My story of change began in the mid 1980’s as I began to notice the life of a dear friend and how different it was than mine. Her inner beauty shone even stronger than her outer beauty, her children were well behaved, her husband loved her, her life seemed to be in order, and she just seemed to have something that I did not. When I began to develop a relationship with her and inquired of her what is it that you have that I don’t, she began to tell me about Jesus. Well I knew all about Jesus, having been raised in a Christian home and having gone to church every Sunday. My father was an elder, and my mother was the choir director. I knew all the stories about Jesus. But she said, “Jane there is more to this story than just knowing about Jesus. I want you to know Jesus personally, and I want you to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. He will change your life”.
On that day, in the parking lot of T.K. Tripp’s, as we concluded our conversation, I made the step in life change, as I asked Jesus to be my Savior. And from that day, my story of change began in a dramatic way. God began to heal my marriage; He began to do amazing things with me. He led me to a Bible study where the changes in my life would be rooted and grounded in the voice of the Lord Who spoke cleanly and clearly to me from His Word. As one, two and three years passed by, I began to study the Word and understand who God was and the purposes and plans He had for life. I craved to hear Him speak to me personally. I knew He had something for me.
But God didn’t just rescue me and restore my life in my early twenties to just live as a saved soul and a wasted life. I knew He had something to speak into my heart. As I began to search The Word, under the teaching of Anne Graham Lotz, I began to ask, God “speak to me, tell me.” One day I heard His Word loudly and clearly from the Scripture that said, “ if you extract the precious from the worthless,” Jane, in Jeremiah 15:16, “I will make you My spokesman.” I knew I was called to be a spokesman of the Lord. I had no clue what that looked like. I had no clue how that one voice of the Lord spoke into my heart that day, would be a change that would be so empowering, that my life would look different, for evermore.
As my husband and I grew in our relationship with the Lord and began to build the body of Christ through our local church, we both began to see that our lives did not line up with the Word of God. We were horse trainers, we traveled heavily on the weekends, and our relationship with our church was always challenged because of our out of town itinerary, and we knew that God had something for us. So we began to look in the direction of what we were to bring to God’s world, and we sold our horse farm and went to Texas with Bible study Fellowship Third World Outreach. God had again spoken into our heart and our life was radically changed. We no longer were training horses, but we were turning a horse farm into an ostrich farm to prepare missionaries to go into Africa and serve the Lord with a new profession. It was an exciting time; it was a difficult time, because of so much transition and so much change. The real change was not just a change of location, or change of circumstances. The real change was a change that needed to happen for both my husband and I as God began to strip our pride and internally change our hearts. The life change that happened on that ostrich farm in Texas, nine months is all it took for God to get hold of our hearts. For Him to transform our lives and for Him to say, “I have a new plan for you.”
As I returned home to Wendell I began to see that the call for being a spokesman for God did rest on my life, and He had called me to be a teacher. So I began to pray and to prepare and I began to seek out, what did this look like in the scenario of Wendell, North Carolina. God began to show me that women in eastern wake county were hungry for the Word, and they needed a spokesman to teach and train them in the Word, to teach and train them in leadership, and to whet their appetite, and even change their appetites to healthy and holier things. I began another adventure of change in my life where I began to be a spokesman and teacher for the Church. I taught community Bible study for 10 years. Week in and week out, I began training up leaders and to teach women to answer the call of God in their life. I began to teach women how to hear the voice of God, and how to heed the voice of God, so that their lives could also be transformed. The transforming power of the Word of God, oh how it makes a difference.
At the end of 10 years, I knew that God had another story of change in my life. I knew that He had to restructure and renovate the ministry that was Heart to Heart Bible studies as well as redirect and redefine our mission. He then changed the name to Dew4Him Ministries. Dew4him Ministries would represent the dew in the Old Testament that brought the manna to the people. The dew was the carrier of God’s nourishment on a daily basis. It brought the dew right to the ground where the people could eat and be satisfied, and I knew that God had that call on my life, to be the dew, a carrier of His Word, a carrier of nourishment, of sustenance of strength and stamina, to pour into the lives of women in a different way so that they could become who God wanted them to become.
As I began to develop Dew4Him Ministries, with a team of leaders and prayer warriors, God began to change our hearts as to what and where and how we would serve Him. We began to seek Him as if we had a blank piece of paper, through prayer and fasting. We were seeking exactly where He would position us to make a difference in the lives of women that they too could have stories of change.
What God did through that three year period of time, was transition us into a prison ministry. A ministry where a lead team of women would go into NCCIW, North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women and begin to serve God there, teaching the women in prison who had broken lives and barren lives, who had bruised, beaten and betrayed lives, how to hear the voice of God, how to heed the voice of God, so that they too could have the transforming power of the Word in their lives. We wanted them to have their own stories of change, so that their character and conduct could change, and their countenance could change, because Jesus Christ had become first and foremost in their life. They too could ask Him to become Lord and Savior, their Rescuer and Restorer, and the Transformer that would give them all that they needed to move in a different direction in their life. We began to pour into the women in the prison system and teach them how to hear and heed the Word of God. We began to pour into their lives, knowing that God wanted to make them distinctly different, so that they too could share their stories of change. As we grew in the prison, as we saw fruit come from this ministry, we knew that the direction of Dew4Him Ministries would be a ministry that would sow truth into the lives of women. It would be a ministry where we would put women in a place where change would happen. That God could create change in their life and take them from barren and broken to beautiful. That God would create change in their life and take them to a place where they might have been empty but now they would be filled with the Holy Spirit, where they were seeking and now would be satisfied, where they were unforgiven and can be forgiven, where they were unredeemed, but can be redeemed, where they were maybe stuck in a life that had no health or holiness and they can move into a relationship where they can reconcile with God, having healthy living and holy living, being in harmony with God and man, and for once in their life they would have hope. Taking and transforming the broken lives of women into beautiful lives through the teaching of the Word is what God had in store for Dew4Him Ministries and for me, what a story of change for me.
