As Jasmine Edwards and her five children made their way to the Southeast Christian Church Blankenbaker Campus on a Thursday evening last March, her appointment didn’t take place as planned. Instead, God opened a door to something completely unexpected.
Jasmine arrived that day in the midst of a difficult season in her life. It was a theme she had become all too familiar with, having walked a challenging journey with emotional and physical trauma and feelings of rejection after being abused when she was 12. Those feelings continued as Jasmine and her husband also have faced a unique reality of life as parents of kids with special needs. Three of their children have a range of disabilities.
Each step of the way, Jasmine felt rejection by her family and the community around her, along with what she believed to be rejection from God. But all of that changed as she experienced God’s love through some personal interactions.
“I was able to meet with a few church staff members that first evening. After my initial plan didn’t go as expected, they started telling me about the worship services, and they told me about classes for my kids, including my kids with special needs,” Jasmine said. “It sounded so unbelievable that a church could love and care for my kids that way, but at the same time, it was exciting because I had never been to church when I didn’t have a child with me during a worship service. I thought it was amazing.”
A week later, Jasmine returned to Southeast. She checked her children into the Shine Ministry Suite and the SE!KIDS Ministry classes and attended the evening service. As she listened to the message and sang worship songs, Jasmine was stirred by the Holy Spirit and encountered God in ways she never had before.
“I remember just crying. I didn’t know what God really wanted me to do, and I didn’t know where some things in my personal life were going,” she said. “But after that worship service, I remember getting the kids in bed that night and then just getting into God’s Word, because I knew God wasn’t finished with me.”
Jasmine experienced love and encouragement in ways she never had before. From the intentional conversations with church staff to the care and support for her children from the volunteer teams with Shine Ministry and SE!KIDS, Jasmine knew God was working in her life and she felt Him calling her to be obedient in serving others for His glory.
She soon learned of a service opportunity in Elizabethtown where volunteers would be painting a house for Clarity Solutions, a pregnancy care ministry. Once renovated, the house would become a transition home for four mothers and their newborn children. This opportunity seemed like the perfect fit for Jasmine, so she took a step of faith. Through that step, God allowed Jasmine not only to focus her energy on serving others, but also to experience Him in a new way.
“I just jumped in and started painting,” she said. “It was so interesting how God led me to that place, especially in light of what I had experienced in my own life. The love and care I experienced from God through everyone I had met at church helped guide me to this point. I left there that day feeling so encouraged but also wanting to do more.”
That initial step of faith opened the door for God to help Jasmine take an even bigger step of faith last August when she was baptized. Less than six months after arriving at Southeast Christian Church with her own plan, Jasmine found herself proclaiming to everyone her faith in Jesus Christ. She and her family experienced God’s love through His Church, and it spurred her forward in her relationship with her Savior and her desire to love and serve other people.