Today, Jennifer speaks to us about church hurt, how the story of Joseph has ministered to her, her hunger for love and her family history, and her love for children. Thank you, Jennifer, for your powerful vulnerability.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a two-parent home, with two younger brothers. I have an older sister– we have the same father [and] different mother– we did not grow up together. I was raised a Catholic. I didn’t really have a childhood, to be honest. I was raised by strict parents in a Haitian household and was very sheltered growing up. I never really did like school. I got decent grades; I graduated H.S. and college. I was always full of life, outspoken and trusted people very easily.
When my mother would drag me to church, I was bored and fell asleep half of the time. *laughs* Church felt like a ritual to me. I never felt connected. Deep down inside, I knew there was something missing, something more. I didn’t have a true understanding of Jesus or anything related to Jesus until later on, in like about my early 20s.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Recently, a biblical passage that really pierced my spirit is Psalm 27:10, which states: “Though my father and mother forsake me the Lord will receive me.” I meditate on this verse often because it hits home for me.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: God has been dealing with me and my priorities, lately. God wants me to put Him 1st and learn that there is nothing in this world that is more important than Him. There is nothing that can replace or make up for your personal time/intimacy or relationship with God: not Christian counseling, God-centered podcasts, conferences, church, Bible study– you name it. I am learning that when you don’t put God first and spend time with Him consistently, it’s equivalent to saying you don’t need God. God is our power source, so if we don’t connect with Him through prayer, then spiritually, we are at our weakest.
“I am learning that when you don’t put God first and spend time with Him consistently, it’s equivalent to saying you don’t need God.”
Profession: I am currently an Assistant Teacher at a Nursery School. I love kids so very much. I truly feel the presence of God when I’m around them. I am pursuing a modeling career, on the side.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? If I wrote a memoir, the tittle would probably be Love Lost, Love Found. The reason why I would pick this title is because it sums up all I’ve ever truly wanted in life. To be loved. I was always searching for the kind of love I never received from my parents and family. Their definition of love was rejection, abuse (emotional and physical), abandonment and disappointment. I thought if my own flesh and blood failed at loving me, then God didn’t love me, either. In fact, I thought God was just like my parents, if not worse. I thought He had forsaken me. I didn’t know God loved me.
“I was always searching for the kind of love I never received from my parents and family.”
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I can boldly say God broke my heart to save my soul. The first time I encountered God was at a Women’s of Worth Conference, in 2014. My cousin Cassandra (who is also my greatest influence to Christ) invited me. This day forever changed my life!
Through prophesy, God used two women to speak to me and directly penetrated my heart. God spoke to me that day about my first heart break– my earthly father. I hated him.
They practically told me everything I was going through, things that these two women I’ve never met before couldn’t have possibly known. That I had been hurt physically and emotionally, abused by my dad. God made it clear to me– the difference.
God is my Heavenly Father; my first Father. Then, comes my earthly Father. Jesus told me He’d NEVER do anything to hurt me the way my earthly Father did. He told me that I am His child. I am the son of God. He’d never do anything to harm me. He’s nothing like my earthly Father. God is my Dad, and I am His little girl. He is the Dad I’ve always wanted and always dreamed of having. From that day on, I was attracted to Jesus. Jesus caught my interest.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? That would have to be my faith and trust in God. This was a BIG year for me. God got me out of over $100,000 of debt through getting Chapter 7 bankruptcy granted earlier this year, a debt that I accumulated with my ex boyfriend (2nd heartbreak) of 7 years. Only God’s arms were long enough to pull me out of that deep hole I was in. My faith definitely leveled up this year, with that alone. I realized that God is truly my hero– my Superman, really. God has my back like no one else!
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): To be transparent, I don’t really love to read, but I force myself to read, from time to time. It’s easier to read when I am reading something interesting. So, I haven’t started yet, but I am planning on reading Create In Me A Pure Heart soon, which comes with a matching workbook and a DVD included called “Living For Jesus In A Dark World.” It was actually recommended to me by my dear friend/mentor/sister in Christ. I am still in my healing purification and sanctification process. Therefore, I believe this package will really help me.
