One Day That Changed My Life

This was the van after the accident.

This was the van after the accident.

So this is super long (sorry) and contains some content that is from a dark time in my life. So I do not advise children to read this.

      Two years ago on this day (January 29, 2012) I was at Camp Mantowagan for the Winter Retreat when on the way home our church van slipped on ice causing us to go off the highway, flipping the van 2 times landing on its side in the median. I remember the thought that was going through my head while we were flipping (which seemed as though it was in slow motion) was, “I’m going to die…” And I am not exaggerating when I say that, that was the one thought that went through my head. I remember going home and having to have my mom hug me to sleep because I was afraid that I was going to die in my sleep. Although the EMTs were at the scene, they did not take us to the hospital, but only asked us if we felt ok, so I was terrified that I was internally bleeding or something that would cause me to die in my sleep. There is a lot more details so, if you want to hear more of the story, feel free to ask.
So that’s the event that occurred on this day, but that’s just the beginning…I thought that I had faced the worst, but I had no idea what was coming up in the next few months.

     After a retreat where we learned about Fearing God and Trusting Jesus (pretty ironic huh?) you think it would be easy to think of this conclusion and it was, but believing it was a different story. So, I was then trying to find God’s purpose in allowing this accident to happen. I was asking questions such as, Why are all 12 of us still alive? How are we still alive? Why do I have to have a concussion? Why did the van buckle out instead of in (this allowed more space for us to “move” while it was flipping)? And the answer to that question was Jesus.

     But throughout that time of questioning why, I was being attacked by Satan. And I just don’t mean little things were happening that caused me to have a “bad day,” I mean I felt so attacked that I have thoughts of taking my own life, cutting myself, anything that would end my pain, and eventually almost develop anorexia 3-4 times in 10 months. When I was going through this time of depression I would go to my room, shut my door, and be alone for hours. I didn’t want anyone around me, I pretty much hated people. I didn’t want to do anything I loved, so I stopped singing around the house and listening to music. I would literally lay and do nothing for hours. I felt as though I had no purpose. I felt as though I was alone and no one was there for me. I completely shut down. So, the innocent questions turned into, “How could a loving God allow me to go through this? I accepted Christ and have been living for Him for years, why me? (And because I was doubting my faith) If my sin is going to send me to Hell, why wouldn’t I just kill myself and go now?” These thoughts and questions led to panic attacks and not those little ones that are easy to get over. I literally had to crawl into a ball when my panic attacks started because I had the urge to hit someone/something, throw something, and just scream. There was one night in particular that I remember coming home from youth group on a Wednesday night in March feeling so attacked, I went up to my room and my brother and I began to talk. I was trying to tell him through the attack that I couldn’t “do it” (live life anymore), and didn’t understand why God was “letting me go through this.” And he didn’t know what to say other than, “It’ll be ok, we’ll get through this.” He said this while I was laying my head on his lap, both of us crying. We had no idea what else to do. I barely got any sleep (which was normal at that time because I was afraid to go to sleep), but woke up the next morning unable to go to school because I started to have a panic attack as soon as I woke up. This was not the only day of school that I had to miss for that reason. I remember begging my mom through the tears to call a counselor, pastor, anyone who would know what to do because I sure didn’t…You may be saying, “You should have turned to God.” Well, I wasn’t ready to believe that He could help me through this. That’s right, the “good church girl” hated church and wanted nothing to do with God. Anyways, when I did go to school, I wasn’t able to do anything because I had a concussion. I showed up to school so that I wouldn’t be considered absent and went to the nurse’s office almost every period with my friend Michaela, who was also in the wreck, and had “sleepovers in the nurse’s office” (we tried to make the best out of every situation. When Michaela and I were there we would just talk about life, what remembered from the accident (which was bits and pieces), and how annoyed we were at the fact that we couldn’t even take notes in class.

     I “got cleared” from my concussion a few weeks later so I decided to start track up for the season. Track that year was a challenge as I would have to take multiple pain killers every time I ran to prevent headaches and take my back pains away the best they could. I started physical therapy as well and soon found out that I had 7 vertebrae that were dislocated in my back and neck….My neck healed rather quickly, but after 27 appointments I still had pain in my lower back and they had no idea what was going on.
So summer came, I remember telling my mom the morning that I left to go to Camp Mantowagan (my church camp) for a week that I was having suicidal thoughts and had been for about 4 months at that point. After I told her, I had about 5 hours and then I was off to my “happiest place on Earth”, Camp Mantowagan, the camp where we had the retreat…it was slightly terrifying. But that week was full of growth. I realized that I had to tell my story and since I had no interest in looking for Jesus, I sought out people who would tell me about Him. So telling my story meant that I had to break down the wall that I had built up for 6 months and trust people by sharing about my hurt, pain, and brokenness. After coming home from camp on a Saturday, my parents drove me to Ohio for the orientation of a 6-week missions trip that God would use to help me grow through this pain, Operation Barnabas.

