Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Making the Most of an Accident

Episode Resources

Check out the Barricks' website—Hope Out Loud.

Watch Jen's Adoration of Jesus.

Leslie Basham: Linda Barrick’s daughter shared Christ with those around here while undergoing cancer treatments.

Linda Barrick: My daughter, Jen, had cancer . . . but the heavenly reality is, she had cancer at just the right time.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for May 24, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I have been so touched and moved and encouraged and challenged and—I don’t know what all to say—as I’ve had this conversation over the last few days with Linda Barrick and her daughter, Jen. Thank you both so much for being here with us in our studio and sharing your story with our listeners.

Linda and Jen Barrick: Thank you. Yes.

Nancy: Thank you for writing your story. We’ve been talking over the last several days about the book Miracle for Jen, which unpacks a lot more of this story than what we’ve had time to on these programs. In fact, our producer just said to me, “Whatever happened to brother Josh and the dad, Andy?”

Well, the Lord spared everybody’s life, but it was a long, hard journey for each person. In fact, Linda, one of the things I love in the story is how you talk about how your husband Andy—who was greatly injured himself in this horrific accident with a drunk driver—out of his own pain was such a shepherd and protector for your family in the aftermath of all of this. The Lord just strengthened him be able to do what a dad, you would hope, would do under those circumstances.

Linda: Absolutely!

Nancy: So there’s more of that in this book and more of the details and the story; it’s a gripping story. And now you are both—and sometimes with Andy, your husband—sharing this story in conferences and media, various types of media outlets all across the country.

I’m so glad for you to get introduced to our listeners, and I know that many of them will want to know more about your ministry, which is called. . .

Linda: Hope Out Loud. (HopeOutLoud.com).

Nancy: We’ve linked to that on our website, we’ve linked to some videos of your telling this story. I just want our listeners to be more familiar with you, because I think there are probably some other places that the Lord would love for you to share this. I hope that this will be an encouragement to your ministry. God’s brought a whole incredible ministry out of this “accident.”

Linda: It’s amazing! Amazing.

Nancy: It wasn’t an accident in God’s economy. That story is still unfolding. There’s been growth. There’s been physical healing that’s still continuing with you, Jen, and there’s been spiritual and emotional growth and opportunities as a result of this. One of the areas relates to this whole thing of your scars.

And, Jen, you were just telling me that—not too long ago—you were looking in a mirror. Tell us about that.

Jen: Well, yes, I was. On this particular day I was counting my scars. I was just curious how many I had. The number was twelve.

Nancy: Twelve scars.

Jen: Yes.

Nancy: Some were on your face.

Jen: Yep, and I have just different scars from different tubes I had. I had a feeding tube scar. I mean, not all the scars were necessarily from the car wreck, but I was just curious how many I had altogether.

And it was just cool, though. The second I found out the number, God just spoke to my heart, and He just said, “Jen, I don’t look at you and think, Oh, you’re the girl with all these scars. No, I look at you and see that you’re beautiful. You’re priceless. You’re worth it. You’re mine!”

So I just want to encourage everyone listening today, God doesn’t look on you and see your brokenness or your wounds or your scars. He looks at you and He sees your potential, how He wants to use you ultimately for His glory and for His kingdom.

Nancy: Yes. And what a switch in perspective from the way the world looks at things. Because the world looks at a scar and says, “That’s awful; that’s ugly; that’s something you don’t want; that’s something you want to get rid of!”

And yet you’re saying there’s a beauty attached to those scars. In fact, you’ve come to see them as beauty marks. How did you first come to make that connection?

Linda: Well, I guess it was five months after our car wreck—Jen and I were sitting together in this love seat. She had cortical blindness, so she couldn’t see very well. She noticed the scar on my face for the first time. She looked at me, and she said, “Mom, I wish I was hurt instead of you.”

Nancy: So she didn’t even know that she had been hurt.

