Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

When God Turned Our Hard Into Good (A Genesis 5020) July 7, 2017

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:59 pm
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I am so excited today to have a Genesis 5020 story to share with you. Jennifer Slattery is an author whose books I always love. She also has a great Genesis 5020 to share. Read on!

My daughter was falling apart, literally. My heart was breaking, and I felt trapped. I did not want to move. We were settled, belonged to a close-knit church, lived in a close-knit relationship, and our daughter was about to enter her sophomore year in high school.

Potentially, one of the worst times for a kid to move.

With our house full of boxes, my daughter sitting upon one of them, crying, I scrambled for potential solutions. Ultimately, ways to keep my daughter and I in Kansas City, even if that meant renting an apartment and only seeing my husband on weekends.

I’m ashamed to say it, but I was so caught up in my daughter and my temporary pain, so uncomfortable with all the unknowns we’d face, should we move, I honestly contemplated temporarily splitting our family up.

I tried to justify this. We’d only be two and a half hours away. And it’d only be for a few years, just long enough to allow our daughter to finish high school.

My momma-bear heart was dominating, attempting to put our child above our marriage.

Had God not called me out, I fear, there’s a good chance I would’ve done irreparable damage to both. And honestly, I knew better. When a marriage fails, everyone, the children especially, loses.

And so, reluctantly, I surrendered, and came to Omaha with dragging feet, a heavy heart, and slumped shoulders.

That first summer was the hardest I’ve experienced to date as I watched our daughter slip into depression. She was lonely. Incredibly lonely. And being the introvert she is, I knew it’d take her a long time to make friends. Maybe even the rest of her high school before she really developed the kind of relationships we were leaving back in Kansas City.

To make matters worse, I got sick. Incredibly sick, and this added to the family stress exponentially. Things felt so chaotic for our girl that she developed shingles.

Talk about parental guilt. Witnessing her extreme pain, it literally felt like my heart was shredding. One morning, so distraught, I went down into the far corner of our kitchen, where she couldn’t hear my cry, and sobbed.

And asked God why. And begged Him to intervene.

At first, it felt as if God had closed His ears and turned His back, but regardless of how I felt, I kept stepping. Kept walking with Him. Kept getting up each morning and reading my Bible, trusting Him to speak. To comfort and strengthen.

Those turned into some of the sweetest mornings of my entire faith journey, because God did meet with me, and He did speak to me. Through His Word, again and again, He told me He would fight on our behalf.

He did. He was fighting for us the entire time, doing what needed to be done inside each of us, bringing growth, and ultimately, healing, and some incredibly deep friendships.

It was here, in Omaha, that I met my Wholly Loved team, a group of women who’ve become not only ministry partners but cherished friends. It was here, in Omaha, that my daughter met two of her best friends, lifelong friends. And it was here that she found a youth group that allowed her to heal from some wounds she’d experienced in church in the past.

It was here, in Omaha, that my husband heard the call to donate his kidney to a young man he’d never met.

More than that, through all the gunk, He brought our family unbreakably closer. We learned how to lean on one another and on Christ through the hard. We learned to be real. And to listen to the hard shared by one another, to apologize when necessary, to work through gunk, and to hold tight to one another.

God does indeed turn all things to good, and He’s always fighting on our behalf.

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

 

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com 

 

Healing Love (click here to pre-order her book)

Goodreads link here.

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

 

Blurb: A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Seven December 26, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:53 pm
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part seven

By Francesco Gallarotti

My life was never the same after that day. I walked away once and for all from my life of sin and asked Jesus to come take up residence in my heart.

The greatest thing that happened was that my story has been published in a best-selling book and many have found hope. I’m sure you have even read my story in this book. Below is the excerpt directly from the manuscript:

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group  and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8: 2-11 NIV

Hey everyone, Melissa here. Yes, I took the story of the woman caught in adultery and fictionalized it, gave her a story, a voice. Hope you don’t mind 🙂

We haven’t had a Genesis 5020 story in a very long time and I thought what better source than the Bible? It’s full of them.

This blog began as a place to share such stories so I thought I would use my imagination and give you one. I do hope you have been encouraged and remember what Jesus still does in lives today.

However, I would love for a reader to share their story here, so if you have a story to share email me at: 5020genesisstories (at) gmail (dot) com. Otherwise you never know when a character from the Bible might decide to make an appearance to encourage you!

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas.

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Six December 19, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:20 pm
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By Casey Fyfe

By Casey Fyfe

I still attended church but without Jim by my side. His wife started coming and of course he sat with her. He didn’t even look at me when we were in church. My heart ached.

Not to mention the guilt and shame that pressed in on me each and every week as I sat and listened to the words of hope the pastor offered.

