As best I can remember, I met Jenny Patton when I was in the 7th grade and she and her twin brother were in the 8th grade. I have always loved her family, and although we have not stayed in touch well through the years, Facebook allowed us to reconnect, and I am so excited to see how God is using Jenny today. She understands that God desires to see His children serving a hurting world. Her story is amazing.
I believe it is a pretty common practice for some of us to walk around with our eyes shut
to the hurting, the poverty-stricken, the widow, the orphan, the sick and hurting, mortally wounded souls all around us.
“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15 NIV
I know I have been guilty of this. It’s just easier if we don’t know someone’s story, it takes too much time and effort to find out the history, to assume we know why someone may be where they are in life, is to judge them rather than to actually get close enough to find out.
God has taken me down a path I never could have imagined.
I am often a selfish human being and tend to turn a blind eye to reality at times.
However, God has begun to heal me from the inside out. It is definitely a process and can be painful at times and at other times, refreshing.
After my mom passed from a terrible battle with cancer, I was broken, I felt the stab in my chest, of loss, of a hurt that ran deeper than an ocean. Feeling somewhat orphaned, I still loved God and depended on Him daily to get out of bed and function, but I wasn’t truly functioning. All I could seem to say to God was “help me“. Everything was all about me and what I needed for that day. Don’t get me wrong, we need to take care of ourselves when we are grieving or hurting,in fact we must. However, I was slipping down a road of being comfortable in a robe all day or not speaking to anyone for days on end. Not going to church to get loved on and supported and fed by the word of God on a regular basis.
Then everything changed. I made a difficult decision and went to Christian counseling. It was there, that I found healing.
The Balm of Gilead, the wound salved over, Jesus with skin on it seemed, sat in front of me just listening. Sometimes offering suggestions, books to read, but mostly just listening, as I poured my hurt out all over that small room.
God used a human to reconnect me with Himself. A willing vessel who had chosen to use the gift God had given her. The gift of listening.
The counselor encouraged me to find a church home and get connected, to visit four churches and then to pick one. The fourth and final church we visited was Long Hollow Baptist. We entered and began to worship and have never left.
God has used Long Hollow Baptist Church and it’s people to encourage us, to strengthen our faith to grow us spiritually and to then reach out to others and do the same.
I can’t really explain it all, When I went through counseling, I would cry and say, “I just want God to get the glory for all of it” now I understand, God was calling me to bring His name Glory through my life, through my pain,through reaching out and loving others, helping others to heal.
It took time, it took me pushing past the pain, pushing past the voice in my head trying to keep me bound up in the hurt and grief. It took obedience to God. I love to tell others how God can change you from the inside out, if we just be still and wait on Him.
He will open doors and give us words of encouragement, and opportunity to serve and love others.
I have since worked with the homeless in Nashville, served at a single mother’s event, I am a coordinator for our campus preschool department. I have volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center, I am involved in helping to fight against human trafficking. I am now the proud and honored wife of a husband who was chosen to be a deacon at our church.
Please don’t think I am boasting on myself, but I am boasting about how God has changed my life. How He is using my hurt to help heal and in the process He is receiving all the glory.
Most recently, I went to Uganda, Africa and loved on Orphans and their caretakers and missionaries.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
It was an adventure I will never forget and never expected to have. My eyes are now wide open to the need for these children to have homes and families to love them. Although these orphans are well cared for, they need mamas and daddies and families to love them.
I can never again say, “I had no idea” or “that is just so sad”
As a Christ follower it is my job to now DO SOMETHING. What that looks like, I don’t know yet. It could be to sponsor them financially, send letters and gifts to let them know they are loved and not forgotten. It could be to help support others go on mission. offer help to those who are adopting. To possibly learn more about adoption and then teach others about orphan care and adoption, or perhaps God could lead these almost empty nesters to adopt. (Gulp!)
Only God knows, and I will seek Him for the answers and step through open doors as He leads.
What will you do when your eyes have been opened to a need?
I pray your eyes will always remain wide open and never turn away from the hurting and needy.
I dare you to move.
” I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18
If you would like any more information about the organizations I have volunteered with, please go to the links provided below.
Uganda Orphanage , Church and Christian School http://www.theapplegates.net
Nashville homeless and inner city ministry http://www.mission615.com
Open Door Crisis Pregnancy Center Springfield, TN http://www.384hope.com
Human trafficking http://www.oneless.org
Long Hollow Baptist Church Hendersonville, TN http://www.longhollow.com