Jennifer’s Story

So what can I tell you about myself? Well, once you get to know me one of the more obvious things is that I love laughter. I love to tease and make light of a situation to soften the mood around me. Laughter just has a way of defusing the tension, don’t you think? After all, that’s the kind of world we live in. A tense, overly serious, competitive world – ready to take down any person who gets in the way of that American dream. If you don’t get out of bed early and start the race before your neighbor you’re going to finish last. And we’re afraid of last. It’s not important. There’s no prestige in the last place. Last is…well, let’s face it – the shoddy caboose.

As far as my life was concerned, this is what I truly used to think.

I was consumed by it. …what the world thought of me. All throughout my college years, I lived with the stress of whether or not I would graduate right into a high-paying job. So much pressure to afford all the amenities society told me I needed in order to be happy. I had to conform. I wanted to be accepted. I was determined to run the race that had success and dollar signs at the end.

Suffice to say, I was incredibly unhappy. I was tired of working so hard to pour all of myself into what didn’t matter. I believed the lie. And, after awhile, I thought every one of my talents consisted of squeezing round pegs into square holes and being proud of it. I’d taken something that clearly wasn’t meant to be and fashioned my own little success story out of it. As long as I kept smiling, laughing and throwing everyone a bone, no one had to know how truly unhappy I was.

This laughter had become a wonderful distraction.

As I grew older, life became driven by stress, hopeless attempts at perfection, and walking on a never-ending pile of eggshells to appease everyone around me. It was then that I had to come to terms with a struggle from my childhood…something that I later learned was called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The rest of the world likes to joke about their OCD habits, but this is precisely where my joking came to an abrupt end. I was constantly aware of the fragility of what life had become as though, at any moment, the bottom was going to fall out of whatever I was standing. I had to make certain the routine was perfect, day in and day out. Then, the slow fade became evident. Life was spiraling out of control and began to slip through my fingers like sand through a sieve.

Where was this Savior when I needed Him?

What I didn’t know then, is that He was with me the entire time. My absence of faith didn’t leave me forsaken. He was with me when my parent’s marriage ended and I felt alone. He was with me when I moved out of my home and in with my not-yet-husband. He was with me on the operating table of an all-wrong liposuction. He was with me when I passed up opportunities that seemed “risky” in order to pursue work that left me unhappy but with better financial stability.

He was there, holding out His hand the entire time just waiting for me to reach out and take it.

And I finally did…

So now, as I write these pages of faith, you’ll get to read about life from “This Side of Grace.” A place where I’m continually embraced by Him. A place I always heard existed, but never accepted it for myself. A place where unmerited favor is a tangible thing.

I can see it now. That gift that comes in the form of something so tiny to something SO BIG. It was never recognizable to me before… but now I can spot grace a mile away.

Every day I stand in awe at what surrounds me. The answered prayers. The lasting friendships. Moments that leave me feeling much like David asking God…“Who am I and what is my family that you have brought me this far?”

I once heard someone say, “If you’re living in a world where God isn’t knocking your socks off every single day, you’re not truly living.”

I am imperfect. But it is through those imperfections that God’s glory shines through. His perfection works in through me in the context of my everyday life. It is my hope that you will take something from the pages of this blog that will make you want to reach out and take His hand, too. He wants to do wonderful, marvelous things with your life.

…on this side of grace.


Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel… (Eph 6:19, NIV)