Today’s episode features two guests who know what it’s like to lose everything. They share with us how their hope was restored through God’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Our first guest is Brett Swayn who shares how his journey through homelessness brought him to a place where he is now able to share the hope he found in Christ with others going through the same situation. Our second guest is Sherry Taylor, a graduate of The Next Door, a faith based rehabilitation center. Sherry. She shares how she lost everything in the throes of addiction, and how God restored her from brokenness to wholeness in Him.
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today, we talk with two people who know what it’s like to lose everything. They share with us how their hope was restored through God’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Our first guest is Brett Swayn, a sous chef who oversees The Cookery, a fully functioning café and catering center in Nashville, Tennessee that provides homeless men with hope and healing, in addition to teaching them professional culinary skills. Brett shares how his journey through homelessness brought him to a place where he is now able to share the hope he found in Christ with others going through the same situation.
When All Seems Lost, God Is Still There – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 52
Brett Swayn: My name is Brett Swayn. I am the executive director of Lambscroft Ministries which is also tied into the Cookery, which is a culinary school and a working cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.
I was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1967. I left Australia in the hopes of becoming, I guess in the end, a better person in ’91, which landed me first in Europe. I was playing at a ski resort as a night time musician/entertainer in Hopfgarten in Austria. From there I traveled over to England to get to my intended destination which was America in April ‘91.
With my parents being divorced and growing up in a broken family, there were so many things happening on the inside of a kid that you don’t have words for.
I had thoughts and dreams; I just always felt like if you dreamed it, and you were sincere in your dreaming, and you were diligent in your effort, that you could get anything that you wanted to be in life. For me, when music came along, I was actually wanting to be an Australian air force pilot. So, that was a real deviation. But I remember studying calculus in my room and my mom had gotten me a keyboard, after much nagging. As I was studying probability in calculus, I leaned over and I hit this chord progression, and I was very new to music, but I remember a feeling just wooshed through the inside of me; I felt more alive. The exhilaration was like being on a rollercoaster.
When music entered my life and gave me color, I ran after it with everything I had, From there, I saved up all my money and I landed in L.A. I met my friend Rod Scala He came from Australia and we were going to do this dream together.
Pursuing Music From California To Texas
Within about two weeks of living pretty much on Venice Beach, we were running out of money. It was expensive in L.A. and there were no leads.
My friend Rod had heard about this place called the Third Coast in Austin, Texas. I didn’t even know what that meant. All I knew was we were running out and Rod said, “we’ve got to do something– let’s go.” So we used our last money to buy a car. We left L.A. and I remember driving for about five hours and I think we were still in L.A.–didn’t know American cities were so big—and you all drove on the wrong side of the road. So, that was quite an adventure. Eventually we made it to a place in Texas called Austin and we stayed there for about seven, eight years just, at first, taking odd jobs, and we were lucky. We started working on 6th Street, just working in the bars and helping out, to eventually forming a band; and we became one of the bands on 6th Street.
We did that for a good amount of years and I was writing music, but I didn’t realize that for me music had become an idol. I didn’t even know what an idol was. I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t understand the things of the Spirit at all. All I knew is I was chasing after this thing trying to get life from success of music. It made me feel good when I wrote something good, I felt alive, when nothing would come, I felt worthless.
I would practice, I would practice maybe as many as 10 to 14 hours a day, just constantly drilling on my instrument and writing music. That’s all I thought about, all I chased. If I just made it, I’d be able to help my mom buy a house and look after the people that I that I cared for in life, and perhaps be accepted.
It was in fullness, an idol, but it led me to no life.
I ended up moving to Dallas, Texas. I got married for the wrong reasons and tried to make the best of a very broken relationship where Jesus was not in the middle; where love and light was not the center.
I came to that address; “end of your rope,” where I just inwardly imploded and I lost all my family, I lost all my clothes down to my toothbrush. I lost my career, such as it was, I lost my friends. I was very hurt and a very wounded individual. In a time of malice, I committed adultery, which led to the loss of everything.
