Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Joy: Jessica's Story

Ever depended on someone or something to try and fill the emptiness inside? Throughout high school I was constantly seeking something to fill me with happiness. From the outside my life looked pretty perfect, I had all the "cool" friends, varsity football cheerleader, I made good grades, and yes I was pretty much that "preppy girl" you got it ; however, I was constantly seeking happiness and approval from what the world wanted of me and not seeking God. 

I was in a relationship with a guy from my sophomore year until midway through my senior year, and it was not healthy. The relationship was my way of dealing with the uneasiness and loneliness that ate away at my heart, and I found that my relationship was a temporary fix to those awful feelings. However, I was investing my broken and unhealed heart with this guy, which is TOTALLY wrong on my part. During this relationship I got caught up with partying, which became another way of dealing with my emptiness. Obviously, the relationship was not built on the right foundation and eventually it ended. Things took a swing for the worst, my Dad unexpectantly died my senior year of high school. I will never forget that dreadful morning that my Mom and Grandmother awoke me to tell me the deepest and most sickening news that I had ever heard. After my Father's death I was filled with complete darkness, and I rejected my family's help. I grew very distant from my Mom. I dealt with the pain by avoiding the thoughts about my Father's death.  During this time I was very lost, and I was completely consumed with pain that I was trying to subside through guys. I was broken and so lost that I was longing for someone to simply love me; however, God was right there waiting on me with open arms ready to show me that He loved me more than anyone or anything. I just did not get it. 

By the end of my senior year of high school, I met an amazing Christian guy. I was in no place to start a relationship, however; we did start dating. His family invested into my life, and I would attend church with his family as well. I grew a lot within myself, but I was still broken from my father's death and I was still carrying the sins from my past, which were heavy on my shoulders. However, I was on the edge of understanding that I did not have to carry the weight of my past regrets, but I never fully surrendered to God because I felt ashamed and unworthy of a relationship with Christ. The summer of 2009 my boyfriend's father died of massive heart attack, which really rocked my foundation. I was broken because I loved my boyfriend's father, but I was also hurting for their entire family. I wanted to jump inside each of them and take all the pain away because I knew exactly how they were hurting and longing for him. By January 2010, our relationship had became very complex because of the deep emotions that were going on within him and myself. 

So there I was stuck, VERY STUCK, and confused. . . I looked back to my old journal and found this entry from February 2010,
"I want a stronger relationship with you (God) !! I want to find myself, but I am scared to be alone. I need your strength and guidance. Please help me!"

I wanted out of my misery very badly, and maybe you are in that place right now?! Well let me give you some advise, DON'T DOUBT GOD because he is right there with YOU, and in Colossians 2:5 we find, "for though I am absent form you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is."
 He was with me in the midst of my dark days, but I was so focused on the negativity of my past that I was very prone to just give up.  God delights in your strong faith, and all you have to do is rest assured that you will make it through the dark because he is with you. The moment that you are going to fail is when you start resisting him, and when you jump away from his arms into the darkness you will trip and fall.  

I remember being very conflicted during those months about things in my life; however, I wrote,

"God I want to give thanks to you. I am sitting here because you gave your one and only Son to come and save me and everyone from their sins!! I am forever grateful." 

So there you have it, I had a breakthrough with God and trusted him. I started the devotional "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore, and that was the last entry in my journal for awhile. I fell apart once again because I did not have strong support system, I felt ashamed to talk to anyone about my past and I did not feel like I would ever fit in with the "goody-goody Christians" yes, those were my thoughts!! 

I was not seeing the light and  the evil one had a strong grasp on me, and I jumped right out of God's arms straight into the darkness of the party scene. There are many times I remember being SOOO incredibly empty and mad at myself even though I was in the midst of a ton of people having a "great" time at a party or bar. I was a mess, and eventually I found myself at rock bottom and knew that I had to figure out how to get out of this lifestyle.

I started attending Athens Church in January 2011, and my journaling began again. I wrote, 

"God, I pray that you help me to create a stronger relationship with you. Help me to move past my regrets and mistakes and give me hope for the future. I am now yours and I want you to guide me and protect me from all evil things and people. Help me to always be JOYFUL"

 So that is my story and to God be the glory because he saved me, and in the bible Colossians 3:9-10 it says, "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator"!