Linda: She was so hurt that she didn’t know she was hurt. And, you know, sometimes I think we can push wounds down—all of us—and not acknowledge some of the pain and some of the hurts.

As God started to heal Jen more that year, she started to notice her scars—and she didn’t like them—and so she would ask a lot of questions. So one day I just said, “Jen, we don’t have scars. We have beauty marks—beauty marks of God’s faithfulness!”

And I just wrote a book called Beauty Marks: Healing Your Wounded Heart because everyone listening to me right now—even if you don’t have physical scars—we all have emotional scars. We all have wounds and hurts in our heart. 

Nancy: . . . relational scars

Linda: I mean it might be broken dreams, broken families. 

Nancy: . . . scars from guilt

Linda: Guilt and shame. One of the huge things—in writing this book—shame is such a lie from the enemy! So often we can believe these lies from Satan as truth, and we allow our wounds to control us instead of being controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Shame is huge! Shame is Satan’s fingerprint. God never shames us; He pulls us out of the pit. He redeems us! He says in His Word, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [of] our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV). But Satan wants us to keep condemning ourselves over and over.

Just recently, in research for the book, I thought this was huge: Guilt is feeling bad for a wrong action that I’ve done or feeling bad about a bad behavior, but shame is feeling bad about who I am—and that is never from God. If you feel bad about who you are, it is always from Satan.

Just the power of acknowledging some of those broken places and wounded places and allowing God to start healing them. Some of my darkest days when I would lay awake at night and I could not sleep, I’m begging God to heal my family. The one thing that would bring me comfort was I would think about how God allowed His Son, Jesus—His innocent Son Jesus—to suffer and die on the cross for me! I started to pay really close attention to the words that Jesus said while He was on the cross. 

He was in such excruciating pain, and to even say one word and to get a breath was almost impossible! So the words He said from the cross—yes, a lot of them are fulfilling Scripture and He’s quoting Scripture. But what God showed me through this process is, Jesus was giving us a unique healing prescription for wounded hearts—things that we can do every day. The cross can be part of our daily healing.

Nancy: And, in fact, at the cross Jesus was wounded. He came out of that experience with scars.

Linda: Absolutely! Jen, you love to talk about that. What do Jesus’ scars shout to you?

Jen: His scars shout, “I love you! You are mine! You were worth it! I long for a personal love relationship with you!”

Linda: Yes. I love the Scripture, Isaiah 53:5, “By his wounds we are healed” (ESV). That’s really the theme verse for the Beauty Marks book. Yes, by Jesus’ wounds on the cross we are healed spiritually—salvation, our redemption—but also God wants to heal the wounded and broken places in our heart.

And if we’ve gone through something hard—which, if you’re alive today and you’re listening, I’m sure you’ve gone through something hard and painful—God is going to use you in greater ways because of what you went through. Because of what my family has gone through, we see life differently.

Jennifer just had lunch with a special friend yesterday. She sees people differently—the girl in a wheelchair, the girl that needs a friend. We don’t run by those people anymore. We are drawn to those people who are hurting and need a friend or need someone to pray over them.

And through our pain, God has given us a whole ministry. Really, when you think about what Jesus was doing on the cross, the one thing that stands out to me is, He’s saving the criminal next to Him! The man who has a change of heart and says, “Today, remember me when You go into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus says, “I will do more than remember you. I will be with you!” And so Jesus is saving the criminal while He’s dying on the cross. That is one thing that God has shown us. Your pain has a purpose when you can share Jesus with someone. Your pain will often put you face-to-face with someone else who’s hurting that maybe you would have never met before. What if you could use your pain to share Jesus?

Often our pain gives us the right to be heard. No one ever tells Jen, “I don’t want to hear your story,” or “I don’t want to know why you’re joyful.”

Nancy: You’ve had opportunities to pray for people, to be tender, to listen to their stories. It’s what you’ve been through that gives you the key into a lot of people’s hearts.