The Promise of Forgiveness After Losing Everything
All my friends, when they found out, everybody just scattered. It was like an H-bomb had gone off and there was nothing but dust upon the ground all around me. I just looked around and everything was gone.
I felt like I needed to do anything that I could to repair the damage that I had done. I was so sorry for what I had done. But there was nothing that would repair it. Each day it got worse and worse and I felt like my soul was being crushed.
I felt like a car that had taken off. Off the road, off a cliff and I was in the air. There was no traction underneath me, and the steering wheel was just spaghetti in my hands. But sense of panic; “you’re in the air now, but the crash is coming.” That’s what it felt like.
I woke up one morning with this unction, this sense of “go look for a Bible.” I didn’t even know we had one in the house.
I looked through the house and I found a Bible. I opened it up. I found myself in a lot of the bad parts. But the most incredible thing about reading that red Word, was I felt somehow it was reading me. It was like inches from my face. I couldn’t believe that a man from 2000 years ago was speaking so plainly, and completely and intimately to my situation right now.
I started reading other parts where it promised forgiveness, and mercy and, healing, and restoration. All I know was that I wanted out of where I was and I needed to be fixed. I needed healing, I needed forgiveness, more than I needed my next breath.
Night after night, chasing, chasing, I began to pray and fast.
For seven months, I wept before that book. Praying for many, many, many hours each day. It’s all I did.
Things around me still didn’t get better, and each day I would still pray and pray, hoping, thinking that it meant that people would be restored around me even as I was being restored, but my situation just grew worse.
Finding Out God Is Real
So, Christmas Eve I go to the church. It’s called St. Andrews. I’m sitting in the upper loft area. I’d never been to church at Christmas, and here I was, I was 33-34. And I looked to my left, and there’s this daddy playing with his little girl. I cannot tell you the pain that I felt. Because I knew I lost my family. It was my fault. I’d lost the intimacy with my little girl. I remember saying in my heart, I would never wish this pain on even my worst enemy.
And the curious thing happened was; suddenly a picture of my dad came to my mind. I never thought of my dad as my worst enemy, ever. He left when I was five. He had an affair. I was no better. I had followed. As I said that, I knew I had to forgive him and I did because I wouldn’t want this pain on him. I didn’t want to wish this pain on him or anyone. So I forgave my dad right there.
When you find out God is real, you want to do what he says…
In that time, where I was touched, I was cleansed. I was forgiven. My mind was washed. My consciousness; the guilt had gone. It felt like my mind was cellophane again. I was so clear, it was so wonderful.
There was more wreckage to happen, I guess, more devastation. I don’t know if that’s the correct word, but the journey to being released took another three months.
When you find out God is real, you want to do what he says, and I read in the book – it says this is how are you going to travel with no money with just clothes that you’ve got. I had my Bible, I had my traveling papers because I’m a foreigner, and a one-way ticket.
Finding Hope In Nashville, Tennessee
So, I got on a Greyhound. I traveled that 15 hours, which was a trip not from heaven. It was quite an event. When I got closer and closer to Nashville, I began to pray even more honestly, “please Lord, who am I supposed to see?”
Then I remember rounding the corner on the on the highway on that Greyhound and looking to downtown Nashville. At some point the Lifeway building came into view. There was a building in the middle of Nashville with a cross on it. Out of all the cities he could have sent me, He sends me to a city that had a cross on it.
In the morning I met a homeless man. After talking with the homeless man and he found out my situation. He said, “there’s a mission just around the corner from the Greyhound.” I said, “a mission? Does it cost to get there?” He said, “no, no, we can walk. It’s literally just around the corner.” I couldn’t believe that God in this city had organized a place for me to go get some food and a bed that was in walking distance. I didn’t even have bus fare. I was praising God. I was so happy, until I entered the mission. I saw the brokenness, and the dirt, and the hopelessness, and despair.