I wasn’t worthy of the love, grace or mercy he spoke of. I knew that. I knew I shouldn’t even be sitting in church while I was in the middle of my affair. But each Sunday when I woke up thinking I wouldn’t go something spurred me on.

Jim and I still met when we could but it was becoming less often. His words still promised a future. One I couldn’t see but held desperately to.

One Sunday Jim and his wife didn’t come to church. Even though we never talked while there I hungered to see him.

The same day, after the music ended and the pastor took the stage, a man from the crowd interrupted him.

“Excuse me Pastor. But I need to bring something to light.” The man stood from the middle of the sanctuary and slide out to the aisle.

I didn’t know the man personally but I knew he was a friend of Jim’s. He had talked about how they both despised the pastor and wanted to get him out of the church before they lost all control.

The pastor looked startled. I didn’t know if this had ever happened before but it seemed odd.

“Is now the best time, John?”

“Now is the perfect time.” John’s voice boomed and echoed off the walls as he spoke louder. “It has come to my attention that we have an adulteress in our midst. That she has been carrying on for some time without any sense of remorse.”

Murmering fill the space and gazes flew across the room looking for the offender.

Heat crept up my neck and flooded my face. Yes, I was an adulterer but he couldn’t be talking about me because remorse filled my very being. It must be someone else.

“John…” Pastor’s voice had a warning tone.

My heart beat wildly, I thought it would beat right out of my chest. I needed to get out of there but I would only draw more attention to myself and I didn’t need that.

John took long strides in my direction. I looked down at my hands as they twisted in my lap. Maybe if I didn’t look at him he wouldn’t see me.

A rough hand wrapped around my arm and yanked me to my feet. “This is the woman. I have seen her with my own eyes spending time with a married man.” John didn’t even look at me as he blurted out my sin for all to hear.

More murmuring filled the sanctuary. Stony glares flew my way, pelting my gut.

What had I done? Why did I keep coming to church when I was in the middle of my sin? Church was no place for someone like me. Why didn’t I run away like I always had done before?

Before I knew it John pulled me to the alter and threw me to the ground.

“They Bible tells us to call out sin, to bring darkness to light. So what are you going to do about her Pastor?”

I only heard his voice, I could no longer see anything or anyone. I planted my face in the carpet and tears dripped down my chin and nose. My body shook uncontrollably. Where was Jim? Did he know this was going to happen? Was this all a set up?

His harsh words against Pastor and his boasting of finding a way to get rid of him echoed in my mind.

Did he use me like all the others? Was I a pawn in his game to oust Pastor?

Silence filled my ears. I sensed Pastor move down from the stage and stand before me. He was about to declare me trash, just as I always knew I was. But to hear it come from such a man I would know without a doubt it was truth. I was worthless.

Yet, I deserved it all. My father showed me a long time ago what I was worth and now everyone else would know too.

Pastor cleared his throat after what seemed like forever. “I’ve always said this church would be a place that we can say to the broken and wounded ‘welcome home’ and embrace them. I stand by that now. If you don’t want this to be a place where we welcome all sinners then you should leave and find a church without sinners. I believe it will be difficult to find.”

What? I couldn’t have heard him right.

I still couldn’t look up. I couldn’t look to see what was happening. But I heard shuffling and I heard John give a “hurmph”. I heard people leaving. Leaving because they didn’t welcome me.

I heard another sound. I heard steps moving closer to me, I sensed people coming beside me and kneeling. Soon I felt the warmth of hands on my back and the warmth spread to my heart.

I finally looked up.

Around me where at least half the congregation. The other half were gone.

I looked up to Pastor and he smiled and said words I never thought I would hear from anyone:

“Welcome home.”

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NLT

Make sure you come back next week for the final installment of Ariella’s story.

 

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Five December 12, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:39 pm
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By Chris Sardegna

By Chris Sardegna

I slipped into the back row. I drew a few stares and glares. I had no idea what I looked like but I knew it couldn’t be good.

The lights were low and a band played music on the stage. This didn’t look like any church I ever heard of. And I liked it.

People started clapping and raising their hands. They actually seemed excited to be there. I never thought of church as exciting. Could I have been wrong?

After the music ended the pastor, or who I assumed to be the pastor, got on stage and started speaking.

I can’t even explain what began to happen but it seemed like something woke up inside of me. I felt excited and something else I hadn’t felt since I sat on those porch steps all those years ago: hope.

The pastor spoke with such passion, to the point of even crying himself. He seemed real and I always pictured pastors as fake. But something was different with him. He seemed to genuinely love the people he was speaking to and he believed his message.

I wanted to believe as well. I wanted to believe I was loved.