Top three essentials: Lipstick, phone and/or camera and music
How did God speak to you recently? God spoke to me recently through my second Mom and her friend; [they] pray[ed] for me right outside my house and anointed my head and hands with oil before I went inside. God basically said four main things: Don’t worry nor care about what people have say or think about me; Repent, be obedient when He puts something on my heart and that He is already aware of the desires of my heart and will grant them at His appointed time, if my faith fail[s] not.
Hobby: My hobbies are photography, modeling, singing, creating drawing and dancing.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: First, prayer. Talking to God is pivotal. If there is no communication, there is no relationship. Second, reading/listening/feeding your spirit of God’s word. All we have left of God on this earth is His word and Holy Spirit.
Third, would be fellowship with other believers. The Bible says to not forsake the fellowship. We all need accountability, empowerment, encouragement and just a recharge for the week. Going to church can give you all that and so much more!
“If there is no communication, there is no relationship.”
Favorite person in scripture? Favorite person in scripture besides Jesus is Joseph. The Lord has been ministering to me about the story of Joseph for over two years now, in different ways. I think of myself when I read Joseph’s story. Joseph had many gifts, was a natural leader and had the special gift to interpret dreams. He was raised in a dysfunctional household, [and] betrayed by his brothers who were jealous of Him. He had a dream that he would one day rule over his brothers and shared this dream, which was all together too much for them to handle.
Joseph’s own brothers, who were flesh and blood, sold him into slavery and threw him in a pit, plotting to kill him. He ends up in Egypt, in the house of Potiphar. Eventually, Joseph ends up in prison. Joseph went through great injustice and suffering. Strangely, God allowed it to open a door. God permits some sufferings to get us to move to the next stage. Joseph got promoted to 2nd in command, as Chief Administrator of Egypt.
Joseph’s family was unexpectedly invited to Joseph’s house during the famine. Instead of getting revenge, Joseph reassured them by saying, “You intended for evil, but God intended for good.” This is a story of forgiveness, integrity and redemption from the pit to the palace.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want for people to see that you are not what you went through. I don’t care how bad it has been, what you’ve been through or where you came from– there is hope. You must hold on, pain ends (H.O.P.E)! You don’t have to let the darkness overtake you or consume you. When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine. Shine your light. God loves you with an everlasting reckless love, and I am a living breathing testimony of that love.
“When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine. Shine your light.”
How do you engage with your community? I try to impact others by setting a positive example, being myself; being supporting. Not being afraid to shine my light and boldly speaking of my faith to others by simply sharing how Christ changed my life to the people around me that I cross paths with, every day.
Favorite holiday? My favorite holiday is Christmas because it reminds me of the greatest gift I ever received, Jesus Christ, which is worth celebrating with the people you love. I also love receiving and giving gifts, which is one of my top three love languages.
A goal you have? A goal I have which is pretty BIG for me, but not for God, of course, is to get my own place– hopefully, by next year, when I turn 30. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone!
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My family and I don’t have special traditions *laughs* but one thing that I see my parents do is go on vacation every year, which is something I plan on doing often, traveling.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I have so many questions for God, to be honest, a whole list of them. Besides giving Adam and Eve a piece of my mind. *laughs* My first question will be, God, knowing how You created me– why did You allow me to go through so much pain disappointment and suffering on earth?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want to raise awareness about church hurt. Christians aren’t perfect. You don’t go to church for people. You go to church for God. Church is like a hospital full of imperfect sinners striving to be like a perfect God.
“I want to raise awareness about church hurt.”
What does your morning routine consist of? I don’t have a special routine in the morning because I’m really not a morning person. After hearing my alarm ring and sleeping a few mins after it rings, sometimes, *laughs* I get up and get ready for work. I try to spend time with God in the morning, but it doesn’t always happen, I admit, which I’m currently working on.
Define Christianity in a sentence: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15
In my opinion the core of Christianity, the cross and Jesus Christ in general is forgiveness.
For more Jennifer:
Instagram: Radiant Raving Beauty or jlove1656
Facebook: Jen Kako Jia
Until next time, keep witnessing!