Sharon Jaynes: He is on His throne and He is in control no matter what is happening with the political situation, with the medical situation, with the racial situation, with any situation that we’re going through right now, God is still in control. And sometimes, you know, things have to get better before they get worse. We know that. But make sure that we’re looking through the right lens of gratitude. We can look for the lessons that we need to be learning through this, that we can learn more about the character of God as we’re going through this, that we can learn more about how to be grateful when we’re going through difficult circumstances.
God Is The Ultimate Rescuer: Sharon Jaynes & Christine Soule – Episode #263
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. The best news we could ever receive is that in the middle of our most broken, painful moments, there is Someone who will reach out to us—no matter what we’ve done, who we’ve hurt, or the mistakes that we’ve made. God does not care what you look like, or the road that you’ve traveled—all He cares for is your heart and where you’re headed.
Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of twenty-five books, including her newest one, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. Sharon was the vice president of Proverbs 31 Ministries for ten years, and is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, Inc. Growing up in a violent home, Sharon was introduced to what a true relationship with God looks like through a caring neighbor—the same neighbor who would bring Sharon’s broken mom to Christ as well, paving the way for her alcoholic father to also know God. Time and time again, Sharon has seen the power of forgiveness in her life, and how your worst, most heartbreaking moments can be the springboard for positive change.
Sharon: Well hi, I’m Sharon Jaynes, and I’m so glad to be with you today.
Shutting Out the Noise of a Difficult Childhood
My growing up years, they were some pretty bad chapters. I grew up in a small town in eastern North Carolina. My dad was a pretty successful businessman. He wasn’t home a lot, but honestly, as a little girl, that was fine with me because my dad had a terrible drinking problem. When he was home, he drank heavily. And many nights my parents would get in arguments—and not just verbal arguments. They would get in fights.
My mom was a bitter, angry woman. And then with my dad’s alcohol, that was just a real bad combination. They would start arguing, and it would turn violent. Many nights I would hear my dad hitting my mom and her hitting him back. I would go to bed at night sometimes, just pull those covers up and just pray I could go to sleep to shut out the noise that was going on in that next room.
As a little girl, I grew up seeing a lot of things a little girl shouldn’t see. I heard words a little girl shouldn’t hear.
Now, with my family, as bad as we were—and there was a lot that went on behind those doors. There was drinking. There was alcohol. There was pornography. There was gambling—as bad as always as my home life was, we went to church on Sundays. And when we walked in the church, people would say, “How are you today?” And we would say, “Fine,” but we weren’t fine.
I always felt I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t a good enough daughter. And if I could be, then maybe my parents wouldn’t be so angry and fight all the time. I remember going into my brother’s room and hiding in his room sometimes, and we developed a pattern. When conflict would happen, he would leave. And I developed a pattern of [when] conflict would happen, I would try to fix it. So as a little girl, I grew up trying to fix my parents’ problems. And of course, I never could. But you know what? God did not leave me that way.
“I always felt as a little girl that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t a good enough daughter. And if I could be, then maybe my parents wouldn’t be so angry and fight all the time.” – Sharon Jaynes
Taken Under the Wing of Kindness
When I was about twelve years old, there was a woman in my neighborhood, her name was Mrs. Henderson. Her daughter Wanda was my best friend. I would love to be down at the Hendersons’ home. Mrs. Henderson, she would walk around the house, singing little praise songs about Jesus. And honestly, I thought she was a little strange because she talked about Jesus like she knew Him personally.
What I began to realize when I started going to church with the Hendersons—because see, many nights I would spend Saturday night there and then I would go to church with them the following day—I couldn’t verbalize this as a little girl, but I began to see that what they had in their life was a relationship with Jesus Christ. What we had was a religion in our lives. And I began to see there was something very different between a religion and a relationship, and I wanted what they had.
Mrs. Henderson just took me under her wing as she loved me. It took me about two years under her mentoring before I finally accepted Jesus. And then when I did, He did forever change my life at fourteen.
