Jenna overcomes depression
Jenna might have made some new friends in the past few weeks. But those friendships could never be as strong as the one she had with Alyson. All of the things that have happened lately in her life, she wanted to tell her friend and to not delay. She knew she would have some things to say about her singing in the band.
She could not wait to come home from a hard day at work and hear what Alyson had to say about it. “Hey, Alyson. What’s up with you?”
“Oh, nothing. Trying to enjoy as much as possible a day off from work.” Alyson’s tone of voice, as always, casual.
“Something rather profound has happened.”
“Um…you found a good-looking man who can’t get enough of you?”
“Very funny, Alyson,” Jenna said, forcing herself to laugh and trying not to sound so serious. “But that’s not it.”
“I didn’t think so. But tell me, what is it?”
“Martin, the music director at church, asked me to sing in this Sunday’s service.” Jenna did not realize that she sounded vague.
“Wouldn’t you always sing in the band whenever you could go to church?”
“Yes, but it’s more than that. He asked me to lead in a song.”
“Wow! That’s so awesome!”
“That’s what I have to say. But I have not done anything this but. I’m trying not to doubt myself and think that this is too big for me to handle.”
“What is the song?”
“Amy Grant’s ‘I Have Decided’.”
“Oh, Jenna!” Alyson shouted, almost jumping out of her seat. “I know that you know that you love that song. Whenever you play it, you turn the volume up loud and sing it at the top of your lungs. That is a song that should not be kept behind closed doors. Jenna, you should not think that this was an accident.”
“But this time, it’s going to be in a crowd of people who don’t even know me.” Jenna continued. “I think I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The other night at rehearsal, Martin told me, that I am going to do it, no questions asked. After what I have just overcome, I still feel like I’m unworthy to do it.”
“Jenna, I know you can.”
“Really? You think so?”
“Jenna Rollins, when are you going to realize that you are very special, especially to me? And this Martin guy might see a lot more potential in you. It’s up to you to believe that.”
Jenna breathed a heavy sigh. “You’re right, Alyson. I guess I should stop thinking about what seems to be impossible and start really believing that I can do this…and take this outside closed doors.” When Jenna said that, she thought that her love for “I Have Decided,” her attention to every detail in Heart’s music, and her hesitation to move forward all seemed to be related and implied a similar message.
“That’s it, Jenna. I wish I could be there to see you sing.”
“I wish you could, too. Have you heard anything else from Deanna?” Jenna had thought about her lately and thought that the three of them could get together in Atlanta, where Deanna lives.
“No. I’d love to see her.”
“I have some days off from work that I had requested a few days ago. I need some sanity time, even though I won’t get paid for it. I thought we could drive down together to see her.”
“Yeah, that would be great. And we could see her engagement ring and meet Neil.”
“Just see what you can do about having the same days off.”
“I sure will.”
Deanna still did not know that Larry had broken up with Jenna. She had been really miserable because of the breakup and did not want to tell Deanna, lest she destroy her friend’s joy in her upcoming marriage.
She felt like she was completely over Larry to the point where he was altogether forgotten. Her not having a better job than what she has now did not seem to bother her anymore. She knew that there was something better out there for her and was willing to wait for it. She did not want to be reminded of things from her past. There was a brighter future waiting just for her, full of hope.
Today was Friday and was going to be a full day for Jenna. She knew the rest of the day would be very busy. Before she did much of anything else during the day, she continued her reading of Psalm 119. She had never read anything that brought conviction and comfort at the same time. She started to have some idea of what it is like to be hungry for those principles.
Since she had more time this morning than expected, she turned to the book of John. She was so moved by what Pastor Dean had been teaching and thought how much more she would be if she read some of it on her own. Her eyes came across words that were so profound they seemed to have jumped off the page: Without Him, she could do nothing.
She read that chapter again and came across something else that caught her attention. She was being pruned so that she could be more fruitful. This process involved a lot of giving up on certain things that she had thought for a long time about herself and about God. Larry was out of her life just so this pruning can take place. With that in mind, maybe what seemed like rejections from jobs were just ways of telling Jenna that those jobs were not meant for her, that she would not be able to do what she has ultimately called to do. And if this is what it was like, Jenna was certainly up for going through it, one step at a time. She thanked God that she was at the right place at the right time, to listen these messages from Pastor Dean. Before she knew it, she was praying.
