What was the hardest part?
My breath caught as I remembered...
Being hated by the other kids in my high school, kids who saw the hardened, angry me but not the one scrambling to survive.
Wondering where I’d sleep each night, what I’d eat. If I’d eat.
But the hardest? Feeling completely and utterly alone. That was an ache so deep, I’m not sure I can describe it. The pain could be felt physically. That pain overshadowed every other fear, sadness, or uncertainty.
That was a hurt that only Christ could heal, when He opened His arms to a wounded, isolated, lonely teenager and welcomed her in. Let her know she belonged. For all eternity.
That’s a great feeling—to know-know-know you’re loved.
And I do. So why the tears that night, almost two decades and four books later? Why, as I shared my story with the ministry leader, did I feel so broken?
I’m not entirely sure, but I have an idea. I’d begun to forget. I’d begun to forget how painful it can be to go through life alone. I’d forgotten how deep my need for healing had been, and because of this, I’d lost sight of the incredible beauty of all God had done.
He wanted to remind me, because He was about to give me an assignment, a very precious assignment, one that feels weightier than speaking to a thousand churches.
In May I’ll be speaking to people who are, right now, where I’ve been. People who are so broken, their heart literally aches. People who desperately need to know there’s hope, and that they’re loved. That they belong—to Christ. But God doesn’t want just anyone to tell them this. In His infinite mercy, He chose to send someone who gets it. Because I’ve been there.
And, through Christ, I found the way out.
What about you? When has God allowed you to experience emotional pain in order for you to gain a deeper understanding or level of compassion for someone else? What was the result? How has your pain enabled you to better share the love of Christ? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.
|Jennifer and her friend Mikal Hermanns|
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Jennifer loves to connect with readers.
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Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.
Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?
Read a free, 33-page excerpt here
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