We began to understand women who were broken and barren; we began to see that there was a greater need than just pouring out the Word of God inside the prison. We began to see that when these women got out of prison, yes they would leave with their Bible and their Savior inside of them, but their practical life skills, the circumstances that were behind them and before them were more than they could handle on their own. They had no teaching or training, no practical help in order to move to the next place in their life. They had no money, job, no ability to get a job, and often times they had to abandon their relationships with their family and friends, because they were the ones who were instrumental in getting them into the criminal lifestyle. So we began to see that there was a need to serve outside in the community, and build relationships outside in the community, and begin to track on a path to where we could help incarcerated women come out of prison and reinter society, transition back into a lifestyle where they can be productive, not be consumers but contributors, where they can begin to leave the unhealthy lifestyles of the past behind and be taught how to live a healthy lifestyle. Where they can leave the unholy lifestyles of sin and evil and begin to walk in the holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ through His Word.
A story of change, as a friend exposed me to what real community was. He was showing me the realization that the church had put walls around itself and withheld its light and its love out of fear, from the lost and dying communities that lay right outside the church world. I began to see that the church had put a wall of protection around itself that we were indeed missing the eminent needs of the people right around the corner who were hungry, who were hopeless, who were broken and barren, who were hurting and God began to change my heart and show me that’s it is not enough to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, but you have to love your neighbor as yourself. He opened my eyes to what true community was, and what it looked like to move into the community and build relationships with women who have generational poverty, who have come out of the drug world, who are deceived in generational sin, and He began to help me to love my neighbor as myself.
What a story of life transformation, as I look back at my own life 3 years ago. To know that yes I was walking in the Word, yes I was serving in my local church, yes I had things in place in my own life that would definitely show you that I loved the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. But, what I didn’t have in place was the living it out, living love, unconditional love, nonjudgmental love, love that was willing to invest and pour into the lives of women because I believed in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, because I believed that He had equipped and empowered me to unwrap the grave clothes like Martha did when Lazarus was called forth from the tomb. I saw the bondage in the lives of women and knew that He had created me to speak truth into their lives and sow truth into their lives and help them break free of the strongholds and the bondages that the enemy had so woven around them. I knew that some of these women were saved women that believed in the resurrection power and God had indeed called them forth from the tomb, but no one was helping unwrap their grave clothes. No one in the church was giving them a hand up, we were afraid, we were distanced, we were an island unto ourselves and God began to change my heart and say Jane “build a bridge into community. Build a bridge that you may walk across the bridge, being living proof, loving your neighbor as yourself, displaying the glory of the Lord and displaying the love of God in a tangible way in the lives of these women”. How that played out in my life is not just tangibly hands on, but also training my team how to love women unconditionally, how to serve in community, making them aware of the needs of poverty and transitional issues that we face in the prison system. Making them aware and exposing them to the truth that the church has distanced itself from the pain and the problems that exist all around us and how we can break free of those shackles of self protection and fear, those shackles of comfortableness and convenience that are hindering us from really reaching out and being free to love. As I began to reach out into community, I began to see that God was doing a work of unity. For years the story of change that I truly wanted in the deep recesses of my heart was that there would be unity in the church. I can remember praying and teaching John 17 where Jesus said that he wanted us to be unified so that others would know that we are his disciples. All I could see was churches threatened by other churches, non-profits threatened by other non-profits and we weren’t coming together to work as a team. I knew that God was doing something as we were reaching into community, as He was partnering us with churches, as He was partnering us with other non-profits and even government agencies, to say “I want you to Share together in the knowledge that you have and show the lost and dying world the unity that can come together of women, of men, of churches, non-profits, of government organizations that have faith based initiatives and show the lost and dying world that we can work together as a team. What a story of change for Zebulon, North Carolina, Eastern Wake County and the Five County Area. As we begin to minister in this area and partner together, hand in hand, not just reaching out to one another for help, encouragement and undergirding, but reaching into community to raise up leadership, to hear the needs of what the community needs. To help the women begin to get on the right track and seek a new way of life.
Stories of change occurred as we began to minister to women by providing a Jobs for Life class. With this program we could not only get women into the Word of God, but we could assist them to create a resume, polish up their jobs skills to enable them to get off the welfare system, and be once again a contributor to society not a consumer, to break them free of the mindset that often they had that had beaten them down and kept them from the working world. As we developed and served through Jobs for Life, and partnered with other ministries in the community, we began to see change as a ministry. I began to see that out of all the success stories, out of the prisoners that changed their conduct and their character, out of the team members that were marked by the service that they had given and their lives were distinctly different, out of the Jobs for life women who had created resumes, some even successfully gotten jobs and realized that God had indeed created them to work and be prosperous and successful, out of all those stories of success, seeds that were planted and sown into the lives of women there is one story of change that stood out above all else for me and it was my own story of change.
I have been changed by the Word of God, from where Jesus entered by life as my personal Savior in the early 80’s to 2013 where He has changed my heart to love the hurting and the hopeless, the unhealthy and the unholy. God has shown me that all people are worthy of a hand up, and that a hand out is often what hurts. He has shown me the dignity of work, and He has shown me in my own personal life the issues that I had and how I need to come out of my own bondage, my own wrong thinking and to live free and be exactly who He created me to be. There is transforming power in the Word of God.