Law and Helms School of Government in Liberty Law’s Supreme Courtroom to share stories of her career journey and answer students’ questions. She reminded the future professionals that work is not the most important aspect of their existence.

“Your job cannot be your life,” she said. “I fight that every day, because it can be all-consuming. In whatever you do, you cannot find your worth there. It is just never going to love you back.”

Bream said that her best days on the job are the ones where she begins with time alone, reading Scripture, praying, and journaling.

“(Your job) can be a platform and a place the Lord has you in for a season, and I am thankful for where I am now, but I have to remember that He’s got a grander plan,” she said.

Bream joined the FOX network in 2007 as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent covering the Supreme Court. In addition to her role as anchor, Bream is a chief legal correspondent for the network and host of “Livin’ the Bream,” a podcast on FOX News Radio (FNR), where she shares inspirational stories, personal anecdotes, and an insider’s perspective on actions and rulings from the high court.

Bream reported live from Capitol Hill on the 2015 Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. She covered the 2013 Supreme Court ruling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2012. She also provided extensive live coverage of the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.