I left that service feeling almost new, like anything was possible.

I decided I would go back the next week. I did and I kept going back. I was hungry for love and I was finding it in the pastors teaching.

After a few weeks of attending services a man approached me. I had managed to stay away from all men since I walked into the church. I decided I really was going to be different.

He introduced himself to me and asked me how long I had been attending. He seemed to really care about me and not what I could do for him.

The next Sunday he sat beside me and we talked some more after service.

I did take notice that he didn’t wear a wedding ring. Bonus! Could I actually have a real relationship with a man who cared about me?

He asked if I wanted to go out for lunch and I agreed.

It was so nice to sit and talk with a man and him not expect anything else from me. I felt valued, special.

We started to have these lunch dates for a few weeks. Each time we met I opened up to him more. I shared my history and he just took my hand and told me it didn’t matter. That he was falling in love with me.

The only part of our time together that bothered me was when he talked about the pastor. Apparently, this man, who I’ll call Jim, was very connected with the church and had been for many years. He didn’t like the direction the church was going at all and was hoping to get rid of the pastor soon.

Deep inside I questioned this because the pastor seemed to be speaking truth. But maybe I was wrong, I was new to this whole church thing. And Jim seemed so wise, he must know what he’s talking about.

He asked me to go on an actual date one night. Of course I said yes.

At the end of the evening he walked me to my door and kissed me. I knew I needed to be careful but before I knew it I invited him in and you can imagine what happened.

Afterwards guilt washed over me. Even worse than the past. I wasn’t different, I was the same woman I had always been, giving into my passion. Why couldn’t I be stronger?

As I started to tell this to Jim he dropped a bomb on me.

He was married.

His wife had been out of town for a few months taking care of her sick father but was headed home.

My heart broke. How could this be? I was so sure Jim really cared, that he was honest.

He told me the marriage was pretty much over and he still wanted to see me. He told me I had nothing to feel guilty about. But I didn’t believe him.

Yet, I couldn’t walk away. I loved him and would wait for his marriage to be over and then we would be together and make it all right.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.

Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master. Genesis 4:7

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Four December 5, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:32 pm
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By Andrew Collins

By Andrew Collins

Sorry this Genesis 5020 has been slow in coming. Life has a been a little busy but hopefully we’re back on track now.

Surprisingly  enough, I did graduate high school. I wanted to go to college, I remember that desire being there. But I had no idea how to make that happen since we had no money and I knew neither of my parents would help me out. And my grades certainly weren’t good enough to even consider a scholarship.

But I remember a hunger inside of me for more. More than what I saw every day, more than what I was living. Yet, I saw no escape, no way out.

Mom made it clear that she didn’t want me living with her once I was out of school so I packed my bags and moved to a bigger city couple of hours away from our small town.

I ended up sleeping on the street for a few nights as I looked for a job. I found one at a fast food place. The manager noticed I didn’t put an address down. He asked me about it and I told him until I got some money I didn’t have an address. He offered to let me stay with him.

He seemed nice enough. He was a lot older than me but at least it was some place to stay.

I quickly learned staying with him wasn’t free. Just as I had always known but kept hoping I was wrong, he wanted something in return and I felt I needed to give that to him. So I did.

He eventually grew tired of me and kicked me out but by that time I had saved up some money and found a cheap apartment.

I continued to hook up with different men I worked with. It didn’t matter how old, or if they were married. I craved attention and I would take it in any form I could receive it.

I did try to talk myself out of being with men. After one relationship ended and the emptiness crept in I would tell myself the pain wasn’t worth it and I just wouldn’t date anyone. But the hunger always returned. I wanted to be loved so badly. So the next time a man looked my way I would give in and find myself still living this crazy cycle that wore me out and left me empty.

After living this way for so long I was wearing out. One Sunday morning I woke up to a wife coming home and beating the snot out of me. I staggered out of the home, bruised and bloody.

What was I doing? How did I get here? I hated it but didn’t know where to turn.

As I stumbled down the sidewalk trying to find my car, I couldn’t remember where I parked it, my eyes finally looked up and I saw a cross.

The cross was sitting on top of a church.

I froze and immediately the words from that scrap of paper I threw away all those years ago came back to me.

God loved the world. I was in the world.

Could He possibly love someone like me? Did He really send his Son to die for someone like me? My own father didn’t love me how could this person that I don’t even know love me? Especially after all I had done. But I needed to know.

I watched as people walked into the building. My heart ached. I wanted to follow. But what would people think of me?

Go.

I heard the voice like a whisper. But so clear.

Slowly, my feet shuffled forward.

Hope. I wanted to know there was hope. Even for someone like me.

