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Janine Turner: Single Mothers Can Change History

CBN.com  Actress, single mother and author, Janine Turner was inspired to write Holding Her Head High: Inspirations from 12 Single Mothers Who Championed Their Children and Changed History. Her book describes the social implications for women and children from the Roman Empire through the Middle Ages to Pioneer days, including a single mother of slavery.

Stories from women like Rachel Lavein Fawcett, abandoned single mother of Alexander Hamilton; Abigail Adams, a wartime widow; Harriet Jacobs, an unwed mother of slavery whose autobiography was published the year the Civil War began; and widowed Belva Lockwood, the first woman to officially run for President – all carrying wounds but all offering insight, wisdom and encouragement. Lessons from the book include: listening for God's calling, holding your head high, daring to dream, etc.            

When Janine began researching about single mothers throughout history, she had no idea the wealth of character and strength she would discover. Janine found that the women she researched embraced the birth of Christianity, ruled countries, endured wars, birthed a country, withstood slavery, and battled for women's rights. Based on her research, Janine says that in 2003, the US Census Bureau stated that 43 percent of mothers in America were single mothers. Today, that number is somewhere around 46 percent.

“I was not a single mother by choice,” she says. “I think circumstances happen to people that are sometimes beyond their control in the relationships they're in. I also learned that the definition of single mother is very broad; it means, widowed, divorced and abandoned. When I started researching mothers throughout history, I was shocked. It [being a single mother] seemed like such a modern-day issue.”

One of the prerequisites Janine pushed for was that the women she researched and included in her book had to be women of faith.

“There are a lot of women out there who did great things in their life, but they didn't have faith, and to me, that's pivotal,” she says. “I really believe children need a foundation of faith, morals, and guidance.”

Janine's personal faith foundation poured through every chapter she wrote. The women Janine studied didn't just raise their children, Janine believes they raised their nation.

“What I found to be interesting was they were either abandoned or divorced,” she says.            

After researching and writing Holding Her Head High, Janine uncovered a personal and new perspective on being a single mother.

“When I finished the book, what I realized was that women have always had to work hard to survive. I realized within reason that I can still be in the destiny God has for me that will also benefit my child,” she says. “Whenever I feel like I'm in the way, and I really don't know what God has planned for me, I know that He knows.”       

Janine Turner was born into a lineage of Texans. Her father is from East Texas, and her mother is from South Texas. Her career started in Dallas, Texas at the age of three, modeling on occasion for magazine shoots, commercials, and fashion shows. By the age of 15, Janine ventured to New York City to pursue her passion in dance. While in New York, she signed a contract to model with one of the top modeling agencies of that time. At 15, she was the youngest model to sign with the agency. Janine's first acting role was on the hit TV series, Dallas. By the age of 17, she was beginning to climb the Hollywood ladder with roles on Dallas and General Hospital. In the mid 90s, Janine was cast as Maggie O'Connell in CBS' Northern Exposure – for Janine, a role of substance. After her role on Northern Exposure, she starred in Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone.    

Janine was raised in a faith-based home. Her mother was a Baptist and her father, Episcopalian.

“My walk with God has been very special to me,” she says. Even during devastating times or when show business got tough, Janine knew who to lean on for strength. “I'd get on my knees and cry out to God many, many times,” she says. “One of the things God would always say to me is, 'I've given you a flame inside and don't let anybody put that out. Not circumstances and not people.' ” When Juliette was born in 1997, Janine's walk with God deepened. “My faith immediately deepened to another level with God,” she says. “I've taken my daughter to church every Sunday since she was three months old.”       

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