Today, Jocelyn speaks to us about the need for special needs ministries, healing relationships, being open about being in the storm and her journey to freedom in Christ. Thank you for your beautiful vulnerability, Jocelyn.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up being raised by two very young parents. My mom was 16 when she got pregnant with me, and my dad was 18. They both dropped out of high school when they found out they were pregnant with me so opportunities were limited. I am the oldest of three children. So there has always been an huge amount of pressure on me to be the perfect role model for my siblings. I didn’t really grow up knowing Jesus. I knew of him, but I never experienced a relationship with him. I saw church as something you do during the holidays or an occasional thing I would attend with my grandma. She was the one I would spend a lot of my time with. My parents were always busy working, trying to provide for me and my siblings. So I never felt love from them, and I think that’s something that I longed for as a child
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: An inspiring biblical passage at the moment is Colossians 2:1-5 (NIV) “I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”
I find this passage so inspiring because the apostle Paul is imprisoned while writing to the church in Colossae. He is telling them that what they have been told isn’t accurate, but he does it in the most gentle and loving way. He comes from a place of compassion, and I think that’s so inspiring because he could be praying and asking the Lord to free him from captivity. But instead, he is writing letters and ministering to the churches. He is imprisoned, but he is still doing God’s work. I often find myself saying, “I just don’t have enough time. I could never make a difference for the Kingdom,” but those are the lies of the enemy. Paul was in PRISON. Literally, behind bars, and he is still sharing the gospel of Jesus! So inspiring!
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My spiritual growth focus at the moment is finding my identity through Jesus. Who does He say I am? I often think of myself how the world sees me, but I’m just figuring out how Christ sees me.
“I often think of myself how the world sees me, but I’m just figuring out how Christ sees me.”
Profession/Mission: I am a stay-at-home mom of two boys. I have a 3-year-old and 2-month-old. My 3-year-old has been diagnosed since he was 18 months. I have come to terms with his diagnoses after a few months. It was difficult to hear that your 18-month-old child is developmentally functioning at the age of a 6-month-child. My heart shattered, and I couldn’t understand why God would do this to me and my son. But after praying, reading my Bible, and diving into a deeper relationship with Jesus, I have made it my personal mission to show people who Jesus is through the storm. I have been open about my prayers for my son. He was diagnosed with a speech delay and only had about 5 signs (American sign language) that he could use consistently. But by the grace of God, my son is now able to speak. I can finally hear his voice, I can hear him sing and he is catching up to where he needs to be developmentally. I let people in to show them that God is very real and He does listen. Psalm 37:4
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? If I wrote a memoir, the title would be No Longer Unfulfilled
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first encountered God after a scary time in my life. I was a teenager trying to escape a toxic relationship. This guy was very manipulative, abused drugs, was driven by lust and spoke negativity into my life. I struggled with nightmares and sleep paralysis. I was in a dark place mentally. I was having suicidal thoughts because I felt like there was no escape to the relationship except death. Every Sunday, my now sister-in-law would invite me to church along with my parents and siblings. I never wanted to go because I didn’t understand how God could help me. One day, I decided to go, and at first, I felt so uncomfortable but the message was for me! He said EVERYTHING I needed to hear. I broke down crying and I knew that God heard my cries and suffering. I continued to attend church and eventually got baptized (praise God!). When I came out of that water, I felt like my spirit was renewed. I could feel the presence of God, and I knew He was with me.
“I could feel the presence of God, and I knew He was with me.”
How would you describe Jesus? I describe Jesus as love, patience, kindness and welcoming.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? My relationship with Jesus has transformed my life because I look at life with a light. I use to walk in darkness thinking everyone was out to get me. But once I found Jesus, my worries were gone. He made life easy. Not saying my life is easy because I definitely have my fair share of storms. But what I’m saying is, He made it easy to go through the storms because I know He is walking right beside me facing the storm head on.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? The most recent darkest time of my life is dealing with the relationship I have with my mom. I didn’t realize how many things that I’ve brushed under the rug over the years. But now as an adult, it all came rushing back. Leaving my heart filled with hate, and anger towards her. I knew I needed professional help because it was starting to effect my everyday life.
