Today, Jocelynne (from She is Redeemed) speaks to us about choosing joy, letting go and the song that moved her to a full-circle moment in her life.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a Catholic home. My mom wasn’t very religious, but she did sent me to Catholic school from kindergarten to eighth grade. My parents have been divorced since I was three, so I honestly don’t have any memory of them ever together other than pictures. I was raised with A LOT of help from my grandparents on my mom’s side. I was at their house every day and even lived with them the later two years of high school, up until I was 22 before moving back in with my mom. In 2017, my grandpa passed away, and I moved back in to my grandma’s house and have lived there since.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Any Scripture that points me to finding the joy of the Lord has been what’s keeping me going. Most recently, Habakkuk 3:18, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” I was going through a rough time, and the Lord kept reminding me that I can either choose to be sad, or choose to be joyful. So whenever I feel discouraged, I run to verses that speak about choosing joy in the Lord in any circumstance.
“I was going through a rough time, and the Lord kept reminding me that I can either choose to be sad, or choose to be joyful.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Oooooh. Letting go of bitterness for sure. I have so many struggles, but this one is a biggie that I struggle with on the daily. I have to constantly remind myself to “let it go” and not harbor things that upset or bother me in my heart, because the second I don’t let it go, it just starts growing, and it’s harder for me to get past it and move on.
Profession: Before COVID, I was a preschool teacher in the two-year-old classroom at a Christian Preschool, but unfortunately, I was laid off. I currently a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, CA. They have two children, a 2.5 year old and a 2 month old.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? She is Redeemed; it’s the name of the ministry the Lord has allowed me to form and lead. That title is set on the story of Ruth and how she went from Moabite to living a life that was redeemed through her faith in God. It’s special to me because it’s a reminder that I saved been changed from sinner through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I’ll try to keep this as short as I possibly can (haha). But I as I mentioned, I grew up in a Catholic home. Went to a Catholic school, did all the traditions that are required from the church. But I always wondered to myself, “there has to be more to this. This can’t be the answer. I just don’t get it.” I didn’t realize this until a couple of years ago, but my aunt would on occasion take me to a Christian church, not often, but she introduced me to Christianity. In 2009, I had a friend who took me to her church, a Christian church and I liked it, but yet didn’t accept the Lord– it wasn’t my time. My mom lived Eastvale, and it wasn’t much at the time, but around 2012, I would see signs from this church, and I was always intrigued to go but never did. Fast forward to December 2014. I was in a relationship (going on) 3 years with a non-believer, remember I’m still Catholic at this point, and just keep thinking, I’m not happy. Another friend of mine introduced me to “Oceans” by Hillsong United, and when the song was over she looks over and said, “How are you not in tears right now?!” My response: “It’s just a song.” See, this friend had been a Christian most of her life, and she wanted me to accept Jesus. A few weeks later, I was in bed crying wondering “why am I not good enough.” Something told me to give that song another listen. So I did. I ended up listening to worship music for an hour and felt this peace I hadn’t experienced. I ran downstairs literally screaming, “I want to go to church!” So, the next Sunday, I went to that church and accepted Christ into my life as Lord and Savior. I immediately heard the Lord tell me, “Your relationship is done.” One month later, my boyfriend and I broke up. And that was the start of my walk with Christ. Oh, and remember that church my aunt took me to when I was little, the church my friend took me to in 2009 ended up being a branch of that church, and is not my home church. Full circle.
How would you describe Jesus? Someone who loves you so much. He gave His life so that your soul may be saved from an eternity of suffering. Whether you accept Him or not, He wants nothing more than to save you from sin so that you can have eternal fellowship with His Father. He is our only Savior, Redeemer; He is the ultimate Best Friend.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? It’s made me appreciate His sacrifice. I think for a long time I didn’t fully understand what His death and resurrection really meant, so I didn’t take it seriously. Although I still have daily struggles, the love He has given me has shown me how to love people, especially those who I find hard to love.
“Although I still have daily struggles, the love He has given me has shown me how to love people, especially those who I find hard to love.”
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? This is hard question for me to answer, just because the darkest time in my before my relationship with God started. But looking at it now, I do see how far God has taken me from it. There was a situation with my dad and his ex wife. I was really close to them when I was little, and when I turned 18 I found out she had basically been brain washing me into disliking my mom. I had so much resentment towards my mom growing up because of all the lies this woman fed me. So when everything came to the light, this lady came after me and turned my dad against me. I didn’t speak to my dad for maybe two years. And little by little, we started speaking again, but I was still very hurt. I didn’t speak to the woman since I was 18, now I’m 30. And in the summer something happened to my brother and after 12 years of not speaking to her, I knew the Lord was telling me to reach out to her. But I was scared because I didn’t know how she would react. But the Lord kept telling me, “You need to show her the same love and compassion.” So I reached out to her. It wasn’t the best conversation, but it also wasn’t the worst. But at the end, I could honestly say that it was God’s strength that held me. We still don’t have a relationship, her and I, but God has shown me how to forgive and move from all that hurt that was caused. And through all the hurt, the relationship with my mom was restored, and now we are closer than ever.
