Testimony Thursday: “Finding Strength and Hope in Jesus” by Guest Writer: Gracie Jurado-Alvarez

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

As a child I always felt lost — like I didn’t belong anywhere.  I knew of God, but thought He sat as a statue on my mother’s mantle .   One day, as I played with my mom’s statue, I accidentally broke it and thought I was doomed because I “broke Jesus.”  Imagine what ran through my childlike mind! I often felt I was somehow in the wrong family.

My mom was often upset so I didn’t know what it felt like to have any loving arms wrap around me and hold me. I clung to my sister.

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The road from there left me looking for love in all the wrong places.  I could have written that song myself if Johnny Lee didn’t beat me to it. 

I ended up being abused and had my first child at the age of 15. I delivered him myself.  

That abuse lasted at least four years.  Convinced I had learned my lesson, I vowed I’d find love this next time around.  

By the age of 19, I had two kids.  I had a chip on my shoulder because I didn’t believe God or my mom loved me.  During that season my mom had a friend who introduced her to church.  My mom started going every Sunday . 

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There was something happening in our home and in mom. Her usual habit of going out dancing every weekend was changing. Her friend at that time came into our home one day and told me I would serve God. I would reply, “no I’m not!”  I was very skeptical.  My mom and I didn’t have a great relationship until then. 

After that I got married and it lasted for 20 years but that ended as a result of my husband’s multiple affairs.  When I felt like I couldn’t go on because of the hurt, God whispered to me, “when you are weak I am strong.“ I have felt him so close in my darkest times.   

Then one day, exhausted and crying from cleaning up the mess on the floor from my mom’s surgery, there was a knock at my door. It was one of the ladies my husband was having an affair with. As I answered the door, suddenly in that moment a tremendous peace came over me and I told this woman, “What you are looking for you can’t find that in a man. But there is a Man who can save your soul. His name is Jesus.”    She broke down in tears.  When she left, I sat down and thought to myself, “What just happened here?”  I tell you God showed up that day. 

All the while my mom was chronically ill in the hospital.  When she passed away, I was in the middle of getting a divorce.  My aunt passed a month later and unexpectedly my dad ten months after.  Broken hearted again I always wondering what is next? Certainly if you checked off all the “right” boxes it was supposed to work. My mindset was now: If people leave you when you give them your heart, there’s not much hope left. 

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You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NASB

Fast forward three years, now my sister whom I had clung to as a child is now very ill. She ultimately passed away which left me distraught. Through that I found support through my church’s grief program. These people have been my lifeline. God does place the right people in your path.  

During this season, I have found love in Jesus . Who better to love you and show you love the right way. When people would tell me, “You need a relationship with Jesus, not religion,” I didn’t get it — till now.  

The peace He gives, the joy in your heart. You get the confidence Jesus gives knowing He is our Savior.  He is our hope. 

You find what you’re searching for in the love of God — not man.

We are not alone. He will never leave us or forsake us. 

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61‬:‭3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18 NLT

While there’s a storm going on we can use things like an umbrella or a jacket to cover ourselves.

Ask yourself what tools can you use to ride it out? 

Meditation, a book, call a good friend, pray. 

God, You make all things beautiful in their proper timing. Nothing is too hard for You to accomplish! 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

Gracie has been an office administrator for 15 years in a successful dental practice.   “I love the patients and building a repoire with them.”

In her spare time she enjoys hiking , exercising and checking up on her friends .  “We all have busy lives but to make time and show people how important they are to me helps me to be an example for Christ to them.” 

It takes great courage to share from the heart and be exceedingly transparent. And that’s what makes Gracie such a dear and sweet Friend.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Gracie. Keep spreading Jesus to everyone around you, Girlfriend. You radiate and reflect His Love so well!

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

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