Three years after I came to Christ, I had an opportunity to leave for the summer to study abroad with a group. But I said, “I can’t go, because who’s going to take care of my family? Who’s going to take care of my parents?” I had gotten into that role of being the fixer. Well, I decided that I would leave for the summer, and I told my mom, I said, “Now listen, if something happens, I’m not here to help you. Get down to Mrs. Henderson. She’ll help you.” Well, that night my dad came home drunk, started a fight, and I wasn’t there to help. So she went to Mrs. Henderson’s home. And that night, my mom gave her life to Jesus Christ.
Here’s the amazing story of it all: when my mom became a Christian—and listen, I would never tell a woman to stay with someone who was abusive—my mom did tell my dad that she gave her life to Jesus. And you know what happened that night? My father never drank again. When I came home that summer, he said, “I’ll go to church with you, but I could never become a Christian because there’s too many things that I’ve done in my life. God could never forgive me.”
Now, of course, I said, “Dad, none of us can be good enough. If we could be good enough, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross.” But he could not understand that kind of grace for a man like him.
“I said, ‘Dad, none of us can be good enough. If we could be good enough, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross.’ But he could not understand that kind of grace for a man like him.” – Sharon Jaynes
A Wayward Father Finds Jesus
Six years after I came to know the Lord, my dad was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He was being sued in our small town because of a business dealing. My mom had gone to Pennsylvania for a meeting. And my dad got in his car, drove from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. He stopped by a church and he said, “I need someone to pray for me.”
The secretary there said, “Well, the priest isn’t here, but I know a Baptist pastor who’s out in the woods building his church right now.” And she drew him a map on a scratch piece of paper.
My dad got in his car with the scratch piece of paper, followed this map, and found a man out in the woods building his church with a hammer in his hand and Jesus in his heart. And he said, “I need you to pray for me.”
The man said, “Well, Alan, tell me your story, what’s wrong?”
And probably for the first time ever, my dad told this man everything he had done.
Then that precious man, a man I’ll never know, put his arm around my dad and said, “Alan, let me tell you what I’ve done.” And the way my father explained it to me, he said, “Sharon, everything I had done in my life this man had done too, and I knew that if God could forgive him and he could be a preacher, then He could forgive me.”
My dad accepted Jesus that day. I say he went in the woods a sinner and came out a saint. That is how the worst chapter can become a greatest victory. It was a bad chapter in my life. It was a bad chapter in both of my parents’ lives, but it became their greatest victory.
For everyone listening, I want to encourage you that getting from that place to being able to tell your story of redemption is a process. For my life, one thing I realized pretty soon on is that even though both of my parents had become Christians, there was a lot of forgiveness that had to go on in my heart. I didn’t forgive my parents the moment they accepted Christ. You know what? I didn’t even realize that I had that unforgiveness still in my heart.
“I want to encourage you that getting from that place to being able to tell your story of redemption is a process.” – Sharon Jaynes
One of the men at our church who mentored the teenagers and people in their twenties, I went and shared that I was having trouble hearing from God. And Mr. Thorpe looked at me, said, “Sharon, I sense that you have never forgiven your father. What’s happened? What’s happened in your past?”
And I said, “Mr. Thorpe, I’m not here to talk about my past. I’m here to talk about my future.”
He said, “Sharon, God cannot talk to you about your future until you deal with your past.”
So that day, we talked about all the forgiveness that needed to happen in my heart. And after I forgave my father, things became much clearer. I started hearing from God in this area of my life. I knew what I wanted to do.
Forgiveness Changes Things
We have to stop and think, Who am I not forgiving? Because as long as we have unforgiveness in our heart, we will get stuck in a bad chapter in our story. So the first step is deciding you want to get well, the second step is to forgive those people who have hurt you.
