When Joy Comes in Our Mourning Part 1

The Whisper of Hope

By Jennifer Breeze

Through all of my messy life, I just wanted to be loved

I was constantly seeking a place to belong, and to feel unconditional love.  I looked in all kinds of places (mostly to people and in the bottom of bottles) but didn’t find love or belonging.  

I had a God-sized hole in my heart that nothing seemed to fill.  

I wanted to be a good person and be accepted by the people around me. But from the ages of 6 to 29, I didn’t feel lovable, and I was sure that if I didn’t behave a certain way for people, I wouldn’t be accepted. 

It was a lonely place to be.  I often walked on eggshells.  I pretended to like certain things in order to fit in with one crowd and acted like I cared about other things when trying to make friends with the next group.  And on the inside—I had absolutely no idea who I was.  

I was the child of divorced parents. Mom took me and my sisters from Ohio to Texas when I was six, which left me confused, scared, missing my friends, and missing my dad. My family didn’t go to church, and I had no real belief in God.  

I believed that I was on my own here on this planet. I knew no real purpose for existing, and had no meaningful goals. 

I became a rebellious teen. In Middle School, I skipped the school bus and hopped on the public bus headed to Newport Beach so I could watch the surfers.  By 9th grade, I was sneaking out at night and drinking wine coolers and smoking cigarettes with some older kids–it felt cool, and I seemed to be noticed more, so I loved it. 

In 10th grade, I was sent to live with my dad in Ohio, and I began going to bars and drinking a lot more.  Being served in bars at age 14 made me feel pretty big and important, so I strived to hit the bars, and drink with the older kids as much as possible. 

This was the beginning of a 15-year drinking career which eventually turned into countless nights of getting myself into trouble.  By the age of 29, I was miserable and hopeless.  

I remember sitting at a poker game, with many glasses of wine in my system, thinking there’s got to be more to life than this.  At that card table, I was surrounded by “friends”, yet I felt completely alone.  

By this time in life, I had begun thinking about ways to die but was too scared to consider that for more than a few fleeting seconds. I also fantasized about ways to escape my unhappy existence. I planned to leave my teaching job, my family, and my home, and drive across the country to live in a tent in the Redwood Forest.  

And in the summer of 2007, I went camping with “friends”.  I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, it was the worst night of my life. 

I realized—I cannot go on like this. I can NEVER put myself in a position to be hurt like this again. If I had been sober, I know that I wouldn’t have gotten into the situation that I did.  

So I began seeing a therapist, and as part of my plan for therapy, she recommended that I go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  I reluctantly agreed to go. I was surely NOT an alcoholic. My understanding was that alcoholics live under bridges and drink out of paper bags! But I was a teacher, and owned a home, a car, and was an upstanding citizen with no criminal record. Plus, I didn’t even drink every day…just on the weekends, and on a few (okay, maybe a lot of) special occasions. There’s no way I was an alcoholic! 

As I gingerly walked up to the crowd mingling outside of my first meeting, I was surprised to be welcomed in with tremendous love, hugs, and smiling support.  Inside that meeting, they told me that I would need to find a God of my understanding.  I bristled at the idea, but I had run out of options.  All of my best ideas and efforts had led me to this hopeless and disgraceful existence.  

And so I became willing.  

I was willing to believe that maybe there was some God “out there” who loved me and cared for me. (Although I doubted it.) But I decided to try.  I was good at pretending. So I acted as if there was a God and that He loved me.

And at the moment I made the decision to TRY to believe, I heard the name… “Jesus” whispered into my consciousness. 

And I said, “Ok, Jesus.  I need your help.” 

That is when life shifted, dramatically, for the better.  It began in slow, subtle ways.  But my days felt definitely different.  Things began to fall into place for me in ways that I couldn’t have done for myself.  

One day at work, my mentor approached me and asked what was different about me. And for some reason, I felt safe enough to open up to her. I told her that I quit drinking and that I believe in God now.  And she was so thrilled for me, and said, “Do you have a bible?” which I did not. 

The next day she brought me a bible and invited me to her church and to her bible study group.  

I ended up getting baptized in Lake Erie with the pastor of that church, and grew to know Jesus and His word in that precious bible study group.  

My life got infinitely better and I became so much happier.  I ended relationships that were unhealthy for me, and God immediately replaced those people with new friends and connections that helped me grow. FINALLY, at 30 years old, I learned who I TRULY am.  

And mercifully, I have been given HOPE, and the ability to experience unconditional LOVE from many sources—mainly from my Heavenly Father, Jesus. 

Fast forward 14 years, and I can tell you that my identity is firmly rooted in Jesus. I am a daughter of the King.  I daily surrender all aspects of my life to Jesus and trust Him to do with my life what is in His will. As a Jesus-powered woman, I have been given a new life.  

I’m married to a wonderful, gentle, man of God and together we are raising two sweet kids (currently ages 6 and 8).  I left my role in the public schools to be a homeschooling mom which is a dream God put in my heart many years ago.  

God also has encouraged me to become an entrepreneur, which has been an endeavor I could never consider without His help. When launching my new business, I asked God, “But, who will hire me?” and He replied, “Don’t worry.  I’ll show you who to work with.” So I stepped out in faith, and of course, God has sent me some of the coolest clients I could ever dream of.  

My life is full of joy and peace. That God-sized hole is gone; It is filled with the Holy Spirit. I walk in confidence and boldly pursue Jesus and His will for me each and every day.  

I have not had the desire to drink in 14 years, and I need nothing to numb or blot out my existence.  I LOVE my life and my family, and my business.  And I owe it all to Jesus, who whispered His name into my heart 14 years ago.  He invited me into a relationship with Him, and has held my hand every step of the way since then. *I also believe he was carrying me through my drinking days, too. I just refused to acknowledge Him. 

Beloved friend, I believe Jesus is whispering to you right at this very moment.  In the areas where you’ve felt hopeless, unloved, and unaccepted—Jesus is wrapping his arms around you. He says,

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.  

Deuteronomy 33:12

YOU are the one the Lord loves. And He is inviting you to rest securely in Him. 

Whatever you are struggling with today, let him carry you tenderly between His shoulders as a shepherd carries a lamb.  

He has come to bring you love, hope, and freedom. I pray that you can hear His call and respond with willingness so that you can shine His love for the whole world to experience. 

Meet the author

Jennifer Breeze

Jen is a Freelance Copywriter and Copy Coach, teaching Christian entrepreneurs how to master their messaging and make more impact in God’s kingdom with confidence, clarity and consistency.

As a former Teacher she makes complex ideas easy, fun, and DOABLE. Jen lives in Kentucky with her husband, Pastor Mike, and their two young children. She balances homeschooling and entrepreneurship by leaning on Jesus.

Connect with Jen at breezecopywriting.com or her free FB coaching group: Show Up Tall: BOLD Writing for Kingdom Entrepreneurs.

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