Flourish Flock Feature | Jess Freeman

I am so thrilled to have Jess Freeman sharing on this Thursday! We connected through a Facebook group almost a year ago and have been friends ever since.

She ended up designing my logo for Flourish + Co. and helped me tremendously with my website! She is one of the most generous and helpful people I know {she can testify that my technology would have all sorts of issues if it weren't for her- ha}! And, in February we had the opportunity to travel together to Tampa for the Pursuit Retreat!

Flourish Flock Feature | Jess Freeman

Share where you currently live:

Lawrenceville, GA

Share where you grew up:

In a small town, in southwest Kansas! No stoplights, and four hours from a mall.

Share about your family/your job/living situation:

My husband and I have been married for almost five years! I run my own business, Jess Creatives, and he works at North Point Community Church. No kids yet, but we are obsessed with our cocker spaniel, Morgan.

Flourish Flock Feature | Jess Freeman

Share your favorite book and/or podcast:

Long-time favorite book would be Redeeming Love, but more recently, I loved Make it Happen by Lara Casey, or Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst.

Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:

This is probably not a verse that people hear or cite very often, but it has been so good for me as of late. Lamentations 3:30-33 says, “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.”

Share your favorite beverage:

Diet Dr. Pepper from Chick-fil-A, with no ice. (DDP from other places is still accepted.)

Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:

At the very end of 2014, my mom was killed in a car accident on her way to work. I had seen her two weeks prior, and my family was going to be flying to Atlanta in a few weeks to celebrate Christmas.

Flourish Flock Feature | Jess Freeman

Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and supporting you while you are healing:

There are two things that really stand out in my mind. First, allowing myself to really feel #allthefeelings. I didn’t try to cover it up, or avoid it. If I felt like laying on the couch, crying, then I did.

Second, going to counseling for that entire year after her accident. I hadn’t experienced anything like this before, and didn’t have any close friends or mentors who had either. Talking to someone who had the professional skills to walk me through this, and allowed me to process things out loud, was so good for me. At first, I almost felt embarrassed to go, but I knew it was the healthy thing for me to do.  

Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:

Someone told me early on (after my mom’s accident) to try and do one thing each week that made me happy. Whether it was reading, shopping, hiking, or just eating a cupcake. So, I tried to do that consistently in that first year after – and still try to do it now, but it just doesn’t happen as often. I’m in a much better place now, but the struggle is still there – and some weeks are worse than others. In those bad weeks, I have to force myself to get out of the house!

Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:

Losing my mom turned my entire picturesque, white-picket-fence-world upside down. Don’t get me wrong, I still had plenty of struggles before this loss, but not even those seasons prepared me for this.

I feel like losing my mom has instilled more purpose in me. Purpose in what I do, why I do what I do, but also just trying to be more intentional in all things. Through this, I’ve made some shifts in my business, including having more flexible / free time to enjoy life.

Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:

Don’t process this alone. I, of course, recommend finding a counselor, or a mentor through church. Friends are great, and they are so critical in helping you through the process – but they can’t bear all of the heaviness of this experience.

It’s an ongoing process. After the one-year anniversary of my mom’s accident, I truly felt like a weight was lifted. So, a few weeks later, I stopped going to see my counselor. I was feeling much better – it felt like the clouds had lifted. But, after a year away from counseling, I’m back in it. It’s not that I feel I’ve taken any steps backwards, it’s just that this is an ongoing process that still needs attention!

Definitely follow along with Jess at the following spots- and do note that she has her own podcast that's fabulous- she's just being super humble by not mentioning it :) !