“We have to stop and think, Who am I not forgiving? Because as long as we have unforgiveness in our heart, we will get stuck in a bad chapter in our story. So the first step is deciding you want to get well, the second step is to forgive those people who have hurt you.” – Sharon Jaynes
The Bible tells us our whole Christian faith is based on forgiveness, isn’t it? Jesus gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins. And yet that is the step we stumble on so many times. If our Christian faith isn’t based on forgiveness, well, it’s not based on anything at all.
Once you’ve decided you want a different story, you’ve forgiven those who hurt you, you’ve forgiven yourself and received God’s forgiveness, you’ve left that shame place. Now you’re ready to tell your story.
God’s Always Working Behind the Scenes
I love Jesus Calling, and I’ve probably given it as gifts more than any other book besides the Bible. There’s an excerpt from April 11th that really speaks to what we’ve been sharing today. And it says this:
To find joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four hour segments. I understand human frailty, and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant Life in My Presence today.
I want to encourage you, especially when you’re talking about your own mistakes and failures, don’t worry. Everyone has something in their past they’re not proud of. But can we then turn around and use that for good? Well, that just glorifies God and helps people see Jesus.
We’ve all got some chapters in our lives that we would love to rip out of the narrative, and some chapters where we just wonder if God even sees what’s going on in our lives. But I want to encourage you that God is always working behind the scenes. He’s always working in the meanwhile, even when we don’t recognize Him.
Stay tuned to Christine Soule’s story after a brief message.
New 365-devotional from Jesus Calling author Sarah Young!
Many of us want to develop a deeper prayer life. In this new 365-day devotional, Jesus Listens, Sarah Young offers daily prayers based on Scripture that will help you experience how intentional prayer can connect you to God and change your heart. Learn more about Jesus Listens and download a free sample at https://www.jesuscalling.com/books/jesus-listens/.
Narrator: Our next guest is Christine Soule, who grew up in a broken home, struggled with drug addiction, was a victim of sex trafficking, and had nowhere to turn. Eventually, Christine found God through a Benny Hinn gathering that was right next to the strip club where she was working. She made a 180 on her lifestyle, boldly making different life choices, relying on nothing but the goodness of God to heal her broken soul and spirit. Christine is now the the founder and CEO of Providence Heights, a nonprofit organization that was created to house women and children in need, as well as providing counseling, jobs, and education.
Christine Soule: Hello, my name is Christine Soule, and I am a passionate lover of Jesus Christ. I truly believe that we are here for that beautiful purpose of loving God and loving His people.
A Rocky Start in Life
My history and relationship with my parents is, I would say, unique. My father was married seven times—eight, if you include my mom twice. The way he did family is that when he divorced his wife, he would kind of divorce the kids as well and never see them again. I saw my dad probably about six times after the age of five. Now my mom, she was married four times—very interesting situations there.
I actually discovered that I had, I believe, fourteen additional siblings that I had met at my dad’s funeral. And so that was a little bit of a unique situation from the people who I was raised with, with my family. That was two brothers and one sister. I really didn’t see my brothers from about the age of five on just a handful of times. My sister kind of bounced back and forth from my dad’s house to my house. At the age of sixteen, my sister, I discovered, was having an affair with my adopted father. I was the one who caught them and needed to tell my mom what was taking place. And so that really severed the relationship between my sister and I. They actually had ran off and gotten married, drained the bank account, and we lost everything that we had, our house, our cars, even like the stereo system. So that was kind of a difficult time. So that was really my only relationship with my siblings.
Saved From Darkness
At age ten, I started doing drugs, and at age seventeen, I was pregnant. Eighteen, I had my beautiful daughter. And at nineteen, I had identical twin boys. I ended up as a meth addict and I was being trafficked.
Now, trafficking in America, I would say, looks very different to what we would picture in some foreign country. In fact, I talk to parents about, you know, don’t just teach kids about a guy in a creepy white van, but give them confidence because the way a trafficker in America knows how he can traffic a girl or boy is by just one sentence. And that’s, “Hey, you’re pretty.” And based on the response of that person will tell that trafficker if they’re able to traffic them.
