About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jennifer, this is stunning truth — and I’m finding that my heart is rejoicing that I also belong to this upside down kingdom, and even though I wish your parents had received full restoration of their finances in this lifetime, I see the truth that what they have received instead is so much more valuable. What a treasure that you (and others) have received from them the riches of the wisdom that comes through the knowledge of God and His ways.

  2. Thank you for these truths. I have lost a cleaning job for no good reason. The man simply won’t return an email. I was so upset because we really needed the money and I went above and beyond at this job and he really seemed to like me and my work. My husband and I prayed giving it to the Lord. I can lay my head at night knowing I did nothing wrong. (A curtain rod with extremely heavy curtains collapsed ) I believe he thinks I did it even though they were fine when I was cleaning and left ). God is my defender, . Seems silly one job, but it was a great paying weekly job. I hate not knowing and had to let it go

  3. Thank you for sharing this lesson in forgiveness and faith. I’ve had several instances of being misunderstood & slander. I have not always prayed blessings for my adversaries. But your story has opened my eyes to what it means to suffer for Christ’s sake.

  4. I have recently been the victim of a horrible, hurtful situation. My life is dedicated to the Lord and I have been growing in my faith. This situation has shaken me to my core and I feel abandoned by the Lord. How could my loving Father give me a serpent when I asked him for bread? How could your parents trust the Lord when they lost everything? Isn’t God the provider? You say they never recovered. How is that a wonderful, loving outcome? As you can see I feel as if I am left alone to pray for others and give it all over to a bully who continues to abuse, hurt, and control. Where is God’s justice? Where is his comfort? When you keep falling off of a bike and getting severely hurt, it seems you should not continue to ride as much as you try and pray you will stay up right. Please pray that my faith is not completely distinguished. I want the pain to end, yet it endures and engulfs me. My focus on the Lord is taken over by the hurt which leaves me to question his promises, provision, and Word. It tells me I am victorious, how when I have lost the battle he said he would fight for me?
    Please help!!!

    • Susan, I am praying for you and asking God to give you His grace to forgive others who may or may not be involved in hurting you. I pray that God convicts anyone who is hurting you of their own sin. I pray that your courage and faith in God grows and strengthens each day. Seek safety or security in those fellow believers at your church or family that you trust right now and pray, pray, pray for the conviction and heart change of those causing you pain. Pray the eyes of your enemies are opened to God’s power and that they fear Him.

      If you are able to physically remove yourself from the hurtful situation, I would encourage you to do so. Forgiveness does not mean you have to continue taking abuse. I don’t know specifically what is causing your hurt, but God has given us common sense and does not require us to remain in hurtful circumstances. Praying He gives you His wisdom to take care of yourself and move beyond the hurt. God bless you!

      • Oh Susan – agreeing with Tina and joining in prayer for your situation. I know in the middle of this anguish and depth of devastating hurt that it’s hard to climb out of it,but cling to the truth of His word. Declare scriptures throughout the day. Play praise music so in those moments you can’t find the words to pray, their scriptures and declarations will echo in your heart.

        Know that you have sisters here, who while we don’t know you or the specifics of the situation, link arms with you in prayer declaring victory over the enemy. Satan has no room here!!

    • Susan

      Praying for you sweet sister! May God send His peace to your weary soul. In complete agreement with Jen. You should recite several scriptures over your situation & listen to quiet peaceful Christian music. That will help calm your soul. I don’t know the specifics of your situation I am praying for God to help bring restoration to you!

      (((((Hugs)))))

