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Hi, my name is Jana and I'm here to tell you about my journey. Growing up in my
home was a joy. My dad worked a lot, but always found time for us on the
weekends. He was always willing to make ice cream or go fishing or play ball.
We always went to church on Sunday and mom and dad gave us the love we
needed. Now, this isn't to say I always felt loved and it doesn't mean that I found
church to be a good place. I didn't think I deserved to be loved and I found
church to be a scary place, a place where I would never be good enough. You
see, I was molested when I was only four by a family member. I learned real
early that I was no good and I was dirty. I felt like a magnet to evil while I was
There were other times while I was grade school age that men attempted to
molest me. By high school, I was smoking, drinking, taking drugs and
experimenting with sex. I quit school at 17 and was married four days after my
18th birthday. I spent the next 18 months of my life taking drugs and being
mentally and physically abused by my husband, many times to the point of
being bedridden for days and hidden from my family, sometimes for months.
After I left my abuser, I went back and graduated from high school. I've been
married to my second husband for more than 30 years and even though things
haven't gone the best at times, we have a great marriage. The only thing
missing in my life was a relationship with God. I never really set out to find Him,
but God found me.
After my dad died I turned 40, I had a really hard time dealing with losing him. My
mom suggested I get some help by talking to a woman who had helped her. I
don't know what I expected, but what I got was wonderful. I had spent all my life
feeling like something was missing and finally I had been handed the first key to
unlocking the mystery in my life.
The first key for me was to realize there was a little girl inside me that needed
loved and cared for. She felt she had been neglected and abused her whole life.
I had to recognize and forgive the people who had abused me and release them
to God and then forgive myself for my feelings about the abuse and the abusers.
I had to realize that I couldn't save her, only God could do that. It is so awesome
to know that and such a relief to know I'm not alone. For a while I carried a
picture of that little girl (me) to remind me that God can take care of everything.
The second key came when I started to go to bible studies and learn how to
really study the bible. I learned that there was a thing called 'grace' that I had
never heard about before. There it was, in the bible all along and no one had
pointed it out to me before, well, no one I could remember. Wow, saved by
grace. All those things I thought had condemned me forever were forgiven.
But there's more!
The third key came to me very unexpectedly. I had been going to God in prayer
regularly for some time. I hadn't expected that such a simple thing could be so
important. The more time I spent listening and talking to God, the more familiar
His voice became. The more time I spend with God the more I want to spend
with Him. Every day I find new blessings. God just keeps giving me more keys
and each key has helped bring me closer to the 'fruits' God has for me.
Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness,
self-control. Each one as important as the other, each one a goal to strive for.
Every day I work at being the woman God wants me to be. Not in the sense of
me working hard to be something I'm not, but allowing God to work in me and
change me into what He created.
Finding Family In A Friend
After the death of my dad, many changes began for me. I had done my best, up
to that point, to not have a relationship with God. Oh, I went to church faithfully
for several years and did my best to do my duties as a "Christian". It didn't work
and eventually I walked away and did my best to turn my back on God. Dad's
death did something to me. I still can't explain it, but a change in his
countenance is the best I can do. He became softer, gentler, more loving than
ever (and I thought he was already the softest, gentlest most loving dad ever).
He never blamed God or spoke bad things about why God did this to him. Or, at
least I never heard it from him. I had to know why, and he wasn't around any
more to tell me.
Then I turned 40, the place my husband and I worked had decided to close the
doors and we were faced with looking for jobs and probably moving from the
town we had grown to love, but it wasn't my choice. My husband got a job in the
town my family lived and we moved south.
My first encounter with God was through the counselor I told you about before.
She made a big impact on my life and encouraged me to give God a try. Then,
next door to my business was a young woman who was excited about God and
not afraid to share her excitement. She encouraged me to return to church and
suddenly I couldn't get enough of God. The God I had been running from for so
long was now my main focus.
Then, as God had planned, I met Justene. The first time I met her I thought she
was a little different. Not in a bad way but just not what I was familiar with. There
was something about her that made me want to know more.
As one friendship began to change, I was drawn to Justene for counsel. Instead
of telling me what to do she began to share what God was doing in her life. I
began to see her going to the scriptures every day and she was hearing God for
her life. I couldn't believe God could speak to someone who wasn't a preacher,
but here was the proof. I started reading the bible and journaling, and can you
believe it?, God started talking to me. Everyday, something in His word would
deal with something in my life.