So I would say that the most critical part of really training your child is really in understanding their identity and knowing how valuable they are, so that when they see someone speaking in those terms, they have those warning signs of what to look for and really know their identity and who they are in Christ.
So for me, as a twenty-one year old girl who had been trafficked and just desperate to have change in her life, I was a pretty severe addict at that point. And I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to love my babies. I actually was at the point where I just despised men, though. I was desperate for something, for anything. And, you know, it’s interesting. As I would drive down the road to the strip club where I was working, I remember seeing this Benny Hinn sign and I was like, Who is this Benny Hinn guy? What is this all about? They kept doing these events and I’m like, What is the commotion? It was taking all of the parking, and it was right next to my work. Years later, I kind of step back and go, You know what? I wonder if Benny Hinn said, “Hey, everybody, extend your hands to that strip club and pray for those women and there for them to come to the knowledge of Christ.”
Right after that, I fell to my knees, and I was so desperate that I just cried out to God said, “If you are real, take my life, it’s yours. I surrender.” And with everything in me, I surrendered to Him. I so tangibly felt the power and presence of God that I threw all the drugs and alcohol away, and I had just determined, I’m not going to live like that anymore. And you know what? I should have had a heart attack by quitting drugs the way that I did. But instead, I never even had a desire, temptation, or withdrawal. I was completely set free in that moment.
Living the Christian Life
Now, my trajectory of how to walk this whole Christian life was a little bit different because here I was in my miniskirt and low-cut top with three kids walking into church. Needless to say, I didn’t quite fit in. But you know what? That would be my comment to everyone listening, is if someone steps in that church and they look a little different than you, they’re seeking God. They need a Savior, and you know what? Grab a hold of them because they have probably made the scariest, most bold step up to that point in their life. So love them. It’s a huge deal to let them know that they matter.
“If someone steps in that church and they look a little different than you, they’re seeking God. They need a Savior and you know what? Grab a hold of them, because they have probably made the scariest, most bold step up to that point in their life. So love them. It’s a huge deal to let them know that they matter.” – Christine Soule
I had that immediate salvation and passion for Christ in that moment. I had steps in learning, How do I live out this Christian walk? And that took time. But you know what? God is so faithful and He’s so gracious and He just, I like to call it like a beautiful garden. All of a sudden I had a ton of weeds, and He just started kind of plucking those little weeds, you know, and it was like, “Okay, you’ve got this, baby girl. How about you go over here now? How about we deal with this weed? Okay, you’ve got that. How about you deal with this weed?”
That’s what He really did in my life so that I could have that beautiful garden, I could have that beautiful soil, that He could actually deposit and plant something great into my life. And so that’s the thing: don’t expect people to change overnight, just one step at a time so that they can really allow God to cultivate them. It’s not our job just to fix them. It’s God’s job to cultivate them.
“Don’t expect people to change overnight, just one step at a time so that they can really allow God to cultivate them. It’s not our job just to fix them. It’s God’s job to cultivate them.” – Chrstine Soule
God Will Rescue You Again and Again
You know, there was this moment where I had my three kids, I was bouncing from house to house. I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I found out all my bills, and I had forty dollars to my name, and I did not know what I was going to do. I sat there in that moment and I thought, You know, God really rescued me before. I wonder if He can help me with this difficulty in my life? I wrote that forty-dollar check out to the only person I knew who went to a Christian church. I gave it to him and I said, “Hey, can you just give this to your church?”
And he said, “Yeah, no problem.”
He had no idea it was the last penny to provide for my babies. And, you know, it was that man that I gave that check to that I have been married to for twenty-four years, almost. And it was that man who really helped me walk out that life for Christ.
And you know, Jesus Calling has been a huge blessing. In fact, it was foundational for me when I really was coming to the knowledge of Christ. It was pivotal. It is a book that I love to share with people, especially people who are just getting to know the Lord, even people who don’t know the Lord. It is such a great way to share the love of Christ and in a way that really welcomes them in. And so that was a key tool for me in reaching to others. And now I love it today just as inspiration and motivation and just a daily kick to know that you’re on the right track and you’re loving and building other people.