     I instantly felt like I didn’t belong because I was surrounded by the “good Christians” and I was completely broken, but throughout the course of the summer I would soon realize that I wasn’t alone. I was on Team 611, based off of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 which states, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” We focused on verse 11, “Such were some of you” throughout the summer, but had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in many ways. I was slowly beginning to realize that my sin didn’t define me, I was being attacked, the sin I was dealing with wasn’t who I truly was because I had been washed (I accepted Christ at the age of 7). I was also encouraged by the stories that my fellow team members told me. I also realized that I wasn’t alone.
It was also on Operation Barnabas that I got the calling into full-time ministry. Up until that point I wanted to be a music teacher because music was the only thing I was good at. And in the summer of 2011, I felt the calling into missions, but figured in my mind that I would major in music and minor in music (do what I want to do, but let God have a little part as well). But, after the accident my passion for music went away, yes I still love it, but for fun. Anyways, we were at an apartment complex in Mansfield, OH. My friend Anthony and I were sharing the Gospel with a 23-year-old woman, Jennifer, and her 3-year-old son, Dante. After sharing the Gospel she began to share all the sins that she had done, and I had the opportunity to share my story with her. At that moment I realized why God was allowing this to happen (although terrible), He was going to show people His love and forgiveness. I realized that I can relate to those in the inner-city, those who feel alone and don’t know where to go.

     Coming home from Operation Barnabas was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do. I lost my support system of 38 people that I had grown to love and trust. I began going to a counseling center about 45 minutes away from my house and I continued to go to physical therapy, until they told me there was nothing else they could do and sent me to my family doctor to get referred to a better doctor. So during my senior year of high school I missed a total of 15 ½ days that were full of doctor appointments to Pittsburgh (2 hours away from my house) and a few other days for other health issues. These days didn’t include school related events such as County Band, District and Regional Band and Chorus, and Forensics. In other words, I was barely at Central Cambria High School for my senior year but, I am thankful for the patience of the teachers that I had my junior and senior year.

     When going to doctors in Pittsburgh I found out that I still had my concussion, which I wouldn’t get cleared from until May 14, 2013 (the day before my school’s senior night for track…so I wasn’t able to run at all during my senior year). Although I got cleared from my concussion, they still were not sure what was wrong with my back, so I was sent to yet another doctor (this was the 5th place that I had to go for medical treatment on my back). After examining my back they thought that a back brace would be the best step to take next. I would have to wear it for 2-3 months, starting with 1 hour a day and adding an hour per week…this is what it sounded like in my mind, “Jessie, you’re going to have to rely on other people all summer including at camp, City Life, and Momentum because you are going to need someone to help you put this brace on every day.” For being someone who was independent, this is not something that I wanted to hear, but I survived. I still have to wear it on long car rides, but the back pain has definitely went down.

     Well, like I said, it was my senior year. Side note (because I do that a lot), when I got my senior pictures done, my mom would not order a picture of me not smiling because she said that she saw me not smiling too much over the months leading up to that. She also said that there was a sadness that was in my eyes when I would do a “serious photo.” Back on track and GO! So senior year…I graduated Central Cambria High School and turned 18 on the same day…it was a very exciting day at my house! (: Then, I went to Camp Mantowagan for the last time as a camper and got to share my story and how God was working through it. I then left for a 15-day missions trip called City Life and got to travel on a team with 15 fantastic people, sharing the Gospel with people in New York, DC, and Philly. God definitely confirmed my calling into urban ministry during that trip. And after a busy summer, I left home and started the next chapter of my journey in Lynchburg, VA at Liberty University.

     And that’s where I am now…but I’m a completely different person this semester than I was last semester and even more so then I was last year and 2 years ago. I went to my high school to visit some teachers over my Christmas break and one of the teachers look at me and said, “There’s something different about you. I don’t know what it is, but you seem different, but in a good way.” Well that difference is that (and I’m super excited to be able to say this with full confidence), God took my depression away last semester. After almost 1 ½ years of struggling with depression, God took it away. Now I’m not saying my life is perfect. My life is anything but that, but God has been revealing Himself more and more to me throughout the past few weeks. Since my time back at Liberty this semester, God has been teaching me so much and giving me a better direction for my life. He has been breaking my heart for what breaks His, for people, for brokenness, and is allowing me to tell my story and it be used by Him. God has shown me that although I love ministering to all people, He has given me a heart to work with young girls, girls that need to know that they can find their identity in Christ. I would have never thought that I would be where I am today on January 29, 2012, but I am blessed that God has worked through my brokenness to bring Him Glory.

