Jessica in Nebraska
Tell us your name, age and your state-in-life!
Jessica Esser, 32 (33 in July), dating a wonderful, godly man
Are you a cradle Catholic, convert or revert?
What’s been the biggest game changer in your Catholic faith?
I actually have had 2 big game changers in my Catholic faith. The first one was the unexpected death of my mother when I was 15. The second one was becoming a single mother at the age of 21. I know what it is like to be scared, wonder how I would finish school, raise a baby without a steady income, and to have to let go of how I saw my life going. I grew up in a devout Catholic family. I was valedictorian of my class, involved in everything, and did not drink or have sex. I really tried to be "perfect" I never thought it would happen to me, so when I did get pregnant, my whole world came tumbling down. Most people in my situation are faced with deciding to have an abortion, keep the baby, or give the baby up for adoption. Abortion is definitely the "easiest" way to go. You can maintain your normal life and no one has to know, but you and God and the people who perform it. Except, all the emotional baggage that comes surfacing later on with the effects of the abortion. Just like Newton stated in his Third Law, " “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Which in the medical field, many doctors will tell you there are no effects on a woman after having an abortion, which in reality is a lie Satan speaks to our society. But we know with science, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With how I grew up and my belief system and knowing that a child was growing inside of me, I knew for a fact an abortion was not even an option and neither was adoption for me. I had to come up with a way to deliver the news to my family and ruin my "reputation" of perfection. This changed my life forever and all the dreams I had seemed to vanish so quickly.
Having my daughter, who is now 10, is my greatest joy and blessing. She recently drew a picture of myself and her playing in the park and wrote on it, "I'm here because my mom chose life." I know that a lot of women do not have the belief system that I do and have an abortion and realize the aftermath of it all.
I believe our trials prepare us for a greater calling to help others along the way. God has given me a gift to be able to relate to almost everyone I meet and leave them better than when I met them. I believe God can do the impossible. I’m proof of what God can do in someone’s life by believing His hand is in it all. “It takes courage to believe” inspires me. The hemorrhaging woman in the Bible who believed if she touched the cloak of Jesus she would be healed. It is reaching beyond what we can see and grasping what we cannot see; faith as we know it. All I want to do is love and serve God and love and serve others and to bring light to those who live in darkness.
I want to help single moms. I want to let them know that I have been there and know what it is like to be in the position of not knowing what to do. I felt like I had no one I could talk to or who could relate to me at the time I was going through all of that. A lot of women just need to know someone understands and need help processing their fears and concerns and I want to be an advocate for that. I want to show them that your life is not over after having a baby, it just looks different and you can still pursue your dreams and goals and there is hope for a bright tomorrow. I am a wonderful example of God working in my life.
Name a saint you identify with and share why.
I identify with the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is my go to saint because I lost my mother and embrace Mary as my mother. I also identify with her because she was pregnant with Jesus and was scared. She didn’t know what Joseph would think. I know our situations are quite different, but it brings me comfort knowing Mary experienced similar feelings.
When my daughter was in my womb, I dedicated her to the Blessed Virgin Mary. My grandma had sent me a beautiful blue Miraculous Medal I wore daily. My daughter was a week late and at the time I didn’t know, but she ended up being born on Mary’s birthday, September 8th. I believe Mary is guiding me and is truly present in my life.
When have you felt most valued as a woman in the Church?
I believe the Catholic Church’s stance on promoting life and natural family planning makes me feel the most valued as a woman. Contraceptives do not allow you to love freely and seeks to exclude God from sex. Natural family planning explores God’s design for married love and values the child; in which both cases, our society has sought to destroy. Our society attributes beauty in women by their physical attributes and as a source of sexual pleasure. In reality, women are delicate and beautiful creatures that God bequeathed with the ability to create life. Women have an intrinsic beauty just by being fashioned after God himself. True beauty resides inside a woman and often our society neglects to enhance that feature.
What’s your favorite way to pray?
I love getting up early when the morning is so still and soaking in the quietness and peace. I enjoy reading my Bible, devotionals, and journaling.
Favorite liturgical holiday?
I would have to say Easter because it means new life. Without Jesus rising from the dead, I would not have a chance at eternal life. He broke the bonds of sin and death in order for me to live again forever with him in Heaven.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend Dave, daughter Layla and our St. Bernard Ruby. I love inspiring people and making someone’s day. Fashion is one of my fortes. Working out, baking, and planning parties are some of my favorite hobbies.
Three words that describe you — go!
Bold, Creative, Compassionate