JOY is abounding in my heart. . . 

I am in love with JESUS CHRIST, and this love fills me completely (answered prayer). So therefore, I am no longer constantly searching for something or someone to fill the emptiness inside of me.

I completed the "Breaking Free" study by Beth Moore and it changed my life radically. I gained a deep understanding that the regrets and pain of my past no longer had to hold me captive. Slowly, I began pouring out everything to God and asking for forgiveness. I also forgave myself. 

I have many wonderful Christian friends (answered prayer) that I am SO thankful for. I believe that God is using each and everyone of them to push me forward in my faith. Having a strong community of believers helps to keep you accountable and they are there for encouragement. 

I am giving back to God through leadership at Athens Church. I am a 6th grade Transit leader, and I am so thankful to be a part of these girl's lives. My passion lies in helping these girls develop a strong and personal relationship with Christ. Two of my girls gave their life to christ at our retreat in September, and I was completely consumed with an immense amount of JOY! 

I still struggle and my life is not fear or worry free, but I am building a foundation on Christ's solid rock. I find strength through reading the bible, and I cannot get enough of reassurance and wisdom from it. I find that talking with with my friends about my faith helps me to grow, and I also depend upon them for support. Another way that my strength in my faith is built is through and constant prayer and journaling. I am a much more positive and joyful person all because Jesus Christ lives within me. This is the life that you want because it is so full of joy that it will knock you off your feet !!!!!


My Challenge
1. Give into God and put your trust in him. His plan is greater for your life than you can truly envision. He loves you and those past regrets are not going to keep you from his love and they joy that can come alive inside of you.
Romans 8:38-39 
"For I am convinced that neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD" 

2.Start reaping good and uproot all the negativity and bad influences in your life. 
In Romans 6:21-22 we find, "What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

3. Figure out what you are depending on to fill you with happiness ?
Whatever it may be, I can promise you that it does not compare to the love Jesus can ignite inside of you. That fire and passion will burn in you, which will keep you striving positively forward with a joyful heart.


With SO much Love,


  1. To God be the Glory Forever and Ever Amen!!!! This testimony fills me with great joy and encouragement for this day and for all the days I have known you! You are a precious child of the living God. I love you very much:)

  2. I love this post, and I love the joy that God gives!
    I have been in times where I feel so broken, sad, tired and worn down but still felt God's gift of overflowing joy. It's very hard to explain to someone how you can be unhappy but still be joyful at the same time!
    May God bless you today

  3. Whew... amazing testimony Jess! It is such a blessing to know the Lord intimately. To trust Him and know that He is with us always. This was a precious reminder of that fact for me! Thank you for sharing! and btw.... Beth Moore's Breaking Free was a defining moment for me as well!
    Love ya girl!

  4. So proud of you. Keep being bold!

  5. Rocked my heart, been there am there still working on it. Any recommendations for a journal?

  6. Thanks for sharing girl :) It's amazing what can happen when we trust in God!

  7. You are such a wonderful example of obedience and trusting in the Lord! I love you so much and am so thankful you're in my life!

  8. Jess, you have an amazing testimony, but I already knew that. :) I am SO proud of you for sharing it - that takes a lot of courage. But I am convinced that God has already used your story to reach others and will continue to, as long as you're willing to share it. I'm so thankful that God carries us through the darkness and loves us unconditionally! I wouldn't be where I am today if He didn't. Love you!

  9. I can identify with many of the feelings you shared. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You're really touching hearts...especially mine :) Praying for you, girls!

  10. What a moving testimony! Thanks for sharing. You are such an encouragement! :)

  11. You have such an incredible story that so many people can find guidance with. I read that post as if God's love was pouring out of you. amazing. Thank you for ending my day on such a wonderful note :)) <3 love you

  12. Such a heart-touching testimony, Jessica. So happy to see you filled with JOY & LOVE, & so thankful to have your friendship & influence in my life. Love you!