The summer before her junior year of college, Jacquelyn found herself falling fast and hard for boy who had swept her off her feet. Early on in their relationship he found himself in trouble with the law, but that did not deter Jacquelyn. She stood by him. She traveled every weekend to her hometown from college to see him. The manipulations and head games started early on. But she stayed with him throughout college.
During her senior year, this man she had fallen in love with, admitted he was actually in love with the mother of his child and he broke up with her. He had been lying to Jacquelyn and had been staying with his ex-girlfriend while she was away. The breakup only lasted three months. Jacquelyn had reached out to him through a message asking prayer for her nephew who was sick. From there, they picked up like nothing had ever happened. Jacquelyn’s intention had always been to go straight from undergrad to law school.
The summer before she was set to begin law school her boyfriend was in a horrible accident. She stood by his side, and that trauma solidified their relationship once again. She knew all along that he was unfaithful, but she was still in love. Jacquelyn put law school on hold, and they moved in together. Coming from a very religious family, this move alienated her from her family and forced their toxic connection to be even stronger. A few months into living together he was regularly telling her he didn’t love her, but still he proposed and within weeks she found out she was pregnant with their son.
Jacquelyn says she cried for a week straight because she felt trapped, she knew at that moment she was stuck with this man who was abusing her regularly. She knew in her heart the relationship was not right; but she didn’t know how to get out of the relationship. Three days after her son’s birth, her grandfather passed away, quickly followed by the passing of her uncle. The abuse never let up, in fact the cycle continued for two more years. Jacquelyn had finally started studying criminal law and as she read the cases she realized her life and the violence was starting to mirror the trials she was reading about.
Two weeks after her son’s second birthday was the last incident. Being abused in private was something she had battled for years; but being attacked in front of her son who was soaking everything in was something she couldn’t live with. She left that day, right after the attack, called the police and never went back.
Through doing well in law school, Jacquelyn began to regain her sense of self-worth. She started rebuilding her life. She was able to get a place of her own, file for divorce, working part time and going to law school full time; all while raising her little boy as a single mom. It was incredibly difficult at first, she didn’t know how she would make it through, but she did. Jacquelyn began to rely heavily on church, counseling and working out. She became a health and fitness coach in the process. She quickly saw how working out was an outlet for releasing anxieties and stresses and wanted to help others through at-home workouts.
Her time in law school finished up with an impressive record. She did well in her classes, she received the leadership achievement award, she was a member of the mock trial board and president of the moot court; along with her membership to the organization of women lawyers that allowed her to take an active role in empowerment of the women they dealt with in the court system.
The Hillsong United song, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” has been Jacquelyn’s motivation. The song has always calmed her soul and helped her to trust in all aspects of her life, knowing that God knows what he is doing with her life.