Living Life and Loving It!

Why did I choose this title for my blog?

Living: I've been doing that for 34 years
Loving It: Not so much

Now that I'm older I can look back and say that my childhood rocked.  It would be easy for me to create an enormously long list of memories that were filled with laughter, love and fun. I really can't remember a day that I didn't feel loved, cared for or wanted = awesome family.

 Walking on my hands, flipping to and from is the way I spent most days. I had the privilege to be a part of a gymnastics team with the same coaches and teammates for most of my childhood and early teen years. They really became like a second family to me.

"We are moving to Indiana," those words changed my life. Leaving my second family left me with an empty spot in my heart. I tried to find a new gym but nothing could compare with what I had left behind. At the same time I struggled to find my way as the new girl at my high school. Nothing seemed worse than lunch time, where would I sit and who would talk to me. Making friends at school seemed impossible as I trained at my new gym 6 days a week, 5 hours a day.  I didn't have fun at school and the sport I once loved had become a place I just went through the motions.  Something had to change and quitting school wasn't an option so after thinking long and hard I decided to end my gymnastics career.  I thought this would open doors for me to make friends and find some happiness that had disappeared.

Little did I know that quitting gymnastics would land me in a deeper confusion and despair than I had ever experienced. I had once been known as "Jen the gymnast" and now I was just "Jen". Never had my days been so empty and pointless. As I sat at home day after day I pondered the purpose of life and kept coming up with nothing.  Why was I here, what was I to do, what would bring me happiness?  I tried new clothes, I tried making friends, I tried drinking, I tried and tried and the deeper in despair I went. Death finally seemed like the only hope I could find to take away the pain I felt each day.  But I couldn't find the strength to kill myself so I went on.

One day a friend suggested we lose a few pounds and that sounded like a good idea.  Again I didn't know where that choice would lead me. Already longing for death to conquer my pain I gave myself over to the passion to be thin. I found something that made me happy and that I was good at, not eating. It started out as something that made me feel in control of my life again but soon became a living hell that controlled me and slowly brought death closer to being a reality.  My family tried to help but I pushed them away. My mom would tell me I was dying and I would shout, "Good I hope I do."

I sat in the doctor's office with my parents and sisters all around as they had chosen to have a family intervention.  My heart raced, I felt I would die any minute as the doctor told me that I could have a stroke at any minute. He told me I was dying and that if I continued down my destructive path that I would die.Looking out the window I saw a small flower and I told myself, "Its not that I want to die, i just need someone to show me how to live." I spent nine weeks in treatment regaining some of the hope and strength I had lost.

 I recovered enough to start my freshmen year at Purdue and that is where I would finally learn what it meant to live and have purpose. I met a girl who invited me to Campus Crusade for Christ and wanting to make friends and join groups I decided to say yes even though I had no idea what it was.  Another choice but one I have never regretted.

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life... You were created with purpose, to know and be known by God...You are invited to be a child of God... Jesus died to pay for your sins... You can be forgiven...You can never earn your way to Heaven rather it is by grace you are saved....

Honestly it all sounded a little crazy, weird and hard to understand but my heart shouted this is what you have been searching for. I felt so drawn to the message of Jesus that I chose to believe and trust Jesus as my Savior.

The next day I received a Bible. So many of my questions were answered... Adam named the animals, the rainbow is a promise from God... How come I never knew this stuff.  A journey with God began.

I still struggled everyday to eat and not be consumed by thoughts of food and thinness but now I wasn't alone. God was with me and He was my new hope.

But after so many years of depression I had lost myself.  I didn't know what I liked to do, I didn't know how to have fun and living seemed hard. But God slowly began to restore my life and identity. It didn't happen over night. It actually took around thirteen years until I could honestly say, "I'm living life and loving it".  I loved God so much and loved people but I spent a lot of times wishing I could just go be with Jesus. Life seemed hard, too hard at times.  But God kept showing me that Jesus came to give me the fullness of life that could be experienced here on earth.  I didn't have to wait till Heaven. 

So I ask myself how did you get to this place where you are "living life and loving it?" I realize it is hard to pinpoint exactly what brought me to this point.  It has been a journey of trust, surrender, adventure, getting up when I fall down, following Jesus where ever He leads, believing joy and happiness is possible, resting, slowing down, taking time to play, seeking, giving, praying, suffering....My passion is now to help others Live Life and Love It!

Living Life and Loving It: As long as God allows!


  1. This was so encouraging to read, Jen! Thanks for sharing your story... It's such an encouragement, especially with everything my family has gone through with my sister struggling with a similar eating disorder, and moving before my senior year of highschool. You are such a testimony of God's faithfulness!

  2. what a blessing to hear your story, Jen. . . . then so much for sharing! praying for you guys! Hugs - Ruth