Despite what my therapist was saying, I wasn’t making any progress toward forgiving her. Until one day during worship at church, I broke down in tears and cried out for the Lord to help me forgive my mom. I was ready and I needed His help! I got professional help but that wasn’t working. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not seeking him first and I asked for his help. Almost immediately, I felt the weight be lifted and I could feel a shift in my soul. I was no longer angry. I’m able to text my mom that I love her which I haven’t done in years. But I see that I needed to go through that to learn that I can do anything through Jesus Christ.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? The things that have helped me grow spiritually this season would be spending time with the Lord daily! I gave up my social media during the Lent season and that helped me grow closer to the Lord. I felt myself relying on him more, and I felt myself being vulnerable. I allowed myself to live in the moment and to process the emotions I have been feeling. Another thing is my women’s group at church. It is SO important to build those connections and relationships because when you feel like you can’t fight your battles you need those Godly women in your life to stand and fight for you.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I just finished reading Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lisa Terkeurst. It has taught me so much about forgiveness and how the Lord extends so much grace and mercy throughout the Bible so we should be extending that as well as Christians.
Top three essentials: Bible, journal and pen/highlighter.
How did God speak to you recently? God has told me recently to LISTEN. So many times, we are so quick to call on God and ask him to listen to the desires of our hearts. To fulfill our wants and needs. But how often are we taking a step back and listening to what He has to say? So, I’ve been diving into Scripture, getting plugged in at church and most importantly, Ive been praying. Praying for His guidance, for opportunities to share His gospel, for courage. God is up to something, I know He is.
Hobby: My hobbies are anything with arts and crafts. I love to paint and draw. I wish I could write poetry, but I don’t think I have that gift. HA!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: READ YOUR BIBLE! The devil knows Scripture so he is trying to manipulate you any way he can just like he did to Eve. You have to know what Scripture says so you can combat the flesh of this world. PRAY, God speaks to us through prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Lastly, you should constantly check-in with yourself and be honest. Are you following Godly influencers? Are you living your life for God? Who are your role models? Should you be Posting That picture? Should you be listening to that Music?
Favorite person in scripture? Favorite person in Scripture is Ruth. The Hebrew meaning of Ruth is companion or friend and Ruth definitely lives up to her name. Her loyalty to Naomi after her husband died is very inspiring. She had so much love that she did not want to leave Naomi. “Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people look at me, I hope they see Jesus. I pray that they will see the light, the joy, the love free of judgment.
How do you engage with your community? I haven’t engaged with my community too much but this is something that the Lord has put on my heart recently. I would like to volunteer in my local community whether that’s at a school or the library or even at my church. I’m just praying the Lord guide me to the right place at the right time so I can minister to the person that needs it.
Favorite holiday? My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving! I love being surrounded by family and good food.
A goal you have? A goal is to raise Godly men. My boys are still really young, but I want them to know how to treat women. I haven’t really met that many men who respect women, and I want to change that by raising my boys in the church.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: A tradition that I had as a child and I would like to make a comeback is Sunday dinners. It was a day filled with new foods, family, laughs, smiles and fun. I always looked forward to Sundays at my grandpa’s house.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Something that I would like to raise awareness about is autism and special needs in the church. Most churches I’ve been to have children ministries, but they don’t have a special needs ministry. My son is autistic, and I have met other families at the church who share my struggle finding a place where our children can fit in.
What does your morning routine consist of? My morning routine consists of making coffee and reading my Bible. I love reading my Bible outside where I can hear the birds chirping and watching the sun rise.
Define Christianity in a sentence: “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” -C.S. Lewis
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Until next time, keep witnessing!