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Jennifer's Story

Devastated. Ashamed. Afraid. For as long as I can remember, I have loved God. My biggest desire, however, was for the “white picket fence” family.

In 2006, I got married. Soon after, we had a girl then a boy, and purchased a nice home in suburban Texas. It was just what I dreamt of and I was so thankful.

We visited Fellowship of the Parks near our new home in Grapevine. It was meeting at a high school back then, but had big plans to grow. It was so neat to be used to help grow a church. FOTP was so warm and welcoming, and I felt so close to God.

Six years down the line, my marriage was in a terrible place. I was devastated but avoided sharing my pain with anyone. I was raised by a single mom who often refused help because she thought she could do everything on her own. Embarrassed and ashamed, I refused as well. I ignored friends, family, and most importantly, I ignored God.

I had leaned on God in the past during more minor trials, but this time I wanted to be left alone to make my own decisions. Everything was disrupted—my home, routines, extended family and friends—right down to my identity as a woman. When people asked how I was doing, I would put on a smile and claimed everything was great. In my mind, I was still the girl who had it all.

But I was wrong. We couldn’t fix our marriage and the divorce papers were signed. I had never felt so desperate and afraid as I did during that time of my life. I was on my own with no one to lean on as I ventured into an unknown future. Now a single mom with two young kids on a teacher’s salary and a pile of college debt, I moved in with my mom. With four of us in her one bedroom apartment, my mom slept on the couch and gave her small bed to me and my kids.

Every day, I felt numb. I was working, parenting, and even worshipping like a zombie. I attended FOTP for a few more years, and was part of the transition to the beautiful new building before I finally reached out to Pastor Charles, friends, and colleagues to ask for help. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to be vulnerable and honest.

Strong. Hope. Love. I’m humbled to see how God has grown me since then. It’s no surprise I’m closer to Him now than I ever was. God helped me see why our focus should be on Him before anything else, picture perfect family included. He is the only one who won’t disappoint.

I’ve learned that pushing people away just leads to more pain and anguish. Friends and family are meant to be aware of what we struggle with so they can love and support us through it.

Before, I thought my perfect image protected me. Now, I see how it actually hurt me to hide my weaknesses because God’s strength was also being hidden. I’ve learned that the more I know about myself, the more I can let others help me, and the more thankful I am for how God loves me.

Most importantly, I have learned that God is there to lean on. Talk to Him! Once I did, I realized that His plan for us is amazing, and that He can turn any pain into incomprehensible good. By giving Him my trust, God truly has blessed my broken road.

I am Jennifer Gwilliams and I am CHANGED!

 

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