Linda: Yes. And when she had cancer, Jennifer said . . . I still can picture it. We walk in the cancer center, and she’s the youngest one in there. As a mom, my heart is just crushed, and I’m like, “Jen, you’re the youngest one in here!”

And she said, “Yes, but I know the Healer.” And the little lady who was signing us in said, “You preach it girl!” And then Jen said, “Well, if I have to have cancer, I’m going to hand my little prayer book out to every doctor and every nurse at the UVA cancer center!”—and that’s what she did.

Two years later we had the privilege of being in that same town where the UVA hospital is. We were speaking and sharing our story at a church on a Sunday morning. A lady came who had no hair and she was wearing a baseball cap. During the service she’s praising God with all her heart and her hands raised in the air. At the end of the service she ran up to Jen, and she had Jen’s old prayer book. it was worn and tattered. And what did she say to you?

Jen: She said, “Jen! I’ve been reading your prayers every day, and I prayed the prayer in the back, and I’m now a Christian!”

Linda: A nurse from the UVA Cancer Center had saved Jen’s prayer book and given it to her.

Nancy: Wow!

Linda: And so we were able to get to know her and build a friendship with her. A few months later we found out that she passed away and went to Heaven. Immediately I was so sad, and I thought, Oh, we thought that her cancer was healed. And Jen said, “Mom, she is healed. She’s in Heaven where there is no pain and no suffering!”

So when I think of that, the earthly fact is that my daughter Jen had cancer, but the heavenly reality is, she had cancer at just the right time. Now there’s another friend in Heaven for all of eternity!

What if your pain could change someone else’s destiny forever? That gives you a beauty mark; that gives you a purpose that’s beyond yourself. So whatever you’re struggling with today, if there’s just one neighbor—one friend—that you can share Jesus with, it doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it can make it worth it.

Jen: Yes!

Nancy: So much of this is a matter of perspective. You touched on this just a moment ago, Linda, when you said there’s an earthly reality, but there’s an eternal, heavenly reality—and those can be very different.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “The things [that] are seen are temporal; but the things [that] are not seen are eternal” (KJV). We have hope and we are able to persevere in the midst of hard things in this life because of looking at the things that are not seen.

Can you give any other examples of how the earthly reality may be different from the eternal reality? And really, you’re talking about a transformational perspective, because what looks like a scar is a scar. When you see it from a heavenly perspective, it becomes a beauty mark.

Linda: Yes! God can transform it into purpose. When we can see evidence when God is redeeming whatever it was that Satan tried to steal from us . . . Because Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to paralyze us with whatever we’ve gone through in our past. 

When you think of Jesus on the cross, He was forgiving. He was saying, “Father, forgive them” while they’re killing Him. They don’t even change their actions; they keep killing Him. He’s forgiving. He’s caring for His mother. He’s having compassion. He’s helping others. 

Nancy: . . . in His own hour of greatest need.

Linda: Yes. In the book I say it’s “rehab for the soul” when we can reach out and help others who are hurting, that is really when healing begins for ourself. A beauty mark is when you take something painful that’s happened to you . . . maybe you had an abortion, and God is going to put you in the path of someone else who’s had an abortion and doesn’t know Jesus—or doesn’t know that Jesus can forgive them. You share that story of, “Me, too. I can relate to you. I’ve gone through that.”

Everyone listening has a story that I don’t have, and so your story is going to touch people that my story would never touch. I love that about God! The things we go through in this life are not wasted. He uses all of it for His glory!

When we can stop just focusing on our own pain and on those temporary things, but look for, “Who could I help? Who could I encourage? Who could I comfort?” Jennifer, you do something every morning when you roll out of bed. What do you do?

Jen: Oh, yes. I land immediately on my knees, and I surrender my day to the Lord. It is something that I always look forward to doing. I just say, “Lord, I don’t want to miss one plan that You have for me today. Please direct my every step and just reveal more of Yourself to me this day.”