So the four months that I was living in the mission, as with everything, when we’re going through something, you don’t know when the completion date is. So looking back now, four months didn’t seem so long, but every day pain elongates time, and I remember thinking if I could just get through the morning, “OK, Lord I know you’re going to do something during mid day. All right then, maybe you can do something by the afternoon. OK Lord, it’s night time, so I guess you have to do it tomorrow. Good night.” Every day was this grind and this reaching. I remember I just felt comforted that He was with me and I at some point I decided to help out at the Mission. I wanted to give back, I just didn’t want to eat and sleep and. I would go off; I would go to every Bible study, every church service I could. That’s how I filled my day.
Following God’s Calling And Helping Others In Need
I decided at some point, “oh, I’ll go help out in the kitchens at the mission. That’s how I’ll give back.” I like to cook. I wouldn’t have called myself a chef or anything, I just like to cook and help out, so I helped out in the kitchen. Every morning I would work until about 11, and then I would head off to daily mass or Bible study or whatever I can do, and this went on for months and months and months. Many miracles are happening. My heart is beginning to turn. I’m beginning to see God amongst the poor. Before that moment, I just wanted to get out of my situation. But over time, in this situation, He developed a heart for the broken.
I said “Oh God. I’ve changed. I don’t want to get out of here. If you want me to live amongst the poor for the rest of my life, I will,” and I meant it. You can’t fake surrender. It was a moment I guess God was waiting for. It was the graduating moment, I can only assume. Within a couple of days, someone from Fleming’s Steakhouse had come into community service. His name was Thomas Oglesby. Within a short while working with me he offered me a job. at the Nashville store.
I went I got hired. I start as an entry level prep cook and did day clean up. Within a few months, they saw the grace and the integrity of my work in Him, I guess it was just all Him. They offered me the keys to a restaurant to open it. A little while after that they were flying me to different parts of the country to open up brand new Fleming’s stores and training opening crews. Eventually, I became the second chef in charge of the Nashville store. During all this time, we’re still helping the poor. We’re still feeding the poor every weekend. I’m still keeping in contact with the friendships that I had made with certain fellows at the mission. Every day it was just me and Jesus.
I had such great joy to see what He had done with my life. I also had sorrow that He didn’t tell me at the beginning, because my pride perhaps would have gotten in the way. But it strengthened me.
During that time of Fleming’s after the first year, I asked my bosses Gabe Fairchild and Tracy Riddick, I asked them, the two days of the year that Flemings was close was Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the poor, they’re amongst the hardest days, because everyone has family to go to. Would they let me open up Fleming’s just to feed a small group of folks? They said as long as I was involved with it and made sure that everything was clean and safe, I could. The first time we did it, it was 26 people maybe? Eight years later, it was about 400. The joy in that room was indescribable.
My friend Terry Kemper, who helped begin the Woodbine emergency shelter, which we did every Wednesday and Saturday for six years, I’d been talking to her about not just taking care of the needs, the immediate needs of survival, but teaching everything that Fleming’s had taught me. Giving these guys hope and a new sense of identity. She found a building which became The Cookery.
I understood. I had such great joy to see what He had done with my life. I also had sorrow that He didn’t tell me at the beginning, because my pride perhaps would have gotten in the way. But it strengthened me. I knew my time was over. The next year, I had left Fleming’s; I’d given my notice. I’d done everything to my best ability.
It was just a God thing. So it gave me peace knowing that I had done the right thing, and we began construction for The Cookery.
Giving Others The Joy Of The Lord
Terry found this building on 12th South, and it was a wreck of a building. There was burnt wood. The windows were holes in the wall and the toilets were just holes in the floor. There was nothing built to code. It was a mess. It was a wreck on the inside. No electricity. The subfloor was exposed.
Terry said, God gave her, that this was going to be a “City On The Hill.” She said it would take her around about three months, she thought, to restore it. It didn’t take three months, it took nearly three years, and back then, 12th South was a pretty scary area. Everything’s changed now. But I remember. We had no money. Yet each month, rent was there.
I think we’re coming up to the fourth year now. We’ve had probably close to 30 men come and go. I would like to say that all of them have received freedom and all of them are doing well.