She had prayed fairly consistently about finding a job and direction in her relationship with Larry. But when those prayers were not answered and a different outcome of both occurred, she felt like it just was not working. She felt badly for drifting away from praying. Now, she knew that she needed to start it again and be more consistent, even when it does not seem like things were going as she had expected.
Just as expected, the day was rather stressful. It did not get to Jenna as much as it used to. She was at peace with everything around her. With all of the great things going on with her being in the praise band, she considered this stressful job to be a rather small part of her day-to-day living. Jenna had a feeling that the time is coming soon for her to leave TJ Maxx.
(details of the busy work day)
With her getting into the habit of reading her Bible daily, attending and serving in church, and just knowing who she is, Jenna had a lot to look forward and no time to be depressed.
“O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!” Psalm 61:1-4, NLT
“Here in my heart there’s a refuge waiting.
Here in my heart You just won’t let me go.
I could run away, but You’d stay here in my heart.”
“Here in My Heart”, Susan Ashton, 1992.
Jenna perused through some more of the Psalms the next morning. She was not sure where it was but she came across something about God being a refuge. That struck her! In those really hard times, her place of choice to hide was in bed, under the covers, with the curtains drawn and lights off, and withdraw from everything. She thought that if she did that, she would somehow get some rest and eventually get up to a brighter day. Now she knows that was an ineffective means of escape. She should have prayed, sought the Lord, and then she would not have felt do empty and dark.
Reading this made her feel so good she did not want to go to work. She did not want anything to interfere with what she just experienced. But having this in mind would made every day easier.
If she wanted to make a point to apply these principles to her life, she was going to have to start with her attitude toward her job. She had a job to go to, which, much to her amazement, was something that a lot of people don’t have. Maybe God knew that Jenna would not like this job, and it was up to her to come to Him as her refuge when things got too much for her to handle.
As Jenna closed her Bible and set it back onto the end table, she sighed heavily. She was satisfied with her progress in reading it. She knew she still had challenges yet to face, but she was now thankful to have a better refuge to hide in.
Although she had a very busy schedule every week, working at TJ Maxx was now a much smaller part of her day. With the morning, sometimes evening readings, rehearsals, and talking to or getting together with Alyson, she had a rather full yet balanced schedule. This past week was the first one that was like this.
The day was more stressful than yesterday. But Jenna did not seem to handle it as well as she wanted to. Today more than any other, it seemed like everything was out of place and on the floor, especially hangers, accessories, shoes, and kids’ clothes. Given the big mess, she thought she might as well work in a day care center.
When the time came for her lunch break, she was more than ready to get away from the store. She drove to Chick-fil-a to eat lunch. When she got there, she saw a few firefighters there having their lunch. She ordered her usual chicken sandwich. When she sat down to eat it, one bite of it was enough to calm her down and bring her some amount of relief. She stole a glance at the group of firefighters who were sitting where she could easily see them. She hoped she would choke on her food, therefore causing them to come over and rescue her. That just might be a good way for her to not be able to go back to work.
Pretty soon after she returned from her break, there was a huge storm, which caused some of the registers to not work for a while. This was at a time when the line was backed up with impatient customers and fussy children. Jenna tried her best to calm down each customer. No matter what she said to them or how, it seemed to never work.
After the storm and the restoring of the cash registers, Tracy informed Jenna about a call she had received from the corporate office. The sales for that store were not up to its standard, and disciplinary action needed to be done on some associates because of that.
The day eventually ended. Jenna had never felt so relieved. She tried not to think that all of this happened on purpose. She felt like she was far away from seeking the refuge that she had found this morning. She wanted to go back there right now.
That she was home now was a refuge in and of itself. She liked how she finally had some peace and quiet and chance to be alone. She was still going through the phase where she wanted nothing but frozen pizzas. She put one in the oven and set the timer on there. She went to her room and got her Bible and took it into the living room.
She felt like she had not done what she was supposed to do today. If she had received God as her refuge, she would not have been at the job the way she did. She had this feeling that she had blown it. She covered her face with her hands and cried. God had shown her much grace and forgiveness. The way she acted today did not seem like it.
The timer went off, signaling that the pizza was ready. Jenna jumped up from the couch and got the pizza out of the oven. After she ate, she felt better, went back to the living room where her Bible was, and read it. She opened it to where her she had bookmarked the verse about God being her refuge. She spent the rest of the evening reading similar verses.
In spite of a rather bumpy part on the road to hope, she learned to bounce back from it.