Linda: I love that! Jen wakes up not knowing what year it is, what day it is. She can’t get in the car and drive because of her brain injury. She lands on her knees and her prayer is not, “Lord, heal me.” It’s, “Lord, I don’t want to miss one plan You have. Who could I encourage today? Who could I help?”

And that gives you purpose! We all need a purpose, and as humans, God knows how we’re made. We want the quick fix. I know I do. If we have a headache, we’re popping Excedrin Migraine.

Nancy: “Make these scars go away.”

Linda: Yeah, we want the pain go away. But this life is just a dot. We’re only here for a short time. Scripture says that this life is like a vapor, and it’s going to be gone. When we first came home from the hospital after our car wreck, I’m in my wheelchair, and the only way I could make it through the day was to just say, “This life is just a dot on the timeline of all eternity with Jesus one day.” And then I would say, “It’s just a half a dot.” I said that over and over!

Jen: Because my mom said it so much that she got a new nickname: Polka-dot!

Linda: Jen started calling me Polka-dot, and that was her first short-term memory—polka-dot. It wasn’t a very powerful faith statement, but it was the way that I could make it through the day, by saying, “This life is just short, and I can do anything for a little while.”

Jen: So true. 

Nancy: But we live as if today and this moment and this pain were the ultimate. That’s what make us, then, live with discouragement and despair and want to give up and want to be angry and bitter. Our eyes are so filled with the problem, and that becomes huge in front of us. But you’re saying, if we get perspective, eternity is long, God is huge—infinite.

Paul call it in 2 Corinthians 4:17 a momentary “light affliction.” When you’re in the middle of it—what you’ve been through—it doesn’t seem momentary. In fact, it’s been more than ten years, and it doesn’t seem light. It’s been really, really hard! But you’re saying in light of eternity, it’s just a blip on the screen—it’s just a dot! Maybe we should all be called Polka-dot.

Linda: Polka-dot, yes!

Nancy: If we would have that perspective—this life, this moment, this pain is just a dot. Eternity is forever. God has so much in store for us. Jennifer, say that verse again from 1 Corinthians that’s on your little bracelet there. It’s so appropriate here.

Jen: First Corinthians 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can conceive what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 

Nancy: That’s looking at the big picture, isn’t it?

Jen: Yes.

Nancy: What’s ahead, what God has in store, eclipses the problems, the pressures, the pain, the things that cause our scars.

Linda: Yes.

Jen: Definitely.

Nancy: And we’re not minimizing the pain. 

Linda and Jen together: No!

Nancy: I mean, you have really, really been through it. And it’s not over!

Linda: Right. It’s not over.

Nancy: But you’re saying there’s something bigger than that, something grander than that, something greater than that. And it’s not just what God has for us way down the road in Heaven some day; it’s what God has for us every day.

Jen: Every day!

Nancy: And you’re saying, Jen, “Don’t let me miss it!” Because God has lives for you to touch, people for you to encourage, people for you to minister to as Jesus ministered to His mother there on the cross. And you’re saying, “I don’t want to miss what God has for me this day.”

Linda: I think when we’re in pain, too, it makes us long for Heaven, and we think about Heaven. We have an eternal perspective, because the here-and-now becomes so hard sometimes. It makes us long for Jesus, long for Heaven, and we have to talk to Jesus just to get through our day.

There were days when I didn’t know if I could breathe—literally!—with my left lung collapsed. I would just be saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” As we’re talking to Jesus—because we need Him so much—He becomes so close to us, and we experience Him in a way that maybe we’ve never experienced Him before.

Nancy: So it’s really weaning your heart from this earth, becoming more detached from stuff down here and more attached to Christ and to eternity. And isn’t that part of God’s purpose in trials and tribulations?

