My name is Jessica and I’m 20 years old.
I haven’t always been able to tell my story because I wasn’t sure I understood why God would put anyone through what he had me go through.
My father raped me when I was 8. I wish I could say that was the first time but it wasn’t. I was ashamed and confused and thought that maybe I had somehow contributed to this awful experience. He left the family about that time and I have had no relationship with him since.
When I was 11, my mom died of a drug overdose and I went to live with my sister. She was 26 with 2 children of her own. She was my best friend and my protector. I’m not sure where I would be today had she not been there for me.
My high school years were good but I was restless and left without graduating because I wanted to work and take care of myself for a change. My fiancé, Brian, came into my life at that time and he helped me understand what real, unconditional love is. He became my rock and is the love of my life today.
At 18, I decided that I really wanted a high school diploma and learned that The Crossing School would let me come and finish my high school education since I was too old to go back to traditional public school. It was there that I learned about how much God loves me. Every day, during family time, we got a chance to share our stories and know that there would be no judgement from the teachers or the students because of our past. This was life changing for me.
The ministry of Out of a Jam allowed me and several of the kids at The Crossing to be involved in a culinary and vocational program that most of us really needed.
And that’s when Paula came into my life. My sister refers to her as my Guardian Angel and she’s become one of my best friends. I can talk to her about anything and she is such a great listener. She always encourages me to be the special person that God created me to be and to reach for the stars. She is helping me to believe that I can be anything I want to be as long as it is what God wants.
My dream is to become a veterinarian or something to do with animals. And I know it’s possible because everything is possible with God.
My role currently with Out of a Jam is “jam specialist”. I know how to make every one of the jam flavors and I’m going to become the first real employee of Out of a Jam while I continue to pursue my dream.
Thanks Paula for being my friend and for believing in me!