Have you ever had someone you could always count on for an encouraging word, or for a prayer, when you needed it? For me, that person is Jacqueline Hopper—the lovely woman in this photograph. Jacqueline is not only a terrific author, she’s also a wonderful friend. She is truly a beautiful person, and her heart beats for the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times her words have strengthened my faith. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to interview her!
Danele: Hello, Jacqueline! I’m glad that you’re able to talk with us!
Jacqueline: Hi, Danele. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog.
Danele: It’s my pleasure! You’ve been such a blessing to me over this past year. Well, let’s jump right into things. Can you tell us when you gave your heart to Christ?
Jacqueline: I don’t remember an actual time. I was brought up in church and always loved the Lord.
Danele: It’s so wonderful that you have a faith that stretches back as far as you can remember. I was brought up in church as well, but I made my decision when I was about five. I had been VERY naughty, and my mother was punishing me by making me sit on a stool in the corner. I was such a sad, pitiful sight. I knew I was the WORST SINNER on the planet. Sitting there, in the corner, I asked Jesus into my heart. It makes me smile now, but my desire for a Savior was very real, and Jesus answered my prayer. I spent the rest of my “time out” smiling and praising the Lord. Now, Jacqueline, my illness taught me the importance of trusting God. Have you had a difficult situation in your life when you needed to totally rely on God?
Jacqueline: Oh, goodness, I’ve had many difficult situations in my life; I’ve nearly died three times.
Danele: That’s awful!
Jacqueline: I also married Mr. Wrong and lived in an emotional Siberia for ten years. Those were the times that caused me to draw so close to God and hear His voice, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today.
Danele: I’m so glad that you made it through! And I agree, it’s the hard times that really draw us closer to God. In my case, I knew about God, I loved Him, I served Him, I worshiped Him—but it was during my illness that I really became especially close to Him. It’s comforting to know that nothing is ever wasted—especially our pain. There are so many people hurting in this world—what would you like to say to them?
Jacqueline: Years ago, during my marriage, there were nights I struggled with the temptation to commit suicide, but the thought that the sun would shine in the morning always brought me through. And sure enough, the sun was shining when I woke the next day. (Psalm 30:5 b)
Danele: Ending it all can be very tempting when you’re in extreme physical or emotional pain. It seems like the problem is going to last forever and that nothing will ever get better. But the verse you shared, Psalm 30:5b, is so right: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” It’s so easy to get swallowed up in a problem—especially if it is a huge one like you experienced. It’s so easy to despair. When I was in quarantine, I felt pretty hopeless too. I’m so glad that we both won through and found joy again.
Jacqueline: Me too.
Danele: Jacqueline, your incredible spirit, and your wonderful faith in the Lord, has been such an inspiration to me over this past year! While you were undergoing your difficult time, was there an instance when God spoke to you?
Jacqueline: The one situation that stands out the strongest was when I was wavering between staying or leaving my now ex-husband. The agony of rejection was destroying me and yet I was frightened of what would happen to me if I did leave. I can still remember the sensation of stress weighing heavily on my shoulders, pressing me down—crushing me. My mother had called and asked, “Well, are you ready to leave?” She and my dad were letting me move home with them again, but it’d been years since I’d left home and I didn’t like the thought of walking away from my “nest.” I opened my mouth to say no, when the Holy Spirit checked me, telling me, “Don’t be like Lot’s wife.” I also had a vision of a woman running away from a city, the wind whipping her hair just before she turned back. I knew I was “seeing” Lot’s wife and I did NOT want to be her. I didn’t want to be a woman who looked back, longing for what would destroy me. At that moment, the feeling of pressure left me and I told my mum, “I’m ready.”
Danele: Wow! That’s amazing! What a wonderful way for God to reveal Himself! Has there been any other time when you’ve dramatically felt the presence of God?
Jacqueline: Yes, when I was fourteen and just learning how to experience the presence of the Lord for myself. One evening in my bedroom, I completely lost myself in worship and in my spirit I could “see” His spirit falling like a gentle snowfall in December. I learned how beautiful and peaceful it is to surrender to Him. It was also a beginning for establishing my faith in Him instead of living on my parents’ experiences.
Danele: What a beautiful way to describe God’s presence! I’ve been in church services where God’s presence comes so dramatically that it feels like I’m standing in a ring of fire, but I think it’s God’s “peace” that always makes the most impact on me. Sometimes when I’m praying, it’s like I’m being wrapped in a warm, snugly quilt. There’s nothing as beautiful as the presence of God. Now, Jacqueline, I know you love Psalm 30:5, is there another Bible verse that you especially like?
Jacqueline: Yes, Numbers 23:19. “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”
Danele: That’s a beautiful verse. Can you tell us why it means so much to you?
Jacqueline: I love that verse because often times throughout varying stages in my life I’d been promised things by people that most times they couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver, but with God, He fulfills His promises every time!
Danele: That’s so true! God never lies, and He never fails us. When I was sick, there was a time when I thought God was a liar, and I thought He was mean. But as the years of quarantine passed, I began to realize that although God didn’t send my illness, He was using it to do something good in my life. The devil meant to kill me and destroy my faith when I became ill, but God used those years of quarantine as a way for me to draw closer to Jesus. During those years, my faith was firmly established, and I wrote my books. It’s so easy to get upset with God when we’re in pain, but I’ve learned that when we’re hurting we need to run toward God–not away from Him. I don’t understand why God allowed me to become ill, but I’ve learned enough to realize that God is using my illness to do something beautiful. I’m looking forward to heaven and to finally understanding the reason behind all things. What’s the first thing you want to do when you get to heaven?
Jacqueline: Fall at Jesus’ feet and just love and worship Him, and thank Him for His sacrifice on the cross.
Danele: That’s so beautiful, and so true. I think when we get to heaven all of our heartache and questions will fade and we will be able to say, “It was worth it all!” Now, Jacqueline, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your book.
Jacqueline: My book is called The Gingerbread House, and it was published by Prism Book Group.
Danele: Can you share the back cover blurb and a link where we can find it?
Jacqueline: Sure! Keren Joel has a phobia and, without realizing it, she’s passed it on to her son, forcing her to seek professional help. What she doesn’t expect to find is the man who’d been her best friend, twenty years earlier, and his shrine to a moment that forever changed the adults they became. http://www.prismbookgroup.com/thegingerbreadhouse.html
Danele: I really enjoyed The Gingerbread House when I read it—it showed the importance of facing your greatest fears. Your characters seemed to come to life, and there was true artistry in your writing. The way you described your characters’ actions in such a way that you also managed to describe their emotions was masterful. Jacqueline, it’s been such a pleasure talking with you today!
Jacqueline: Thank you for having me!
Friends, Jacqueline Hopper is a truly beautiful person with a genuine love for the Lord. She has been an incredible blessing to me. If you would like to learn more about her or her books, please follow the link below. I hope you have a wonderful day!