     Before I close, I want to share a verse that I heard for the first time the day of the accident, before we left the camp and it has been a verse that brings me so much hope. 1 Kings 19:11b-12 says,

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

There may be “big” events that occur in your life (the wind, fire, and earthquake), mine was the accident, but through those events you have to be willing to listen for the whisper because that is what God is trying to point you to. He wants you to see how much you truly need Him. Man, I could just go on, but I know you have read a lot already so that will be for another day.

     I personally would never wish anyone to go through what I went through and I would never want to go through it again, but I am so grateful that God has and still is revealing Himself and His plan for my life through this tragic event.

     My challenge to you is no matter who you are or where you are in life, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And there is hope and that hope can be found in Jesus Christ. The only way that you can receive this hope is by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior and by having a relationship with Him. We are all broken people some may seem more broken than others, but we all need Jesus. You do not need to go through a dark time in your life to need Jesus because it says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It says in Romans 10:9-10, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” You can have eternal life and be forgiven of your sins by confessing your sins to Christ and believe with your whole heart that Jesus Christ died and came alive again 3 days later, being able to forgive our sins. You can never earn your way into Heaven, there are not enough good works you can do. “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteous (good) deeds are like “filthy garments”, in another translation, “filthy rags.” And it’s not just a prayer that we repeat after someone, because the words aren’t “magical”, it is the condition of the heart that make the words we pray mean everything. God saves those who ask for forgiveness with a genuine, broken spirit.

     So I again challenge you, take a look at your life and look for brokenness. Although Jesus has taken my depression away, I still fail Him daily. But, I know that He is great and faithful and I am His! Again, I’m sorry that this was so long, but that’s part of (yes, only part) the story of the day that changed my life. And I’m not the only one who has a story, there are 11 other individuals that were in the same van, but we have all faced different trials afterwards and God is revealing different things to us through this event.

God Bless!

Why Would You Want to Work With Youth???

Working with the parents (especially mothers) of children is amazing, but after taking a youth ministry course this week as an intensive I was challenged to look at my life and see where God is leading me. If you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE working with children and God has recently opened my heart to working with teenagers (especially teenaged girls). I wasn’t challenged to see what group is more important that the other because all people need to be ministered to, but I was instead challenged to look at my major compared to where God was leading my heart. With that being said I can say that I have changed my major and no longer am I a Women’s Ministry major, but instead a Youth Ministry major.

I’m going to first answer the question that I know most of you are asking. No, I am not going to be a youth “pastor.” (What I am about to say is what I believe is biblically correct. Please read prayerfully.) I do not feel as though women are called to be pastors. Yes, women are capable of teaching but God tells us in Titus 1:5-16 the qualifications of an elder. It does not mention anything of a woman, but instead directly talks to men as He says in verses 5-6, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I direct you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.” This passage is clearly talking to a man as it mentions phrases such as “any man,” “the husband,” to name a few. We can also see in Genesis that God created woman as a helper as He says in Genesis 2:17-19,

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a HELPER suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

 Women were created as the HELPER. Like I said, I believe that women are capable of teaching, but we were called as women to help, not lead as men were called to do. It does say in Titus 2:3-5 however, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage he young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husband, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” The older women in the church are to teach young women. (If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I am willing to answer more questions or better explain myself).

You may now be asking, “So why do you want to go into youth ministry if you’re not going to be a pastor? And what are you going to do?” Well, God has laid young people on my heart for A LONG time. I have always loved working in children’s ministry and honestly a lot of my friends are in elementary school between K-5. The majority of my friends are in 8th or 9th grade, bringing me to the fact that God has recently laid youth (teens) on my heart as well, specifically teen girls. I have always felt called to lead women, but God has narrowed that down to the women that are at a critical time in their life, young women.

And I don’t just want to be comfortable, I want to work with young women in an urban community. There are many situations in my life that God has used to call me to urban ministry, so it’s not my own choice (although I love the innercity and CANNOT wait until I get to move there). Yes, I know that I am going to have a lot of situations that I am going to face working with young women in the city and that is ok. We, as Christians, are called to “GO and make disciples of ALL nations…” (Matthew28:19-20). It’s not going to be comfortable, but God hasn’t called us to live a comfortable life.

One thing that I am slowly learning after teaching Paige, the young girl that I disciple, is that we are not teaching girls that they are beautiful, daughters of God, and fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose in life until it’s too late. We are teaching them when the girls are in middle/high school, but by that time they have already been influenced and told that they aren’t worth much unless they follow the crowd and devote themselves to relationships. Paige and I studied Psalms 139:13-14 the other day which states, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” I explained how God created her just the way she was and gave her the talents that she has so she can minister to specific people. There are people that she is able to minister to that I’m not able too, and SHE GOT IT!!!! So I started to realize that if a 9-year-old girl is able to “get it” and have excitement to serve God and see herself as a daughter of the King, then why are we waiting until middle school and high school to teach them that they are worth so much?

