By James Book
I met Jackie when I began my ministry with First Christian Church of Kissimmee, Florida, in May 2011. Her father was a military man who became very violent and abusive toward her from the time she was 10 years old until she later moved out. Jackie worked full-time while attending high school, graduating in 1975.
She married the first man to ask her in 1978. Jackie shared with me that she felt so worthless and unloved that she literally sabotaged her own marriage. She got a job shortly after the wedding and started having an affair with a coworker. When her husband found out about it, he killed the man. Over time she got into more toxic relationships and was evicted from multiple apartments. She sought meaning in her life but kept coming up empty. She began to see herself as irreparable.
Jackie later became a manager in a convenience store. She did well until, once again, she self-destructed and stole from her employer. She was arrested, lost her job, and returned to the streets, but now with a criminal record.
Jackie was at this all-time low when God was able to get her attention. Jackie met a woman in the church who helped change her life by introducing her to Jesus. The Jackie I met in 2011 was not the same woman you’ve been reading about. Jackie was baptized into Jesus and began seriously recovering her dignity and hope. She later moved into an apartment with another sister in Christ.
She has two jobs, a car, and is working toward a college degree. She has restored her relationships with her two daughters and enjoys her three amazing grandchildren.
Members of her church family are her biggest supporters. They love her and cheer for her constantly. She volunteers with First Christian Church’s community outreach service and feeds and ministers to the homeless. Why? Because she was in their position not long ago.
This is her story, and it just keeps getting better.
James Book serves as senior minister with First Christian Church of Kissimmee, Florida.