Born to Fly: The Story of Jaylene Johnson
This story is told by Jaylene Johnson, written by Gail Rodgers
Fourteen year-old Jaylene flung herself onto her bed crying. It was only then, while “girl talking” about the new world of periods and pregnancies, that she did the math. The new realization hit her in the pit of her stomach. Her parents had married because of her.
She knew her parents loved her, yet her family life had always been turbulent. When her parents separated, Jaylene reasoned that if she had not been born this pain would not be. With despair she wondered what value could there be to her life?
She feared her life was a mistake
This young woman found herself on life’s journey seeking to find self worth. Through an intense need to achieve and seek perfection she tried to justify her existence. This led to a destructive eating disorder, drinking and even contemplating suicide.
Jaylene had hoped to find acceptance in the church. But her perception that most church-goers were judgmental toward those in hurting circumstances kept her from the freedom of being real there. Her sense of alienation was only reinforced. She stopped going to church completely.
Yet God never abandons a hurting heart. He was not waiting for Jaylene to come back to church. No, God was waiting for her to come to Him. He was waiting for her to bring Him the broken pieces of her life. He knew her hidden scars.
Jaylene was here for a reason
Years passed. The little girl who loved to sing found herself growing into a broken woman, writing songs of her hurts and fears. She did not know that through music she would journey to wholeness, and through music she would touch the world. God came to her out of the pain and confusion. She cried and she wrote…
“You take me broken, dropped and discarded
You take me just as I am when I am shattered, fragmented, scattered.
Somehow You still understand … loving me anyway.”1
The realization of God’s acceptance, just as she was, began to penetrate her heart. Jaylene saw that, although we applaud the attractive, the fit and the talented, God simply looks into our hearts, loves us right where we are and longs for us to love Him back.
She was not forgotten
She began to understand that God created each one of us. He longs for us and seeks us out by His spirit. She began to believe that God loved her…deeply…and she was not forgotten. Words poured out…
“When the day is weary and the road is long, the load is heavy.
Birds have lost their song.
Need to be reminded when I’m too weak to stand,
Need to be reminded I’m held by strong and mighty hands.
He sees me, He hears me, He knows my need.
And as I wait He pours His healing over me …
And I am not forgotten.”2
She began to see that God looks past our failures and struggles. He looks past our successes, which we cling to for the shallow sense of worth we find there. He pronounces us worthy. He begins to bring His purposes about in our lives through the desires and abilities He has placed in each one of us.
The frightened young woman who once felt life would have been better had she not been born, began to open her heart to the God of love. She began to offer her talents back to Him and God began to change her…
Don’t you know that you’re a precious miracle
Suffering transformed to something wonderful
All the things that had you bound
Have only made you stronger
So trust me and fly
Trust me and fly Butterfly girl…3
And fly she did! Thirty-five thousand feet in the air, caring for passengers, Jaylene Johnson’s body flew while her heart longed for its own direction. In 2000 Jaylene left behind her career as a flight attendant and began to put her journey to music. As she spread her own wings her song, “Daughter” was given the award of “Contemporary Christian song of 2002.”.The powerful lyrics speak for themselves.
Today Jaylene sings her heart out, helping women turn their hurting into healing by giving God the broken pieces of their lives. She has come to realize that her parents chose life when they brought her into the world, and God has worked His grace in their lives too.
No one is exempt in God’s invitation to move from the pain of the past to the promise of the future.
You too can experience being “changed from a daughter of shame into a daughter of grace.” Invite God to begin His work of putting together the broken pieces of your life.
Father God, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better if I had not been born. I feel so much pain and shame. Today I open my heart to You. I ask You to come into my life and begin picking up the broken pieces. I want You to change me from a daughter of shame into a daughter of grace. Please begin Your work in my heart and life today. I need You so much, Lord. I ask this by faith in the name of Your Son Jesus, amen.”
- Visit Jaylene Johnson’s website
- Recommended Music: “Finding Beautiful” by Jaylene Johnson
1 Copyright lyrics from “Loving Me Anyway”
2 Copyright lyrics from “Not Forgotten”
3 Copyright lyrics from “Butterfly Girl”
4 Copyright lyrics from “Daughter”