God not only sent me a dear friend in Justene but He's teaching me how to be a
friend. What an example Justene has been for me. Her relationship with God,
her obedience has been so important for me to see. Now, we continue to grow
together, we're family now. What began as only friendship was now more, we
As time went on the church I had been attending began to seem dead to me.
The excitement and love of God that I was feeling every other morning, as
Justene and I shared our relationship with God, just wasn't there. I began to feel
that I was supposed to join Justene at her church and finally the day arrived.
She had told me what to expect as far as the order of service, but there was no
way to prepare me for the presence of God in that place. I had never
experienced anything like it before, I couldn't help but praise God for all He had
done for me.
Even though my first feelings were uncomfortable I knew I had come home. I
finally found what I had unknowingly been looking for my whole life. I didn't
know how bumpy the road would get once I committed to go there, but by the
time I had begun this part of my journey it didn't seem to matter. This time I
knew I wasn't alone. This time I knew I was home!
Now that I'd found a home in this new church and a brand new family, I knew I
would be able to find the answers I'd been searching for. At this point I didn't
even know what questions to ask but I knew there were answers. There are so
many questions and my impatience makes each one of great importance. I've
always wanted things done now and perfect (my way, HA, HA, HA). That feeling
alone has had to change. Now, things happen in God's time, not mine. I still
have problems with the patience thing but I'm getting better with God's help (and
One of the first questions I took to God was, 'Why don't I feel like I fit in?' It
seems like I've always felt like an alien. Like there was no place for me to go.
Now, I feel like that was God's plan all along, "if you don't feel like you fit in, you
won't be satisfied until you find Me".
Then, there's the question, 'What am I here for?' That one was more difficult to
find an answer to. That required doing some searching. The first thing I found
was the meaning of my name; 'God is gracious.' A woman of grace. I have a
hard time seeing a graceful woman right now, but God has began to help me see
myself differently. He's given me a vision of a new woman.
The woman I see in the Looking Glass doesn't look anything like the 'me' I used
to see there. The woman I see now is beautiful and graceful and eager to dance
for her King. She's a woman with God's bright glowing light shining through her.
She's intelligent and creative and a blessing to her family and friends. I may not
be completely there yet, but I have a destination. I only have to look in that
Looking Glass to be reminded of where God wants me to be. Every time I look
He gives me another step to take. I am His and I want to do only His will.
My perceptions of myself have been formed by people who don't know God.
Sexual abusers, scary preachers, abusive men all influenced a young and
vulnerable girl. They each thought they had accomplished what they set out to
do, but God stepped in and changed all that. He never hid His plan from me, I
was just looking in the wrong places.
This isn't an easy journey, but every day I look around and see His Glory around
me to remind me how much God has already done and how much He still wants
to do in my life. There is nothing in my life more important than God. The only
thing holding me back now, is me, and I'm even fighting less and less against
Him. Thank You God for being You!
My Poor Choices
Sometimes the thought of looking back at my past makes me angry. I know
when I look back I see the poor choices others have made but I also have to see
my poor choices.
Looking back at four years old and not understanding what was happening,
now that's enough to make a person angry. The really sad part for me is the
realization that mom and dad tried to protect me the only way they knew how,
but I only heard blame coming from their fear. As an adult I can hear the true
meaning in the words of, "don't ever get in his bed again", but as a four year old
I heard, "it's your fault this happened, so stay away from him".
We don't realize how much of an impact our words have on our children. One
sentence can make a world's worth of difference simply by how it's said. Are we
speaking to our children out of love or fear, love or anger, love or hate? We don't
even realize how important those words are until it's too late to take them back.
God wants my words to be from Him, but I must stop speaking before He tells
me what to say. It's so important that we learn from God what He wants. I've hurt
enough people in my life because of fear, anger and hate. I want to look back
only when He says so I can change into what God wants me to be. I have to be
willing to hear God and make the changes He asks for.
So, how does what happened at four affect choices now? Well, for years I've
blamed my poor choices on being molested and my parents. That was all a big
lie from the devil. Yes, I was molested but mom and dad didn't blame me. Yes I
made a lot of poor choices based on what I believed was the only way to be
loved, but that was my choice. Not every woman who was molested has made
the same choices I made. I imagine each of them had their own devils to deal
with. When I look back I see the consequences of those choices, but I also see
that God has given me another choice--Him. Because of the choices I've made in
the past God has given me another vision of my life to look at, a chance for a
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