Published February 17, 2015
On this past weekend's broadcast, Zane & Donna King were the Featured Artists. For some years, Donna dealt with what could only be described as her daughter's rebellion. (She mentioned it briefly on the program.) But God has shown as if there were any doubt that He is still in control. Please read Donna's encouraging and inspiring story, written at our request. And please be sure to read all the way to the conclusion.
"Jesus Is My Valentine"
by Donna King
My daughter Jenna will turn 22 years old this summer. Since she was 14, she has battled drug addiction, self-harm (cutting) and other emotional struggles that left her broken and in serious danger. As her mom, there were many times I thought I would have a complete breakdown, trying so hard to rescue her, protect her, and love her to Jesus. It just seemed nothing would stop her. We went through multiple rehabs with her, counseling, hospitals, and about anything you can think of. Through it all we never stopped praying, and, precious people like you joined us in that effort.
Last March, Jenna was living in a recovery home near us in Nashville. But right toward the end of March 2014 she left that home with a dangerous (and also broken) young man. For many days we searched for her and could not find her. My precious husband, Zane, was with me through it all, driving me from hotel to hotel, searching the streets for my little girl.
Then, in early April (with Jenna still gone), I was working at home (though only functioning by the grace of God). I had some things to finish up and then I planned to go back out in the afternoon to look for my daughter. If I found her, I didn't plan to try to drag her back home, as I knew she had to want help to be able to be helped. Instead, I just wanted to have the chance to tell her one more time, before she made a choice to either get back on track in recovery or stay in the pain and misery of addiction, that Zane and I love her with all our hearts and that we are just a phone call away should she decide she wants to choose the right path.
As I started work that morning, Zane, knowing he couldn't go searching with me later in the day because he had meetings, lovingly headed out on his own searching for my Jenna. About an hour after heading out he called and told me he found my daughter's car at a hotel in a very dangerous part of town. He told me he would park and pray and wait for her to come out. About an hour later, he updated me that he had to leave for his work obligations and she had not yet come out. He tried to find out what room she was in, but there was no record in the office and the clerk was unable to tell him what room she was in. I was in a [music] session, but I was wrapping up so I could head there. There was about a 30-minute time lapse from when Zane had to leave the hotel parking lot and I arrived there. As I pulled in, I prayed with all my heart her car would still be there.
Just as I pulled into the parking lot, Jenna was pulling out. I nearly missed her, but God, in His love, mercy and grace worked in all of it to allow me to get to her before she left. She and the drugged and dangerous young man in the passenger seat looked over and realized it was me. When she saw me, she stopped her car, and began charging at my car, yelling at me. As soon as she got to the window and before I could even say a word, her entire demeanor changed and she began to cry and begged me to rescue her.
Because of all the scary things that had happened in the past with violence and theft, etc,. I proceeded with much caution, but within a short period of time, the young man was brought to his sister's and Jenna was back home with us.
She was weak and she had bruises all over her arms, hands and feet. She shared that she had shot up drugs so many times in her hands and arms that she ran out of veins and began shooting up in her feet. I held her. I didn't cry in front of her. She would have pulled away if I did. But, I sure did cry once she was tucked in bed. My tears were of gratitude that she was safe at home and of devastation over the terrible beast of drug addiction and what it was doing to my baby girl.
The next day, we began to talk about where to get help for Jenna. We all knew, though she could stay with us for a little while, ultimately it was vital we find a long term plan for her in a professional and loving environment.
A very helpful drug addiction counselor gave us many suggestions that were good, but the only place that had an opening was in Costa Mesa, California. This was far too many miles away from home, yet God gave us a peace that it was meant to be. And, her big sister, Jessica (who sang with me in Hope's Call along with her husband Eddie) lived only 32 miles from this place God was leading us to send her.
Knowing Jessica and Eddie were just a bus ride away from her "soon to be" new home helped calm my fears about sending her so far away. The hard part was, if she were to relapse there, I wouldn't be able to get in the car and drive to find her. But, the one thing I knew, God could find her anywhere.
