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Women of Hope: Jessy Fagerstrom

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2022 1:36 am

Women of Hope: Jessy Fagerstrom

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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September 25, 2022 1:36 am

In this episode we hear from Jessy Fagerstrom. She shares her story of battling depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Like Beth, she talks about how she found hope in the word and continues to look for those flecks of gold in everyday life.

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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum.

And I'm Bernie Dake. And we're here with our special guest cohost this week, Ashley Escobar. Welcome, Ashley. Hey, thanks for having me. This is a new passion that I'm realizing you have. Yes, this is a brand new passion interviewing people, hearing their stories, and just giving people the power to be heard.

I mean, especially coming out of COVID, there's so much mental health issue going on in the world. And I think just letting people know that you see them or that you hear them is important. Yeah. Thank you.

Thank you so much. Last week, we shared the first of three testimonies we'll be hearing over these next few weeks. And today we're going to be hearing from Jesse Fagerstrom. Jesse is an amazing person. If you are around her, you just feel this sense of energy that she just expels.

She is a mom. She's just a very passionate person when it comes to education and teaching people. And so Jesse's story is about mental health, which is something that is not really talked about too much in the church. It is more now than it was a couple of years ago, but there's so much importance on speaking openly and having vulnerability about mental health issues, especially in the church as believers. I think it's important that we have these discussions. So this video is Jesse telling her story. Not only is she telling her story, she's telling it for the first time with people, which I thought was incredible.

A lot of healing, I think, took place in that interview session, which is the point. My name is Jesse Fagerstrom, and I see myself wearing a lot of hats in life. I'm a creative. I'm an independent person, but I also am really attached to my family. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a daughter.

And all of those hats are really important to me. I see myself as a person in and of the world as well. I mean, I grew up in Kenya. I grew up overseas, which really shaped me.

That really made me who I am today. I spent my middle school and high school years in Kenya, and then I finished off my senior year in England. And having lived through the Civil War in Kenya and having experienced all that that was, was really transformative for me.

I would go to bed hearing gunshots outside of my window. And as a young girl, that really shapes your understanding of conflict, and that really shapes your understanding of how people interact with one another. But I also loved it there.

I also found so much joy in the people there, and I learned a lot about the world and about my place in the world. And so from that experience, I really decided that I wanted to commit my life to education because I felt like the people there, the conflict that was ensuing was due to the fact that people didn't have an education. People didn't know how to communicate what they were feeling in their hearts. They didn't know how to write it down.

They didn't know how to get up on a stage and present it in a way that people would understand. So I felt like it was a calling on my life to educate. After finishing high school, I came to the United States, and it was a huge culture shock. I had spent my entire upbringing in a place halfway across the world. And here I am in this college dorm room wondering, what am I doing here? I didn't really identify with the other people in my college.

I went to, first for my undergrad, I went to Smith College, which is an all-women's university. And then I went to Columbia in New York City, and that is really where I fell down the rabbit hole. I found myself in this massive city full of people from all different walks of life. But I was by myself.

I was completely alone. And I was staying in a retirement community where people were dying left and right. So I would go down for breakfast one day and find out that the person in the room next to me had died. And so I was surrounded by, I was lonely, and then I was surrounded by death. And then on top of that, at Columbia University, the academics are insane in terms of what's expected of you. So I had pressure coming at me from all angles. My parents were still in Kenya, so they were halfway across the world.

My boyfriend lived across the country, which is now my husband, but he was far away from me. And everybody kind of did their own thing, especially in New York City, right? Everybody is, they're all chasing their own ambitions and chasing their own dreams. So there I am, by myself, living what I thought was going to be the dream in New York City, but really falling down a very deep, dark rabbit hole. So much so that it caused me to become medicated. So I actually sought out medication to assist me in my anxiety and depression, and it also led to suicidal ideation, which was really out of nowhere for me and felt very uncomfortable because this is something that really had never happened in the trajectory of my family's genealogy before. None of my family members had ever experienced such intense depression and anxiety. And so I felt very alone in that, too, that it was only me.