We had a young man, Jordan, who was 23, and he had a scholarship at Trevecca for basketball and he just lost himself. He needed to come for God. We’ve had other young men come, because they need a deeper touch from the Lord. We’ve had some with mental illness, we have some that have had a moral failure that just seems like too insurmountable, they can’t get out of. Some that have had a financial failure and they’ve just given up.
Some have been broken by relationships through other failures. Whichever come, we take them in and we give them the joy of the Lord, and every one them know that He is in the house.
Meeting Sarah Young Of Jesus Calling
Several years ago I had heard about this lady who wrote this book all about Jesus. Now see for me, ever since I found out Jesus is real, any kind of word like that; my ears perk up. I am all about it. But they said this lady here, she lives in Perth and I went, “well, wow, that’s my hometown, obviously.” She was a missionary to Japanese immigrants living in Perth, and so I’m interested in all of this.
I heard that she was from Tennessee. Now here I am in Tennessee, who had come from Perth, so already in a strange, silly way, I felt like I was kind of connected to this lady. Then I hear later on that she’s moved back to Tennessee.
Then one day, on a Sunday, I walk in and I get told someone wants to meet me. So I go up to the table and this lady introduces herself and says, “I’m Sarah. I’m Sarah Young. I’ve heard about you, Brett.” Immediately, there’s a sense of honor. You want to honor the person in front of you that’s heard so much about you.
She was so easy to talk to. She was so genuine, she was so sincere, that she asked me some questions. I don’t share a lot of what I’ve just shared because it’s difficult. It’s difficult to go into, and really in a “rush rush” pace of a café, it’s not something that you feel the liberty to go into deep, deep, deep spiritual things.
But Sarah she took a hold of me and her interest, her sincerity, her genuineness said, “No, seriously I want to hear. I get this stuff, and it speaks to me.” I knew that she was real.
God’s Promise To Be With Us
We have Jesus Calling on the front counter of The Cookery, and it’s open to the public. They just walk in. I see many times, people, as they’re paying the bill or wandering while they’re waiting for their coffee, I’ll see them leaning over the book you’re reading. And that’s a great blessing to us.
I wanted to share June 10th, and I’ll read it.
Rest in Me. My child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My Hand holding yours. How foolish you are my child. Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.
The scripture says “pray continuously,” First Thessalonians 5:17. Psalms 62:5. “Find rest oh my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from Him.”
He’s promised to be with us. So that passage of “finding rest in Me.” Knowing that He’s right there. Sometimes, as I did when I went through homelessness, I felt like I’d fallen into a pit where the world no longer could find me or see me. No one could reach out to me. I had no money to call home. No one knew where I was.
When He shows you the way out, what you thought was a pit was actually a well that was dug. From that well you draw mercy, compassion, and wisdom, and knowledge, and refreshment from the depths of that well. It goes on and on and on.
When I see someone struggling, who feels like they’ve lost everything, I remember one of the brothers upstairs—Bruce–showed up, and he was whispering in his wreckage, and I startled him because I said, “this is going to sound crazy to you right now, but you’re in a very good place.” He thought I was crazy. But when I share about what God has done, it gives him strength to take another breath. The word of the testimony, I share what He has achieved and they look around and they see this restaurant, and see everything that’s happened. It speaks. It’s the story that speaks, and that’s what gives people a sense of hope and it fills them. The food that we give is not just physical, when they hear these things it becomes a strengthening of the soul.
Narrator: Brett continues to spread the message of hope and healing to those he serves each day. For more information about The Cookery, visit TheCookery.org. Next on the Jesus Calling podcast, we talk with Sherry Taylor, a graduate from The Next Door, a faith based rehabilitation center in Nashville. But first, a brief message about how you can get a free audiobook from Audible.com.
Audible offer: As a special offer to you, the listeners of The Jesus Calling podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service.
Find your favorite Sarah Young titles, including Jesus Calling and Jesus Always in an audiobook version and get it for free by trying audible.com. Check out a small sample of the Jesus Calling audiobook, featured at the end of this podcast. To download an entire free audiobook today, go to audibletrial.com/JesusCalling. Again, that’s audibletrial.com/JesusCalling for your full, free audiobook. Now, on to our interview with Sherry Taylor.
