Jennifer is a speaker, writer, blogger, and youth pastor. She is also co-host with Holley and I on the More Than Small Talk broadcast.
Today Jennifer shares the one thing she wasn’t sure she could move past, and what she discovered in the midst of it.
I was in a stretching place.
It was over a decade ago, and I was certain I couldn’t handle one more loss.
All those things that I really wanted in my life seemed to slip so quickly out of my reach. At that time my life I kept a journal and was faithful writing down all my junk feelings.
The sound of my pen on paper that night sounded like a thousand whys asking all the wrong questions. I remember a moment of being still and knowing that God was with me. The rhythmic sound of my hand brushing across the page ceased as I wondered if I was sinning for being angry.
Just moments before I was in the Emergency Room looking at an ultrasound of an empty womb, no life inside of me.
Two days before that I was elated because I was pregnant, but as we traveled to my parent’s house to celebrate Christmas something didn’t feel right. Not long after we arrived I began to hemorrhage, I rushed into the bathroom and gasped when I saw my reflection. I caught a glimpse of fear and death in darkened, swollen eyes. I knew I had lost the baby that I longed for.
I chronicled the next three years my ups and downs; another miscarriage, another diagnosis, surgery, and then treatment that made me feel like Hades was one mile from my house because of the hot flashes from medically induced menopause. I craved carbs, cried a lot, my bones hurt, and not to be overly dramatic or anything but . . . I felt like I was dying.
I went deeper than I had ever gone in my quest to find God in my loss.God is there in your loss. He's able to turn on the light in your heart. http://wp.me/p4jbdw-45s Click To Tweet
Later I realized that God was big enough to handle all of my uncertainty. Feeling much like I only deserved anger in return, all I felt was lavish grace — the kind that covers all the cracked places inside of jagged hearts from a million questions that began with why.
I dove headfirst into a layer of darkness and sadness for a period of time fighting to feel joy again and then the fog lifted.
Slowly the light turned on inside of my heart.
I started seeking God instead of just seeking healing.
I took off that mask we wear as women, that one that says, “I’m fine” when we really aren’t. I found true depth in Christ during those broken moments and realized that all the things that broke my heart were the very things that God would use the most for his glory.
And he has, far beyond my wildest dreams.
It turns out that losing things really built the very best things in my character and in the way I seek after God with every fiber of who I am.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)
Those tattered memories that I wished had never happened became a really great place to start in ministry. All of that baggage became a platform. I stopped dragging dead weight from the past and started taking steady strides towards real healing.
But, I don’t think the goal is to be unbroken anymore like I once thought.
The goal is to be broken in all the right moments where we become less and God becomes the more we all long for.Beautiful things can come from broken places. #livingfreetogether Click To Tweet
Beautiful things can come from your mess, I’m proof of this. Keep going deeper. Angry journal (allowing your emotions and hurt to spill onto paper), cry, whatever it takes as long you run to God instead of away from him.
You can trust him with all of your heart.
Much love to you,
Jennifer knew that she would be in full-time ministry at the age of eleven, and today she describes herself as an out-of-the-box minister’s wife. She’s learned how to unpack emotional baggage in the spotlight of leadership. Years ago she decided to stop hiding brokenness, and decided to be brave and see what God wanted to do with it.
Jennifer is one of the most honest bloggers I know, and I love her like crazy.
Day #5 of Moving Past What You Cannot Change
When you struggle with loss of any kind, you may have a 1000 whys and that’s understandable. Today my prayer is that we’ll transition from the “Why’s” to “Where is my God in this?”
It’s a gentle directional turn. It’s pretty powerful.
Q: Jennifer said, “I started seeking God instead of just seeking healing?” Why is this key?
Q: Read Romans 5:2-5.
- We often think our miracle is a specific answered prayer, but what other miracles did Jennifer discover?
In my book, The Mended Heart, I share a story of a cute little guy in yellow floaties who desperately wanted to swim, but was afraid.
- Read pages 23-28. (⇐ I’ve downloaded the chapter for you to make this free and easy.)
Q: You do not have to do this alone, sweet friend. How does that knowledge move you toward God, rather than away?