Jayanna’s story

Everyone wants a fairytale. I was positive that I would end up happily ever after with a guy that I was dating for a few years. After he proposed to me, we discovered that I was pregnant! We were so excited for our future and our little family.. Unfortunately, he didn’t last. He left half-way through the pregnancy, and I was on my own from there. I worked hard to pay my rent, bills, buy food, etc. I couldn’t stand to allow myself to depend on anyone for anything. I grew to be very independent throughout my pregnancy. I had three major complications consisting of Hyperemesis, Preeclampsia, and Hellp Syndrome. The raw heartbreak of completely losing someone that I loved so much tore me apart. It turned into physical pain, and to this day I can feel the ache if I concentrate on it. I became very cold-hearted and un-trusting. I began recording my feelings in the form of poetry, which I hope to transform into a collection and publish.

A co-worker invited me to a YoungLives club in March 2016. I was skeptical, but I decided to try it at least once. A pastor spoke to the group with an up-lifting message about Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We made decorated crosses, and I was even randomly selected to receive one of the floral centerpieces at the end of the night. This was the most fun I had since August 2015. I finally had something to look forward to. At club I heard the stories of YoungLives leaders and volunteers. I felt surrounded by love and support for the very first time in my life. I was encouraged, and it gave me the confidence to be a great mom for my baby.

Myrna Bittar and Brittany Pacheco took me under their wings and showed me just how much God really loves me. I have been extremely fortunate to experience His love for me and I can’t wait to share this with amazing, pure, and profound love with my baby.

I was induced on May 23rd and my gorgeous daughter, Maria Jude, arrived on May 25th at 6:55 AM.13626991_284670905220513_1839463353389943297_n.jpg

Myrna invited Maria and I to YoungLives Camp at Lost Canyon in Arizona. Camps generally make me nervous so my first response is to decline, but for some-reason I felt like I needed to go. I thank God that I went to Lost Canyon because I made new friends, strengthened my relationship with God, had a lot of fun, and I was even able to forgive Maria’s father for leaving us which is allowing me to move-on with my life.13686620_10101954799837557_5399406447140723828_n.jpg

Maria is currently 2 months old. She’s healthy, strong, beautiful, and she has a huge personality. I never thought that I could ever love anyone more than her father, but she’s here and she is the only reason I’m still breathing. Maria and I are very fortunate to have our health. We are so loved and supported by the community around us and I am incredibly thankful. I pray for peace, happiness, health, and love and God never fails to answer my prayers. I won’t lie, I still have some very rough days, but my daughter makes everything worthwhile. Without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t taste

I was crushed that my fairytale had slipped through my fingers, and I was angry at myself because I felt that it was my fault. Little did I know, my fairytale was growing in my tummy. Maria is my best friend and I am so thankful for her.

YoungLives brought out the best in me, and I am looking forward to hopefully becoming a YoungLives leader myself. I want to be a part of the life changing event in the lives of young parents and I truly want to pay it forward. Without the help and support from YoungLives and volunteers like Myrna, Brittany, Kylie, Laurie, Colleen, Massa, Lisa, and everyone else, I wouldn’t be a strong as I am today. My relationship with God would be very un-sturdy and I wouldn’t have this genuine happiness that I feel in my bones.

In conclusion, I want to say thank you: To everyone who makes YoungLives possible. Your hard work is making a huge difference for all of us.

-Jayanna Hendley