    • I lived in an Abusive situation for 10 years. We have 3 kids together that are less than 3 years apart and at the time, I had 3 Car Seats (hard to fit in a small car when you cannot put a car seat in the front seat), I had 3 in Day Care and I made $12/hour. For all logical purposes, I needed my husband, and never thought I could make it without him. Not to mention, he drank a 12 pack of beer a day, had diabetes, rarely checked his sugars, ate what we wanted.
      I had contacted Attorneys in the state of Texas where we lived, and was told by numerous, even though he had hurt me, unless I could prove he had physically hurt the kids, or endangered them (how could he – I was there to intervene) – I could never avoid him having regular visitation. It didn’t matter how much he drank or how often the ambulance came. All the receipts showing his alcohol purchases did not help. All the documentation – and he would have them on his own, and there was nothing I could do, but stay married to protect my kids.
      All the times the Police came out. Nothing mattered.
      I prayed and prayed for God to change my husband’s heart and save my marriage. I stood on God’s word (or so I thought), that God hates divorce so He would intervene and fix this.
      My husband ended up moving all of us away from our families to Minnesota. I was alone. Truly and utterly alone. Had no job, no friends, no family – and the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse escalated and my 3 kids witnessed it all.
      I was VERY angry with God. I no longer practiced my Christianity, and did things I would have never done. God NEVER left me, nor did he Forsake me.
      Finally, neighbors in Minnesota got involved. Once my neighbors where involved, let me tell you, I could see God moving all around me. I ended up with an Order for Protection. The Law Enforcement Officers in Minnesota are very different than the ones in Texas. They do NOT like men who beat on women. Not at all, and they make it known. For the first time in 7 years, I felt safe. Truly safe. He could not hurt me anymore, at least, not physically.
      I ended up with a Job making $40,000 a year. My boss paid for me an Attorney. All the documents that had ever been filed in Minnesota regardless of City or County ended up with the Judge Presiding over my Divorce. She was not comfortable, doing the divorce where he had typical Custody rights because if he ever hurt the kids. or if the drinking became and issue – my only recourse was to take him back to court, which was not feasible financially for a mother of 3 small children. To the Decree, she had my Attorney add, “Visitation is at the Discretion of the Plaintiff (me).
      I was finally free… Truly free.
      Today, my children are all 3 grown and thriving. I am back home in Texas. I have been remarried for right at 15 years. This man raised my Children since my youngest was 6 and they call him dad.
      I make more money than I ever thought possible and am so very Thankful God did not give up on me, when I gave up on Him. He was still moving – he was still intervening and working on my behalf – and He was answering my prayers, just not in the I thought He would or should.
      He brought me a new husband, a CHRISTIAN husband who treats me the way Christ treats the Church and lays down his life for me and our kids.
      After I read the entire book of Deuteronomy – the Book of Life and Blessing, or Death and Cursing – I realized, my decisions, my choices are what got me where I was. I wanted a “bad boy” and boy did I get what I wanted.
      God gave EVERYONE freewill and that includes people who murder and such. He does not take away their choices and He loves us all equally. We are all His children.
      Once I realized the result was because of my choices, and I began to realize God loves my ex just as much as He loves me. If God told me one of my kids have to go to hell, and the other two – to Heaven, and for me to choose which ones go where – I could not make that decision – so how can we expect or pray that God make that decision when we are ALL His children?
      We are do things that are wrong. This is all about prospective. Try seeing things from God’s view. How sad He must be that we all turn on Him at one time or another. How sad and betrayed He must feel when we blame Him for something we chose or something satan orchestrated.
      It is easy now for me to pray for those that hurt me and to forgive. What is hard for me is to not continue to let it happen over and over again, because I don’t learn a lesson.
      Stop, think and ask yourself, “What is God’s best for me? Am I choosing to live in His favor? Did my choices and His inability to revoke freewill and choices – tie His hands so He cannot give me what I want, when I want it?
      I’m not sure what your situation is – but I definitely know – we all have choices, we all make bad ones, we tend to blame God, and we struggle with our faith and trust in Him because WE NEVER try to look at anything from HIS prospective…
      Again I ask you, if He made you choose – someone that had to go to Hell – is that a choice you could make – if it is – then check your Heart because it is not aligned with God’s.

    • Hi Susan! I hear your struggle…Sometimes the advesary’s voice is so much louder. And I get it. But you and I have a choice. We can choose to believe God or the devil. I choose God. It may not look good to us. But God’s got it under control. Don’t allow satan to fool you. Praying for you!

  5. I am praying for you, Susan. Hold on and believe that God is good. Don’t let Satan win.

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart through this story, Jennifer, and praise be to God, our Loving Father! He is able to take care of matters that mean so much to us so much better than we are able.

    Philippians 4:19 (NIV) “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

  7. Thank you for this message. Sometimes “righteous” anger is so easy to hold onto. You have affirmed something the Lord has been whispering to me and that I refused to acknowledge.

  8. Wow.. Their legacy trickles down. So much further than the obvious. I need to remember this in all things. We can often think that nothing in our walk is making a difference. So much can be behind the scenes that we never consider. It’s a humble reminder. Thank you for this Jennifer. You were blessed with beautiful Christian roll models.

  9. I was betrayed at work after 24 years of devoted service to this large agency, for no reason. God allowed it to happen and He grew me through it, my faith strengthened. Working until I had 30 years in and could retire didn’t happen but God gave me a gift, the same position, for a private company working part-time. I’m able to attend morning Bible study at church, play with my young grandkids, read, write and study the Word. All things I wouldn’t have time to do if I was working full-time. God knows the plans he has for us!

  10. Gracious. ((hug)) We’ve been in a situation where we’ve had to allow the “bad” guy to win. It’s not easy, but there is such comfort in knowing that He’s able to use that negative situation for His glory (even when it happens outside of our view). What a sweet legacy for your parents to leave. 🙂

  11. Wow! I can relate.

    Last August my son got a new job that had amazing potential. He was given a written offer by the GM who demonstrated a great interest in not only him but his family as well. We were all very excited.

    Eight days after starting the job they let him go with many words that didn’t make sense, changing the story from the week before. The amount of anger and outrage that rose up inside of me was ugly. My son’s wife was 6 months with their second child. The anger wanted vengeance and justice. The anger wanted to burn the owner’s restaurant down, picket in front of the newly opened location, rage on social media – anything to make them hurt or change their treatment of my son.

    BUT – what the spirit of God led me to do was one of the most painful things I’ve done. I thought I could pray for justice but the Lord specifically said to me to bless the owner. The Lord said “Vengeance is mine.” so with tears streaming down my face and a pain I cannot describe in my heart, I obeyed the one who loved me first.

