Turning the Page
By Jeff Keaton
More than 15 years ago, a young couple walked into the church I pastored. Over the course of a few months, we got acquainted, and I sensed a deep hunger in the young lady’s heart to live a life of significance and purpose. At some point, she and her husband sat down with me and shared their story. They were relatively new to a serious relationship with Christ and had lived through some very challenging days to date. Jen had lived with clinical depression since childhood but had not realized why she was so sad until she was an adult. As a young adult, she tried to find ways to solve her problems of sadness and hopelessness. At times, this led to unproductive behaviors and pursuits.
After surrendering to Christ and connecting deeply with the body of believers in the church I pastored, I invited Jen to be mentored by my administrative assistant, Linda Thompson. One day, while volunteering in the church office, Linda asked Jen to try to design an insert for the church bulletin. Jen had never done anything like this but willingly gave it a try. She instantly discovered an amazing gift for design. When we launched RenewaNation, I asked her if she would design a simple newsletter for us to share with our constituents. She did, and the rest is history. Over the last 15 years, Jennifer Wooldridge, who has never had a day of formal training in design and editing, has voraciously studied the craft and built The RenewaNation Review magazine into what it is today.
Jennifer still struggles daily with clinical depression as one treatment after another works for a while and then fades in its impact. We have asked God over and over again for His healing touch, and He has given grace after grace. However, Jen has concluded that God is receiving more glory through her suffering than He would through her complete healing at this time. She has grown into an amazingly mature Christian through her suffering and has learned to keep moving forward and taking new territory for God no matter what she is going through. Jen is one of the most intelligent and efficient people I have ever worked with, and I am forever grateful we have had the privilege of building RenewaNation together for so many years.
Over the last couple of years, Jen has been sharing with me about a call God has placed on her heart to focus on writing to encourage others struggling with depression and other forms of suffering. Last fall, we began a transition plan to close Jen’s chapter as editor and designer here at RenewaNation with this issue of the magazine and the Collingsworth Special Edition.
We cannot thank Jen enough for the phenomenal work she has produced and the amazing person she has been to work with. We are very open to the possibility of publishing a book on suffering from a biblical worldview perspective that Jen will write. If and when you see a book published by Jennifer Wooldridge, you will absolutely want to read it. It will be rich, deep, and God-honoring in every way.
We are deeply grateful to God for bringing us a new team to work with to continue delivering a magazine that has quickly become one of the nation’s leading biblical worldview publications. We look forward to introducing this new team in our next issue.