Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our Heart's Song: J. E.'s Story
Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @jeberryspeaks

I’m J.E. Berry. Wife, mother of five, speaker, writer, friend, worshiper, wanderer, launderer, short order chef and the list goes on. In order to properly introduce myself to you I have to show you a small portion of what all of me looks like in full outer ring circumference before we dive deep into the foggy waters and messy puddles that fill my very God chiseled testimony. Stepping out of my comfort zone and into trusting my Father has led me to this very page. This season of my journey reflects the places God has brought me from and the grace of Christ that brought me through each testimony.  As a speaker and writer I am make every effort to surrender my agenda to the Lord and allow Him to use what He has done in my life to teach His infallible word to His people. All the while He is teaching my heart in the same instance.

Being a wanderer at heart, my story is a culmination of statistics, heartbreak, a fight to control, God’s unrelenting love and His sweet and tender grace. I had done a great job in my life trying to forget the not so fuzzy memories in my past. Even still today I fight with the shame that tries to leach onto me when I recall some of the horrific choices I made as a wounded wandering soul. I had gotten really good at hiding behind my smile and strong exterior but eventually all the wounds of my past were still wide open and bleeding profusely. All the band-aids I was putting over them just were not sufficient.
 A product of divorce and a child of a former addict, I saw and heard a lot of things that I would never want my children to. Things that I thought were perfectly normal until I was an adult. Even though I had a great relationship with both my parents, it was not a “normal” family setting. I can still recall hearing yelling in my home that caused me to curl up in my bed and hum myself to sleep. The day my parents split, my life changed forever. I spent most of my early adult years trying to be in control of everything in my life so that I could be “happy”. I had the brilliant idea that I could actually make myself happy. Being in “control” was my way of not making the same mistakes that my parents made, while actually making equally damaging mistakes in the process that left even bigger wounds than I already had. 
In my pea brain, I had it set in stone that I would control my body and everything that I did. No one would tell me what to do or how to do it. I just wanted so much to avoid being in a marriage like my parents. The result was promiscuity, unplanned pregnancy, depression, anger and fear. All of this masked in Sunday Christianity and a smile. There were times I wondered if anyone knew how I really felt or if they would even care. See, I was the one that everyone else came to for advice. I was the one who tried to hold up the blood stained banner in my circle of friends, all while shaming it as I lived a life buried in sin. I was a complete mess wrapped in denial.
 While still in that mess, I married the love of my life and God rescued me from my pit. It was a long walk out of the abyss that I had dug for myself but God was faithful to finish what He began in me. He began to show me what Joy really looks like and who is really in control, so that I could stop trying to do a job that I wasn’t qualified to do. Shortly after wedding, the Lord called me to write. My answer to His call came at a snail crawl but I finally jumped over fear and ran to Him with anticipation. However, the more I ran toward Jesus, the more the enemy chased me with the very fear I had hurdled to be obedient. 
Fear was like that last piece of lint on a black shirt that just won’t come off. I was fighting it tooth and nail as I attempted to be the “perfect” wife and mother. It crippled me and made me not want to do anything let alone step out in faith toward what God called me to do. Thank God for deliverance! God delivered me from that crippling fear and has given me the strength and courage I need to walk out the vision He has for me. In this season God has given me a heart to walk along side His people as they find Joy in Him. The book I am writing is a journey from “happiness” to God’s lasting “JOY”. In The Truth About Happiness” readers will walk a revealing journey of their own to dispel the lies we believe about happiness and find what real joy looks like when we drink from the never ending well of Jesus.
 The truth is that we are all explorers, on a journey to find out who we are and where we are going. My heart is to hold the hand of another as we walk the journey together, looking the Father in the face.
 My Life scripture:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Have fun trekking!

-J.E. Berry

Author Bio:
J.E. Berry is a writer and speaker. She has worn many hats in ministry over the years. Her and her husband have been in ministry together for many years, along with their five children. Through church plants, life groups, worship, outreach, discipleship and youth pastoring. Jade and her husband have a small home-grown ministry called Ark Disciple Center, through which they minister to the community and assist churches and other ministries in planting, events and outreach.
J.E. has a heart for outreach and seeing people come to know freedom through a relationship with Christ Jesus. Specifically women who have been yet to see their God given destiny because of bondage. As a writer and speaker she explores things that hinder us in moving forward in our walk with Christ. Such as people pleasing, unhappiness, unforgiveness and much more, to try and lend a hand in unveiling the culprits so that we can move forward in victory. As a musician and worship leader, she gratefully worships  as the background while she encourages others to engage in a personal worship experience with Jesus.
J.E. is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Christian Education at Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute.

 (This post was written by J. E. Berry as a part of the Our Heart's Song Series this month. I encourage you to read her story and check out her website. This is one of the many incredible women that I will have the privilege to meet at the SheSpeaks Conference, at the end of this month, where over 800 women across the world will gather together and ask God to take us to the next level in our speaking/writing ministry. I ask that you would please pray for each woman as she shares her story.)

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