Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life

Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life

Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life

Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life


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Like every girl, Sarah Jakes dreamed of a life full of love, laughter, and happy endings. But her dreams changed dramatically when she became pregnant at age thirteen, a reality only compounded by the fact that her father, Bishop T.D. Jakes, was one of the most influential megachurch pastors in the nation. As a teen mom and a high-profile preacher's kid, her road was lonely. She was shunned at school, gossiped about at church. And a few years later, when a fairy-tale marriage ended in a spiral of hurt and rejection, she could have let her pain dictate her future.

Instead, she found herself surrounded by a God she'd given up on, crashing headlong with him into a destiny she'd never dreamed of. Sarah's captivating story, unflinchingly honest and deeply vulnerable, is a vivid reminder that God can turn even the deepest pain into his perfection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764216992
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 616,111
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sarah Jakes oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter's Touch. Sarah is a mom of two and lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Learn more about her and her ministry at www.sarahjakes.com.

Read an Excerpt


Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life


Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2014 Sarah D. Jakes, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1209-3


Growing Up Jakes

OVER THIRTY YEARS ago my parents, T.D. and Serita Jakes, started a ministry that catapulted our lives onto a platform none of us could have ever imagined. In 2001, Time featured my father on the cover and labeled him "The Next Billy Graham." For many years now, our church, The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, has remained one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. With over thirty-five thousand members and four locations, the church has grown from fifty families to thousands of families within sixteen years.

My parents have also written bestselling books, spoken before crowds larger than the population of our hometown, and produced award-winning plays and movies. My father has won Grammy Awards and has been honored by the NAACP. Oprah has dined at our house, and Aretha Franklin has performed for my dad's ministry. My parents have traveled the world, from Africa to Arkansas to Australia, preaching and empowering people with a message of hope. I've been privileged to experience most of these milestones with them.

But it all started slowly and quietly, at least for me, before taking on a life of its own. I spent the first eight years of my life in Charleston, West Virginia. It's certainly not New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas, but it was the first and only version of a "city" I knew. Driving a few minutes in any direction from Charleston would take you into neighborhoods where people would greet you like family and offer to assist you with directions. It was a city with a small-town feel.

We hardly ever went anywhere in our town where my parents didn't see someone they knew "way back when." There are very few strangers in West Virginia. To this day, if my father or mother learns someone they've met is from their native state, they ask questions about whom they're related to. Whether we were in a restaurant or attending a meeting, they would find two or three degrees of separation between them and their fellow West Virginian.

Everyone in school knew who we were, the Jakes kids, but our classmates never asked many questions about our family or the work they did. Their parents probably knew ours or they knew someone else who knew us. We weren't famous or anything, just familiar. There was something comfortably secure about being known—again, that sense of being in a small-town community that appreciated its own. I felt safe.

My childhood in Charleston wasn't like living in Mayberry, but it was a special time. I remember church trips with sweet potato pies and deviled eggs, barbecued chicken and banana pudding. The men and women of our church became aunts and uncles. They would tell our parents if they caught us kids misbehaving or give us our favorite candy when they saw us round the corner. When we ran through the church between services, someone would grab us and tell us to slow down. No one considered this overstepping a boundary. They were just the village that was helping to raise us.

My sister, Cora, is only eleven months and twenty-nine days older than I am. Her birthday is July 19, mine is July 17. I suspect we figured out the math for purely selfish reasons: I wanted to prove that she really wasn't that much older than I, and she wanted to assure me that even if it was a minute, older is older.

We were in the same grade and class for most of our lives. While we would sometimes get mad and argue like sisters do, we were also a formidable team together. You see, siblings are usually either adversaries or partners in crime. Whether dialing 9-1-1 on the alarm system when playing house or swinging on doors as budding gymnasts, Cora and I managed to have quite a bit of fun. Unfortunately, that fun almost always ended in trouble. You might think we would've learned our lesson after a few times, but to this day we can't resist a good adventure.

Interestingly enough, my parents were hardly ever amused by our shenanigans. One time my sister and I grew tired of keeping one another busy with our homemade games and decided to go outside to play. After running around the yard awhile, I convinced Cora that we should drive our parents' car. Of course, I meant we should pretend to drive, but as we sat in the car, the idea of actually driving seemed way more exciting.

The next thing I knew, my sister handed me the keys. I turned them the same way I had observed my mother and father doing it hundreds of times before. When I shifted into gear, we immediately rolled down the hill, taking out a few trash cans and a mailbox or two along our street. Thankfully, that incident didn't result in any other casualties. Turns out that rolling down the hill in our parents' Lincoln wasn't what we should have been afraid of. The true fear should have been of their reaction!

Needless to say, Cora and I got in trouble. At the time we must have felt really misunderstood about the entire situation, because we concocted a plan. Funny how one mistake sometimes leads to another. Our plan for revenge was inspired by one of our favorite movies at the time, Mrs. Doubtfire.