We tone down our lessons for children (and that is needed in some cases), but in others we don’t realize how much they can learn and comprehend. So that is what I feel called to do, work with young girls and teach them who they are in Christ, how beautiful they are, and most importantly how much they are worth in the eyes of Christ.

To answer the question that is in the title, “Why Would You Want to Work With Youth???” As many people do not like working with children and teens and my answer is simply, I want to work with youth because THEY GET IT!!!!
So yes, God has changed my plans within a matter of weeks/days, but that’s okay because they truthfully aren’t my plans, but they are fully God’s plans. And I am SO EXCITED to say that I am a Youth Ministry major at Liberty University with a Women’s Ministry minor (so I can learn how to be a woman in ministry). I will eventually be getting my Master’s in Clinical Counseling so that I will not only be able to spiritually help these girls (which is the most important), but I will also be able to help them and give them advice legally.

Again, I am so excited for what God has given me a better direction of the path He is leading me on this week as I have taken the Youth Ministry course at Liberty University (that I mentioned earlier) focusing on Urban Ministry. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity and I could literally go on for hours about this, but it is 1:30 am and I’m pretty tired and you’ve already read a lot. I know I mentioned a lot of things that are conservative, but I am a conservative person. So as I said, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

I love you guys and wanted to share this exciting news of my major change with you!

God Bless!


Changing my contact lenses #newyearnewme

I feel like I haven’t hooked up with anyone in forever. I guess you could say 2014 is starting to change me #newyearnewme #jk 😂😂😂

Cut and dyed my hair!!!! #NewYearNewMe

Tomorrow I want to get my belly button pierced and get new jeans. #NewYearNewMe? 😂

I just killed a spider without freaking out #newyearnewme

Definitely leaving this mustache behind in 2013. #NewYearNewMe

It’s almost the end of 2013! Thank goodness it’s been a rough year ready for a new start! #2014 #newyearnewme #letsmakeitbetter

I need to find a man, whose sole purpose in life isn’t to make me miserable!!! I think my New Years resolution is going to be to make me happy!!!!!!! I want more out of life. This worrying is ridiculous and helps nobody. #NewYearNewMe

These are just a few of the #newyearnewme posts that I have seen on twitter and Facebook. And the answer to your question is yes, these are real posts; but, no, I did not write them but instead picked random ones that came up on my search. As I look at even these few posts I see a common connection, everyone is either worried about their appearance or getting a significant other. But the question that comes to my mind while reading these are: Why are we using #newyearnewme when we should be using #newyearlessofme? I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with wanting to be healthier or changing your hair, I plan on doing both of those this year, but what I am saying is that we should strive to be more like Christ this year.

As Christians we are so ready to say that our New Year’s Resolution is to grow closer to God, and that’s great, but shouldn’t we strive for that every day? And as Christians we can say God has been teaching us new things, but our lives don’t show it. When people look at us, they shouldn’t see us, but instead see Jesus. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17,

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (NASB).

Did you catch that? “Those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” We are not to live for ourselves, we are to live for God because if you are born again, Christ’s love controls you. You may be saying, “I live for Christ…I go to church and tell my friends that I am a Christian”, but then continue to go and live the rest of your life the way you want because you are scared of what others are going to think and say if you decided to follow Christ. We are told in 1 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” So right here we are told that being a Christian isn’t easy and that we are going to be persecuted for it, but this isn’t something that we should be surprised about because Jesus Christ was persecuted for living the life that he was called to live. Although Jesus is our main role model, there are plenty of other Christians that have been persecuted because their living for Christ, think of Stephan who was stoned to death, Paul and Silas were sent to prison, and Saeed Abedini, an American Pastor, is currently imprisoned in an Iranian prison. Now I’m not saying that you are going to die or go to prison if you life for Christ, although possible, but I am saying that some people will not agree with what you’re doing. We are also told in Matthew 16:24, ‘Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”’ We are told to deny ourselves, DENY WHO WE ARE, and follow Christ by carrying our cross. The journey is not going to be easy, so if you chose to live a Christian life so all your problems will go away, I’m sorry, but they’re not going to.

So you may now be wondering how to live more like God. Let me ask you a few questions. Are you spending time with God? Is what you’re watching on TV glorifying God? What about the music you’re listening to? Are you sharing the Gospel with your friends? How are you using your free time? Is the relationship that you have with your boyfriend/girlfriend pleasing to God? Is He the center of the relationship or is being physical? Those are just a few questions that I challenge you to think about.

