Overwhelmed by His Love by Maggie Johnson
This story is real, but the name has been changed to protect her privacy.
We’ll never forget the sound of the worship we experienced is this place. Beauty and simplicity woven together in a way we had not experienced seemed to amplify their testimony to the goodness of God.
It was evident this church was being led by someone who understood God’s lavish love. What we didn’t know was the woman who God had called to lead this congregation came to know His extravagant love through pain and suffering.
In her early twenties, Carene had been assaulted resulting in a pregnancy. The shame she carried from being single and pregnant was too much to bear so she begged the man who had attacked and raped her to marry her. Even though he refused, she tells us that she was determined to make a life for herself and her child. Her own feelings of shame and the rejection she felt from others pushed her further and further away from the religion of her childhood. Carene felt like she understood the rules of her religion better than she understood the love of God.
It was this love that drew Carene in after the birth of her son. One day, a woman taught Carene a song about Jesus and His longing for a relationship. The words of this song softened her heart allowing her to become overwhelmed by the love of God.
God began doing more in her life and heart. She began attending a church where she could fellowship with other believers, worship God, and serve those in need. Little did she know not only would she find a life-giving relationship with Jesus, a young man would chose her to become his wife and her son’s father.
A few years later Carene said YES to God’s call to pastor and lead a church. Since that time she and her husband have used their own resources to build the church and serve the people God had entrusted to her care. Their needs are great but because of God’s generosity flowing through Carene and her husband many are coming to understand the love of God.
How is this possible?
The work of ALARM and the Women’s Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) have helped her find hope and healing from the trauma she has experienced. Carene said this, I forgave everyone because I serve a God who forgives.
Just like so many others, Pastor Carene opened her heart to God and He has healed the deep wounds she had been carrying. Because of her own healing, she is now able to offer hope and healing to her community.
Pastor Carene’s story is just one of the many women who are being equipped and empowered to live out their calling because of the Women’s Leadership Training Institute (WLTI).