Jenni Bryan

I dedicate this post to ilah peace…

Ahhh, writing, how I LOVE writing. First of all I’d like to express my gratitude to Krista Gayle Swenor for asking me to write a blog… LOL. Seriously though, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the posts this month and truly wish that I knew all of the strong women behind them! Krista you are blessed with those around you…

I am blessed as well, with SO many things. I have superheros for parents (literally), I have unbelievably remarkable sisters, each very successful, and each with super fantastic quirks, I have a wonderful brother that is so good with my daughter that I’d like him to move in with me J, I have a daughter that changes my vision of everyday things on a daily basis, whose  smile makes me come alive, and I live in a town with un-exhaustible nature. My sister Kati previously wrote in her blog that “life seems easy for jenni”, and she was right on the money, life was a breeze for me, from 0-29 years old that is. You see, I didn’t know what worry was, I didn’t know depression, nor did I understand it. I had multiple boyfriends, I had a great job always, and school came easy.  I enjoy conversing with strangers, I love to be outside, and I love challenges. I was always happy, and I loved making others around me happy. Again, until I was 29.

At age 29 I made some very poor choices, I lost sight of a God that was ingrained into me through spending countless hours in church and in a Christian family, and I started to make my own decisions. Through these decisions I have the best thing in my life; on the other hand, I now know what it is like to be depressed, to have constant anxiety, to struggle, and to have to trust God with all of my being, even when I am scared to death of the future. Sometimes I repeat Matthew 6:34 and psalm 56: 3-4 in my head throughout the day to ease my anxiety about specific difficulties. I have been faced with many painful situations in the past 3 years, my struggles and anxiety have slowly crept in and changed my personality in many ways, I lost a large part of my sense of humor, friendships, hobbies, passion for challenging opportunities, etc. I had been living in this private hell and trying to man the lifeboat all by myself for what seemed like an eternity (in reality only 2&½ years). I finally began to share my burden, first with sisters, then with parents, and eventually and most importantly, with God. I truly believe that the book, ‘Jesus Calling‘, and my daughter ilah have turned my life around in many ways, ’Jesus Calling’, has encouraged me to spend time with God and listen to what he says, instead of what Jenni wants, and ilah has made me the person that I knew that I was meant to be (which sounds like a small thing, but in reality, it‘s huge).  I am slowly getting my life and personality back, I am starting an Autism Center in Petoskey, MI, and I am in the midst of finding funding for my Doctorate. I have a lot on my plate, but I know now that God will not give me more than I can handle, and that he will continue to give me strength. And although I am still right smack dab in the middle of many struggles, I know that God is with me, holding my hand, and if God is for us, who can be against us?

The last thing I want to say, related to this blog is that Krista and I are opposite, she over thinks everything, and I am what I would label as “reckless”.  I think somewhere inbetween there is a good place to be. I also wanted to mention that I am proud to be a woman. I am a working mom, an avid adventurer, and an empathetic therapist. I love people, and although many parts of society label different shapes of women as good and bad and everything in between, I think that it’s important to remember that above all we focus on what is unseen, because what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal (2nd Corinthians 4:18).

To sum up my very long blog posting (sorry), please read Ephesians 4:1-6, these are my favorite verses and they sum up how I would like to
live.

Jenni currently lives in Charlevoix, MI. She has a B.S in Cytogenetics from Grand Valley State University and Medical Technology from Ohio StateUniversity and an M.S. in Occupational Therapy from OSU. As a pediatric occupational therapist, she is the new program director for the up and coming Autism Center, located in the Wellness Pavilion in Petoskey, MI. Jenni enjoys: her daughter, ilah, any outdoor activity, spending time with family, board games, live music, picnics, education, and her job.

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