• aftergrace16

Jocelyn, my joy

I am not alone in my story. I have travelled a long way with a lot of people. And some of those people have made deep and everlasting impacts on my life. My soul people, if you will.

When I began this journey with 'In Abundance', I knew a big purpose of the blog was going to include advocating for other women. I wanted to include other women who had helped me in some sort of way in this blog because I needed it to be SO known that I have not been alone in getting to where I am.

I wanted this to be a place where others felt open to sharing their own stories and experiences.

I want to introduce to you, my absolute joy, Jocelyn. I met Jocelyn about a year ago, while serving with my ministry organization. We were put in the same small group when we arrived there, and I loved her right away. I remember thinking, "oh what a nice, quiet, reserved woman," and then I got to know her. This girl is FAR from quiet or reserved. She is spunky; she is full of life; she is joyful in every occasion.

Jocelyn has helped me sink to the deepest parts of myself to be more. She is someone who helps me see the depth of life with absolute joy. There is a peace about this woman that cannot be explained, and if you met her right now, you know exactly what I mean. Not only does she radiate peace, but she has one hell of a sense of humor. She's goofy and playful and she doesn't take things too serious. She's funny without trying. Jocelyn knows how to lift me up, and she does it so well. She sees me, past my hurt and past my goodness, and she loves all of it.

And now, I leave the stage for her. I asked her to share some of her struggles in life; I wanted you to hear her voice. She is one of many who's story I want to share with you. And if you want to share yours here, please let me know, and I will share it. Your voice deserves to be heard and your testimony deserves to be shared. This is Jocelyn, my joy.

*comparison is the thief of joy*

If you were to ask someone to describe me in one word, they would probably say ~Joyful~

I do tend to be and remain a joyful person, however it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Although I’ve had a pretty good life, and I’ve been able to see the good side in family situations, experiences, or struggles (because all families have their own crap), over the years I’ve allowed others and their words to get to my head. And it started when I was a kid.

Growing up my niece and I grew up like twins; only a month and a half apart. Ever since I can remember, I was the “studious” one and my niece was the “pretty” one. She was the one that was “boy crazy” (right, not me… what are boys? ~thinks sarcastically~ Ha). I was the one that went off the college; the “golden child” of the family. Thinking back, I wonder why my family couldn’t think of her and I as being both. Why they couldn’t say, "wow both of you girls are beautiful and smart." Why they had to put us into boxes, label them, and not think we were capable of living outside of those boxes.

Now, as time went on, I started labeling myself. I told myself I was and had to be the opposite of my niece. I told myself I had to live up to what my family thought I was capable of. I masked that with good intentions, like being a good role model for my nieces and nephews, by accomplishing my academic goals, by making my family and myself proud for being the first one in my family to make it as far as I have in college.

However, I’ve always desired to be both the smart and pretty girl. I’ve become a big fan of love over the years. I’ve dreamt about falling in love and what that would be like; to have a guy who cares about me, who gives me his attention, energy, and effort. In college I made a beautiful best friend. I saw how she had the beauty, the brains, and the love that I had never experienced. -

Rejection, after rejection my self-esteem was thrown out the window. Although I knew deep down that I shouldn’t settle for someone that didn’t actually care about me, I let myself believe that multiple guys “did care”. Why though? I knew that they didn’t, not enough to respect me and my heart.

Part of it was that I felt lonely, part of it was that I wanted to be in love like my best friend, I wanted to feel honored, cared for, wanted, and loved. Most importantly was that I didn’t fully believe the love that God the Father has for me, I knew He loved me, but I didn’t believe it. Because if He did truly love me, then He would allow me to experience that love through a relationship, wouldn’t he? I mean that is what my heart desired since I was a little 7th grader.

So many nights, I would lay in bed, in tears because I felt everything that is the opposite of loved. So many nights I would pray to God and say, if only I looked like this person then someone one would love me. If only I were more confident, more forward, more bold. Then I would try being those things, and it only left me feeling emptier than I was before.

I let my brain be fogged by lies of needing to be like someone that wasn’t me, in order to live a life that wasn’t mine.

I wish that I could give myself a big tight hug each time that I have looked at myself in the mirror, and thought I wasn’t worthy of love because I didn’t compare to all the other beautiful women out there. I wish I could’ve kicked those thoughts out of my head because they were complete lies and didn’t belong there.

Some days, I still let those lies into my head and heart, and they hurt just like they did then. Then there are some days when I feel okay, whole, happy. When I look around, see those I have fallen into comparison with, and see them with care, and love in my heart, with joy. And I think WOAH, could you call that growth? Heck yes you can!

Comparison took away my freedom to be myself, and to love the person I was. What I can say is that my mindset is changing, slowly, but with God, I am learning each day to be free to love and be loved just as I am today because He loves in the present moment, and so should I.

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