“But at the end, I could honestly say that it was God’s strength that held me.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Willingness to be held accountable. And also humility and honesty. (More on that later) For a long time, I wasn’t growing because I wasn’t being honest with my leaders, or those people who were trying to help me grow. But it was my own lies that was stomping my growth. I’ve learned to accept change and be obedient to what God wants me to do even when it’s so hard for me to let go.
“For a long time, I wasn’t growing because I wasn’t being honest with my leaders, or those people who were trying to help me grow.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I’m currently reading Luke with a group I lead (She is Redeemed). We finished 1 + 2 Peter just prior to reading; and something that Lord has shown me was how to find joy in suffering. The Bible does say that will be suffer for the sake of Christ. And also how to be submissive. Peter shows us how to be submissive to our leaders, and wives their husbands (I’m not married, but I’m preparing myself for when and if that day comes). We also just read in Luke chapter 3 of when Jesus was found in the temple preaching and teaching the Word of God; because He was God. But yet, He was still submissive to His parents. I love seeing the human side Jesus; the side of Him that relates to us.
Top three essentials: My Bible, my pens and highlighters, and my essential oils. I literally carry these things with my in my bag everywhere I go.
How did God speak to you recently? I think throughout time, God is constantly teaching me how to love others. There have been multiple situations where someone hurts me and I just wanna block them out. But yet continuously shows me that the in order for me to grow, I need to be humbled. And He always slaps me with a big piece of humble pie when I read His Word.
Hobby: I love to write, although I admit I haven’t been writing as often as I have, but I am getting back on it!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: This is so cliché, but it’s seriously what has helped me. PUT GOD FIRST. First thing in the morning, wake up and just give Him thanks. The first thing I do when I wake up, even when my eyes can’t open, I put worship music on. It sets the tone for the morning and prepares my heart for prayer. Second thing is READ YOUR BIBLE! God cannot speak to you if your bible is closed. I used to struggle to read so much, but trust me sis, just open and allow God’s Word fill your heart. With that comes three: find community. Find someone, or a group, that will keep you accountable for your reading and your actions; but with this comes willingness from your part to want to grow and take in accountably.
Favorite person in scripture? Ruth. I love that woman. Her story is my favorite book in the Bible. As I mentioned earlier, the ministry was founded on her story. Something I learned the last time I read her story, was that in the original order of books, the book of Ruth follows the book of Proverbs, which ends with the Noble Wife; which Ruth edifies to the fullest extent. I especially love the relationship she has with Naomi. My prayer is that if the Lord every blesses me with a husband, that the relationship I have his mother is one that imitates Ruth and Naomi.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That God can forgive the biggest of messes. I’ve messed up so many times, probably bigger messes as a Christian. This doesn’t give us the liberty to sin, but rather the opportunity to repent follow Christ’s example. Which is what my goal in life is. To imitate Christ as much as I can. I want people to be able to see the work that He’s done and is continuously doing in my life.
How do you engage with your community? Community is so huge to me. For a long time, I searched for it and thought I had it but the Lord would remove those people. He kept putting in my heart to start my own community group, and I dismissed it. Then quarantine happened; that’s when She is Redeemed was formed. I started it on Instagram as a way to share encouragement and it’s turned into something so awesome. We go through the Bible together; as soon as we finish a book, we start a new one. For the most part, it is all through Instagram, but a group of three of us started meeting in person on Fridays, because they wanted to join the reading but don’t have Instagram. The group of three has turned into a group of five, plus the girls on Instagram. My friend Stephanie helps me co-lead the group and we share our daily notes with the girls. We are also working on an Advent reading plan, which we are so excited about!
Favorite holiday? CHRISTMAS!!! Ever since I was little, I loved everything about Christmas. The lights, the trees, but now more so the birth of our Savior!
A goal you have? This is also a hard question. I think about it a lot. My goal is to be a wife and have kids, but I’m okay knowing that the Lord may have a different plan. Right now my goal is to continue to grow spiritually and help women understand the Word of God and help their spiritual walk.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: I’m not very close to my family, except my mom; and I don’t even live with her. I always try to make a tradition of her birthday and make a big deal about it, especially since my grandpa passed away the day after her 50th birthday. I always try to spend my birthday with her, as well. Even if its a lunch or dinner. For my 30th, she and I took a trip to Seattle, and it was one of the best trips ever.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? “Did Jesus and John play together growing up?” It’s silly, but that’s the last question I had while I was reading Luke.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Something that I think we don’t really pay attention to is sex trafficking, especially in children. I don’t really keep up with it myself, but it does strike a chord in me when I hear stuff like this is still going on.
What does your morning routine consist of? First thing I do is play worship music, then I pray, read scripture, work out, and then get ready for work. I also make sure I have my morning coffee sometime during that time in order to fully wake up.
What is on your nightstand? I don’t have a nightstand, but I do have a desk; and I have everything on there. My computer, my Bible(s), notebooks, pens, highlighters. I love my little stationery set up.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Because Christ died for my sins, I am promised a new life and eternal fellowship with The Father.
For more Jocelynne:
Until next time, keep witnessing!