But in the end, Jesus is the only one who can completely change you to look like Him. And the only way is by him living in you, by you accepting him as your personal Savior. And the way you can accept Jesus as your personal Savior is found in Romans 10:9, “…[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can have eternal life and be forgiven of your sins by confessing your sins to Christ and believe with your whole heart that Jesus Christ died and came alive again 3 days later, being able to forgive our sins. You can never earn your way into Heaven, there are not enough good works you can do because we are born with sin (anything that we think, say, or do that does not please God). And it’s not just a prayer that we repeat after someone, because the words aren’t “magical”, it is the condition of the heart that make the words we pray mean everything.

So ultimately the way that we look like Christ and less like ourselves is by having a relationship with Him and denying ourselves to live like Christ lived, even when it’s hard.

So are you going to have a #newyearnewme or a #newyearlessofme year?

Our Response

I know I post a lot of things on FB and every Christmas I post about how Jesus was born and it’s an amazing that we get to celebrate his birth. Yes, Jesus’ birth is amazing and I’m not trying to downplay that. It was at the manger where everything happened, that we see how helpless we are and we see how much we need Jesus Christ. The shepherds (the lowest of lows) and the magi (the wealthy) all came to worship Him, Jesus is King and everyone realized that. But, this post is about someone else who had a key role in Christmas, Mary.

Many know Mary as the mother of Jesus, having to travel miles with Joseph to Bethlehem, and that she was a virgin and teenager. That’s all I knew about her for the longest time, but then the pastor at my church taught a sermon on her and I wanted to know more and get to know her. Mary is by far one of my favorite women to learn about in the Bible and as I, myself am a young woman, she has been one of the greatest role models in my life. Now I’m not saying that guys can’t learn from her because I think she has taught us something that we all need to be reminded of and it is found in Luke 1:35-38 (NASB),

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

To give you a little back story on what was going on, and angel, Gabriel, came to Mary and told her that she was to give birth to a son and that his name was to be Jesus. Mary was confused because she was a virgin and then the angel responded with the passage above.
During that time, people got married young, so it was not uncommon for teen girls to get married. With this culture, we can suspect that Mary was in her teen years. So imagine a teen girl being told that she was going to give birth to a son, but not any son, this boy happens to be the Son of God. And on top of that this teen girl was a virgin, it most likely didn’t make any sense to her. She may have been confused, but we know that she was a believer and follower of God as it says that the angel told her in verse 28, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Yes, it’s important to know all of that, but you’re probably asking, “Jessie, can you get to the point already?” And my answer to that is, yes I will.

Let me show you verse 38 again, ‘And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”’ Yes, she knew that the road ahead of her was not going to be easy, but she was willing to obey the Lord and respond in such a way that she was pretty much saying, “God I am your child and will trust you through everything that occurs in my life.” Did you get that??? She is putting all of her trust in God!

Now my question to you is what is your response to Christ when something unexpected occurs in your life? Are you questioning God and asking, “Why me? I’ve done everything for you! I do more than most people!” That was my reaction until this past year. I went through a time of depression leading to suicidal thoughts and eating disorders and my response was, “God, I have followed you my whole life. I’ve gone to church since I was “in the womb”, I have volunteered since I able to walk, I did this, I did that…” But in reality, none of that matters. I can do nothing. You can do nothing. Well, there is one thing we can do, trust. Soon after I realized that I had no control and could do nothing about my situation by myself and needed God to take control, the depression went away and after almost 2 years of pain and suffering, the relationship that I have with Christ is starting to grow again.

So my challenge to you is this, respond to Christ in such a way that when unexpected things occur in your life, you turn to Christ and say, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to [you].” It’s okay to wonder why things are occurring in your life for a little bit, but in the end you need to look to Jesus. You need to trust Jesus and give him COMPLETE control over the situation, and believe me I know that is not easy, but when you do, you will have a deeper connection to Jesus Christ.

What is your response? Are you going to question God? Or are you going to be Mary?

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas!

And Such Were Some of You…

Before people post anything negative on this, please read ALL of it. I believe the words that Phil is saying 100%, and I completely agree with the passage of Scripture that he paraphrased, but directly from the Bible it states, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But, I also think he could have expanded on that passage a little more and kept going on to verse 11, which states, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This is an important thing to remember, that yes, homosexuality is a sin, but so is lying, hate-which is the same as murder (1 John 3:15), stealing, using the Lord’s name in vain, and lust just to name a few. I personally have lied, hated, stole, lusted, and much more; so I am guilty as I’m sure every one of you reading this is. My lust after guys is sin, just as someone lusting after the same sex.

       There is a punishment for all sin and that is eternity in Hell which is stated in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As you can see the first part of the verse tells us the punishment for sin, but God just didn’t finish it there. God then tells us that there is a free gift that we can receive, eternal. I am guilty, BUT I have turned to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive me for the sin in my life.