    It did not get better after that as I expected. Instead, the owner fought my son’s unemployment saying my son was not hired because the owner himself did not hire him personally. My son went through numerous appeals. The first was overturned so he got one check. Then the owner was successful in getting it reversed. My son was told he had to pay back what he had been paid. It took a couple months for my son to find new employment so had no income to pay the man back.

    I still feel the negative feelings when I drive by the restaurant my son worked at for eight days and have to either out loud or in my heart say “I forgive you”. I’m still trusting God to bring about whatever good He deems because I believe Romans 8:28 is true – He will work all things together for good.

    Thank you for sharing Jennifer.

  12. I needed to read this today. Nothing big, but there are a couple of circumstances for which this truth will apply in my life right now.

    Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your story and this freeing truth.

  13. Thank you for this timely message. I am still struggling with the father of my two oldest children nearly 14 years after I left him and filed for divorce. He has waged war against me through the courts for all these years in order to take the children from me. My 17 yr old finally saw the light and is not currently in contact with his father while he works with a counselor to establish appropriate boundaries with his father. The 14 yr old, however, has allied himself with his father and has chosen to live with him. He is now refusing to visit me, and barely speaks to his family. I am working on getting joint counseling with him and pursuing remedies through the family courts, but it’s slow and painful. I often wonder why the Lord is allowing all of this to happen, but I also remind myself that there is a greater plan in place that I can’t possibly fathom.

    • I can’t imagine the kind of pain you’re going through having a severed relationship with a child. Know Anne that I will be praying for you and while having a faceless person miles away mention that, I wish I could be there in person to give you a big hug reassuring you of your own words above. “There is a greater plan in place that I can’t possibly fathom.” You know that truth. Cling to Him in those moments that seem unbearable. Praying for your children to that God would be their hedge of protection and guard them from any scars that satan may want to inflict. Our God is greater !! Much love xoxo

    • Praying for you Anne,
      How sad that people use their children as pawns in a big game of revenge. Praying for you and your family that God can and will bring beauty from the ashes. God allows people free will and sometimes they use if for ugly purposes. Keep clinging to God and HIS righteousness. He is a fair and just God and will not let the evil go unpunished.
      Blessings and ((hugs)) sweet sister,
      Bev

    • Anne,

      Praying for you and your children sweet sister! So sad that adults use children as pawns to manipulate each other. May God bring restoration to this ugly situation. Praying for peace & calm to infiltrate your heart, soul & mind.

      (((((Hugs)))))

  14. This world is not fair but just remember, it is not finished. We are aliens in this land just passing through. Our eternity future is secured by our faith in Jesus Christ who is fair and just.

  15. Thanks for this wonderful writing.
    “The world is not just, but God is and that’s enough. That’s more than enough.” A very sad day today in a proffessional way…Just knowing that God SEES and HE IS OUR JUSTICE. Thanks for remember me that today!

  16. Jen,
    Sorry so late to the party. I have such a extreme sense of justice and fairness. As my dad sometimes would say “Fair is where you go to get cotton candy.” Life isn’t fair and people are not just. I just went through a second surgery on my foot to correct a botched surgery by another doctor that left me with years of residual nerve pain. There was a part of me that just wanted to see him get what he deserved. But the Lord says, ” I will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Be Still. That’s my part. We may not see justice prevail on this side of heaven, but we can trust God to administer justice when He sees fit. Easier said than done sometimes. What a legacy your parents left by their prayer that you overheard!! Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  17. I’ve been going through that recently. It seems like a daily thing that no matter what I say, someone has a remark or objecton. My mother’s phrase, ” You’re above it. ” And there are times I have defended a position but I am a prayer warrior who fights from a kneeling position and with the sword of the Word. I have to give your parents credit, that’s an amazing testimony.

  18. Jen,

    Great story. You had wonderful Christian parents to forgive and pray for that man. God wants us to be a forgiving people. That can be hard at times. I always remember everyone reaps what they sow. While it may be good here on Earth, eternity may be spent in Hell. He will defend you in any and all situations. Praying for everyone here.

    Blessings 🙂

  19. Two years ago we called an ambulance and got my mother to a hospital within the “golden hour” of a stroke. The doctor at the ER discharged her while she could barely walk or speak. He did nothing for her. Her stroke progressed at home until my father called for an ambulance a second time that day. By then, it was too late. The brain damage was too severe. She died 6 days later. She was only 68. I’m still heartbroken. I still cannot bring myself to pray for a “doctor” whom I feel was more than negligent, but deliberately malicious. Even the paramedics who brought her in to the hospital both times knew she was having a stroke. How do you pray for someone who got paid to save a love one, but didn’t even try?

  20. Wow, your story drew me in completely and wholly. What a testament to God’s faithfulness!! I’m a Justice fighter more often than I’d like to admit and I was convicted gently by the Holy Spirit as I read your story. Thank you for sharing your heart… It has been received with a humble and grateful heart.