This series is intended to introduce you to the women on the Your Life Still Counts Contributor Team whose inspiring stories of pain into purpose were selected for inclusion in the book. To read the full story of each contributor, click here to purchase your copy of Your Life Still Counts and be inspired to allow God to turn your past into your purpose too.
Today I want to do something a little different with this series, and share with you the full ‘Her Story’ in Chapter Seven of the book. I think you need to read the full story to really understand the answers to Jane’s interview questions. My prayer is that this post will touch a lot of women’s hearts who have believed for far too long that God sees no value in them.
After reading this post, I’d love for you to share your thoughts on how this story speaks to you, and reminds you of your value in Christ, by leaving a comment here on my blog. (Click here if you are an email subscriber)
Meet Jane Smith
Jane Smith (name changed for privacy reasons) is a wife and mother living in a small town in North Carolina. God has given her a passion for women who believe they have no value and are willing to do anything or put up with anything to attain value in the eyes of others. She tells them that in God’s eyes they are truly valuable. She has spoken at a few small women’s events and led Bible studies. She looks forward to seeing how God is calling her into teaching and speaking to encourage women in the future.
My insatiable need for approval and attention led me down a self destructive path. Being unaware of my value in the eyes of God left me open to Satan’s deception that without a man, I was worthless. This belief led to a promiscuous lifestyle that started in high school.
Giving myself away to single and married men was my way of controlling someone in an attempt to feel accepted, and I often allowed drunkenness to be an excuse for my behavior. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia for two years, which developed because of the attention I was receiving while preparing for a beauty pageant. Although I had been raised in church, I was a walking time bomb. My purpose had become getting whatever I wanted, no matter who it hurt, including me. But Jesus had a different purpose for me.
One Sunday at church, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and rededicated my life to Him, and my heart immediately changed. During this time, I had married the abusive boyfriend I had been living with because I believed that nobody else would want me. But as my faith grew and I began to study and read the Bible, my actions began to change as well. God gave me the strength to divorce this abusive man and led me to understand that He would always take care of me, cover me, and love me, with or without a man.
Now I have a husband who loves God and me, and we have a son. God showed me that my purpose was not only to have a relationship with Him but also to help other women discover their valuable identity in Christ.
My Interview with Jane
Me: So, what made you want to contribute your story to Your Life Still Counts?
Jane: Anytime the Lord opens a doorway for me to share about my past in order to glorify Him and help others know they are not unforgivable, I try to take that step of faith and share what he has done for me.
Me: Walking through open doors is not always easy, but we are always blessed by obedience for sure. Has God opened any new doors for you to do ministry or touch other’s hearts since you stepped out in obedience to share your story in the book?
Jane: Well, the Lord has me incognito right now, I have a full time job, my husband is in school and working, I have a three year old, and much responsibility with all of that. So right now I am not involved with any type of ministry except supporting my family and being a greeter at church! With all I have going on with my family the Lord has just said to focus on that right now.
Me: I totally get that – all ministry is seasonal, and it is so important to recognize when God is calling us to make our family our first ministry for a certain season, even though we might wish we had more time to do more. Has God blessed you in any special way for your obedience in sharing your story but also for trying to walk in His will in your every day life?
Jane: For me personally, He has shown me that whether I am in front of others or have my story anonymously in a book he will use me for his glory! That is a great comfort to me.
Me: Do you have one example of how God has used your story recently to impact someone’s heart or life?
Jane: The only example I have now due to my anonymity, is how my story has impacted my husband. The fact that he was God’s choice for me and the responsibility he has given him in taking in a woman with a lot of baggage-I think he has thought about that a lot.
Me: I certainly respect your desire to remain anonymous, and the truth is God doesn’t always call us to spread our story to the world, but simply to allow it to shape our hearts so that we can in turn help other people come to know the power of Jesus. So what are your most passionate about right now? Are you working on anything new?
Jane: Supporting my husband, taking care of my son, and preparing myself for the women’s ministry I have ahead of me. I know down the road the Lord has many ministry opportunities for me to share my testimony. As far as what I’m working on – I’m trying to learn lessons that deal with love, mercy with boundaries, and walking by faith during this time in my life. So, actually, I’m working on me right now.
Me: I love that you stated that. How awesome when we recognize what we need to work on within our own hearts, so that God can prepare us for what He has in store. So what would you say you are most thankful for right now?
Jane: I am so thankful that the Lord is my Redeemer and that he rescued me from myself, and still does.
Me: Has God given you the courage to start something new that is outside of your comfort zone?
Jane: Right now I am out of my comfort zone daily, minute by minute now, dying to those residual habits that I exhibited in my past. He is allowing me to face my fears by the power of his spirit instead of through the old ways I used to handle things.
Me: What are you most excited about regarding how God has turned your past into your purpose?
Jane: I am excited and honored that God is not ashamed to call me his and anoint me to share the things I have done so that others can be free. I am thankful that Jesus defines me, not my past.
Me: Thank you so much for your honesty, and for helping us all remember that living in Christ and for Christ is a constant daily challenge as we work to change habits and thoughts and pursue to live a life that glorifies God. How might people pray for you at this time in your life?
Jane: I would covet their prayers for me, that I can support my husband in this difficult, transitional time in his life, and learn the lessons God has for me so that I can step into what He has next for me fully equipped with no fear.