Linda: Yes, and you realize what’s really important in life. For me, the one thing that changed the most after our car wreck . . . Before the car wreck I was leading a Bible study in my home with twenty-five/thirty ladies every Tuesday for eight years. I led devotions with Jen’s cheerleading group; I did the Moms in Prayer group at the Christian school. We had a couples’ Bible study—and I was loving on these church ladies. But I had not personally led anyone to Jesus since I was five years old, coming out of Happiness Club at Life Action, where I learned to say to people, “Do you know Jesus?” But then something happens. When we grow up, all of a sudden, we don’t want to offend people anymore. When we’re a child we’re not worried about offending anyone. We have child-like faith.

But when you get older, you think, I don’t want to offend anyone! So I was doing good things—but not the best thing. And now, after the car wreck, because of Jen’s brain injury, she shares Jesus everywhere she goes. I mean, she walks in the grocery store and says, “Hey, I’m Jen. Do you know Jesus?” And—literally now—I don’t even go to the grocery store with her anymore. Her dad goes, and they’re in there two hours. Everybody wants to come and pray with Jen, and they want her to pray for their families, and the lady in the meat market section . . .

I mean, they are so drawn to Jen because she is unashamed in her love for Jesus. And because of the tragedy that we have gone through, God has given us a platform to share Jesus, and we have seen thousands of people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, because Jen’s still injured and still praises Him! People want to know the secret: “How can you be joyful?”

Nancy: That book, Beauty Marks: Healing Your Wounded Heart, is available. We’re offering it today as our way of saying thank you for a gift of any amount to help with the ministry of Revive Our Hearts—where we’re helping women know how to walk through these kinds of hard life circumstances with joy, with freedom, with fullness, with fruitfulness, and finding that in Christ.

So it’s a book chock-full of wisdom. It takes the words of Jesus from the cross as He was being wounded and unpacks, “What does that mean for us as we’re being wounded?” So those scars can be transformed into beauty marks when we see them through His perspective.

Jen, I just wonder if I could ask you again if you would pray for our listeners and just lead us in praising the Lord for His kindness and His goodness to you—and to each of us—and then ask the Lord to use the scars that our listeners have experienced to be a means of reaching others with the gospel. You pray whatever’s on your heart, and we’ll join you.

Jen: Sounds great; let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, wow, Lord! Where do we start? We are just so in awe of You! I want to take the listener back to the night of November 5. So I sing, Lord, You’re holy. You are wonderful, glorious, holy and righteous, victorious, conqueror, triumphant and mighty. You're healer, deliver, shield and defense, strong tower, and my best friend! Wow, Lord, You’re some of everything! Thank You, Lord, for how we can rest in those words!

And help my friend listening today to know that You see them, and that You hear their cries for help, and that you want to come to their rescue. Now, bless them in just great abundance! So I just want to pray, Lord Jesus, that You would help us just to seek after You with our whole heart, Father, and that You would just show us just how to put our hope and trust in You and in Your faithful name. 

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for how You promise to carry us and then come to our rescue. We crown You, almighty Lord, with praise! To Your name, O Father God, amen.

Leslie: To get a copy of the book Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been telling you about, call with a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or you can also visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy’s back to explain why it helps this ministry so much when you get the book from us.

Nancy: As I’ve already said, there are so many reasons to get this helpful book from Linda Barrick called Beauty Marks: Healing Your Wounded Heart. Of course, you can find this book at bookstores, or you can order it online. But when you get your copy from Revive Our Hearts, you’re partnering with this ministry. You’re helping us continue calling women all around the world to greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. We’ll be glad to send you a copy of Beauty Marks when you make a donation of any amount.

I’ve been telling you about our need of $680,000 here in the month of May. There are a lot of people who have already stepped forward to help meet this fiscal year-end need. This will help us make plans for the next twelve months and prepare for a new season of fruitful ministry.

So if you haven’t had a chance yet to give toward this need, please be sure to let us hear from you by May 31. And this week when you give, be sure to ask for the book Beauty Marks by Linda Barrick.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Nancy will be back to explain a fundamental truth: Life is precious to God. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helps women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.