By Jess Connolly
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
— Psalm 46:1–3 (NIV)
What if the circumstances we fear the most are the ones that will afford us the most abundance? What if loss and failure are supposed to be the cornerstones of our testimony? Like Moses, rock bottom is my origin story. But this isn’t a sob story, it’s my song of victory.
Nick and I got married in 2005. I was 20, and he was 21, and we’re still shaking our heads that our parents let us walk down the aisle. We were 3,045 mistakes waiting to happen all jumbled up together.
Two-and-a-half years later, on little more than a whim and some nudges from the Holy Spirit, we quit our only slightly stable life and moved as far as we possibly could across the United States, from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Seattle, Washington. We had an 11-month-old, and we were eight months pregnant with another baby.
The next four years were so incredibly painful and difficult, I can barely describe them. We had a third baby when that second baby was just 13 months old, rounding out our family (temporarily) at three kids under three, three babies born in 30 months. Three C-sections, three recoveries, three bouts of hormones and healing. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that changed everything about how I saw myself and my capacity to live, love, move, and thrive. I was hit with postpartum depression, not once but twice, until my “bad days” were so severe that suicide felt like another option in my back pocket.
The next few years we dove into ministry as the rest of the country dove into a financial recession. On top of all our other issues, poverty was now our new normal—we searched our car for quarters to buy bananas for breakfast the next morning, and more times than I’d like to remember, we had friends pitch in to pay our bills.
In the midst of all of this, we lost a baby to miscarriage and discovered that medically, all was not right with our children. One of our kids landed in the ICU with catastrophic seizures, and after that hospital stay, our family went through a bout of MRSA infections that we picked up from the hospital. This season was not just hard, it was horrible.
I tried to run an online small business, but I made zero sales. Nick applied at an estimated hundred-plus jobs during those years. We prayed. We cried. Countless other people prayed for us and cried with us.
Maybe it was all our fault. Maybe we made incredibly poor decisions. Maybe it was God’s gift to us, and he wanted us to have the grit and grace to move forward with the hard lessons we suddenly had under our belt. Maybe it was spiritual attack, and the enemy of our souls was trying to take us out just a few years into doing life and kingdom work together. Maybe it was a horrific combination of all three?
Whatever it was, it became the most important season of our life to date, and it’s the piece of our lives that I most wish others saw: those broken years that bought us our freedom. Here’s why:
When you’ve truly failed and faced defeat head-on, you’re
just not as scared anymore.
I have given all I have to ministry and it has been hard.
I’d still choose to be in ministry.
I’ve sought to love people for the sake of the gospel, done
it wrong, hurt them and myself, yet it still seems like
a better plan than living for my own comfort.
I’ve tried to honor God with my finances, ended up flat
broke and destitute, and found that grace is still free,
and the love of God still covers me.
I’ve lost people I love, even to the point of death, and I’m
still glad I loved them in the first place.
I’ve been an embarrassment, a disappointment, a
situation that is hard to look at, and I’ve still been
seen and furiously loved by God.
So, here’s the thing: I don’t think that the way to fight fear is by ignoring it or pretending that whatever we fear could never come to fruition. Instead, when it comes to pressing in where it really matters, past fear and anxiety and all that could go wrong, I think we should walk it all the way out. So what if what we fear most happens? What will that look like? Then we can really decide if it was worth fearing in the first place.
Taken from You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly. Click here to learn more about this title.
You believe (or want to believe) God has called you and given you purpose, but where do you start? How do you get from feeling stuck to making a move? If this sounds familiar, bestselling author Jess Connolly has a message for you: You Are the Girl for the Job.
But this is not simply a peppy catchphrase. This is the straight-up truth God has proclaimed over your life from the beginning, and it’s not dependent on what you can do or achieve but based on His power, capacity, and character.
It has taken one million, maybe one zillion (who knows?!), slight moves of His hand to place you in this exact moment. So forget about fear and second-guessing your gifts, because God has meticulously prepared you to be an ambassador for the Kingdom right where you are, here and now. Life is too short to get stuck in a holding pattern of shame, self-doubt, and comparison. So let this book be your very good news: you don’t have to wait for permission when you’ve already been commissioned.
With passion and heart-pumping hope, Jess shows that being the girl for the job doesn’t depend on your capacity. Rather, it has everything to do with God’s capacity and our willingness. It has everything to do with believing we are who God says we are, and quieting any inferior word spoken against us. Are you ready?
Let this book be your jumpstart into confident, purposed living, as Jess walks you through the six steps she has used to coach and encourage women for years: set your focus, take stock of the story that has shaped you, face your fear, catch the vision, make a plan, and finally, make your move—all in the bold belief that God has called you to every step of the journey. Learn more at jessconnolly.com.
Jess Connolly is a gal who is in the thick of it herself. She is the author of Dance, Stand, Run and You Are the Girl for the Job, and coauthor of Wild and Free and Always Enough, Never Too Much. She is also the co-owner of All Good Things Collective print shop and helped start both She Reads Truth and The Influence Network. She and her husband planted Bright City Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where they live with their four children. She blogs at jessconnolly.com.