Monday, October 15, 2007

When I Was Just a Kid...Jan Coates

Jan is living proof that God heals and transforms the improbable. As a survivor of child abuse, divorce, the death of her only child, cancer, gang warfare and more, she writes and speaks with the conviction only a “healed overcomer” can communicate.

Raised in a Christian home, Jan publicly accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior at age 10. She maintained her faith in Jesus throughout her childhood. However, as a teen full of shame and guilt from child abuse, she turned her back on her Christian faith. Then in 1982 a drunk driver killed her only child. Jan rededicated her life to Jesus on Easter Sunday 1983. Today, Jan and her husband, Bill, are the proud parents of two teenagers who were adopted as babies through a Christian pro-life organization.

Jan was one of the founding members of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Kansas City, Missouri Chapter. As a Director of the Speakers’ Bureau for this MADD Chapter from 1982-1987, her role included extensive television, radio and platform speaking. She coordinated sales drive campaigns with 2,000-percent increase in local contributions.

Jan has assisted numerous ministries and community organizations over the past 20 years, including: Save Our Streets Ministry, Community Bible Study, Christian Women’s Club, Precept Ministries, Youth for Christ, AWANA, crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations and more.
(*From Jan's web site because I couldn't say it any better.)

When I asked Jan if she would share her childhood, she could have easily turned me down. The past contains pain. But she shared openly and has a book out and a ministry to help others to be Set Free from their pasts, too, as Jan has been. See how a survivor turned mourning into joy in her life now, but let's see what Jan's best memories are:

Fondest Memory (then):

Dad surprised me on my 11th birthday with Cisco, a half-Shetland, half-Welch pony. Cisco used to buck me into the neighborhood creek, bite me on my rear end, run away from me, and I still loved him.

Dad wasn’t so happy when I brought Cisco into the house to see my room. It was about 5:30 am and Dad was asleep. He heard the clanking on the hardwood floors and the thumps against the wall and yelled, “Get those roller skates off, Jan!” When he opened his bedroom door and saw Cisco being led out of the house, I’m sure he had second thoughts about my fondest memory.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

My cowboy boots and jeans.

Proudest Moment (then): I won a purple honorable mention ribbon at the Saddle & Sirloin Horse Show, Leawood, KS, riding Cisco. I continued to own and show horses for 30 years. My last show, The Appaloosa World Championship, I won Reserve World Championship, Western Pleasure. Today, I’m proudest that God loves me just as I am. My proud momma buttons pop when my kids tell me how much they love me. I melt with humility when my husband after 25 years says, “You’re beautiful.”

Favorite Childhood Movie:

I watched every Roy Rogers and Dale Evans movie and TV program possible. As I child, I pretended that I was Dale, riding off into the sunset, leaving the cares of my life behind.

Favorite Childhood Book:

I avidly read my Bible and the family encyclopedias. I also colored on the pages.

Childhood Hero:

My dad, my hero, took me to church three times a week, read the Bible to me, taught me the importance of hard work, character, and integrity. He owned his own business, worked hard, loved God, and always placed family above self.

Anything else you'd like readers to know about you as a child that affected the writer and speaker you are today?:

Like many writers and speakers, God uses my past brokenness, wounds and victories to encourage others who walk through similar valleys. Brennan Manning writes in Abba’s Child, “Grace and healing are communicated through the vulnerability of men and women who have been fractured and heartbroken by life.” How like God to place His wounded, healing, work-in-progress children on the front line of His army. I’m humbled and honored.

From Jan:


My first CBA book, Set Free: God's Healing Power for Abuse Survivors and Those Who Love Them has received excellent reception. A small group study package is now available. It includes a DVD, Leader’s Guide, and each participant receives an Interactive Journal and a copy of my book. For more information, please visit I’m working on several new CBA books with a focus on inspiration for the general market audience.

I’ve written more than ten self-published motivation, sales, marketing, and client service books. Few people within the CBA world know that I am a sales/marketing consultant with more than 25 years highly successful corporate experience. Years ago, I was written up in a major business publication as one of the most successful business women in the U.S.

As a professional speaker, Jan uses side-grabbing humor, real-life application, the Scriptures, and prayer to encourage others to come as they are (past baggage and all) and pursue a freedom-filled future in Christ.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a joy to get acquainted with Jan when I was working on When God Steps In: Stories of Everyday Grace. Jan is authentic--the real deal. She's living proof that in our weakness, He becomes our Strength.

These profiles are wonderful, Crystal! You sure have the knack...