Released in 1993, the film revolves around a married couple who decide to separate. In an effort to spend more time with his children, the father, portrayed by Robin Williams, secures a job as his children's nanny by dressing as a much older woman. In full regalia, his character transforms from a fun-loving, somewhat reckless dad into a frumpy, wise, and wisecracking caretaker. With his alter ego's help, he soon finds the perfect balance of responsibility and excitement.

Finding the balance was not easy, though. In one of the scenes, he has to punish his children and forces them to clean the entire house from top to bottom while he ("she") sits on the couch with a glass of lemonade and a newspaper. This scene inspired Cora and me in the aftermath of our little joyride.

We decided that we would tell our teacher that our mother was abusing us in the same way Mrs. Doubtfire punished the children in our favorite film. Yes, our mother was making us use harsh chemicals and do backbreaking work while she sat on the couch enjoying lemonade and watching television. In hindsight, I'm not exactly sure what we thought would happen by telling that story on our mom, but somehow we were sure we'd be vindicated. Thankfully, West Virginia was the kind of place where it wasn't difficult to investigate the credibility of such a claim.

Our teacher did not believe us. She knew too well our family and our parents' ministry. Truth be told, she may have even been distantly related to us.

Needless to say, she destroyed our foolproof plan and had a good laugh with our mother about such a crazy scheme. We, on the other hand, found ourselves in even deeper trouble.

I laugh about it now and appreciate the way this incident reminds me of a simpler, more innocent time. This was the beauty of West Virginia. It didn't take a lot of work to find the heart and intentions of the people you interacted with each and every day. They were good people.

My father once said that family is love's gymnasium. I instantly knew it was true. We learn how differently people show their love in their relationships with family. Since we're so close in age, my sister and I have always been a pair who shared a special bond. People always thought she and I were the twins in our family. But our brothers Jamar and Jermaine are the actual twins. Eight years our senior, they hardly ever ran in the same circles as Cora and I or our younger brother, Dexter. But no matter the differences in our ages, through the ups and downs of one another's lives, all five of us learned to hold on to one another.

When I was a child, Jamar, older than Jermaine by twenty-eight minutes, represented everything I thought an adult was supposed to be. He was never visibly shaken, rarely seemed out of control, and always knew the right thing to do. If there was an emergency—say, Cora and I locked ourselves out of the house—we knew to call Jamar. He could get us out of trouble and back to Mom and Dad without a problem.

Those characteristics were also why we thought he was mean. He was always so serious and responsible, so protective over us. At the time, we thought he didn't want us to have any fun. As we matured, we learned he was trying to save us from trouble. We interpret things so differently after the scars teach us. We could have been spared many time-outs, spankings, and other troubles had we just listened to Jamar.

For Jamar, love means having your back, especially when you don't have it yourself. He can't bear to watch idly as someone he loves struggles. And while he often shies away from the stage our life brings, it's not because he's without talent. He could easily set the world on fire with the display of just one of his gifts. He's loyal to the cause and courageously resists the pressure to evolve before his own timing.

When we were looking for bedtime stories, gut-busting jokes, or a safe place from the monsters beneath our bed, we went to Jermaine. His love is infectious. A beautiful writer, Maine, as we call him, has always been sensitive to the power of words as well as silence. He's careful with what he says and never hesitates to apologize if he's offended anyone. His heart is constantly in the right place, probably on his sleeve unless he's already given you the shirt off his back.

Jermaine, much like my mother, has always been sensitive to the feelings of others. There's this thing about growing up in a large family: When you get in trouble, everyone in the house knows it. What's so bad about that? Well, all of those family members have friends, and then their friends know you're in trouble. Guess what makes it better? Those friends go to your church and have friends whom they tell, too. By the time your news has traveled all around home, church, and school, you're in need of just one friend. That was Jermaine. I suspect that he inherited a gene from our mom that made him naturally want to hug us after we got in trouble.

I was the baby of my family for six years, one of the best times in my life. Then there was Hawaii. My youngest brother, Dexter, arrived and stole my spotlight. After I got over the no-longer-the-baby blues, Dexter became my ally. Cora and I didn't always get along, you see. She often wanted to watch Saved by the Bell, while I wanted to watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Whenever she and I argued about such life-changing decisions, I brought in Dexter to break the tie. Even though he was my baby brother, I never shooed him away or made him feel like his thoughts weren't valuable. I tried to be the perfect combination of what I loved most about Jamar and Jermaine.

Dexter, quickly too tall to be called my little brother, has always found a safe place talking to me. I take my role as his big sister very seriously. I spent many years looking out for him. Whether it was helping him with his homework or going on McDonald's runs, I made sure he knew that, even though he didn't have a sibling close in age, it didn't mean he didn't have a sibling close. The more he matured, the more he reciprocated in our relationship. He's fiercely protective of his big sister. There's hardly anything more in life that I want than for him to succeed.

Moving to Dallas changed many things about our family, but the core of our values and relationships remained centered on our love for one another. And we would need those bonds because we were all about to be tested.