Jesus Calling, February 6th:
Come to Me and rest. I am all around you, to bless and restore. Breathe Me in with each breath. The way just ahead of you is very steep. Slow down and cling tightly to My hand. I am teaching you a difficult lesson, learned only by hardship.
Lift up empty hands of faith to receive My precious Presence. Light, Life, Joy, and Peace flow freely through this gift. When your focus turns away from Me, you grasp for other things. You drop the glowing gift of My Presence as you reach for lifeless ashes. Return to Me; regain My Presence.
What this passage means to me is really that life is going to have difficult circumstances. We are going to go through things. It is a fallen world that we live in. And it’s so easy to blame God for all of these difficulties. If God is for us, who could be against us? He’s going to walk with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us. He’s the light and to our path, the lamp unto our feet, and the light to our path. So He will walk with us. He’s not just telling us what to do. He’s walking us through it.
And so just know, friends, He is for you. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, He’s for you. He’s with you. He loves and adores you, and allow that to turn your life into something truly beautiful.
“Just know friends, that He is for you. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, He’s for you. He’s with you. He loves and adores you, and allow that to turn your life into something truly beautiful.” – Christine Soule
Putting Faith Into Action
You know, I went from a life of great poverty to marrying a man who owned a software company that has the biggest heart in the world. And so I got to start to live a life of generosity and philanthropy. That became my passion.
Well, all of a sudden, about three years ago almost to the day, I was driving down the road and I felt like God was saying, “Turn the car around and go talk to that woman.”
I’m looking behind me going, “What woman?”
And sure enough, there was a homeless woman on the side of the road. I turn the car around, and I ask this woman to tell me her story. And, you know, she shared almost the exact same story as me to where I was pretty freaked out.
I get into the car and I’m weeping. I mean, ugly crying. And I said, “Lord, what is it that caused me to run to Jesus, and she ran to heroin, and our stories became so different?” And through this process, as I’m kind of whining to God, He so graciously reminded me of a Bible study I was teaching two days prior where I was literally pointing my finger at people saying, “You go be the difference you want to see in the world. Quit whining about it, quit complaining about it. You go be the difference.”
And I sat there kind of beating my chest, going, “Oh, Lord, you want me to actually do something about that?” And the Lord I felt like put upon my heart is, “They need for things. They need Jesus. They need someone to believe in them. They need training and education and they need an opportunity.” And in that moment in my car, I said, “Yes, Lord, I will do that.” And so three years later, after building the most amazing board and people who believe in us and love our vision, we now, as of January 4th, got the keys to the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue, Washington, where we are able to house up to 88 women our first year plus their children. And after that, we could potentially go up to 138 women plus kids.
Now, with Providence Heights, I discovered that there’s this really sweet spot of being able to grab a hold of these beautiful women who are just trying to survive, they’re just hanging on. And to really take them and give them the opportunities, the skills, and belief in them and really introduce them to a loving, beautiful savior who wants to care for and provide for them. And so that is the demographic of the people that we’re looking for, women who are on the cusp.
We are just simply guides to help them discover that target, the trajectory that God has created the destiny for their life. And so we’re going to shoot them out as arrows. And we know that they’re going to hit that mark because God has planned something beautiful for these women.
If you’d like to hear more stories about how God can rescue us, no matter what our circumstances, check out our interview with Zach Williams.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with Holly Singletary, wife of country music star Daryle Singletary, who passed away in 2018. She shares what the aftermath of losing her husband looked like, and how she struggled to carry on for her kids.
Holly Singletary: The first year, I felt like it was almost like autopilot. You know, I’m good at this mom thing. I love this. I wanted to be a mom forever, so I’ve got the mom thing. But it was like now I’m mending four broken hearts and how do I do that okay? Not just okay, but how do I make them, you know, properly grieve because I don’t even know what that looks like.