God’s Story ~ Jamie Boiles

Apr 27, 2015

God's Story pic oac

God has been a part of my life since before I was born. I grew up in a Christian family, had all the books of the Bible memorized, and could tell you exactly why I believed what I believed all at the age of 10. Is there any surprise that I moved to Rwanda to be a missionary? The answer is emphatically, “Yes!” It was a surprise to everyone, especially me.

I spent a lot of years in rebellion. I thought I was rebelling against God, but looking back, I’ve decided I was rebelling against this tiny godlike-image that had been portrayed to me. A god that says his followers should walk around with a piece of paper with checkboxes, if you don’t check every thing off the list, you will not go to Heaven. With a god like that, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to that kind of Heaven.

I had all the right words memorized to keep getting my boxes checked, but a dichotomy was developing in my life. I was splitting into two different people and began a long season of “spinning plates”. I felt like the performer at the theatre. I put on the sparkly clothes, I took my position on the stage and I began to start spinning plates on tiny sticks.

The first plate said: faith life. That one was easy to get up and going. It was only a matter of showing up on Sundays and Wednesdays and saying the right thing to the right people, but only on those days.

The second plate said: relationships. This is a little more difficult. It meant creating a person I thought people would like and want to be around. Even more difficult being the girl that guys would want to date. I had lots of boyfriends and was surrounded by lots of people, but inside I was screaming. I was doing things I didn’t want to do and agreeing to be a part of things I wasn’t okay with. I had lost who I was, which at that point, I wasn’t even really sure what that even meant.

The third plate said: Show-off. I became the class clown, I wanted to make people laugh, but this generally meant I was doing it at someone else’s expense. I was a bully, the mean girl. I hated who I was, but I wanted others to think I had it “all together”. (Who really has this?! Why do we strive to achieve for the all-togetherness?!)

There were more and more plates I began to spin as the years went on. Here’s the quandary I found myself in: the more plates to spin, the harder they were becoming to keep in the air. I wish I could tell you this beautiful story about how I dropped all the plates and ran to Jesus once I realized how tough this performance was going to be. (That happens, but later in the story.)

More plates meant more apathy. I began to run to various vices to seek pleasure, I wanted to feel something, but I was so tired of trying to be all these different people and I just didn’t want to feel anything.

I was hurting, lonely and lost. I realized I had become the prodigal son. I left my family, but most importantly I had ran so very far from my Father. My plates were beginning to fall and break, but I was desperately trying to pick the broken pieces from the ground, put them back up on their sticks and keep spinning. My hands were becoming broken and were bleeding from my attempts.

Show-off…crash. Relationships…crash, bang. Faith life…crash into a million pieces.

I spent several years in the desert. I was trying to very unsuccessfully get my Masters degree. I was jumping from job to job. I was in financial ruin. My health was suffering. And yet, I hadn’t hit the very bottom yet. I knew I was living in sin and I knew it was killing me. I love thinking back to this moment now, when I thought God was so far from me, but really He was right there the whole time. He saw every lie I told, every sin I tried to hide; He was there.



I always go back and forth on how much detail to share about this desert time in my life and in certain environments will share more details, but overall, I like what Beth Moore says when she is sharing her testimony, “There are just some details that wouldn’t bless anyone.”

At 27, it was time. I was trying to keep up the small, broken pieces of my faith-life in the air by leading a ladies Bible study. Please don’t let this mislead you; I was living a life outside that one-hour a week that wasn’t worthy to be leading. For one hour, I would bandage my bleeding, broken self and would put on my performance clothes and speak the good words I had memorized from my childhood.

Through a series of events, that I was once angry at God for but now thank Him, I was convicted. At first, I thought I had gotten sloppy. I started confusing which plate was supposed to go on which stick and I let the show-off share some of her hurts in the faith-life. I started telling some of the things I was doing in my show-off life and the faith-life people I had deceived so well were not happy. I’m sure they felt betrayed; the lives I had been living were so incredibly different. They thought they knew one person, but really I was running out and doing all kinds of things somewhere else. They weren’t happy and the enemy knew it. I was hoping they would support me, help me through this time (there were a few who did), but most, did not. I was deserted when I felt I most needed help. I thought I needed His people, but really, I needed Him.