     If you have never heard of the term “born again, saved, turning your life to Christ,” it means that you have realized the sin in your life, have asked Christ for forgiveness and completely turned your life around to serve and worship Him. It says in Romans 10:9-10, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” You can have eternal life and be forgiven of your sins by confessing your sins to Christ and believe with your whole heart that Jesus Christ died and came alive again 3 days later, being able to forgive our sins. You can never earn your way into Heaven, there are not enough good works you can do. “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6). Did you see that? Our righteous (good) deeds are like “filthy garments”, in another translation, “filthy rags.” And it’s not just a prayer that we repeat after someone, because the words aren’t “magical”, it is the condition of the heart that make the words we pray mean everything. God saves those who ask for forgiveness with a genuine, broken spirit, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. And saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

If you believe that homosexuality is a sin (and the Bible states that it is), then do not say that you are any better than them because you sin as well. I am not saying that I agree and support that lifestyle, but I am saying that they do not deserve to be bashed. As Christians we need to love as Christ loved. Jesus loved us while we were deep in our sin and He loved us enough to die for us (Romans 5:8).

So if you’re a born again Christian, just take a second and remember where you came from, the life that God took you out of. If you were saved at a young age, you may have not left a terrible lifestyle, but you still sinned, and everyone in the world has sinned and needs Jesus. We as Christians must not bash those that have a homosexual lifestyle, but pour out Christ’s love onto them. You do not have to agree with their lifestyle, but show them the love that Christ poured out on you; because, such were some of you…such was I.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
-1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I love you all! God bless!

Fixing Our Eyes

     In today’s society it is so easy to get caught up in the midst of things and mess up your priorities; unless it’s just me, but I’ve talked to enough people to believe that I’m not the only one. I was reminded of this today when I started having this strange feeling that I haven’t had in a while. A sense of longing for something and I wasn’t sure what that longing was during the day, but then I soon realized it was a longing for time with God. You see, I’ve been distracted for the past few days with finals, packing, traveling, and just wasting time, that I haven’t spent much alone time with God (if any). That’s what my problem is; I feel this longing because I am not spending any time building my relationship with the one who took me in when I didn’t deserve it, the one who saved me from death. This isn’t the first time I’ve been to this point either, and every time I tell myself, “This won’t happen again.” But time after time it does, why? Because I am selfish. I think my time is more important than having time to continue building the most important relationship I will ever have. Well I’m here to tell myself and you, our time is not our own. God created us and gave us our life, including every year, month, day, hour, second…and we need to use that time (a gift) for the one who gave it to us.

      Today was another reminder that I am distracted and my eyes are not on Christ. And even through my distractions, God placed a verse on my heart and I that is when I instantly realized what was causing that strange feeling. The verse that God placed on my heart was Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
Let me repeat that last part…”fixing our eyes on Jesus…” That is the phrase that God laid on my heart today. I realized that I wasn’t fixing my eyes on Jesus.

      Like I said, it is so easy to get caught up in what’s going on around us whether that be social media, schoolwork, friends, family, and the list can go on. And I’m not saying that you are a terrible person if you are distracted. But if we are not focusing on Christ and following Him daily, we are obviously putting something before Him, making that object or person an idol which is a sin (Exodus 20:3-4). We are flesh, we’re going to mess up; but if you are born again and a Child of God, He is going to remind you that you are His. This is what He did today in my life. If you read the beginning I said that I haven’t had this feeling in a while. Now I have been saved since I was a child, but I haven’t been reciprocating the communication in the relationship until recently. Since I have been building that relationship, I was being reminded that something was missing. I was missing my conversation and time alone with God. But, God was there the whole time, waiting.

   When we fix our eyes on Jesus, He will remind us what He did so we can have a relationship with Him. It tells us what He did if we continue reading in Hebrews, “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus Christ died for you! And now He is alive in Heaven. He didn’t have to, but He did because of His love for you, He did so we don’t have to be punished for eternity in Hell because of the sin in our lives. And it’s not by any good works that we earn this because we are sinners and deserve death as it says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Eternal life is a FREE gift! All you have to do is receive it by realizing that you are a sinner and that Jesus is the only one who can forgive you for that sin because he died on the cross and rose again three days later and confess your sins to Him. If you are saved, live your life as Christ did and realize that Jesus died so can have a relationship with you instead of thinking that your dating relationship/marriage/friendship/etc. is the most important relationship in your life. If you are not saved and would like to learn how, please let me know and I would love to share with you more.

      I challenge you to evaluate your life. I don’t just mean sitting down for 5 min. and looking over the past day, I mean sit down and really think about your life and relationship with Christ over the past few months, year, or your choice of time. Reflect on your relationship with Christ over that time. Has your relationship with Him grown? Decreased? Can you even tell that you have a relationship with Him? If you have continued to grow in Him, Praise the Lord! If you have been struggling in your relationship with Him, cry out to Him. Don’t just pray with a heart that doesn’t reflect what your words are saying, the words you say have no “magic” in them, it is the heart behind the prayer that matters. It says in Psalm 34:17-18, “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their trouble. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Instead of making it your “New Year’s Resolution” to spend more time with God, why not start now? Start spending time with the one who saved you.

