Member Story

A lifeline in a season of bitterness

Member Story: Jana Smith

Bethany Peterson · 3 min read

“I didn’t even want to pick up God’s Word. I just didn’t know how to get through the day anymore.”

Isolated at home with a new baby, Jana Smith felt overwhelmed with anxiety and depression. “I don’t even know how to describe how low I was,” she said.

After years of infertility and failed adoptions, God had granted Jana the desire of her heart — a beautiful baby boy — but after years of heartache, she couldn’t rest.

A job loss, her mom’s cancer diagnosis, and a debilitating car accident left Jana feeling stripped of everything she loved.

She had lost trust in God and His Word. She even expected Him to take her baby away too.

The last blow came when she decided to step down from BSF Leadership, where she had served for 15 years. Through tears, Jana said, “you might as well have cut off my right arm at that point. Those women, they’re my family.”

Jana turned to counseling for support. During one session, the counselor asked her, “What makes you feel like you?”

As Jana considered the question, only one thing came to mind: studying God’s Word.

That’s when she found WordGo.

As a BSF leader who thrived on the structure and consistency of in-person classes, Jana could not imagine the BSF class model working within an app. But when her circumstances and needs changed, Jana reconsidered her assumptions.

She thought, “You know that app that I have criticized so much? I can pick that up and do it right on my phone while I’m laying here holding a baby, feeding him. I don’t even have to go find my Bible!”

Jana began a personal study with the Ruth course and immediately sensed God working in her heart and life.

The book of Ruth opens with Naomi losing her husband and sons. In the first chapter, Naomi asks to no longer be called “Naomi” (which means pleasant) but to be called “Mara” (meaning bitter), “because the Almighty has made my life very bitter” (Ruth 1:20, NIV).

Jana was shocked as she read these words, even though they were familiar to her. “That is me!” she gasped.

Like Naomi, Jana felt hopeless in her life circumstances and bitter toward God. But as she continued reading Ruth, she too experienced the redemption that God gave Naomi, through a new son-in-law, child, and home, in a powerful way.

Jana thought, “Well God, if you can do this in Naomi’s life. If you can restore her and bring her back to the point of joy, certainly you can do the same for me.”

After Jana finished her Ruth study, she wanted to start another, but this time in community. She invited former BSF friends and all her Facebook followers to join a WordGo group. She was surprised and encouraged that ten women were interested!

“All of a sudden, I had fellowship again. I wasn’t alone,” Jana said.

Through the freedom and flexibility of her WordGo studies, Jana slowly experienced her heart and mind open back up to reading her Bible. When she looks back on her journal, she sees blank pages turn into short 15-minute reflections, then into hours of pouring over Scripture every morning.

“The Word of God has once again become a lifeline for me. God has spoken to my heart; he has healed my heart. I am still very much struggling with anxiety and depression … but it has taught me to be dependent on the Lord and it has shown me new ways to be used by the Lord.”

We all experience seasons of doubt, suffering, exhaustion, and loneliness. Whatever your circumstance or need, WordGo can become a tool to help you hold to the “lifeline” of God’s Word, just as Jana experienced.

Download WordGo today to begin a personal study or invite friends as a Group Guide.

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