Author, lecturer's message: God can fill emptiness - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Author, lecturer's message: God can fill emptiness

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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2008 2:16 am | Updated: 11:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Marian Jordan was a girl from Lufkin, Texas, who traveled up the road to Nacogdoches to college looking for “unconditional love and acceptance” that would make her feel whole.

Read Lawn Griffiths' Blog 'Beyond Belief'

She fell into the party scene of alcohol, sex and abandonment after one-night stands.

She kicked it into high gear after college, moving to Houston with a job in marketing, dressing in haute couture fashions, bar-hopping and looking for Mr. Right. It was a time of what she called “hookups, hangovers and heartbreaks.”

Then one day in a bar, she pondered the bottom of her martini glass. “It was empty, and I thought, ‘What a great metaphor for my life! I am empty.’ ” At that moment she prayed to God to show her he was real and to rescue her from her odyssey of “tears, regrets and emptiness.” A friend invited her to church and Jordan said she found a God who loved her, despite her failure, “who loves me in all my shame, who doesn’t expect me to be perfect before I am rescued.”

Today, Jordan, 34, speaks widely, including at college campuses, urging women to give up a “Sex and the City” lifestyle, find self-worth in other pursuits and even turn to Christ.

Recently, she spoke to nearly 400 in a women’s-only audience, called “Girls Night Out,” at Arizona State University.

Jordan has founded Redeemed Girl Ministries, published her first book, “Sex and the City Uncovered,” and will graduate in May with a master’s degree in biblical studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

During an interview in Tempe, Jordan told how she was raised in a Christian home where it was “more about religion and the rules” than Christian love. Growing up the youngest girl among seven children, she called it a time of “a lot of brokenness, a lot of emptiness.”

“I kind of hit the college scene (at Steven F. Austin College) with the old cliche, ‘Looking for love in all the wrong places,’ ” she said. “That led me to really buy into the media’s message that either finding a guy or looking perfect or getting the best GPA meant somehow I am going to feel accepted and loved.

“I just fell into this party scene and everything around me was good, but inside, I was dying. It was misery, and I would mask the misery with more alcohol,” she said. Jordan said she belonged to a “normal, typical sorority — very party-centered,” but added that “any student is going to find the party scene in whatever group they are in.”

During the period, the HBO series “Sex and the City” was defining an urban chic lifestyle of four modern, single women — Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte — cemented in a bond and racing through the edgy, fast scene of New York City. Jordan characterizes it this way: “Bragging of the pleasure they had in ‘hooking up,’ they tried to convince themselves and their girlfriends that they were happy in the land of sex without strings.”

Jordan believes God was pursuing her during those years of binge drinking, paying too

much for shoes and “clamoring, grasping, clinging, needing and hoping” someone loved and adored her.

“Some people use sex; some people use substances; some people use shopping; some people use food; some people use power and control,” Jordan explained. “We always try to fill it. Each is just a different way.

“God’s grace is showing us that it is not working,” said Jordan, who commonly quotes French scientist/philosopher Blaise Pascal, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God.”

Until she started going to church again, Jordan said she had not really heard about Jesus, but was heartened to learn “Jesus was different than religion.”

“I just fell head over heels in my love for Jesus, and now I am sent to rescue girls who are just like me,” she said. “I share the message that you are not going to find what you are looking for shacking up with that guy. You are not going to find what you are looking for in a bottle of anything.”

Once she became involved in a Houston church, she joined a Bible study where she discovered the “lies of the world,” including what makes a woman valuable. “Truth began to transform me,” she said. “And my thinking changed. When my thinking changed, my behavior changed,” Jordan said.

Soon, she was teaching a Bible class.

Jordan found “Sex and the City” a vehicle and a strong negative model for her real-world ministry. “In 2006, the Lord put on my heart the message of ‘Sex and the City Uncovered,’ ” she said. First, she rented a downtown Houston movie theater and invited women to attend talks about women’s issues, using the TV series as a backdrop for issues.

“I shared Christ in a relevant manner,” she said, “and from those talks came the book. Now the goal is to really share those methods everywhere.”

She calls the TV series compelling because of its “shock value” and glamor. But it deceives women and is harmful to teen girls who commonly see it.

“When a 14-year-old girl says, ‘I want to grow up and be like Samantha,’ then something is wrong,” she said.

“Real life is messy,” Jordan said, but “TV is scripted.” She said she feels a responsibility, from experience, “to say what is the rest of the story.”

Jordan acknowledged that, at the time, she most identified with character Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), whom HBO described this way: “A fashion chameleon, Carrie can start her day looking like a streetwise pixie, change into a neo-Bohemian outfit for lunch, don an elegant princess dress for dinner and slip into a skin-baring ensemble for a late-night party. Every season, she makes a signature statement through her accessories.”

“Carrie just wanted to find love ... her path of going about it was very confused — but today, I don’t identify with any of them,” she said.

With the release next summer of a “Sex and the City” film, Jordan plans to capitalize on it with appearances. Her second book is titled “Wilderness Skills for Women,” a look at the “season of despair and loneliness” and the “testing of faith that happens when you trust the Lord.”

She said she gave a copy of her book to troubled heiress and actress Paris Hilton when Hilton was jailed for violating her probation for driving on a suspended license. “I don’t know if she read it. I pray she did, because it doesn’t matter how much money you have, and how famous you are: You are a girl looking for love. ... You cannot fill that God spot.”

And when she sees TV accounts of other troubled celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, “I see hopelessness, and I see pain and I see a girl I once was.”

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