Narrator: The Next Door is a faith based rehabilitation center based in Nashville, Tennessee. Sherry Taylor came to The Next Door after a long battle with substance abuse. She shares with us how God led her to seek help at The Next Door, and how she found hope to begin a new life, free from the chains of addiction.
Sherry Taylor: My name is Sherry Taylor and I graduated from the Next Door, September 2015.
I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’m an only child to my mom and stepfather, who are still at home, still very healthy and happy, a huge support. I have a large group of cheerleaders, faith-based family.
When I was kid, I remember having somewhat, a personal relationship; I turned my life over to Christ. My grandmother took me to church all the time but my parent’s weren’t going at the time.
We looked good on the outside. I was taught to do that at an early age. We looked well. The house could be in total chaos, but we would get up and go to school as if nothing happened. You go do your best and make the grades, and no one should know about what goes on inside your household. That was one of the secrets and so, I did that. I was dressed up from head to toe, matching all the time, to go to school where I did well. Getting along with others and fitting in, getting involved in lots of activities all the time, especially to keep me away from home so much. I wanted to be gone all the time.
My parents would argue and I understood later on that my father struggled with alcoholism.
Facing Heartbreak and Rejection
After I graduated from high school, and I had my daughter, my senior year of high school, I was engaged to her father who went on to the military and that relationship didn’t work out well. I think early on, then I started to define myself based on a little bit of that rejection. I started to define myself, but I still had some fight in me. So, I went to school and graduated as a licensed nurse and passed my state exam. Early on, I had my own apartment at the time. I was a young single mother, and I was around other people who, on the weekends, the way they would wind down was to drink and party. That was my first recollection of being introduced to any types of substance.
I remember finding ways and means to control that. I would only do that on the weekends. I quickly got involved, still involved off and on in my church, interacting with my family and raising my child. I remember by the end of nursing school though, before I started working in clinical nursing, I was pregnant again with my son.
I remember being, “Oh no, I’m a single parent again.” I just remembered that rejection sending me to a place where I never thought I would go. Didn’t feel too good about myself. Even though I was constantly surrounded around people who spoke positive into me. You can do whatever you want to do, just do it. So there, I think chemicals became my friend, I thought.
Slowly, over the next several years, well, the next three or four years, my addiction became not just something I did for recreation, but something I came to depend on. It quickly spiraled out of control to the point where I found myself saying,”I need help.” I struggled with that, because I came from a family who didn’t tell their business. Nobody was getting help; I felt like a lot of people needed it, but not a lot of people were getting help. I took a risk. I’m grateful to God today that I was encouraged to get the help, and that was my first introduction to self-help and 12-Step help, and formal treatment and my introduction and acknowledgment that addiction is a disease.
The Rooms Of Recovery
I learned through education in the first treatment center, that it wasn’t a moral deficiency. For a long time, I thought I was just bad and made bad decisions, and I was not a good person. From that first treatment center, I was able to grow in the next year or so, I was working again in the field of my choice. I was still in nursing. I had not incurred any legal matters or hurt myself or hurt anybody else to the point where I faced any legal problems. A lot of it was spiritual bankruptcy, just feeling bad about myself and hoping, I found hope again through that first treatment, that I could maybe live through this, if I could get some help, and I did.
I met my first husband in the rooms of recovery. I raised my children in the rooms of recovery and gained some friendships that are still true, and have lasted that many years, since ’93, is my first recollection. From ’93 to 2004, very active in the community, in my church, with my children, as a mother, as a wife, worked full time; we also ran a business.
I began to struggle, and I didn’t want a divorce, but we weren’t getting along very well. When I asked for a separation, instead my husband filed for divorce and I found myself in an amount of emotional pain I hadn’t ever experienced before. I was able to stay clean still. By then, I had about eight years clean.
This was up until about 2002. I went home a couple of times hoping that would work out. With that, and just simple isolation, working too much, trying to cover up those feelings, not letting somebody know what was really going on with me. I also experienced the death of a close relative that I feel like really pushed me over the edge. Why would I go back to something that’s terrifying to me, that something that was so horrific early on that hurt me and the lives of many people around me, would be reconsidered once again. I did reconsider that, and before I knew it, I was under the influence of substances again.
