Janine’s Story…

6 years ago I was a lost sheep … Wandering through my life.  I was lonely, depressed, and wondering if this was all life had for me.  Sure I had things to be thankful for – my loving husband and a beautiful 2yo boy who brought much joy to my world – and I was pregnant with a beautiful girl – another blessing!  But yet something was missing in my life.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I yearned for more but deep down I knew the world could not fill it – no amount of shopping, eating or chasing after success could satisfy that part of me that felt empty.
About this time I had been going along to Mops (Mothers of Preschoolers) here at one2one.  It was such a lifeline to me.  As a first time mum I was so lonely.  I enjoyed being a mum yet at times it was overwhelming and no-one in my normal circle seemed to know how to help me.   It was the love of the Mops mums that kept me sane.  Indeed, the Mops leaders (Patsy, Tanya, Sally, Helen, Karen and many others) were wonderful.  They cared.  They loved on me. They listened to me.  They accepted me.  And they had something I didn’t – an inner peace and joy – and I wanted to know why!
So when they invited me to come along to a Journeys course to find out more about the Christian faith, I thought sure, why not?  I trusted these ladies and thought maybe I’d find some answers!  So off I went with my young baby Emma on my lap, and I heard about how having a personal relationship with Jesus had changed people’s lives – and it dawned on me … I too could have a personal relationship with Jesus and my Heavenly Father … That was what I was missing in my life!  It wasn’t about religion or doing good works – it was about knowing God.  This was a turning point in my life, and I gave my life to the Lord.
Now I’d like to say my life miraculously transformed overnight – but alas that was just the beginning of my wonderful walk with God.  Yet He is so clever!  He knew to bring me closer to Him He would have to throw me in the deep end so I would learn to rely on Him and build that personal relationship with Him.
So about a year after becoming a Christian, God called me to lead the Mops Ministry at one2one.  I can tell you I had many Moses moments of “why use me Lord?” And “but I can’t speak to all those people!”  Yet after much deliberating, I decided to be obedient … and God was faithful – when He calls you He equips you. He surrounded me with the love, support and leadership gifts of some wonderful Mops leaders, and together we loved on our Mops mums to shine Jesus into their lives. 
See God knows serving Him in a leadership role will bring you closer to Him like nothing else – it humbles you and makes you realise how dependent on God you are.  It puts the spotlight on those aspects of your life that need to change – no longer can you remain selfish, demanding and self-centred.  And God gently peels off the layers of hurt and shame from the past, so you can in turn help others to do the same.
After 4 years of Mops leadership, I found myself graduating and wondering where God would lead me next.  I couldn’t imagine a life without serving Him in ministry – loving others and helping them to come to know a personal relationship with Jesus.  I wanted to continue to grow in my relationship with God and serve Him.  Many times I prayed fervently He would guide me towards His path for my life.  I didn’t just want to jump into anything to keep busy and I didn’t want to return full-time to my existing job.  I knew I wanted to serve Him where he needed me. 
You see, through leading Mops I have learnt how to trust God, how to lean on Him, and I discovered His unconditional love for me.  He healed me of many hurts from my past for which I am so grateful.  He encouraged me and helped me believe He had great plans for my life – One of my favourite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
So now I embark on a new adventure at one2one as Director of Groups and Newcomers.  God has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have ever contemplated on my own.  And yes I found myself having more Moses moments of “why me God” and “I can’t speak to all those people” … Yet I trust God implicitly … I have seen his faithfulness, His goodness, and I am so thankful yet again for the opportunity to serve Him.  And at those times when I catch a glimpse of His vision for our church and I feel awed at the task ahead, He gently reminds me He is in control and He will be with me!
Maybe God has been inviting you to dive in the deep end, to take on something new or pick up something you have let go?   Maybe he wants you to discover more of Him and His wonderful love for you?
I am so thankful for all God has done and is doing in my life.  I am even more thankful for what His son, Jesus, did for me – how he died on a cross for my sins so I could have a personal relationship with His Father – our God.
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