Real Life: The Millennials - Jen's Story

My Pinterest is full of fluff - fashion, photography, fantasy. Make no mistake, I love it, and it's what interests me.

Jen Parker is another Millennial taking life by the horns and showing it who's boss. Her Pinterest overflows with girl-power: from how to replace a bathtub spout to motivational quotes to keep her inspired.

So how DO these young 20 somethings get their acts so...together at such a tumultuous time in their lives? Read on to discover Jen's story...

Dani: What made you move across the country at such a young age, and how was it being away from your whole family?

Jen: I was 19 and in love. My now ex-boyfriend lived in North Carolina, and we decided that the timing was right for me to move if we wanted to give our relationship a real shot at success. We both tried hard, but it didn’t work out. It’s all in God’s plan for my life, though, and now I call Carolina home. There’s nowhere I’d rather be. Being away from my family was really hard at first. There are times when it’s still hard to fathom that I can’t just take a drive over to Mom and Dad’s house for Sunday dinner, or have my future nieces and nephews over for random sleepover nights, but there’s no telling what the future holds. It may work out that I can finally talk all of them into moving here someday! Regardless, love knows no distance, and even if I don’t get to see them every day, I know how deeply they love me, and they know how deeply I love them.

Dani: What inspired your weight loss?

Jen: The weight loss is kind of a funny story. I looked really good when I moved to North Carolina at 19. Over the years, I had put on about 50 pounds. I was really unhappy with myself, and I had no idea how badly it was affecting me inside. When my boyfriend broke up with me a little over a year ago, I got pretty depressed, and food just wasn’t appetizing. I actually got sick when I would try to eat, so the first 15 pounds really just dropped off. When I got my appetite back, I was too poor to buy junk food, so I stuck with a whole foods diet, and exercising became a cheap therapy. Now I’m down about 40 pounds!

Dani: What about your baptism?

Jen: The baptism isn’t as easy to explain. It was just this overwhelming feeling in my heart that I needed to recommit my life to Christ. I’ve had a relationship with Jesus for about 7 years now, and with all of the set-backs and struggles that I’ve had since then, I’ve had to just trust God to handle them, because they were way too much for me. He hasn’t let me down yet. I have made huge strides in my emotional well-being in the past year, and now, when a problem arises, I can confidently say, “God, this is Yours. Let Your will be done.” The peace brought by that mindset is indescribable.

Dani: What in you makes you say to yourself, "Okay, my parents will pay to have X, Y, or Z fixed in the house, but I am going to fix it myself"?

Jen: My parents have always been big DIYers - we grew up helping them rip out carpet, lay tile, renovate bathrooms, landscape yards, and so on, so most things, I fix or do myself. To date in my new house, my biggest repairs have been a broken laundry door, and broken door jamb and casing, a fence picket that my dog decided to break through, and a washing machine fuse. I’ve had to shorten blinds, paint, hang awkward artwork, learn how to use a lawn mower, weed-eater, and various power tools, learn about a bunch of fun stuff like the difference between a concrete screw and wood screw, lay pavers, level dirt, and replace bathroom fixtures, to name a few. Usually we only call someone else in if the job would be cheaper to have someone else do it; for example, I had my buddy who owns a landscaping business aerate my lawn, because renting a machine and buying grass seed would have been more expensive than paying him to come do it. I actually really enjoy working hard and doing these things on my own; I get a sense of pride and independence from my work, and people get a kick out of a young blonde knowing how to fix stuff. 

Dani: Finally, how do you pick yourself up when you stumble and fall (figuratively)?

Jen: I love that you said “figuratively”, because you know I would have been smart and said, “Uh, I pick myself up with my hands and feet, then make sure no one saw.” Haha, but seriously, this one sort of goes back to the baptism question. I just trust God to handle everything in my life and work it out the way He plans. My confidence has grown tremendously as well. I am learning to love and accept myself the way God loves and accepts me, by understanding that I can be good enough for Him and myself, even if I may not be “good enough” for someone else. I will always have things that I struggle with, but I am learning to love myself enough to say, “Yeah, you’re struggling. This is hard. You’re not perfect, but you’re doing the best you can, and that’s enough. The rest will come.” And, if all else fails and I’m having an especially bad day, I snuggle up with my dogs and I’m reminded of how important it is to treasure the little moments and be grateful for life, despite the struggles.

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