"Girls," my father said as he looked at Cora and me. We were about eight and nine at the time. "Your mother and I have something exciting to share with you." They asked us to stop playing and come and sit with them. We wondered what we'd done now, because we knew something was up.

Our mother sat beside us on the brown sofa in our living room, suppressing a smile. Something like change was in the air, the feeling we would have at Christmas that something wonderful was about to happen, a gift about to be given. My thoughts raced through possibilities: Were we getting a puppy? Or moving to a new house? Or going to have another brother or sister? Or ...?

"We believe the Lord is calling us to move the church to Dallas," my father said, managing to sound both enthusiastic and calm at the same time. "So we will be moving there soon."

"That's in Texas," our mother added, finally allowing her smile to bloom.

Cora and I looked at each other with bulging eyes and childish grins. We had no idea what it meant to move to Dallas, That's-in-Texas, but it sure sounded exciting. Cowboys and horses and open prairies and all the Wild West stuff we had only seen on TV galloped through my mind.

Our parents went on to explain that a number of other families from the church, about fifty, would be moving with us. I probably couldn't have even pointed out Dallas on a map, but we were all so excited. Sure enough, we would get to see actual cowboys with boots and hats. Texas might as well have been a foreign country. Yes, our move would be an adventure, just not one my young mind could fully comprehend.

Always the planner and provider, our father went before us to find a home. While we were sad to leave Charleston, there was something that just felt right about moving to Dallas. When we finally boarded the plane to leave West Virginia, Cora and I were thinking of what our new room would look like and how many laps we could run through the new church before tiring out.

Within minutes of being in Texas air, we knew everything would be different. Their side roads looked like major highways compared with where we were from. And Texas highways looked like giant jigsaw puzzles, with bridges and overpasses spanning as far as the eye could see. People seemed to be everywhere, buzzing here and there, from suburb to suburb—each one like a small city. Strip malls were everywhere, along with lots of construction. Where were all the cowboys?

To say there was some culture shock is putting it mildly. The year we moved to Dallas, 1996, the state of West Virginia had a population of 1.8 million. Texas's population was 19 million. At that time there were over 1,400 reported murders in Texas—more than twenty times West Virginia's 69 cases. Certainly Texas is a much larger state than West Virginia, but having spent our parents' entire pastorate in our hometown, how could we have known the issues would be so drastically different from our norm?

Once we spent a few days getting settled and adjusting to a Texas summer (heat that took my breath away), our first Sunday rolled around. It would be our first time introducing new local members to our preexisting church family. It would be the first time our family would be interacting with new people in a long time. Even as a child, I could sense that this moment was incredibly important.

When that Sunday arrived, my siblings and I were swarmed by anxious children wanting to meet us, their new church family. Literally hundreds of children came running toward us, and instantly we knew that we were far from Charleston. They were so warm and friendly, but it was still a little overwhelming. I think people just wanted to know who we were, what we looked like, what type of personalities and funny accents we had brought with us from West Virginia.

The feeling was mutual, though, because we wanted to get to know them. We were dying to know what happened to the cowboys, horses, and tumbleweeds. Instantly, we had all of these friends who just wanted to get to know more about us and our family. It seemed quite harmless at that age. We weren't concerned with determining people's intentions. It never dawned on us that people might not care about who we were on the inside and instead be more concerned with how successful we appeared and how they could position themselves close to us.

Something was beginning to shift—in me, in our family, in the ministry—although at the time I wasn't sure what it was. Later that evening when we sat down for dinner, I overheard my parents recapping their first Sunday at The Potter's House. Fifteen hundred people joined the church that day.

Most of our new church family had already been following the ministry from their homes. Many had tuned in to see this dynamic young minister, T.D. Jakes, preaching at a conference called Azusa, a contemporary spiritual gathering which honored the Azusa Street Revival that had begun in Los Angeles around 1906. From speaking at Azusa, my father soon became a mainstay on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). He also started publishing books that became bestsellers.

I wish there was one distinct moment when I could tell you the church went from fifteen hundred to over thirty-six thousand, but from my young eyes all of it was so big. Since an early age, I've never understood why some people criticized the size of our church. Were we supposed to put a limit on how many souls could be saved? I used to laugh at the idea of putting up a Closed sign on the main entrance to the sanctuary. I wonder what critics would have thought about that! Were we supposed to turn the people away?


Excerpted from LOST & FOUND by SARAH D. JAKES. Copyright © 2014 Sarah D. Jakes, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bishop T.D. Jakes 9

Introduction: Getting Lost 15

1 Growing Up Jakes 21

2 New Worlds 47

3 Motherhood 67

4 Blueprint for the Future 87

5 Complications 103

6 Constellations 119

7 Stripped 133

8 Wedding Bells 151

9 The Honeymoon's Over 169

10 Playing Games 185

11 Every Ending Is a New Beginning 203

12 Grace on My Shoulder 219

Conclusion: Being Found 229

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