Throughout this time, I’ve always been encouraged to seek God, practice your faith, hold on, things are going to get better. I think I did, for the most part. I never gave up on that. I can remember using substances and asking God while I was using the substances, “Lord, if you would please, just relieve me of this madness.” I’m grateful that somewhere a foundation was laid a long time ago. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today.
Getting Out By The Grace Of God
After that divorce and death and my relapse, it has taken me almost 11 years to get back. I remember going through a multitude of feelings; “less than,” shame, guilt, then I’d get a little bit of hope, and I’d go seek some help, and it would work for a while, but I couldn’t stay consistently clean anymore.
I was in so much pain, so broken, didn’t want to live but I didn’t want to die. I had spent the last 11 years trying to put together a significant amount of time free from chemical dependency. It got so bad. I had nowhere to go. I refused to involve my family. I moved here and did the geographical change to do better, but the opposite happened after about nine months, I was back out into the streets using, around some very dangerous people. I’m exposed to very dangerous situations. Only by the grace of God have I been able to come out of that. I really felt like I needed to go somewhere, or I was going to die, literally.
Last couple of times I used, I lost control of my senses of what was going on around me. I felt like I was leaving here physically and I was around nobody that was willing to help. I remember crawling to get to a bathtub to put cold water on me, because I literally felt like I was dying. That scared me and probably the thing that scared me into change. It took me 11 years of going through what was a spiral, out of control spiral of using a destructive behavior where everyone was affected. Every aspect of my life was affected, my job and my well-being, my ability to maintain friendships, relationships and even just to take care of myself. It was absolutely horrible. I never thought I would live that way, but that’s exactly where it took me, and that’s exactly where it will take you if you’re stuck using.
Jail, institution, or death is the message that I’m given. Those all became a reality for me except death. I know that I was knocking on death’s door.
I had no more chances left. I knew I would rather die, but I knew I did not have the nerve to do anything to myself, never gave it any real thought, and that that was the easy, cheap way out and I needed to do something different. I was in so much denial.
Finding The Next Door
The day that I found out about this place, The Next Door, I picked up the phone to call for a job interview. Somehow, I was dialing for help. I understand today and believe that was the Holy Spirit innovating in my life and I was able to talk to a clearing house who directed me here. I had no insurance. I had been living from pillar to post with whoever would allow me to stay.
I came to the Next Door January 12th, 2015 I never will forget it. I walked in the door and placed my bags down and from the first time I stepped in this building, the Holy Spirit, I just felt like, completely took over. Maybe I felt it, I’m sure I felt it in different degrees. It became greater the longer I stayed here. There was an angel. I’m sure she was a volunteer at the time, who met me at the front lobby and consoled me while I waited to get my bags searched and go through the admissions process. From that point on, the staff here never made me feel disrespected. In fact, it was total opposite. I felt so bad about myself, and I understood that these people believed in us from the very start. They believed in me from the very start. They spoke that. Everything about their walk, their talk was not put on or didn’t feel rehearsed. It was so genuine, that I felt like God really did sent me to a place I needed to be.
I was welcomed by a young lady who I think wanted to give nothing but her time. She was able to console my nerves for making such a big decision, so I didn’t sit there by myself. I was given a bag that had every toiletry that a woman could ever need, entering a place to actually stay for an indefinite amount of time.
The Gift Of Jesus Calling
From the very first time, I stepped into the building, until then, there was a change going on inside of me. I knew that this being a faith-based program from the very time you stepped in the door, you’re given a gift bag and Jesus Calling was in the gift bag.
So, I started reading that first off. I had some experience in recovery and I knew that daily meditation and keeping my mind on the Word of God, would help me become focused, like I needed to be. Just through those few days of opening that book, and being surrounded around what I consider phenomenal staff, transition had already started taking place in my life. I had no idea I would end up where I’m at today. Over the next few months, I was able to maintain employment. I started feeling better about myself because I could pay my rent. I had somewhere safe and sound to come to, and it wasn’t just a place to lay my head. There was something special going on inside this building, and it’s still very special to me today. I’ve never felt so well respected.
