Hi Jess! Thanks for doing this interview so we can get to know you better.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Delaware County. I lived in Overbrook, then my family relocated to Broomall, and now I am currently living with my son in an apartment in Broomall.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
I have a wonderful family. I am currently a single mother of an 8-year-old boy, Jordan. Jordan’s father passed away suddenly seven years ago. I have two very loving and helpful parents, a 14-year-old brother, and a 30-year-old sister. My sister also just recently had a baby, and I LOVE being an aunt! My family is Catholic so I was raised in Catholic school and church. Currently, Jordan and I are the only ones who attend Cov every week. I am hopeful the rest of my family will join us here one day with another testimony of God’s grace.
When and how did you start coming to Covenant Fellowship Church?
Well, I started coming around Easter time four years ago in 2014. You’ll hear more about this later, but I used to cut Jim Donohue’s hair. I worked at the Great Clips in Westtown for a few years. It was there that I met Jim Donohue and then Jeff Clark as well. Whenever one of them came in for a haircut, he would faithfully share the gospel with me, pray for me, and never fail to invite me to church. I was going through a very difficult trial in my life and what do you know, Jim, of course, was feeling led to come in this particular night to get his hair cut. I poured out my guts to him that evening (poor guy), and God really moved on my heart. I agreed to come to church, and I have been here ever since.
What community group do you attend?
I attend the Fuselli/Mahalik community group in Brookhaven.
Do you have an interesting family tradition?
I think it would have to be the seven fishes my family used to celebrate on Christmas Eve. It has now turned into more of a Chinese buffet every year the night before Christmas. I am unsure when the switch came and how, but it stuck and that’s kind of a thing every year now. I am not complaining either 😊 YUM!
Do you have any embarrassing moments you can share with us?
Honestly, I thought hard about this and actually asked a few people if they remember anything ridiculous I have done recently. Sadly, it’s hard for me to remember what I did yesterday, but I will say I can testify to having embarrassing moments every day. It’s just kind of how my life goes. It’s fun.
Tell us about your job.
I am currently a pediatric nurse. I work for two home care agencies who sub me out to many different facilities and homes. I take care of all types of children. I work with a lot of sick kids with intellectual disabilities and special needs. Currently, God has been so kind to place me in a special facility caring for psych/mental health kids, foster children, and children in crisis. I have to say I LOVE this field. The kids range from 5-21-years-old, and I just adore them. I am so very grateful to care for these kids. I cannot tell you enough how they have touched my heart. I wake up in the morning and get excited to go to work to see my kids. What a blessing that is, to be excited to go to work every day! I am currently in school as well to further my nursing degree.
Can you list five favorites in five words?
Son, Covenant Fellowship, nursing, kids, sugar.
What ministries do you serve in at CFC and how have you seen God work in one of those ministries?
I serve in children’s ministry, the Bridge Course, and the pro-life ministry.
I love seeing God at work in the Bridge Course. His work is so evident and brings so much joy to my heart. Each week I see unbelievers walk through the church doors, and I know that many of them are going through significant trials. God just moves on their hearts every week and it is mind-blowing to watch and be part of. I have seen people come in as atheists and finish the course claiming Christ as their savior and repenting of their sins. How awesome is that?
What are you currently studying and learning in your devotional time?
These past few months I have been in a devotional called Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. It has helped increase my faith in those dry, desperate days. I also try to read one Psalm a day along with my daily reading in the morning. The Psalms feed my soul with such sweet promises and reminders. David was a man after God’s heart. He was so imperfect and messed up so much, yet he was the apple of God’s eye. I just love that, and I want a heart like that. I have also been slowly reading a book called Worldliness by C.J. Mahaney.
What is your favorite verse or passage of scripture, and why?
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:16).
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted. But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:30-31).
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
As a single mother, these are undeniably the best promises to hang onto. He will constantly provide strength. The Lord will, and has, renewed my strength as I’ve laid my weary soul at his feet time and time again. The last one is unbelievable because I am just so messed up, and I can’t fix my heart problem, but He has! He knows how messed up I am and loves me with that steadfast love and pours out his mercies and forgiveness on me every day. Praise God!
If you could talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give her?
Probably, “Hang on, you’re about to go for a long, crazy ride!”
When and how did you come to Christ?
I grew up in a Catholic home and went to Catholic schools. I never really cared about God; he didn’t mean anything to me. I was a very ignorant, disrespectful, and prideful girl and spent my time drinking and dabbling in drugs. I became pregnant at 19 years old with my now 8-year-old son, Jordan.
In January of 2011, Jordan’s father unexpectedly passed away. I was devastated, lost, and confused. I did not know how to be a mother, but now I had to figure out the father part too. As time went on, I started dating someone I knew from high school. This man was a recovering heroin addict who continuously relapsed throughout our entire relationship. I felt utterly hopeless. That might even be an understatement. I remember driving to work one day and just begging God to help me.
You heard some about this in a previous answer, but I used to work at Great Clips in Westtown where I cut Jim Donohue’s hair. He was very persistent in inviting me to church, as was Jeff Clark, whose hair I cut frequently as well. Every time these men were in the shop, they were faithful in sharing the gospel with me. One evening, Jim was feeling led to come in. That day happened to be an extra hard day for me. I pulled the ticket for the next haircut and Jim was the next name on the list (how not coincidental!) I ended up pouring out my life to him, and by God’s grace I finally caved in and came to church.
Through attending the Bridge Course, I started to understand the gospel. One night when I was at home, I felt like I had hit bottom. I fell to my knees and cried out to God, pleading for his help and forgiveness. I was really able to forgive those who sinned against me and give my life to Jesus. That next morning, I will never forget that very heavy weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I felt free!
Can you share how God is helping you with a specific situation you are facing?
I have been in a long season of feeling like God has been far away. In this season of loneliness, at times I tend to feel like God has left me. Oh, how often I will tell myself that I am such an awful sinner and can’t seem to get it right. How often I wonder how God’s promises can really be true and how could God really love me. I have learned that looking to myself and my sin will only bring me to despair, but looking to Jesus and clinging to that cross will bring hope and joy.
I was reading a book by Jerry Bridges called Transforming Grace. It reminded me that we tend to base our relationship with Him on our performance (being able to get it together or failing to do so) rather than on his grace. I was reminded that God continues to deal with me on the basis of his grace, not on whether I measure up. What freedom.
One more story about how God poured his grace out to me: Just a few weeks ago I went with my son to buy a new mattress. A couple came in the store behind us. While I shopped around, my son was jumping around on beds of course. The man and woman were enjoying his company and started to play around with him while I myself jumped from bed to bed. By the time I was ready to check out and buy my mattress, this woman walked over to me and asked me if I was a single mother. I told her I was and proceeded to ask how she came to think of that. Before I could finish, she explained to me that this was all a faith thing, and told me she was feeling led by God to pay for my mattress.
Oh, how I cried and cried and hugged her and cried some more. I was undone, but it wasn’t the money that had me so emotional, but what God was saying to me. He was saying, “I love you, and I AM here, and always have been, and I will never leave you.” Wow. After speaking with this woman, I found out they go to a Christian church in Media. She explained to me she was a single mother herself before she met her husband and said she was being led by the Spirit to do this. What a wonderful gift from God. This couple I do not know comes into this store, plays with my son, buys my mattress, and then leaves. God, the creator of the universe, who made all things, specifically sent that man and woman into the store after me to do a great work: to tell ME he loves ME (this little person with lots of problems!) All I could think of was, “The steadfast love of God–unimaginable.”