Teen Tuesday #4 (Jess)
I've been privileged to know Jess ever since she was born! During her high school years, I was always impressed when she would allow the Holy Spirit to convict her of sin and pursue restoration with God and others. People who know how to repent and receive grace are the most beautiful people. As you see can see, Jessica certainly qualifies!
Tell us a little about you!
Hello there! My name is Jess Fjording, I am 19 years old and a freshman at Cairn University. I am a Danish/Australian, spending 10.5 years of my life in Australia, 5 years in Thailand, and the last 6 months in the U.S.
Can you tell us some about your spiritual background?
I was raised in a loving Christian home, reading bible stories about Jesus before bed each night, and praying those short, simple - and probably slightly repetitive – prayers, every day. They went something along the lines of, “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for this day today. Thank you that you died for me and that you love me. Please help today to be a good day. Amen.” Now while there is nothing wrong this kind of prayer, I was at this place of lacking a personal relationship with Jesus until I was about 12 years old. I’d always felt like I knew God and that I was a Christian, but my life wasn’t bearing any fruit, I was not walking in obedience.
What have your teen years been like?
I was in eighth grade when my family moved back to Thailand, and I REALLY struggled with the transition. I resented my parents for taking me away from my friends, but most of all, I resented God. I saw it as his fault for making my parents move me, because they were following his calling. The bitterness inside my heart caused me to make poor choices in my friends, in the way I talked to and about others, and most of all, in the things I filled my mind and heart with. I was weak in all faith and easily susceptible to Satan’s lies about the way that I looked, my worth, my gifts and talents, who I was and what I meant to people. I began to truly believe that I had no worth. That I held no beauty and would never appear beautiful to the world. I was lonely, with only lies to keep me company.
After two years of shutting myself in this darkness and giving up all hope, I encountered God’s amazing love and scandalous grace. I remember it felt like someone could truly see me for the first time, and they knew me, ALL of me! HE spoke straight to my shattered heart and called me “Chosen, Beautiful, Priceless, Treasured, Precious…To Die For.” God met me in my brokenness, picked up my pieces, and made something beautiful. I began to take strong steps to see God’s plan and truth despite the darkness, and to overcome it I needed help beyond myself. So, the journey began with mending broken relationships with my family and friends, being honest with what I went through. I found a mentor, someone to help keep me accountable and understand what it meant to actively pursue and invest in my personal relationship with Jesus.
I’d honestly love to be able to tell you that I’ve reached the finish line and I am no longer weak in faith and susceptible to Satan’s lies, but that in itself would be a lie. Each day has its own trials, but now I am walking with Jesus and he has already won the war, victory is his. I don’t need to fear Satan or believe his lies, because my God is greater! And because of what I have been through, I am stronger than I would have been before, and I know God in a greater way than I ever could have imagined.
How would you encourage other teens? I can now say with 100% certainty to that girl who is insecure about her looks, “Girl, you are priceless!”. To that boy who is lonely, “You were bought by King Jesus and you are his child!”. And maybe you’re reading this right now, and YOU are the one who needs the same truth that I did. And to you, I would tell you, “Jesus died for ALL of you, past, present, and future. In HIM ALONE you are washed clean, your sins paid for IN FULL. Welcome to his precious family, He’s going to use you in amazing ways for His glory, but it’s going to be a wild ride!”
I wish you all the best! If you would like to get in touch with Jess, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org