And so I was seeing a counselor at the time and, you know, explaining all of these pressures that I was feeling, this loneliness and this despair and this death and this whole thing that I was experiencing. And I was in one session and I just lost it. And when I say lost it, I mean that, like, I couldn't see anything.

I couldn't hear anything. And I fell on the floor and I lost it. Like, I couldn't feel my body, like, from that moment. So my counselor at the time was like, what is happening to you? So she calls the hospital and they come and get me and I wake up from this moment and I'm in the mental hospital in New York City.

I am locked in a room. I mean, I was essentially imprisoned. In that moment, there was no hope.

There felt like there was no hope. I like to call my husband my angel because I was dating him at the time and he found out that I had been admitted. But both my parents and Tyler ended up coming out to New York. And Tyler, my husband, really saved me in a lot of ways. And I think anybody in his situation normally would have run for the hills.

I don't know many men who would stick by a woman in the situation that I was in. And so I sometimes call him my, yeah, my angel because I just feel like the Lord put him in my life in the perfect time. When I think about hope, I think about, as cliche as it might be, I think about the light at the end of the tunnel. And sometimes that light is so small. It is like a pinprick of light, a fleck of gold.

It is the tiniest little thing and you don't know how long it's going to take to get down the tunnel to it. And you don't even know really what's on the other side, but you can see it. And I feel like he was my fleck of gold. And I could I could see what it would be like to be with him. Or I could I could have this idea of if I could just if I could just get through this hole, if I could just make it to the other side. I feel like there'd be something beautiful there for me.

This is not a testimony that has a beautiful bow on the top. I have not completely, you know, I deal with these feelings and I deal with anxiety and I deal with this on a daily basis. But the way that I've been able to the way that I've been able to move forward in my life is I look for the flecks of gold. You know, we think of hope as like we're just wishing for better days or we're just wishing, right?

Wishful thinking. But in the Old Testament, the word for hope is actually a verb and it's a verb that means waiting expectantly. Believing that actually God is already ahead of you, believing that actually he is going to come through without fear, without doubt, knowing, waiting expectantly for God.

And I feel like I've been able to transition from that wishful thinking to waiting expectantly, knowing that God is there, knowing that he's going to bring me through any strange situation that I find myself in. So I look for the, I look for the flecks of gold. And sometimes that's as small as seeing my child smile at me.

Sometimes that's as small as eating ice cream on the couch and watching my favorite Netflix show. But it's the flecks of gold each day that bring me closer and closer to where God wants me. Okay, deep breath.

That was a lot. And I don't know if Jessica will listen to this interview after the fact, but I do want to say thank you to her for being so vulnerable and letting us have a peek inside her story. I hope that encourages anyone that sees or hears this and hear these words, you are not alone. The Bible is very clear.

It talks about how God will never leave us or forsake us. That is so true, but it doesn't remove the loneliness or the sting or the depression for some people. And just as I think we're all processing what we just saw, I feel like it's important for listeners to hear that. You're not alone.

Yeah. And I think for people who are part of the community, right, who are coming alongside someone who is going through this, you may not fully understand. You may not fully wrap your mind around what's going on for them, but you can fully show up for them. And that's a lot of prayer, a lot of intentionality that's going to have to take place, but you don't have to understand someone's situation to show up for them the way that Christ wants us to show up for each other. Which just reiterates Bernie's first few points with you're not alone. You're not alone.

That's a good one. Man, I hope that everybody that hears this or sees this has an opportunity to just reflect on their own lives or the people in their community that maybe they see or maybe they haven't seen in a while. Check in and be encouraged. We're so glad that you joined us at The Words of Life, and we pray that this has been an encouraging time for you. Come back and join us next week when we talk about even one more woman that God is using in a very powerful way.

God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to The Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support, and we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or email us at radio at

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store, and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 22:36:07 / 2023-01-08 22:41:16 / 5

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