There was never a time I didn’t know about Jesus. My mother, who got saved shortly before she found out she was pregnant, would read the Bible, pray, and dedicate her unborn child to the Lord. I was the youngest in my family by a lot. My closest sibling, my sister, turned eight a month after my birth.

When I was two, I got bit on my leg by a brown recluse spider while at my babysitter’s house. A big gash formed, which the doctor said would not heal. My parents had planned to go out of town and leave me with my grandma, but after what happened, mom stayed home.

That night she put me to bed in my crib, prayed over me and went to bed. The next morning when she went to get me out of my crib, she discovered fresh pink skin covering the hole in my leg. When dad came home the next day, he saw it for himself. The following Sunday, he answered the alter call for salvation at church.


When I was four years old, I got lost at a Disney World campground late one night while on vacation with my family. I had wandered away from the restrooms where the ladies in my family were getting ready for bed. I was scared and crying.

“Jesus, please help me,” my little voice whispered.

He took my hand and led me right to the campground office. That’s how I remember it and what I told my mom later. He wasn’t physically there the same way I was, but I could sense His presence in a way that is hard to explain, especially since I was so young and it was so long ago. I have called upon His name many times since that day and He has always been there for me.


I became aware of sin at a young age, when I would do naughty things like disobey my parents or lie. One night, my mother sat me down with the Bible and explained salvation through Jesus. Then she led me in prayer and I became saved that night at five years old.

The next time I went to school, I asked every kid in my kindergarten class if they loved Jesus. All of them said yes, except for one little girl who said no. I came home crying that day. Why did she say no? I didn’t understand. I thought everyone lived in a home like mine. This was Jesus we were talking about. What’s not to love?

One Sunday when I was six years old, I was sitting in church next to my parents coloring while the pastor talked about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When he asked if anyone wanted to come forward to receive, I stood up, placed my coloring book on my chair, and walked to the front without a word. My parents were astonished. They didn’t think I was even paying attention. I remember the pastor praying for me and I started speaking in tongues right there.

As I got older, I lost some of my initial enthusiasm, but I loved going to Sunday School and learning about people in the Bible. Those stories fascinated me.


When I was ten, I hit a growth spurt and became the tallest kid in my class, which I hated. I also got a bad perm, which is funny now but wasn’t then. That same year, I changed schools and had a mean and abusive 4th grade teacher. While all my previous teachers had been loving and nurturing, this one was a bully. I also endured some bullying and mistreatment by some of my peers. A lot of other things were going on around that same time too, which caused a lot of stress and anxiety I didn’t know how to deal with.

I began believing lies and internalizing things. The mindset was that everything that happened was my fault, not the fault of those who treated me badly. Mean thoughts about myself ran through my mind, such as I’m ugly, worthless and dumb. My personality changed almost overnight. I went from an outgoing and confident kid to shy and withdrawn. No one seemed to notice there was a problem because I wasn’t a kid that acted out. No one complained I was being too quiet. The kids who acted out were the ones that got the attention. My problem was happening where no one could see.

We moved to another state that summer, so I started school that fall in a new school and new city. I was still the tallest kid in my class, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t also been painfully shy. The last thing I wanted was to stand out. It helped that I had a good teacher this time, but it took me a while to adjust.


Things turned around in 6th grade. My growth slowed to a crawl and stopped altogether within a year or two. There were still some mean kids here and there, but I learned to ignore them.

There was a group of girls who were nice to me and invited me to be part of their inner circle. It felt so good to be included! This was during a time when it was common to have slumber parties, which our group did a lot. If we were at my house, it was fine. It was different in their homes. Things went on during those times that bothered me, but I was so happy to be liked and accepted I didn’t want to mess it up.

These girls were into the occult. They watched a lot of horror movies, tried to conduct seances, levitation, fortune telling and other things. Sometimes I took part and sometimes I would sit things out. I didn’t understand the demonic world, but I knew this stuff made me uncomfortable.

One night, we all piled into the bathroom with the light off while a girl did a Bloody Mary chant in the mirror. I saw a demon in the mirror and I knew it wasn’t just me because everyone screamed and ran out of the bathroom. To this day, I’m sure about what I saw, and it wasn’t my imagination.

I was so shaken up by this incident that I confessed everything to my mother as soon as I got home. She got her Bible, sat down with me and showed me what God’s word says about these things. Then she prayed with me. After that I was no longer allowed to go over to the other girl’s homes.


As I got into my teens, I experienced some incidents of rejection, which made it difficult for me to trust anyone. I started putting up walls and keeping people at arms-length. If I trusted you, we were good. I was much more relaxed and could act like myself. The problem was I was being pulled along by the waves of whatever was going on around me. I wanted to be loved and accepted, but even in the best times, I still felt like something was wrong with me and everything that happened to me was deserved and my fault. I kept these thoughts and feelings private.

Although I still believed in Jesus, He seemed much more distant. There was a popular song at the time that said God is watching us from a distance, and that was how I felt. I thought He was also pretty disappointed in me. I prayed very little because it was hard to pray to a distant God who was unhappy with me. Although I was saved, God had much more important things to do than care about the day-to-day issues of my life.


