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Two of my passions are travel and the movies. God has a clever way of speaking to me through the cinema. In movie lingo, backstory is the story behind the story you see on the screen. It's the character's past, her family life, the events that shaped her and define how she responds to what life tosses her way.
During a painful childhood, I became "General Jan," convinced I must take charge of my life to survive. I married my childhood sweetheart, determined to have my white picket fence future. For fifteen years my goal was to make my man happy, constantly pretending we had the perfect family. I was fearful of people finding out the truth, that trouble brewed beneath the facade. When he left me and our two daughters for another, I came to the end of my own strength and resources. It was clear I'd put my security in a relationship that vanished overnight, and my identity in the roles I played as wife, mother, journalist, 4-H leader. I was lost, confused and angry without a clue who Jan really was.
Then a stranger came to my door with a casserole in one hand and a Bible in the other, with a message from the Book of Joel: "Return to me....and I will restore what the locusts have eaten." What a word picture for a country girl who could relate to a swarm of bugs devouring her garden and her dreams. (Plus I had seen that episode of Little House on the Prairie.)
She challenged me to give my heart to the Lord, to trust him with my uncertain future. I responded to the tug on my hurting heart and embraced God's promise that he could take my ruined life and give it new meaning and purpose. Over time----and a few costly detours which I share with women----I experienced the fully transforming love of Christ.
What a wonderful journey life becomes when you seek to glorify God with all your passions and gifts. He never wastes a hurt, but uses them to enrich the lives of others. It doesn't get any better than that.
Before the locusts, I thought of God as distant and impersonal. I stuffed my pain, wore masks and played the role of a have-it-all together woman. After the locusts I discovered a personal God who desires a relationship with those he calls his own. I shed the masks and got real, with myself, with others and the Lord. Authentic life is the only way to real contentment.
The miracle in my life isn't surviving the locust storms that swept through, but the way God redeemed, restored, revamped and revived me, inspired new priorities and instilled the excitment to become the woman he created me to be, for his glory.
I've passed through many seasons; the doll days, the boy crazies, the dorm days, marriage and divorce, motherhood (wayward daughters), the professional world, singles ministry (the last place I thought I'd be and one of the most cherished) empty nest, re-marriage, the joy of grandparenting. Now, I'm learning to savor each season and embrace it fully.
I've been speaking to women's groups for many years, and I never tire of bringing God's word alive and enccouraging women to go deeper. I teach women's Bible study often and love the challenges that come with sharing God’s principles in a way that’s relevant to women of all ages and stages.
Carl and I have been married for 18 yrs. and between us we have four adult children. He is a remarkable guy, filled with wisdom and a willing heart for the Lord. We love to travel, watch old classic movies (Casablanca is our favorite), and fish for mountain trout. I can stay up all night scrapbooking, playing endless card games and cut-throat Scrabble. I'm a hopeless junk shopper with a serious yard-sale, thrift-store fetish.
We worship Gold Country Church in Auburn, and I love working with our women's ministry team. Carl and I have a heart for reaching out to those who need hope and restoration.
Which is just about everybody.