     I just want to close with one of my favorite hymns, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Really focus on the lyrics and allow God to speak to you through them.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Back to the Basics

If you know me or are friends with me on FB, you will know that I haven’t been wearing pants for almost 2 months, but instead only wearing skirts. I have been calling it “Back to the Basics Challenge” (and in November it was called “No Pants November”). I knew that I would be asked why I was doing it when I made the decision to only wear skirts, but I wasn’t able to give a clear answer at first. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against pants, heck, I wore them for 18 years of my life, but I am simply going to explain myself and my choice for only wearing skirts (for now) in this post. This is also going to tell some of my life story. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. And if you don’t want to read it all because of how long it is and just want to know why I’m wearing skirts, skip to the end.

I’m going to start with a little bit of a back story about my life…I grew up with a brother who is 6 years older than me, so I naturally started doing some of the things that he did. This included: playing video games, catching bugs and frogs, playing in the dirt, and other things that little girls normally don’t do because they think it’s “icky.” I hated the color pink, wearing skirts, and frilly things. I still loved playing with Barbies though.  Anyways, I played softball in preschool and kindergarten, and then baseball in 2nd grade (I was the only girl on my baseball team), I hung out with the Boy Scouts a lot because my brother was in it and my dad was an assistant leader. So from the things listed, you can tell I grew up a “tomboy”.  I was also called ugly by those that I was closest to (as a joke)…although it didn’t affect me much as a child, it has had a huge impact on me since then. And when middle school came around, everything got worse. I started the “I don’t care about anything” stage. I didn’t care what I looked like, so I wore shirts that were like 2 sizes too big and didn’t try to look decent. I know it’s not about what’s on the outside, but I was taking this to the extreme. I may have put of the persona that I didn’t care what people thought of me, but deep down I just wanted to be accepted like everyone else.

Then, my high school years started and the only thing I was worried about was what others thought of me. I HAD to have the name brand clothing, I started wearing makeup, and straightening my hair because I wanted to fit in and get a boyfriend, but I still looked young and wanted to look older (well, that apparently didn’t change because people still think I’m between the ages of 12-16). Anyways, I was so consumed in trying to gain popularity that I was looking for my identity in the wrong place and not in Christ.  I put all of my focus on trying to get a boyfriend and made a fool of myself. I started to wear tight jeans which made me want to wear tighter shirts along with wearing shorter dresses. Because I was involved in all of those “boyish” things growing up, no matter how much I tried to dress like a girl, I naturally hung out with guys. But, nothing changed from the time I grew up to the time I was in high school, I was just “one of the guys.” I was never one of the girls that my guy friends went for, so I was discouraged (which I now realize was not worth it). I would tell people that I didn’t care what people thought of me, and when I was being weird, I was just being myself. While that was mostly true, but there was a part of me that was trying to impress people through my senior year of high school. I thrived to be liked and accepted. So when a guy seemed interested in me, I would not turn it down. Although I have never dated, I have had guys that I have told my story to, truly liked, and got to the point that people thought we were dating. Although I know that I hurt them (and didn’t realize how much I hurt them until recently, and I am truly sorry for that), God has given me a better glimpse of the man that God wants me to be with. So to sum this up, I was so caught up in guys and lived my life to impress them and not God.

Now back to the one word that had a huge impact on my life, ugly. Please, never call a girl ugly, even if it’s a joke. Girls are already self-conscious, worried about what they look like, and basing their beauty on what society thinks beautiful is…at least that’s what I did. Since I was never “popular” in high school I would try to look like the girls that were, hoping that I would fit in. Again, that led to wearing immodest clothing that I now realize was a mistake because I was making my brothers in Christ, and guys in general stumble. It actually got to the point that I felt as though I was not thin and imagined that I was gaining wait. This occurred in my time of depression last year. For those that don’t know, I ran cross country in 9th and 10th grade, so compared to my weight during those years, I did gain weight, but not enough to worry about. I’m pretty sure you can guess where this is going…my meals got so small that I was pretty much not eating anything. There were times that I actually skipped meals a day, if you can even call them meals. My mom would tell me to eat more, but that would make me want to eat less. I was again trying to meet the world’s standard of “beautiful.” I then confronted those that called me ugly because I realize how much is was impacting my life and they have not called me that since. I have  still struggled with not eating since then, but again this is something that I am working on and have given to God.