When I was seventeen, I got more involved in my church youth group. There were some good leaders at the time that were influential in my life. I started spending more time in prayer, worship, and Bible study and experienced the love of God in a new way. I had good Christian friends I would spend time with and was feeling better about myself. It was a sweet time in my life. A few remarkable things happened during this two-year time period.

One day, my car died right in the middle of a busy intersection during heavy traffic, while I was preparing to turn left during a green light. The light on the other side had turned green and a stream of cars were rushing towards me from the right. I screamed, “Jesus, help me!”.

In a split second, I felt my car being pushed, but no one was back there. I couldn’t see them, but I knew they were angels. I was controlling nothing while the car moved to the left, which was the direction I had wanted to go. It came to rest on the side of the road out of traffic. From there, I could turn the ignition, start the car and be on my way.

I developed a big crush on a guy from church. One day, I was praying and asked God if he might be the one. I heard a loud “NO” in my spirit. Although it wasn’t audible, it was so loud it startled me! I knew it was the Holy Spirit, but it was the first time I could ever recall hearing Him speak to me.

My Bible was laying closed in front of me. I flipped it open to a random page and looked down at these words, which seemed to jump off the page at me.

“This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me and I will lead you to the man whom you seek.” 2 Kings 6:19.


When I was nineteen, I left home to attend Bible college. It was a great experience and God did a lot of amazing things there that will stick with me forever. I also met a guy who seemed great, charming and godly. We started dating, and it seemed like a dream come true. I was certain he must be “the man whom you seek.”

A short time later, I was praying and, just like before, I asked if this guy I was dating was the one. And just like before, I heard “NO”. Except this time I ignored it. I’m embarrassed to admit that now. I went right into denial and didn’t want to be wrong.

One day, he introduced me to a friend of his named Anthony. Five minutes after we met, the thought occurred to me that my current relationship wouldn’t work out and Anthony was the one I would marry. I dismissed it and scolded myself for even thinking something so ridiculous. As the months went by, Anthony and I would see each other during group outings with other students.

As the months went by, cracks formed in the relationship. The more I got to know him, the more worldly he became. He no longer seemed godly at all. In my heart, I knew something was wrong, but I dug in my heels. I didn’t want to give up the relationship and thought that I could help him grow in his faith, but what happened was he dragged me down instead. While I still went to church and prayed, the things I was praying for were not of God. It wasn’t God’s will I was seeking, but my selfish desires. I was twenty-four by the time that relationship ended for good and I was ready to move on at last.


Several years of being abused and manipulated by a narcissistic individual broke me. I went to church the following Sunday and sat in the back with my head hung down, feeling like God was mad at me and I could never make things right between us again. The guilt and shame weighed on me like a dark cloud. I heard my name, and I looked up. Standing there was an old friend from high school who knew me when I was on fire for God. I was in another city and in a new church and never expected to see anyone I knew. I said hi and forced a smile, but I felt like a shell of the girl she once knew. After she left, I cried. I wanted to be the girl she knew. I felt like she could see all my brokenness and I was ashamed.

In the days that followed, I spent a lot of time on my knees, crying out to God in repentance, sorrow, and brokenness. I thought he might clobber me on the head, but what I found instead was love, mercy, grace and the reminder that I still belonged to Him. It was beautiful and healing and in that process, God set me free. I learned He was not going to “clobber me” because Jesus had already paid the ultimate price for me.

My faith became stronger than ever. I started working for a ministry. I found myself in a brand new place. I grew and matured in my faith, spending more time with God, and learning more about the Holy Spirit. God did many amazing things during this time.

The next year and a half became a time of deep spiritual healing. I learned to forgive everyone that had ever hurt me. For the first time, I came to a place of true surrender. I learned who I was in Christ and that became my identity. The Holy Spirit healed my heart from the wounds of my past. I no longer thought bad things about myself and I gained more confidence.

While I’ve come a long way, I’m still a work in progress. In certain settings, I still become shy. I’m a lot like Peter when he walked to Jesus on the water. As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I’m fine. When I look around and become afraid, I sink. He has pulled me back up more times than I can count! Jesus is the strength of my heart and my everything.


During this season, I started having recurring dreams about a man whose face I couldn’t see. One day I was telling a friend about the dreams and she looked at me and said, “Your husband is on the way and he knows you.”

About six months later, I was sitting at my desk at work when I heard a door open. I looked up and Anthony was standing about ten feet away, pointing at me.

“I know her,” he said.

We hadn’t seen each other in four years, when we graduated from college. I never expected to see him again. Now he had just started working in the same place as me.

A few months later, we started dating and a little over a year later, we got married. We’ve been married for almost 20 years and have a son and a daughter who are both now teenagers.


We will never feel like we’ve arrived until we’re in heaven. Life is a journey and God has seen us through them all and will continue to until He calls us home. He’s been with us at the top of the mountain and He’s been with us deep in the valley. He never promised a problem free life, but He did promise that He would never leave us or forsake us. There have been many times when I have said, “I don’t know how we would have gotten through that without Jesus.”

He is faithful! There have been times, even in the last year, when we had peace in the face of things that didn’t otherwise make sense. It is the peace that passes understanding and it is a peace that can only come from God.

I’m not special. The things God has done for me, He can do for you. Whatever your background, you have a Father who loves you. There is no hurt that can’t be healed and no sin that can’t be forgiven when you turn to Jesus.

For more information, click watch the video below.

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16


Barbra Jones

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