My Take: How I Turned ‘Misery To Ministry’

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Source: Jacquie Hood Martin / Special to CNN

It’s true what they say, that hindsight is 20-20. Looking back provides me with the clarity and ability to address the many things that have happened in my life.

Many people will say there are no bad experiences, that it’s our perspective on the things that happen in our lives that cause us to label them good or bad. I believe that is an improper analysis.

I have been able to find the silver lining in all the things that have happened to me, but only because the love I know the Lord has for me lets me be in God’s grace and keeps me well adjusted.

I grew up initially in a single parent home where my mother and I were raised by her grandmother. God’s favor allowed my mother to meet a man who married her and her 2-year-old daughter. Yes, it was a package deal.



My first sibling, a sister, was born when I was 8. A second sister arrived when I was 10. We became a party of five who lived the American dream. My parents owned a car and a home and were both employed. We even had pets: a dog, cat and a turtle. I include this because I marvel at people who say this kind of life did not exist for African-Americans before the Huxtables. I was born in 1965, and by 1975 things were looking pretty good.

In 1976, as a fifth grader, I had my first experience with personal tragedy. A teenage boy abducted me, held me against my will and tried to sexually assault me. Many things go through a tween girl’s mind after such an encounter. It has a way of shaping your outlook on men and relationships, as well as a yearning to give back to the community so you can save someone else’s child – even if you were unable to save yourself.

I kept this to myself until the summer of 1992. I was preparing for the ministry, and the process of purging my past allowed me to reveal to my mother what happened that horrible day in fifth grade. I have since taken the opportunity, as some would say, to turn my “misery into a ministry.” Whether on radio or television, in columns or books, I find comfort in knowing that whatever I have experienced can help others live again.

During my time in the Red Chair, I grew even more as a woman, a leader, a Christian, a wife and a writer. The Red Chair interview has provided me with greater clarity on my life’s purpose, and how I have been able to balance my life without losing faith in myself and in others.

In my column for Hope for Women magazine, I share in detail “How to Heal After the Reveal.” There will be moments in every person’s life where they will wake up from their nightmare, stupor, stupidity, trauma, haze, or whatever self-induced coma-like state they find themselves in. And I hope my words, my ‘Red Chair’ moment, can help bring them back to sanity and safety among the rest of the human race.

Source: CNN Belief Blog

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