“I didn’t truly know what it meant to have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus,” said Janell Jorns. “I heard about Him at a very young age through church with my family, and I remember telling my mom I wanted to know and accept Jesus as my Savior one night as a child. I grew up hearing a lot of Scripture and had an idea of a moral way of living. I just didn’t have a deep, consistent walk with the Lord and time in His Word daily. My faith was on a side shelf that I’d occasionally reach for when I needed it. I did not know God the same way I do now.
“As I got older, I sought validation, attention, and affection from guys. In my senior year of high school, I began dating, and from there, I went from long-term relationship to long-term relationship, seeking approval in each.
“The last long-term relationship I was in, I thought I was going to marry the guy. We picked out rings and talked about marriage. When he broke up with me, I was devastated. I felt like the floor was pulled out from underneath me and I spiraled into a depression. For the first time in my life, I truly questioned God.
“In my devastation and brokenness, I cried out to God. I thought I’d been a good person and good Christian, and I was angry with the Lord because I thought I deserved marriage. I questioned God and told Him I didn’t understand.
“God used that really dark time to show me more of who He is and to truly call me to Him in a deeper way that I’d never understood before. This was a turning point in my faith. I refused to believe that God didn’t exist or wasn’t good. I was so angry, but I chose to believe that God didn’t do that to destroy me or hurt me (Romans 8:28).
“The following summer, I had started my career as a dental hygienist. A patient invited me to The Porch, Watermark’s ministry for young adults, the following Tuesday. I took him up on the offer and met him there. He introduced me to a group of girls who were so welcoming. God used The Porch to minister to me in what could have been an isolating season of singleness, as most of my friends were getting married and having babies.
“I started to get involved in different areas of Watermark and eventually jumped into a community group shortly after. It took some learning and time, but I began to see what an authentic, biblical community could be like.
“Through this, God continued to grow my faith in Him and shift my perspective on life in so many ways. I had other women challenge me in good and tough ways (Colossians 3:16), and I learned how to biblically work through conflict (Matthew 5:23–24). I learned how to trust God in all areas of life, including dating. I walk through dating situations now viewing men as my brothers in Christ (1 Timothy 5:1-2) instead of feeling like a man could or should validate my worth.
“Most importantly, I learned Isaiah 55:8-9, ‘‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’’ I felt so convicted from how I’d lived my life before. Things happen differently than I want because my thoughts and ways may be different from His. His ways and thoughts are higher – and better!
“Later, I was asked to shepherd (or coach) some community groups. While I was at first hesitant, God showed me that I could be an encouragement to other single women who are walking through life with Christ. Community has been so meaningful in my life, and it has been great to share that with others. I can walk through tough situations with women, pray with them, and go to God’s Word for wisdom, counsel, and strength.
“God has shown me ways that I have been able to live my life to the fullest (John 10:10) with His version of ‘full’ instead of mine. Even if I would’ve married that guy years ago, I truly don’t think I would know the Lord the way I do today. I never thought I would see good from that situation, but I do.
“I believed that my worth was based on whether people liked and accepted me. When they didn’t, I took that on as painful rejection. I thought a man choosing me for marriage is what would make me worthy and valuable, and I learned that is just not true. God has grown me to see that my worth is in Him and what He thinks of me. As I’ve learned more about God’s character and His Word, I’ve become more confident in Him. That confidence has helped me leave the approval of others behind. Do I have it mastered? Of course not, but He’s grown me so much, and I believe that God is enough.
“There isn’t a pretty bow at the end of my testimony. We’re still on this side of heaven, and the world is still broken. But I still can’t comprehend how deeply and unconditionally God loves us (Psalm 36:5-7). It blows my mind. There was so much more I didn’t know about God, and He used an awful, unexpected experience to turn my life in a different direction and bring me closer to Him.”