Hi, my name is Jessy. I have been blessed to have a relationship with God my entire life and He has been refining me daily as I surrender myself to Him. I would like to share with you pieces of my story and the main lessons I have learned from God on this journey.
I’ve attended Saddleback Church since I was four years old. Jesus has been the center of my life and so I do not remember when I gave my life to Him. It was August 1998 that I was baptized at Saddleback, at the age of 11. I was very excited to show my dedication to God that day.
I attended Christian schools growing up, so I was constantly taught and reminded to live a life for Christ. I loved high school and I was very involved. I was surrounded with God and never had the slightest idea that life could be any different. I was the good girl who loved her family. I was always involved and seemed like an extrovert, but I was definitely not confident. I never felt beautiful and often acted loud to hide my insecurities and nervousness. But they were not hidden for much longer.
I headed off to college at Chapman University in 2005. I started attending Crave, joined a sorority, and was accepted in the program to Study Abroad in Spring 2007 in Madrid, Spain! Spain was a mixture of experiences. It was the first time on my own and away from my family. I still listened to Crave on podcasts, but it was very easy to slip and not spend time with God daily. My host family was atheist, and the Spanish lifestyle was very different. I loved the people, their view on life, the Spanish Tapas, and the dancing until 6AM. I also was beginning to get a lot of attention from guys. I’ve always been shy and insecure around guys, so it seemed so odd.
My program was small, with only around 80 students from all over the world, and many of them partied hard. Some of the girls started spreading rumors about me having sex with a bunch of different men. They made fun of my purity, my integrity, and my character. I could NOT control the rumors or the hurtful things others said about me, but realized that I could control one thing in my life—how much I ate.
This was the start of a battle with control. I got home from Madrid in May 2007 and was immediately depressed. No one could relate to the amazing and the awful experiences I went through. I was so hurt, so confused, so lost. I started going back to church right when I came home, but I couldn't see God anymore. I remember one night breaking down and could hear God telling me that I could come to him broken. Still, I decided to hide my pain with friends and parties. Those quick fixes seemed to be all that I needed.
School also became a huge control factor in my life. I wanted to graduate early and complete my teaching credential in one year. I wanted to control the outcome.
In the summer and fall of 2008, right before my senior year began, I went through two experiences that sent me further into depression and anorexia. I went back to Europe to take a class and one night in a pub something was slipped in my drink. After only two drinks, I started to black out. I couldn’t understand why…I should have been fine. The next morning I woke up next to the toilette with bruises, a headache, and an unsettled stomach. I can never be completely certain what happened to me.
That fall, I went to Vegas for my friend’s 21st birthday and know for a fact that something was slipped into my drink. I was sexually assaulted that night and went home not wanting to speak to anyone. That was the fall I stopped going to Crave, didn’t think I should be alive, and felt I had no purpose in living.
I had my “good” days and bad days. One “good” day in December 2008, my friend told me she was going to go to the Dominican Republic that summer with Crave on a Peace trip. Something inside me hit me like a brick. I had no idea why, but I knew I had to go on this trip.
Since the trip was with Crave, I started going back on Thursday nights. As the weeks passed, it got easier to go to Crave and hear God. He taught me that I had to give up my stress to Him. With school, God showed me this through learning patience. I now planned to complete my credential a year later, but I learned to be okay with it. As for my eating habits, I stopped eating because it was a control issue, not an image issue; however, because I lost weight, it became an image and control issue. God surrounded me with people who taught me to love myself and not let what others say about me control me. I began giving my control issues to God.
The entire semester was a learning experience, but also difficult in another part of my life. My closest friend and I began having communication problems. Leaving for Dominican Republic was hard and easy. I wanted to get away from all my pain, but had a hard time going with my friend.
The Dominican Republic trip can be a whole separate testimony, but for me the main lesson I learned was that God is the ONLY ONE in control and He is the ONLY thing that is EVER CONSTANT. After about three days in the DR, I wrote my friend a letter confronting her on a few things. She came up to me after reading and was honest and said she had no desire to be friends with me anymore. I didn’t know what to think or do. Later that afternoon, our team gathered for some prayer time and one of the girls started to cry…Pastor Brad looked at her and asked what was wrong. She said, “It’s not me, it’s someone else.” And then she looked at me with tears rolling down her face and said, “Jessy come here.” Shoot, I lost it. I sat their crying and was confused and afraid. Brad and the team had no idea what was going on, but immediately came over to lay hands on me and pray. The girl who called my name later explained how the day before she felt God put my name on her heart and when she laid her hand on me to pray, a pain ripped inside her that she could not hold inside. I asked her what she felt, and she started naming off every emotion I was feeling. She told me that God was looking out for me and was extending His arms to hold me. I knew God used her. God was there for me. He used the situation with my friend to remind me that He is Constant. Humans will fail us, I am not perfect, I will mess up, but God never does.
Once I returned home from the DR, my best friend Leah brought me to her small group. God opened a door to an amazing group of women that I consider my family. Being a part of this small group gives me a safe place to open up about my hurts, pains, and talk about my praises! These women are there for me to cry with me, laugh with me, and to remind me how much God loves me everyday.
Today, I still struggle from time to time with eating and control. But I give it to God the moment I realize it. I am blessed to have a multitude of beautiful, healthy, and God centered relationships, with women who keep me accountable and remind me how much God loves me. They give me so much strength.
God is in control, not me. Let Go, Let God. This is my motto in life and hope that it is a phrase some of you will take to heart. Sometimes the first step to trusting God is to acknowledge that you need it and then let God do the rest!!