I was home visiting my parents recently, and my dad woke up that morning and he was drinking a cup of coffee walking through the house, and he was carrying a Jesus Calling. It almost sends chills through me because I thought, “wow, that really is a popular book!” I am not just saying it because I am on tape. It’s affecting my livelihood and the people around me that means so much to me, enjoy this book tremendously. I’ll celebrate 18 months the 12th of July, almost two years again, and I couldn’t manage to put nine months together before, over an 11-year period, so it speaks volumes to me today; that God is working in my life. I’m so grateful that He chose The Next Door to do that. They have a number one cheerleader, a fan forever and ever, so does Sarah Young and this Jesus Calling.
Knowing That God Loves You
I’ve been able to get settled and re-centered when I feel like I’m off my game, so to speak. By reading, I find peace. By reading its direct relation to God’s Word, continues to be life-saving and life-changing for me. I get a lot of peace out of it.
One of my favorites, and it’s May 26, it says, “In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the one who never changes. I am the Alpha and the Omega. The First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. I created a beautifully ordered world. One that reflected my perfection. Now, however, the world is under the bondage of sin and evil. Every person on the planet faces gaping jaws of uncertainty. The only antidote to this poisonous threat, is drawing closer to me. In My presence, you can face uncertainty with perfect peace.”
I think that’s just amazing. There’s all kinds of things going on that are outside of my control, but this Word just holds true time and time again. In good times, in celebration, I’ve been able to go to this book. In troubled times obviously, I’ve been able to go to this book.
Don’t ever give up on yourself and don’t ever give up on God.
I just know that God loves me so much. That’s why he placed me here. When I moved over to transition over to the apartments, again, I worked outside my field for about a year just to get focused. I was able to return to my field, and by the grace of God, not only did I return to my field, but I returned to this field as well, helping other people. In particular, women who are recovering. I’m on the front lines. I work for a company who provides detox services to struggling women who struggle with alcohol and addiction. For those who don’t know, there’s an epidemic, very real in our life today. I’m able to be a small part of that by sharing my own experience, strength, and hope.
We’re following through, I am and lots of women like me are following through to the calling on their life as well, where they’ve been affected by this greatly. They’re waiting for someone to ask them the same thing, “why not me?” Absolutely, there’s a way you can get out. There’s always a way. Don’t ever give up on yourself and don’t ever give up on God. He’s working. He’s alive, He’s well and His word is so true and it’s absolutely life-changing. It has been for me and it can be for you too.
Narrator: If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a substance abuse problem and needs help, please visit The Next Door’s website at thenextdoor.org or call them at (855)-202-4784. That’s (855) 202-4874.
Producer’s Note: The Next Door is blessed to be able to provide Jesus Calling devotionals free of charge to jails and prisons as part of our mission to support women and their families. Their treatment programs are designed to empower women to find new hope in recovery. To find out how you can help send Jesus Calling to help others during their incarceration, click here.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling podcast, we’ll visit with two young authors who are encouraging women who are struggling to create their identity around an ideal that has been given to us by the world, to find their identity in Christ. Here’s a preview of our interview with Jennie Allen, the author of Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard.
Jennie Allen: I think the grace of God is to reveal the places that we depended on ourselves or things in this world more than Him. He wants a relationship with us ultimately. So what draws us back to that, a lot of times, it’s our need for Him and our recognition of these things that we chase are not actually satisfying us.
Narrator: Today’s featured passage comes from the May 26th entry of the Jesus Calling Audiobook:
In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Find in Me the stability for which you have yearned.
I created a beautifully ordered world: one that reflected My perfection. Now, however, the world is under the bondage of sin and evil. Every person on the planet faces gaping jaws of uncertainty. The only antidote to this poisonous threat is drawing closer to Me. In My Presence you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace.
Narrator: Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments so we can reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story today.