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New Life Springs Out of Rejection

After her parents divorced, 5-year-old Janet lived with her out of control alcoholic mother.   

“There was so much drinking, there was wild parties, you know, people sleeping in your bed, you know, walking in on things like that.”

She spent her adolescent years moving back and forth between her parents where she experienced harsh abuse from family members.

"’You're stupid and you'll never amount to anything.  You'll be just like your mother.’ And my mother, at the time, was still running around in town and she'd get in trouble. Or she would show up, you know, and say, ‘oh, I’m going to get you back, and promise to take me back.’”

Her mother never followed through with her promises.  In church, Janet’s search for love resulted in more feelings of rejection.

“I’m searching for something, there must be something because I’m raising my hand every week when they have the altar call for salvation. Eventually I had fear that somebody was going to point me out and say, ‘You don't belong here.’”  

She stopped going to church and at 13, started drinking with friends to fit in. In high school, Janet was finally placed with a foster care family. She thrived in a stable environment but when infidelity split up her foster parents, she was devastated.

“That loneliness, bitterness, resentment towards, especially your mom.  I think those feelings were surfacing for sure.”

Determined, Janet got into college and worked several jobs to pay the bills, the disappointment and pain of her past driving her forward.  

“I hated vacations and breaks because people would go home to their family and I’d just stay there.  I'd stay working and taking care of myself.”

Once out of college, Janet decided to join the marines. She hoped to get as far from home as possible, and prove she could take care of herself.

“You could push me, you could beat me, you could do whatever you want, but I’m going to get back up.”

During her eight years in the military, she attended church briefly, but feelings of rejection from childhood often resurfaced.

“I recall going to church week after week and feeling this bombardment of guilt and shame and I remember just crying and crying and crying in services during the worship time. I did hear these voices of ‘who are you?  You're not – you don't belong here.’”

It wasn’t until she met and married frank, that she began to experience real love for the first time.

“My husband became that unconditional love that I’d been searching for, for so long and he began to fill those areas, you know, where love-love was empty.”

When their daughter was born, they decided to get connected in a local church where they were welcomed with opened arms.

“The first visit we were just embraced by these loving and wonderful people.  And even being invited into their home and just how nice they were and just how loving and caring they were. That's what drew me, was the people.”

Janet and her family got baptized and attended the church faithfully. But as she read her bible and tried to grow in her faith, she found it hard to measure up to the congregation’s many rules.

“I was still struggling with old memories, some old feelings were surfacing. I never felt free that I could, you know, ever share these things with people, because I felt like they could have never done something like this or even endured the things that I did.”

Janet continued to pray and seek God for guidance. One day, she was reading a book about a women who had a similar upbringing to hers.

“As I was reading her story she talked about writing all her sin down and confessing it.  It was speaking right to me ‘this is what you need to do.’”

Janet took out a page and wrote down and confessed all her sins to God.

“I had an encounter with Jesus.  I felt him in the room.  I felt him comfort me, I felt his arms go from the top of the shoulders to the end of my elbow. The scripture that came to mind was ‘my grace is sufficient for thee.’ he was taking all that hurt and abandonment and every sin that I ever committed was just wiped-wiped away.”

Janet felt a new life spring up in her.   

Things were looking different.  The Word of God was looking different in my hand.  And I was getting very serious about getting deeper and deeper in a relationship and understanding the Bible more.

Janet and her family got connected in a different church where God’s love continued to work in her life, allowing her to forgive her parents.  

“I’m so free to accept so much forgiveness in my heart towards them that I love them, though nurturing and that acceptance was severed from early years, he's given that to me and now I can give it back to them because I know that they need it even in themselves.”

Today Janet enjoys sharing and encouraging others with her testimony, and helping them find what she has found in Christ.

“And that is what Jesus does.  He redeems, he reconciles and he restores. He can heal just the deepest part of your heart that you would have never imagined could be filled up with his unconditional love.”

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