This year, is launching its “I’m a Believer” campaign, celebrating some of the newest Christian leaders on our team of contributors who are committed to sharing their faith and advice.

By clicking on their photos, you can get to know them better through their testimonies and bios. Sharon Jaynes recently joined the team of contributors and would like to share with you her testimony of why she believes in Jesus Christ and loves to share her faith with the Believe community …

“Like many children living through the depression in rural North Carolina, my parents graduated from high school, and said ‘I do’ at the altar a few weeks later. Ten months passed and they heard their first baby’s cry. Five years after my brother was born, I made my grand debut on a snowy night just a few days before Christmas.

From the very beginning, my parents had a rocky marriage. I don’t remember much about my first five years of life, but I do remember many heated arguments and violent outbursts followed by periods of cold passive aggression.

My father ran a building supply company and spent most of his time away from home working or carousing with friends. And even though his place of business was only a few miles from our home, I felt that his heart was in a place I could never find. A battle raged in my little girl heart between a part of me that longed to be a daddy’s girl and a part that feared to even get near him.

My family lived in a beautiful brick ranch-style home with columns supporting the elongated front porch and sixty-foot pine tress forming a shady canopy over our roof. With two kids and a collie dog named Lassie, we looked like the typical All-American family. But behind the peaceful exterior loomed a deep dark secret.

My father had a drinking problem and many nights came home in violent fits of rage. My parents fought both verbally and physically in my presence and I saw many things a little child should never see and heard words that a little child should never hear. As a child I remember going to bed, pulling the covers up tightly under my chin and praying that I could hurry up and go to sleep to shut out the noise of my parents yelling and fighting.

During those early years, I had a pink musical jewelry box. Many nights, I slipped out of bed, turned the key in the back of the box, and opened the lid to hear the beautiful music in hopes it would drown out the fighting in the next room. I pretended that I was the ballerina who popped up when the lid was opened and tried to let the music take me to a peaceful, magical place.

On several occasions, I awoke to broken furniture, my mother’s black eye and a weeping father making promises that it would never happen again. It did.

As a little girl, I felt like something was wrong with me. I longed to be cherished or valued, but felt I was always in the way and a poor excuse for a daughter. I surmised that I was not pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, or good enough to be the apple of anyone’s eye.

Inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy became the grid system or the filter formed over my mind. And every thought that I had, every interpretation of my little world, had to go through that sieve of deficiency before it entered my mind. By the time I was a teenager, that filter was cemented firmly in place.

But God didn’t leave me that way. Don’t you just love the words, ‘but God?’ They are my two favorite words in the Bible. But God didn’t leave me that way.

When I was 12-years-old, I became friends with a girl in my neighborhood, Wanda Henderson. We had known each other since first grade, but truly bonded by the sixth. I loved being in the Henderson’s home. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson hugged and kissed in front of us, had pet names for each other, and seemed to truly love each other. I had never seen married people act that way before. And while I didn’t understand why that family was so different from mine, I knew it had something to do with Jesus.

Mrs. Henderson walked around their home doing housework and singing praise songs to the Lord. She even talked to and about Jesus like she knew Him personally. I thought that was strange.

Amazingly, my family, as broken as we were, we went to church on Sundays. With all the alcohol, fighting, and a host of other vices that went on behind the pristine doors of my home, we went to a very politically correct, socially prestigious church … fighting all the way. 

But we looked good in our crisply pressed Sunday best. We’d walk through the doors of that church and people would ask, ‘How are you today?’ To which we would respond, ‘Fine, just fine. And how are you?’ But we were anything but ‘fine,’ and I suspect they weren’t either. We heard ear-tickling, non-offensive sermons that were moral enough to make us feel we’d done our American duty, but not spiritual enough to convict or transform us in any way. 

Eventually, the Hendersons invited me to go to church with them and I realized that most of the people in her church talked about Jesus Christ like they knew Him personally. They talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, something I had never heard before. In my teenage heart, I began to sense that there was a big difference between having a religion in my life and having a personal relationship with Christ.

I wanted what they had. I went to this church and drank in every word the pastor and teachers had to say about a Savior who loved me so much He gave His life for me on Calvary’s cross so that I could have eternal life — a Savior who paid the penalty for my sin. I learned that He loved me, not because I was pretty or because I could do things well, but just because I was His.

The following year, Mrs. Henderson started a Bible study for teenagers in the neighborhood and I began a love affair with God’s Word. One night, when I was 14, Mrs. Henderson sat me down on the couch.

‘Sharon,’ she asked, ‘Are you ready to accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?’

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I answered ‘yes.’

At the very moment I accepted Christ, my dead spirit sprang to life, and I was a brand new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Yes, there were many wounds that needed healing, emotions that needed mending, and thought patterns that needed reprogramming with the Truth, but God flung open the jail cell doors of inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy beckoned me to life fully and free. 

The journey did not end the moment I said ‘yes’ to Christ. It was only the beginning. From that time forward, God has continued to meld me and mold me to be the woman He intended me to be. Through trials, tragedies, and turmoil, through victories, successes, and joys, God continues to teach me how to embrace who I am, what I have, and where I am as His child – dearly loved, uniquely fashioned and precisely purposed for His glory.

And that’s why I am a contributor to My passion is to encourage and equip men and women to live fully and free in Christ … to turn their pain into purpose, their messes into their message and their hurt into hope.”

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