Today, Jess speaks to us about overcoming anorexia, finding freedom and setting others free.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I am the oldest sibling in my family, but I grew up with my amazing parents and two younger sisters who are my best friends. My days were filled with dreaming, adventures, pretending that we were teenagers, beach trips, and rom-coms. My family are very creative, so we would create. My parents raised us to depend on Jesus and have our own personal relationship with Him. It hasn’t always been easy we through battles as a family with myself going through anorexia, and then my two sisters also struggled with it through their teenage years, but as a family we have always clung to faith.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys.” Psalm 51:12 TPT
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Trusting God in the process of the unknown and relinquishing control and surrendering fear.
Profession: I do a mix of things that I am passionate about. I am a young adults pastor alongside my husband. I am also a trained Eating Disorder Therapist. I also run my own Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching Business – Redefined Coaching where I get to work with women all of the world coaching them through recovery to freedom. Most of all, I am just passionate about helping people live in freedom and discover a greater purpose for their life.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? The Brave Message
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I don’t remember the first encounter as I feel like I have always known Him since I can remember but there have been many significant encounters along my journey. One of the first special ones when I was young was when I was walking along the beach, and I started dreaming with Him about what change needed to happen in the world.
How would you describe Jesus? Close, real, personable and all loving. He is so so good and that never changes despite our circumstances.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? He is always changing me, and this will be happening for the rest of my life (as no one is perfect). The more I get closer to him the more I realise how much I need Him. He has healed me, taught me how to live in freedom, encouraged me to dream, given me courage to step into things, He has been a comfort, He has taught me how to surrender and be humble, He has taught me how to love people.
“He is always changing me, and this will be happening for the rest of my life”
You are the founder of The Redefined Movement, tell us about what inspired you to start this ministry: I went through anorexia when I was 14 years old and nearly lost my life to it. In the battle my future looked hopeless and I got told that freedom was not possible for me. Through therapy and biblical principals, I found freedom and now live an amazing life of freedom. I was sitting down reading one day and the scripture Genesis 50:20 jumped out to me which says “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good for the saving of many lives.” I felt the Holy Spirit say, You have struggled, but it’s now time to use your story and what I have taught you to see others free.
“I felt the Holy Spirit say you have struggled, but it’s now time to use your story and what I have taught you to see others free.”
What has working in this realm of healing, eating disorders and body image taught you? That there is so much brokenness out there and that the struggle is real and no one is except from it. I have learnt that if people choose to fight instead of become a victim to these things that they can walk in freedom. It’s a battle which takes persistence and grit, and one that you can’t do alone. I’ve learnt the power of community and how that plays a vital part in someones recovery. The power of changing your thoughts which changes your life (our thoughts don’t just change overnight though it can take a long time but it is worth the fight). I’ve learnt that there is hope for everyone even when people have said there isn’t.
“I have learnt that if people choose to fight instead of become a victim to these things that they can walk in freedom. It’s a battle which takes persistence and grit and one that you can’t do alone.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Taking steps of faith which require a greater dependence on Jesus (this has brought me to my knees).
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Make the Shift by Helen Monk. It is a powerful book which challenges you to make spiritual shifts in your life (I highly recommend). Through her book I have learnt a lot about transition.
Top three essentials: Perfume, water and a phone charger.
How did God speak to you recently? Just in my quiet time. He just reminded me why I do what I do and that His presence goes before me, beside me and that the weight of heaven backs me.
“His presence goes before me, beside me and that the weight of heaven backs me.”
Hobby: I’m a hip hop dancer (I used to dance in crews ha).
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Plant yourself in a church you can’t do this journey alone we need other people around us on the journey. Don’t just be a church Christian but have your own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit prioritise time with Him in His word, worship and prayer.
Favorite person in scripture? Hannah – I love her heart.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That I am someone who knows Him and has been in his presence. That He is so good and so faithful. That I am living proof of his healing power.
How do you engage with your community? Love to hangout, have fun, talk, pray, and do life together.
Favorite holiday? Hawaii – I loved seeing turtles.
A goal you have? I would love to see women all over the world set free and live in their God-given purpose.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Homemade pizza, milkshakes and movie nights.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? So many, ha! My first question would be ‘why’ did life have to be this way?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: That hope and freedom is possible for everyone, no matter the battle.
What does your morning routine consist of? My quiet time. A beach walk with my husband and dogs.
What is on your nightstand? A lamp, plant, candles, Bible and journal.
Define Christianity in a sentence: It’s not a religion, but it’s all about relationship.
For more Jess:
Until next time, keep witnessing!