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I'm Jennifer and this is my story.

Our childhood plays such an important part of who we become as adults and, in my case, my experiences as a young girl influenced many of the decisions I would make in my teen and adult years. So, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little backstory.

I was not the girl that turned heads. I was the chubby girl with frizzy hair and a gap in her teeth. I was the girl who made the Father’s Day crafts at school with no one to give them to at home. I was the girl who laughed off the fat jokes and the comments about my afro and big lips. My mama did the best she could but didn’t realize the painful void this created.


I felt rejected by everyone and became a very lonely, angry girl by my freshman year.


By my senior year, after I had already made multiple mistakes in my private life that would add to my heartache, I met the man that I would move in with right after graduation and eventually marry.

Jeff came along right as I turned 17. He was so kind and accepting of who I was even though I felt like trash to everyone else. He said all the right things and made me feel as though I was the only girl in the world. I knew he used marijuana but he promised he would quit, for me. I thought the void would finally be filled. But the truth of the matter was, he didn’t quit. He just learned to hide it well and eventually fell into harder drugs like cocaine and meth.

We found out we were pregnant with our first baby when I was 19 years old and got married a couple months after she was born. She was the absolute joy of our lives and a daddy’s girl. But even that wasn’t enough for him to stop the drugs and lying. Our marriage was a mess almost immediately after it began. We would fight, and as I mentioned earlier being an angry girl, these fights were loud and aggressive. So bad that at one point, our little girl was hiding under our kitchen table afraid of her own parents. I knew counseling was our only hope. I began looking for a marriage counselor that we could afford and the prices were so out of reach. I came across a local church that offered counseling and was willing to take donations of whatever we could afford. Looking back on that now, I can see God’s hand at work.

At first Jeff agreed to the counseling but after the first session he was out. Desperate for help, I continued on. I learned how to forgive my parents for past hurts, Jeff for the present ones and seek forgiveness for myself.


My counselor made the Gospel come to life and at 22 I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I thought my

life was going to get better but little did I know the worst was ahead.


Jeff continued to be distant and deceptive while I began going to church and begging him to come along. He would refuse, we would fight and the cycle would begin again. In our ignorance and immaturity, we thought we just needed to pretend the problems weren't there and have another baby. Our son was born about 6 years into our very tumultuous marriage.

As addiction tends to do, it takes over your life. Jeff began getting sloppy with his lies, sleeping all day, missing work, and eventually forgetting to come home altogether. Our son was only three months old when Jeff left to take a break from the fighting but after three days of no contact or knowing where he was, I knew we were at a breaking point.


I told Jeff I didn’t want a divorce but he was no longer safe for us. He admitted he had a problem with meth but was unwilling to change so he moved in with a family member so we could work things out in a calmer manner. Soon after, I got the call that he had another baby on the way with another woman.


That broke me. Broke me to a point that I was even angry at God. I didn’t know

what else to do but file for divorce.

Living out Philippians 4:13, God was literally helping me put one foot in front of the other. I did not have the strength on my own. In the still quiet when my babies were sleeping, I would feel Him. I would cry myself to sleep and get up to face another day. I set Jeff free but let him know that I would not give up on him and just continued to pray. Married or not, he was the father of my children and bringing another child into a bad situation.

I didn’t know it fully but God had a plan all along. After the divorce Jeff cleared out all his things. Later I noticed that he accidentally left a pair of pants in the closet so I set them aside to remember to give them to him. 

It wasn’t long before the life Jeff was living left him empty and lost. One Saturday evening he came to see the kids and because he could only see them with my supervision, he stayed the night to be with them longer. Sunday morning, I got up to get myself and the kids ready for church and figured he’d leave and go back to where he had been staying. But instead, he said if he had clean pants with him, he would go to church, too. I mentioned the ones he’d left behind and to my surprise he put them on and went to church with us. Jeff gave his heart to Jesus that day.

I was so thankful but still guarded. Jeff wanted back into our lives and I chose to trust God with the

details. I randomly drug tested Jeff, but also watched a transformation in him that I knew only God could do. 

He eventually asked me to marry him again and I agreed, but as happy as that day was, we both knew

there was still a baby coming and we had to face that head on.

A beautiful baby boy was born just two months after we remarried and the birth mother allowed us to get him every other weekend. We continued to pray because she was still struggling with her own life choices and we wanted this little guy to be safe and feel overwhelmingly loved.

Circumstances required us to get custody of him at 18 months. He was the perfect missing piece to our family. After some time of seeing minimal progression in the birth mother’s recovery, we decided that I would petition for a step parent adoption. This way if anything ever happened to Jeff, I would still be a legal parent and guardian.

And just like when we become sons and daughters of God, this began a new relationship between Bryson and me. It was as if the painful parts of how all this came to be didn’t matter anymore. We have the hope of the future and joy of being family forever.

God can do anything.

Jennifer's story by Focus on the Family 

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