The first month out there she was still struggling and she still used drugs a few times unbeknownst to her recovery home, but, slowly and steadily, God began to work on her heart until on May 10, 2014 Jenna used her last drug to date. She gave her life to Christ and she began to thrive, taking a bus three hours total each Sunday to attend church at Crosspointe (Jessica and Eddie's church where Eddie is Worship Pastor) and another three hour bus ride on Fridays to attend their Celebrate Recovery program. Jenna was finally, truly changed. Her life and her heart were beginning to glow.
Recently, our beautiful Jenna was baptized in the ocean, along with many others in recovery. She is also now a little evangelist in her own right, taking many of the girls in her recovery home to church with her and to Celebrate Recovery. Lives are being transformed there. I am crying as I type this to you, just reflecting on all that God has done. Her life is nothing short of a miracle.
Last month, Zane and I went to visit her and my daughter, Jessica, and family. While we were there, Jenna did something so powerful. She asked to speak to each of us (Zane and I) individually. When she took me to a quiet place to talk with me, she took out a letter that she wrote, listing everything she had done to hurt me over the years and begging my forgiveness. I had already forgiven it all, but to hear her express such sincere regret and ask my forgiveness for it brought such deep healing to her life. She cried the whole time she read the letter. It also healed me in ways I didn't even know I needed healing. A little example of what the letter expressed (as there is just way too much to share it all) is when she said, "Mom, I'm sorry for everything I ever stole from you, including your joy." I cannot tell you what that meant to hear. The deepest and most significant aspect, though, is that hearing those words from the heart of my daughter gave me beautiful assurance that this was a new Jenna and that Jesus had made her new.
Everyday, as Jenna continuously grows, I see many ways God is making her a new creature in Him. I am beyond grateful to see my daughter living in the fullness of God.
While I best not make this newsletter any longer than it already is, by sharing the entire story of Jenna's illness and our learning of it, what I can say is this: I asked God to do what it would take to bring my daughter back to Him. He did. Therefore, I will trust Him. I wrote the song "No One Like God" while awaiting the results of her blood work, which would reveal whether or not she had Hepatitis C.
During this Valentine season, I'll leave you with this. Jenna told me just a few days ago that she took a quiz about whether or not she was ready to date. She said she was so happy to see the results of the quiz which said: "You are not yet ready for a relationship. You are still growing and still learning who you are. It is best for you to take care of yourself rather than to complicate your life by allowing someone in it you're not ready for." Then she said this, "Mom, you know what? Jesus is my Valentine!" And her mom couldn't be happier.
UPDATE: Since writing our testimony [above] about our journey with addiction for The Gospel Greats newsletter for this week, something absolutely amazing and God-given has happened.
I received a call from Jenna last Monday. She was crying loudly. At first I felt afraid something was terribly wrong. She and her doctor were both on the line with me. And then this incredible God-given news. She screamed, "Mom, it's a miracle! I am cleared of Hepatitis C! I am cured!" You can imagine my reaction! I cried, I danced, I rejoiced with her and her doctor.
The doctor explained he was thrilled to tell my daughter this news and that one in six people do clear the disease on their own without treatment within six months of contracting it. And she was one of those. Jenna is healed!
But it isn't just a statistic, it's not luck. Last October Jenna's other doctor said that even though there was a window where she could have cleared it, she already showed signs she was in the full blown phase of disease and she wouldn't be one of those for sure. God did this. God did this!
It is God who heals. He used every single detail of this journey for His glory and now our family can carry this story to others, showing them who God is. He does this to draw others close to Him. He is so good!
I'm so happy to share this news with you and I thank everyone who has prayed for us through this journey. Those prayers have been a huge part of bringing us to this moment in my sweet daughter's life.
Praise God! There is NO ONE LIKE GOD!
Comments on this? firstname.lastname@example.org (Do you have a "healing story" you'd like to share?)
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