Friday Feature: Jessica Snowden

Who Am I When Everything is Filtered?

From a very early age, I have been known as someone who will help the person who is homeless. I was known as someone who would give up what I had to please that family member, friend, co-worker or boyfriend. I am always searching for the next big thing, the next job, the next way to make additional income, and how to serve my community better. I am a giver at heart and I love to see others happy, even if that means neglecting myself. Whatever came my way, I was always able to bounce back on my feet again.

This journey to helping people formed from the desire to help my family. I grew up in a small town, living with my parents, who eventually married when I was a junior in college. My house was the house that everyone on the outside, from family and friends, wanted to live in. We were a loving, humble and would help anyone in need type of family. We also had the best cookouts with good food, even to supply the neighbors with. What many people did not know was that our “good family” was very broken. I had never had a pure relationship with my mom, I never felt I could trust her with my heart because she was never home. How could you live with someone who was never home? At a young age, I came to realize that my mother was living a double life and with the help of my cousins it was later confirmed that she had a drug habit and situations of infidelity. That hurt me so much growing up, but I never dealt with the pain. I never received the healing I needed in order to love myself and love my mom for who she is. I never told her how much that hurt me. It was like a part of me was missing. I channeled that pain with doing my best to not become my mother, by helping others and keeping my life busy, while resenting her and showing anger towards her.

This taught me the very recipe on how to avoid pain, I allowed myself to be distracted by the pain, I had long-term relationships, I worked many jobs. I became numb. When you allow this to happen, you become blind by the truth in what you are experiencing. You pretend as if nothing happens, and this was something that I learned. I had learned to be fake in many ways with my own life, and with my emotions. The definition of resilience is the ability to return to original state after stress or something bad happening. Resilience is great. However, as great of a gift it is, it can also be a curse if you let it.

Just when I thought I could not experience any more pain. I joined a church that was devoted to heavy biblical principles, so much so that if you confess any form of sin you were not a Christian. I came to realize that the church had CULT like practices and decided to part ways from the church. That experience hurt me so much because I placed a lot of trust people who attended. It taught me that I could not have more trust in people than with God.

Recently I have been challenged to trust God again with my life and to love myself more than people around me and that means doing more things for myself.

Matthew chapter 26 verses 36 to 56 talks about the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is found praying to God asking that he not be the one to fulfill the assignment, even after his friends (the disciples) had fallen asleep during prayer. For me, in my alone time with Jesus, this is a constant reminder of God’s love and through His word He reminds us of the greatest gift of love sacrificed. Jesus doubted the assignment He had to fulfill. Through all His doubts, He still died on the cross.

During this Christmas Season, may we be reminded of Jesus’ Love. May we be reminded that He wanted to give up, He had feelings, He had doubts, He had people that hurt Him, He allowed Himself to feel that doubt and asked for God’s help in prayer to fulfill that assignment in saving the world.

Behind the glasses, Behind the smile, Behind the hurt of relationships, Behind the many “favors” my friends and family have asked of me to do lies a young woman who is on her quest of healing and becoming more in-tune with loving herself more. I have had to separate myself from people who have hurt me and love them in spite of. I have had to be numb avoiding my own feelings to help someone else, instead of allowing myself to feel whatever emotion was attached to a situation. In the processes of overcoming, I have had to understand that people only do what they know how to do the best they know how to do, with the information that has been given to them through their own personal experiences, beliefs, and values. I have to remind myself that I am beautiful. I am forever changing, growing, learning, and adapting. I am me.

Who I am when everything is filtered? I am a resilient woman taking up the challenge, in spite of life situations, to love myself more.

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