Reflections from Jenna

JennaIt seems like yesterday I had just arrived to my new home on Franklin Ave. It’s amazing how life is and how unpredictable it can be. Never in a million years did I ever see myself living in New Orleans. I was never a city kind of girl, but each day I love New Orleans more and more. At first it was a little scary driving on the crazy roads and trying to figure out where I was suppose to go, but I think I am finally getting the swing of things. It’s so wonderful to be around such amazing hospitality and all the celebrations that go on here.

This year I am helping out at Faith Presbyterian Church. I have been so blessed to be a part of such a loving, welcoming, and warm church family. For how small the church is, they still have such great passion for helping others and finding ways to open the church up towards more people. I am involved with so much that goes on at the church and are they are giving me a wonderful experience thus far. I am serving as the liturgist every other Sunday and teaching Sunday school for the younger children on the opposite Sundays. I am also involved with putting together several different groups to help more young adults get involved with the church. The congregation is always there for me with love and support. It’s so wonderful! It’s amazing what they have opened up for me to experience, and it is helping me grow and shape my life.

Jenna at Faith PC

Talking to the congregation

For the longest time I have had a calling to do something that involved helping others and touching lives one at a time. I never knew where to go or what direction I should take to walk further into my calling. The YAV program is making my path clearer and helping me decide where I want to go with youth ministry. I feel like I have grown up more and experienced life changing things through what has happened to me in these past two months than I have in the past two years.

After seeing how much damage is still here after the Hurricane four years ago and seeing how much New Orleans still is in big need of help, I have just appreciated life more than ever. I have always been appreciative of what I have, but seeing and living in this city is helping me grow more in that respect. Even though the city is still badly bruised, celebrations are still going on. The hospitality, the hope, and the smiles are louder than ever. People are so appreciative that my six other roommates and I are volunteering for a year.

Jenna and kids

Teaching Sunday school class

One warm fall night I decided to sit out on our screened balcony to just watch the cars drive by and listen to all the sounds that go by on this loud and busy road. Even with the big trucks and blasted radios that drove by with crazy music coming out of the speakers, I was able to have a peaceful and quiet mind set.  I really started to think a lot about life that night. I thought about how life is, how people are, how my life is, what I am doing this year, my past, present, and future, family and friends, and the list goes on and on. For some reason my mind decided to go crazy on me and wouldn’t let me sleep because so much was going through my head. I started talking to God about things. I realized how far I have come since getting out of my depression in May this year.

I really believe that things happen for a reason. The way the YAV program came into my life and how I followed the path that lead me to Faith, I truly feel that God was guiding me to what I wanted to happen in my life but I just didn’t know how to get there. After that night, I just felt anew. I felt the need to start fresh and continue bringing in more positive outlooks in my life. I wrote down a bunch of goals that I have always said I wanted to achieve but just never happened. For example: working out, so simple, yet I have said I would start a workout and came to realize a year had gone by and no workout had been done. Why continue wanting to do something in my life? Just do it. It’s my life and I am the one that controls what I do. After writing those goals I have always had, I am finally working on them and doing them. It feels great!

writing

I also decided that if I want to start fresh, I don’t want to have things dwelling in my heart. There were five people that were very close to me and big parts of my life at one point but randomly disappeared. It has always bothered and upset me. I decided to not have these things dwell in me anymore. I wrote to all five of them to let them know how I felt and how I wish things were back to normal again and that I miss them. I told myself that if they wrote back positively, it would be awesome; if they wrote back negatively or not at all, I would just have to know that I tried, accept it, and move on with my life.

I realized it was always hard for me to let things go and I always ended up dwelling on things I couldn’t change.  One of my goals is to change that. I’e learned it’s okay to be upset about something for a day or so but months of dwelling on something really affects you. If you can fix it then don’t dwell on it and try fixing it. If it’s something that you can’t fix, try finding peace in it and continuing on. I think that was a big part of how my depression grew: continuing to dwell on things, not letting them go and not talking to someone about it.

To my surprise all five of those people wrote me back all with positive things to say. Each of them said it was something that had always upset them, too, but they just didn’t know what to do about it. They said they were happy that I wrote to them and some said they wanted to write to me but wasn’t sure if they should or not. I now have all five of those people back in my life all because I decided to do something about the thoughts that laid on my heart for so long.

Words of advice: if you are dwelling on something, try your hardest (I know it can be easier said than done, but if you try and continue trying, eventually it will be better) to find peace of mind and let the bad things go. It does take more time for some things than other things in life but at least try. And don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it or talk to the person it’s involving. It truly does help.

Like I said I really feel like I am here for a reason. I have already had great experiences and am continually growing and learning. Just think it’s only been two months! I can’t imagine what the rest of this year will bring. J

“Look at life through the windshield, not in the rear-view mirror.”

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