Tuesday, December 1, 2009


A few days ago, I sat across from a girl with a hurting heart. Her life was in shambles—her innocence, left amidst the wreckage—her spirit, without the strength or motivation to do the next thing.  She’d made some poor choices and found herself violated, rejected, and filled with despair.

After sharing her story, she looked up at me, waiting to hear the verdict—the prescription.  What could I say?

At first, I wanted to take her by the shoulders, look directly into her eyes and say, “How did you not see?  How could you have missed it like that?  How could you have messed up so badly?”

But I’ve made mistakes in my life too.  I’ve lied to myself—covered my eyes with both hands, and blundered off the edge of cliffs that I knew (but didn’t want to believe) existed.  I’ve hurt myself and other people: I’ve failed to forgive both.  I’ve walked into walls that looked like doors.  There are scars on my heart; there are choices that I can no longer live down (I don’t even try—they belong to God now; I gave them to Him).  But the memories are mine for the rest of my life.

I used to be intimidated by the mere thought of sharing my testimony with girls in crisis situations.  (Especially when I worked as a counselor for inner-city youth two summers ago.  So many needy girls: I couldn’t even begin to understand the hurt in some of their hearts—so how could the story of a “good, Christian girl” possibly help them?)  As a kid, I’d been blessed with a Godly heritage, wise and involved parents who nurtured and encouraged me to grow in the knowledge of Christ—and I’d never been saved from such drastic things as drug or alcohol addictions, illicit relationships, or abuse.

Or had I?

As I journaled one evening, I realized that I had, in fact, been saved from all those things.  Before I’d ever endured the pain of living through them.  I haven’t been spared all scars in life, but I’ve been spared most.  My testimony is a glorious one: a true picture of God’s grace.

Sure, I’ve struggled here and there, but there are those who have struggled more.  I’ve been hurt, but others have endured torture.  I’ve encountered heartbreak, but some girls gave everything to men who changed their minds.  For today, I have been spared these things.

A few days ago, I sat across from a girl with a hurting heart.  And instead of condemnation, I took a deep breath and told her the story of grace.  For without it, I’d be in the exact same place.


Andrew said...

Isn't there a Martin Luther quote that says something like that?

Katherine said...

Yes. "There But for the Grace of God go I." -Martin Luther

Anonymous said...

what does luther mean by this please?

Malachi said...

Dude, it just means what it says. Without God's grace we could be in the shoes of someone else who is a lot less fportunate than you.

Chris said...

What a neat perspective, Jen! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Katherine, are you sure Luther was the one who said that?

Anonymous said...

Great insight, Jenn. Have you read the Timothy Keller book, Prodigal God? It's about the prodigal (meaning extravagant) grace of God.
He comes from the perspective of the 'good' elder brother. Good stuff!

Andrew said...

Thanks for the quote reference, ya'll.

Jenn Joshua said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the recommendation! I actually saw PG for sale a few days ago and remembered I'd had it recommended to me several times by several different people. I'll have to check it out.


Mark Wilson said...

Hi Jenn

Count yourself fortunate and blessed. Most of "us" can't say the same as you. I for one have lived through a lot of these things... and more... but having come out the other side by the grace of God, we both find ourselves in the same space... grateful to Him and in awe of His power ability to protect and to rescue.

So in both our lives He is glorified! :)

God bless,
Mark Wilson.