I was done. The performance was over. The curtain closed as I was sitting on the stage among my broken pieces of glass. Over the next couple of years, I walked around in a daze. Who was I? And what was my identity?

From time to time, I tried re-visiting my stage. There was only one person in the audience. I sort of recognized Him, but not really. I would get up on the stage and try a few of my old acts. He was there, but only Him and there was no applause.

I decided it was time to completely close the doors. I walked outside the theater, fell on the sidewalk and cried out (in the ugly cry) “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fight anymore.” He sent my sister to say, “Good. Now let Him go to work. It’s in your weakness that He is strong.”

He picked me up off the sidewalk. He dusted my tattered clothes and bandaged my wounds. You see, I thought His healing would be immediate; that I would be completely clean, my clothes pretty and my wounds healed with no sign of scaring. But I had made some mistakes and had to face the consequences. I screamed at Him from time to time, “You are punishing me! Why won’t you let me be? I’m trying to do the right thing.”

In His soft, gentle voice He explained that I had made choices and for those I would have to face consequences, so I could learn. He said something about struggles developing perseverance and perseverance, faith. I remembered the faith-life, I didn’t want to go back to that. But I found these people, who admitted they weren’t perfect and were so joyful in admitting that. They sang amazing songs praising Him and saying with smiles, “In our weakness there we find God.” I liked feeling like I wasn’t the only bleeding and hurting person.

Each week many would limp in, bandaged hands, legs, or heads. It was some sort of convalescence for people like me. We were healing from hurts, habits and hang-ups. Some days I would cry out to Him, “I’ve given this to you! Why does it still hurt? Why does this healing process hurt?”

I imagined His response in the voice of Rafiki from the Lion King, “Yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.”

Learn, yes, learn was what I was going to do. Learn through the pain. Don’t give up. Keep showing up.

For all those still reading, here’s where it gets good!

So, I was sitting in church one day and it was Missions Sunday. There was a video played and a quote appeared on the screen: Missions is not about reaching out to those already in the pews, but reaching out to those at the gates of hell.

He was sitting by me. He leaned over and said, “Go to Rwanda”.

“Hmmm? I’m sorry. Did you say something to me?”

“Go to Rwanda,” he repeated.

“Where? What? Rwanda who?”

Dear Missions Committee, Mom, Dad, Sister and dearest friends,
I think I’m supposed to go to Rwanda. And while I’m there I will fall in love with it. I will also meet Jesus there. He is going to change my life. I will end up moving there and will spend the next few years pouring into young women and getting to know them and their stories. I’m going to find a young woman who I can mentor and groom to take over the program that God is going to challenge me to start. We will start before we have enough money in the bank and it is going to be a struggle. It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m going to love every minute of it. I will get to be a part of a women’s ministry called IF: and I will learn about being bold and struggling FOR my faith. There will be people who will not believe in what I am doing and they will leave me. They will question me. But you see, God will take care of His ministry. He will provide when some leave. I will struggle, but He will always take care of me if I keep showing up. I just have to show up.


Ok, maybe that wasn’t the real letter, but it’s the one I would write to myself 6 years ago. I’ve learned some times we are called to do things, and we may have fear, but it’s about showing up and doing it fearful, because I know God is always bigger than my fear.

In 6 years, I will write another letter describing more amazing details about this journey God has me on. I don’t know where I will be writing the letter from, or whom I will tell you about, but know–it will be good! Not easy, but definitely good!

The word God gave me for 2015 is “SHINE”. It doesn’t mean for jamie to shine, but for jamie to SHINE HIS GLORY.

Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. ~ Isaiah 60:1

He has been telling me, “Tell your story so that others may see my healing in you and I will be glorified.”

Thank you for reading my God story, so He may be glorified.


Read more of Jamie’s story and about her mission work in Rwanda on her blog Sent To Rwanda.

If you were encouraged by Jamie’s God Story, find previous God Stories here.

God’s Story is the most popular and commented on posts every month. The stories shared have blessed and encouraged many. If you have a God’s story from your life you’d like to share, please contact me at tlcole@overacup.org. I’d love to talk to you! 

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