By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
Growing up, Megan’s friends wanted to be just like her.
Who wouldn’t? Megan said her mom and dad made six figures a year. “I took amazing vacations and never had to want for anything. Little did they know how unhappy I was.”
Why? Megan explained, saying her mother told her she would never go anywhere in life and she deserved everything she had coming to her.
However, Megan said, she proved her mother wrong in Sept. 2004 when she joined the United States military.
“It was the first time that my mother had told me she was proud of me and loved me in a very long time,” Megan said. “However,” she continued, “that was short lived.”
Four years later, Megan said, she had been married, divorced, and given up her son for adoption.
“Having been raised in a Catholic family, this did not make my mother happy, or proud of me.”
Things went from bad to worse, Megan said. “My life fell apart. I developed an eating disorder, and stayed in a verbally abusive relationship for over a year because I thought I didn’t deserve any better. I felt like I mattered to nobody, that nobody cared about me, and that I was not capable of being loved (and that) I deserved every hurtful word that was said to me.”
After she had taken all she could and eventually gotten out of the relationship, too much damage had been done. Megan hated herself.
She said, “I thought I was ugly and that something was wrong with me and that’s why nobody wanted me. I realized that nobody would miss me if I left, so I packed my bags and moved to New Mexico. I met great friends, got my dream job as a preschool teacher and was the happiest I had been in a long time.”
Again, the happiness was short lived. Megan said, “I met a guy and got pregnant with my daughter. Even though he stuck around when he didn’t have to, he did not treat me very well. He had a girlfriend the entire time I was pregnant. I never was asked how I was doing or how I was feeling. He told me that the only thing he cared about was our daughter.”
Megan said while he was an “amazing father” to her daughter, that didn’t extend to his treatment of her. The man’s treatment of her got progressively worse, with him telling her many times that her feelings didn’t matter.
One fateful day in Sept. 2013, with her three-month-old daughter sleeping next to her, Megan said she downed an entire bottle of aspirin.
Megan said, “It wasn’t until she cried because she was hungry that I realized I had made a mistake and (after treatment) I was brought to Joy Junction four days later.”
She added, “Joy Junction saved my life. I now realize that I do matter … to my daughter, to God, and to a lot of people that I have met the last nine months. God did not make junk when he made Megan. My daughter turned one year old this past Tuesday and I was there to celebrate with her. That would not be possible if it wasn’t for Joy Junction.”
Now former Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen said, “Megan arrived at Joy Junction, like many other guests, scared, lost, and broken. Over time, she slowly established herself, first joining our Christ in Power program, graduating, and then becoming more and more confident …”
He added, “In the weeks ahead … Megan will begin focusing on finding a job and further rebuilding her life.”
Joel said that because Megan now knows her self worth, she can also help others know that they, too, matter.