You Matter! A Story of Redemption. October 28, 2015

I have been staring at a blank screen, praying on where to begin. If I really wanted to begin from the beginning, this would be a book not a blog post and I would need to hide out from little voices calling “mom” where there was no Disney Jr., in the back ground. But this is not a book it is a blog post and I will start at 14.

When I was 14 I had already picked up on smoking and drinking. I was already acting a fool and going against that still small voice, in my heart, telling me to stop. Jesus was mourning and begging to get my attention but I did not want to listen. His voice was too small and my desire to fit in was too big.

Rewind to age 9, I went forward at a Harvest Crusade in Anaheim one hot summer night and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I needed the healing from the wounds that were already so deep. I needed Him to restore the innocence that had already been taken away. I needed Him to show me what real love was, that it was not associated with abandonment.

It is not just that we invite Jesus in to our hearts and that’s that. We need to pour ourselves into a relationship with Him that grows and flourishes, like with any relationship. At 9 years old, I didn’t know how to do that and I did not have anyone to take my hand and show me.

So back to 14… Satan had found himself an easy target to destroy. I just wanted to be loved and restored. For a short amount a time, while getting high and drunk, I had that connection I desperately sought, with others, getting wasted. We laughed, got stupid, and did things we ultimately would regret. But for a short moment we were bonded and all felt the fulfillment we were seeking.

Emptier and emptier and emptier I was becoming. My self worth and value had diminished and I was wondering why on earth I was on this earth. There was one person that I trusted, one person whom I felt safe with. That one person would end up raping me and laughing at the fact that I ever trusted him. He would end up exploiting what he did and turning it around on me and making me think I did something wrong. I would end up getting pulled out of school and placed out of state where I would be even more alone.

Eventually I would attempt to take my life because I had absolutely no control and could not handle the lies in my head, the ache in my heart, and the fact that I was totally trapped in a body of a girl I did not know.

The attempt failed. And what is totally crazy, no one seemed to notice or care. I continued to be invisible. No one may have noticed, but God made me notice. He made it clear that He was there and He had a plan and a purpose. That summer He gave me Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For a few years I found a safe haven in Christ and began to be restored. But I had a target on my back. See Satan knew that God had this epic plan for me. I didn’t know, but he knew. And he was going to do whatever it took to take me out.

Drugs, betrayal, loneliness, repeat. By 18 the circle was in full effect and I found myself in the same place, wanting to end it all.

As I sit in my living room at 6 months shy of 30, I can’t help but let the tears stream down my face. River and Arizona are arguing over a toy and Tatum is upstairs resting because she’s been sick this past weekend.

I am a wife. I am a mom to three beautiful children. I am the hands to a print shop ministry that is reaching hearts around the World for Jesus. I am the conviction and love in my sisters ear as she still struggles and is in bondage to the enemy. My knees are bruised from praying. My hands have one purpose and that’s to serve.

Satan failed with me, but that’s not always the case. Too many lives are cut short to suicide. As a body of Christ, we should be doing more for the hurting and lost, because we are ALL hurting and lost without Jesus. We are all Peter on the water, take your eyes off Him for a second and you will sink and drown.

Will you join me in praying for “His eyes” to see the world as He does, and to have His discernment for the hurting. Will you join me in praying for the hurting hearts, that they will be freed and healed in Jesus name?

We are all mighty warriors. The Lord is with us all (Judges 6:12). The story of Gideon has been something I have clung to this past year as the Lord continues to mold and shape me. It is not His will or desire that any of us should perish but that we would all have eternal life (John 3:16). Can we stand in the gap for those perishing?

I am so grateful for twin mama and creator of YOU MATTER LLC, Shannon. She so graciously reached out to me in a time when my heart was hurting and my eyes were off the prize. Though she did not know it, she was the voice from Jesus that reminded me how far He has brought me. I have a story of Grace to share and need to continue to share it.

I am also so grateful for Hope, mama and creator of Signs of Hope. She also reached out and befriended me during this same time when my heart was so heavy and I was so broken. Her obedience to the call of the Lord is so humbling to me. Her sign will hang my wall as a constant reminder that THE LORD IS WITH ME and that I AM A MIGHTY WARRIOR for Him.

These two women, my sisters in Christ, strangers on the street, revealed and encouraged me in the more fierce ways. Be encouraged by them, as I have been. Follow their example and go forward, encouraging someone today, tomorrow, every day. Be the light of Jesus in this epically dark world. 

I pray this post reminds you that God has such an epic plan that you can’t even begin to imagine. Diligently seek His face and His will, live out your story of grace, and lift up others through prayer and kindness. Allow God to go before you and nothing coming at you will stand a chance.

 

A beautiful piece from Signs of Hope.

 

In His grace,

 

Jena

Aunt B 01/14 at 03:38 AM

Tears stream in Ohio as well. As Shannon’s Aunt, I am thankful for her understanding & encouragement to all that cross her path & YOU. You all gave me yet another program for my ladies’ Chapel group next week as I wear my You Matter shirt. Thanks for the reminder of The Golden Rule. Aunt B

Eileen 10/29 at 01:10 PM
I’m in tears reading ur blog. It Definitely touches my heart and reminds me that without Him there is no hope. With having someone who was so close to me who has taken there life, it’s just that much of a reminder we must grow near to Him and find our hope in Him♡ With God all things are possible. You are just that example to so many that He can bring you out of any situation big or small. He is so Faithful! Thanks for sharing ur heart♡

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