Now to the reason why I’m writing this, and answer the question that everyone has been asking me. Why am I only wearing skirts? Well, it started towards the middle of September when my prayer leader and I were talking, I soon realized that I was trying to find my identity in what I was wearing, trying to impress guys. I felt convicted to dress more modestly and my roommate and I had a conversation about it, because I wasn’t sure how I could dress more modestly. Okay, before I go on, please remember what I just said, this all begin towards the middle and end of September. I kept on thinking and wondering how I to take hold of this conviction, because it wasn’t just happening for no reason. Then, on October 14th, the Duggars, from the famous TV show “19 Kids and Counting”, came to my school and I had the opportunity to meet them. The thought then entered my mind, ‘What would happen if I wore skirts every day?’ I was planning on waiting a while to start it because I wasn’t sure if it’s what I wanted to do, but then I decided to start it 2 days later. Yes, that means that I have only been wearing skirts in public for almost 2 months (this excludes when I involved in physical activity). So that explains how I came to the idea, but you still might be wanting a little more explanation on why. Well, remember how I said I was dressing to impress guys? Yeah, I realized that although the clothes I was wearing were pretty modest, my heart was not modest at all. As it says in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your adornment must not be merely external- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” Yes, I know this says about adornment not coming from putting on dresses, but remember that my problem was wearing clothes that were revealing. So, I am wearing skirts that are down to my knees until my heart is in the right place; until I stop trying to impress people (mainly guys) and use my body and what I wear to glorify God, which means that I could be wearing skirts for a while. Yes, I may have been wearing skirts for almost 2 months, but my heart is still caught up in my appearance. I’m not saying that it’s not important to take care of yourself, but be who God created you to be. That is my goal in only wearing skirts; that I would go “back to the basics,” to the clothing that women wore before it was acceptable to wear pants (again not saying there is anything wrong with pants) and gain a better understanding of who I am in Christ. I am His daughter and a guy should have to go through God before he can get to me.


Ladies, find your identity in Christ, not in what you wear or in guys. Like I said in my story, it is important to take care of yourself, but do not put all you focus in trying to impress people and fit the world’s standard of “beautiful.” One verse that my previous counselor shared with me and challenged me to remember every time a negative thought about myself came into my mind is Psalm 139:14, which states, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” God, the creator of the universe created you just the way you are. You are beautiful, and if you have been told that you aren’t, like me (whether a joke or not), I’m telling you that you are. Don’t try to impress guys because when you focus on Christ and your relationship with Him, God will place a man (not a boy…please do not settle for a “good Christian boy”, wait for a godly man) in your life that will love you like Christ loves you. So don’t date a guy who only loves you for your appearance, but date a man who loves you because of your heart for the Lord.

Men, do not just date a girl based on her appearance. I know you are first attracted to a girl by her appearance (like I said, I have an older brother, he and I have talked about this stuff), but instead, wait for a girl who loves the Lord, a girl that is focused on glorifying God before glorifying you. Don’t go for a girl that will immediately give her heart to you because she is not making you fight for her. You should have to go through God to get to her heart. And most of all, be a man and lead. It says in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of his wife, as Christ also is the head of the church…” The husband is the HEAD, yes that means that you are to lead her. This is also in dating relationships because dating is not just done for the sake of dating, but with the goal of marriage in mind. Another challenge is to love your wife like Christ loved the church. We are told that a few verses later in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Do not just love her because of her looks, but love her because she is a daughter of the Heavenly King. Love her because of her heart for the Lord.

In Him,


Posted below are a few pictures since my decision to wear only skirts.

The first day of the "Back to the Basics Challenge"

The first day of the “Back to the Basics Challenge”

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Photo Shoot with my roomies

Photo Shoot with my roomies

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Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit


And so it begins.

Hey! My name is Jessie Brown. I wanted to write this first post and tell you a little about myself. I am a freshman at Liberty University studying Women’s Ministry. With a degree in women’s ministry I plan to move to the inner-city and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Before I can do that, I will be getting my Master’s in Counseling, so that I can counsel those in the inner-city. I specifically want to minister to women and children. Many people look at me and question why I want to move to such a dark place, and honestly I would question that too if I were someone else. Why would a girl who lives in the middle of nowhere want to move to the inner-city? The answer to that is quite simple: God has broken my heart for broken people. Yes, I know there are broken people everywhere, I was completely broken over a year ago, but God has saved me and taken me out of my brokenness and broke my heart for those specifically in the inner-city. I may have grew up in a church and had parents who protected me from dark things, but I still ended up going through depression for over a year. I’m not saying that I’m glad that I had to go through depression, but God worked through it and showed me what He wants for my life, instead of what I want for my life. God is faithful and awesome! So this blog is going to be things that God has been showing me and challenging me with as I grow closer to Him. I pray that these posts will challenge you and God will shine through.

God Bless!