I moved toward the doors and entered the church.

And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12 NLT

 

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Three November 14, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:29 pm
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church

By Jeff Sheldon

As I got older boys started to notice me. I developed early and looked a lot older than I really was. By the time I was in eighth grade high school boys on the bus started talking to me.

My  heart bloomed under their attention. I felt like someone saw me for the first time and liked what they saw.

Eventually, I started dating a boy. He was seventeen and I was thirteen. He told me he loved me. Oh, how I wanted to be loved. I never heard those words at home. I just felt like I was in the way there.

It didn’t take much for him to convince me to have sex with him. Soon after I did he stopped talking to me. I was crushed, abandoned again.

Not long after another boy came along and I knew what I needed to do to feel loved, even for a just awhile. I was hungry, desperate for even a few moments of being wanted, of being seen.

Thus began a cycle that I didn’t know how to stop. Or even if I wanted to.

With every relationship I hoped this one would really love me. And with every relationship I lost another piece of my heart. My whole body ached with the brokenness inside me. I was empty and knew no one would want me one day. My own father knew I was trash and it was a matter of time until the whole world figured it out.

One day as I was walking around town, trying to avoid going home I walked by one of the local churches. I walked by there several times and never paid much attention. That was one place I wouldn’t be welcome.

A young women was headed in the building and I tried to walk past her without making eye-contact. No one ever really saw me so that should be easy.

“Hey, are you okay?” Her voice pulled me out of my tangled thoughts.

I just nodded and kept on walking. I heard her footsteps shuffling behind me.

“I’ve seen you walk around town before. My name’s Carrie.”

I stopped walking, I didn’t want to be completely rude.

“We have a youth program here. Why don’t you come on in and check it out if you think your parents wouldn’t mind.”

I wanted to laugh. Yeah, like my parents would even notice if I didn’t come home.

I glanced up finally and saw some of the kids walking into the church. My heart sank. I saw a few boys who had pledged their love to me and then left me. So church was for liars. I didn’t need any part of that.

“No thanks.”

Carrie scrambled for her purse and drew out a piece of paper and pencil. “If you ever change your mind we meet every Wednesday. Here, I feel like I’m supposed to give you this.” She wrote on her piece of paper, folded it and handed it to me.

I took it, shoved it in my pocket and walked away.

“It’s the truth. What’s on that paper. It’s true.” Carrie’s voice called from behind me.

The paper seemed to burn my fingers as I picked up speed to walk home. I wanted to stop and read it right then but didn’t want Carrie to know how desperate I was. I waited until I got home. I ran to my room and drew the paper out:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:13 NLT

I crumpled the paper up and threw away. Just more trash.

 

 

Ariella’s Story-Part Two October 31, 2014

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:21 pm
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By Volkan Olmez

By Volkan Olmez

Daddy never came home.

Saturday came and went with no word from him. By the end of the day Saturday I took my spelling test, ripped it to shreds and threw it in the garbage. That’s all it really was now. A piece of garbage and isn’t the what you do with it? Throw it away?

Isn’t that what my dad had done to me? Thrown me away? I must be garbage. My little seven-year-old mind didn’t comprehend all of that at the time, but over time that was my deduction.

About a week after he never came home he called. My mother thrust the phone in my face. Anger flared in her eyes. Did she hate me? Was it my fault Daddy didn’t come home? Maybe if I had been a better daughter he would’ve come home? Maybe I demanded too much time from him, making him study with me every night.

When I talked to Dad on the phone it was brief. He never said he was sorry, or even ask about my test. He told me he wouldn’t be coming home anymore. He found a new place to live but I could come visit him.

I don’t think I said much back to him. I was so confused. What did I do to make him leave us? I wanted to know but didn’t have the courage to ask.

My first visit to his apartment was about a month later. There was a woman there, but she was a lot younger than my mom. She tried to be nice but I could tell she was trying too hard. She cuddled up to my dad and kissed him a lot. Every time she did I wanted to run out of the room.

Dad never snuggled with me when I went to bed, like that week before he left. He would just send me off and I would fall asleep eventually.

My visits were sporadic and each time it seemed like he had a new woman living with him. I wanted to tell them they probably shouldn’t bother to unpack but I never said anything.

I got really good at not saying what was on my mind.

I was learning at a young age to not become attached to anyone. That men used woman and then moved on. This seemed normal to me.

My mother was pretty much ignoring me as well. She had turned to alcohol and laid in bed most days. I got myself up and ready for school.

No one really noticed. Teachers never asked if anything was wrong. Even when I came to school with knots in my hair and wrinkled clothes. I was sure no one really saw me, or maybe no one wanted to see me.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 NIV