By Jana Alcorn
Wrecked interviewed Jana Alcorn a couple of weeks ago at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta about her new book “Don’t Throw in the Towel-Hope Again!” The book is about her experience losing five family members in five years.
Can you talk about yourself and your experiencewhat youve been writing about?
Well actually in 2001 a five year purging began in my life. In 2001 to 2006 I buried five of my family members in just a short period of time. It started in 2001 where my daughter was killed in a car accidentjust 20 years of age. The next six months later my mother in law past away. Thirty days later my dad died. The next year I was getting ready to board for Africa my father in law died. And less than two years ago my husband died in my arms. So the cumulative calamity just had the effect on me of like an absolute tsunami. I just wanted to quitthrow in the towel, give up hope. In fact I said to the Lord, If youre through, Im through.
And one night just right after we had buried Bill, my little boy, hes twelve years old, he was in the bed and I went in to pray with him. And because Bill had always prayed with him, I knelt down and they had their little time together as father and son. And I left them alone, shut the door and I let them have their nighttime prayer together. But with Bill in heaven now I came on the scene and went in and knelt down beside Jordans bed and as we were getting ready to pray we were both crying and our lives were just devastated and Jordan said, Mom, Dad didnt get to fulfill his purpose in life because his purpose was to raise me and Im not raised.
So when he said that it just threw me into like, Oh Lord what am I going to tell my son? And how do I all my theology, everything that I thought I knewit went out the door. And all Im looking for is a reason for hope, for me and for my son. And so when Jordan said, Mom, Dad did not get to fulfill his purpose in life because that was to raise me and Im not raised. And heres our twelve-year-old son and it really made a lot of sense, what he said. And I just said, Lord, give me wisdom. And I felt like the Lord just spoke to my heart and I said, Son, somehow even though we dont understand all the things that happen in this life the way they do, somehow Dads purpose is in heaven now, but ours is still on the earth.
And so I just began to think, God I have to live, I cantI cant die. But I wanted to die IIthe pain was so great after all the cumulative heartache that I just didnt want to take it anymore. But if pain has a purpose you canI can go, I can keep going if I know that my pain has a purpose. But if its purposeless pain, Iyou know I just cant take it. So I began to really go to God, back to the basics of Christianity. What did it really mean to be a believer? What did it really mean to confess your faith in the Lord? And I boiled it down to one statement: Its an in Christ position. Its not your circumstances; its not what happens to you; its not the calamities; its not the storms of life. Your in Christ position is something that you still have if youve lost everything.
And like I was telling the Lord, I said, Lord Ive lost thisIve lost this loved one. Almost all the relationships in my life have expiration dates on them. Almost every one has an expiration date on them. And I was saying, God Ive lost this, Ive lost this, Ive lost this. And I felt him speak to my heart and say, Youve still got me. And that was my building block again.
I can see that you have hope because youre smiling now.
Yes, I am because I have a reason to live. And Im so passionate about getting people out of the basements of life. Because I was in that basement. I know what it is to cry myself to sleep. Like Job said, My life drags by day after hopeless day. I know what that means to live that. Its terrible. Its torture.
My life verse is Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love the Lord, and those who are called according to His purpose. So its really what you know, its not what you feel. Cause I didnt feel like living. And I didnt feel like going on. I felt like my life was not worth two pennies. If you rubbed them together I wouldve said Im not worth it. But God had a different plan and a different idea. So Im all about sharing hope.
Well life was happeningyou know theres personal wildernesses just in life. So, a lot of times I would just be hacking my way through a personal wilderness and stop to bury a loved one. In all of this life was still happening.
I got to the point, Ill never forgetthe transmission went out in my car right after my husband died and they gave me this Ford F-7,000 million fifty something dual king cab muscle truckthats all they had at the dealership. And they said, Mrs. Alcorn, this is all we have to give you. And I said Id take it. So I went prayer driving out into fields and pastures and I would jump curbs and jump ditches. And I said to the Lord, God are you real? Do you exist? And if so do you love me?
And my cell phone rang. I answered it, not wanting to, but thinking it might be my son needing me. His dad is in heaven, Im all hes got. I answered the phone and a mans voice said, Jana I have a word from God for you. Is this an inconvenient time? Talk about timing! I said, This is perfect. If you only knew. And I told this man of God that had called and that had been praying for me about what Id prayed and he gave me immediate assurance.
How is your son dealing with all of this?
I think when our loved ones passour spouses, we have children that are left behind without dads. Some children, maybe youre reading this and youre left without a mom or dad. You have to have the right perspective. That makes all the difference in the world. Even for our son now. That Dad has finished his purpose on earth for whatever reason we dont understand.
But heaven is not a punishment, its a reward. And one day thats where were going. And were going to join Dad again. But in the meantime I share with my son that Dad told me what to do. I know how to take care of you honey, because Dad taught me exactly what to do. I just let our son know that this is what Dad would have wanted and Dad is happy. And that helps him to know that Dad is happy. And Jordan knows this storm, just like it had a beginning, itll have an ending. We have a great hope. He has such a great attitude.
Jana Alcorn runs her ministry, the Jana Alcorn Ministries out of Huntsville, Alabama. She is actively involved in ministry in Tanzania, Nicaragua, and eslewhere. Read about Hayley’s House, Dream Child Foundation, and more at her site. Unfortunately, we picked a bad time to put this link in here. Alcorn’s site is down for reconstruction until Monday. You may visit her MySpace here.