This week’s blog is from one of the most precious ladies you will ever meet and of course a Hills Chick. This week Jennie shares from her own journey and gives us some insights that should encourage you to look back on your own journey and discover God’s favour when you had no idea it was there. Never forget where you’ve come from..
I was reflecting the other day with Clint about a friend who is constantly on Facebook. Since I have just upgraded to an iPhone, my Facebook is constantly ‘on’ and she messages me, demanding an answer now!! Sometimes there are three or four days before I look at Facebook as I am in a busy time of my life!! When Clint asked why was she always on there, I said..”She is lonely, Facebook is her whole world.” She drops her child off at school and is limited because she doesn’t drive, so is on there all day, wanting to make a connection with ANYONE! At this explanation, I realised something. “That could have been me!” I said to Clint. You see, God has shown me time and again where I was headed, what my future could have looked like, and I have only Him to thank.
I grew up in a constantly tense and volatile environment, that was basically a result of my parents not dealing with their stuff. By the time I was 16, I was outta there and took the first opportunity I could. I basically jumped from the frying pan into the fire and ended up living with a guy that had more issues than I had…which is saying something!! Over time I discovered while I was trying to work to support both of us, he was gambling every cent I earned on the pokies. There was a time I distinctly remember opening the cupboards and seeing half a bag of flour and a tin of beetroot..there was nothing else in the cupboard. I remember thinking, “What can I make to eat with beetroot and flour?”
After the relationship ended and I moved back home, I hit rock bottom and stayed there for about two years. During this time I devised ways to kill myself twice, both times, panicking and backing out. This was when I discovered that my father had similarities to me, in that we both displayed manic tendencies. He described the same highs and devastating lows that I was experiencing at that time. I recall, my uncle had a long history with manic depression, what is now known as bipolar, shutting himself in his room for days on end. I was very surprised to discover my dad had kept his own illness hidden for many years, albeit not to the same degree, and I was also fearful that I would end up like my uncle, holed up in my house, afraid of the world. I can say honestly, I haven’t had a manic episode since I was 18 and have been off antidepressants since 2006, when I started to seek counsel through an incredibly wise and gifted counsellor. That is by the grace of God.
When I started this story, I mentioned a friend who had found herself totally consumed by Facebook. And the realisation that I could have been her. The difference is, that I know I have a God who loves me so much and continually directs me away from things that can be destructive and unhealthy for me. What favour am I talking about? That two years after I put myself into a destructive and debilitating relationship, God eventually used that to bring me to Himself and to introduce me to the man I would marry, who at times frustrates me, but is the perfect spouse for me. Clint pushes me to strive for better, he doesn’t let me get away with things and he is an awesome listener and encourager..he will always be honest with me, sometime brutally, but I have learnt, that is like gold to me. To have someone who will tell me the truth regardless.
I thank God EVERY time I open my cupboards, because they are full of food, so much so, that I love to feed others from it…THAT is abundance, pressed down, shaken together and running over..My boss even blesses me with food…making me bread, pumpkin soup, giving me leftovers from the Food Tech classes. I have not known hunger since 1995!!!
But the greatest revelation has been where I could have ended up. Three years ago, I was sending my kids to the local primary school, four doors down from where we live and I was actually looking forward to the day I could send all three of them off to school and not have to set foot out of my gate again. I was gradually letting the girls walk to and from school, while I stood at my fence and watched them. I would occasionally walk them, but I was becoming more and more reclusive. I was isolating myself from people, not interacting with anyone outside my small sphere of friends and very rarely answering the phone. To me, to live like a hermit was bliss!!
But, then some life changing events happened: basically God got my attention and showed me the girls had to be in a Christian school in order to flourish. My oldest girl was a shell of herself, scared to learn, because of a teachers actions and I realised we had to get them out of there NOW! Through my fear and trepidation, we enrolled them into the Christian school, with no idea how we would pay the fees, and it was the best decision we could have made..my oldest IS flourishing, she is making beautiful friends and is in an environment that encourages individuality and has teachers who pray every day for each other, students and staff alike.
We love it so much, Clint and I now both work there, Clint in maintenance and myself working in the Canteen and in Food Tech (what used to be called Home Economics). I can’t imagine staying at home. Now, I think I would be so bored if I didn’t work, yet there was a time when my home was my cocoon from the world. There was a time that I couldn’t imagine working outside the home! It could have been me, getting the kids off to school, and being all consumed by Facebook all day, or daytime television, until they came home again, and doing the same thing over and over, day after day. But God’s favour on me is evident in that He sees my future and He pushes me towards it, even when I struggle with it, and don’t understand His purposes for doing things. I look back at where I have come from, and I am so grateful that God has redirected my path over and over again. I never forget where I have come from, because it reminds me of where I could have ended up. A place of desolation and no hope.
I look forward to God’s awesome plan for my life, a future of blessings and hope!!