Jackie’s broken life has been turned around
If you had asked Jackie Lower what she thought of God five years ago, she would have scoffed and told you that she loathed him.
“I come from a broken family,” Jackie says, “riddled with hate, unforgiveness, and very little hope.”
Although she experienced little of any religion in her home, as her grandfather’s last wish she went through religious rituals, which she resented, because she did not understand why, if there was a God, He would let her go through all the pain of her home life.
By age 15, Jackie was, in her words, “spiralling out of control. Bullying by others, self-hate and not believing I had hope or a future led me to try and take my life.”
“But,” she continues, “God reached into that darkness.”
Meeting her former school chaplain, Carol, that same year Jackie also became friends with a girl called Jamey. The two took her to a local church, and the way the people there worshipped God so intently made Jackie stop and think.
“It was here that my faith was born, as I stood and watched these people dance and praise, cry and shout for their love of Jesus Christ. I was so overwhelmed I wanted nothing more than to sit and cry,” she says.
“I wish I could say I accepted Jesus there and then, but I didn’t,” she recalls. “Through Year 11 I was still headed down a dangerous path and again tried to take my life. I remember sitting and screaming to a God that I didn’t believe in.”
Later that year she started attending youth group at another church. There, she says, “I met the most amazing people, who showed me the love of Jesus Christ and helped me finally feel like I belong somewhere, for which I am eternally grateful.”
It was during this time, and time spent with Carol answering her questions, such as whether she could really be forgiven, that Jackie learnt more about God’s sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, in paying the penalty for sins.
“I think for me, it was just ‘kick the questions and doubt to the side’ and truly believe.
“It wasn’t that I had all this intellectual evidence that He was real... I just prayed for forgiveness and gave my life over to Jesus. It was just an inner knowledge that this wasn’t just some fairytale that’s told to give people hope, this is real, He is real.”
The next year, 2009, Jackie accepted Jesus as her Saviour.
She points out that it does not make what she’s experienced any different, but she knows it was God who took her broken pieces and put them back together.
“Life is difficult and being a Christian doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing, but when I look at the scars I am reminded that I am loved, of what was and of His sacrifice and that makes my everyday battle easier,” she says.
She concludes with a verse that is important to her, from 2 Samuel chapter 22, verse 33, “God is my strength and my power: and He makes my way perfect.”