Jen Manglos, WA

Senior Writer

Jen fell in love with stories at a young age and never quite recovered. During grad school, this love took shape in the form of a blog, where she mastered the art of storytelling. In her previous work for Saddleback Church she wrote curriculum on spiritual practices and published articles on a variety of websites, including Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. When she’s not writing, Jen is a spiritual director, helping people process through and celebrate their own stories.

As a Story Terrace writer, Jen interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Sí, Se Puede

“I can’t do this.”

I’m on my third day of the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain, walking a particularly exhausting downhill trail. Downhill trails are deceptive. They seem like they would be easier, but usually they’re much more difficult than any uphill terrain, because of the care it takes to avoid slipping and falling. It’s hot and I’m tired. I hate how sweaty I am and I’m worried about finding a place to sleep tonight. This day seems never ending.

“I can’t do this.”

I hear God and He asks, “Why is that always your first response?”

His question stops me and I realize it’s true. I constantly doubt myself, shut myself down. I’m so used to this phrase, like it’s my mother tongue. I’ve been told “no” so many times. Eventually, I stopped fighting the “nos,” rolled over and agreed, “I can’t do it.”

My eyes fill with tears at the memory of all of the “nos,” the pain of the rejection, the doubt about who I am. I want to be the realest, truest me, but that “me” just doesn’t seem to be accepted. Somehow, all of these “nos” have added up to me giving up on myself. The realization stings.

I hear God again, “But with me you can.”

I know very little Spanish, but my mind flips back to a phrase I learned this year, “Sí, se puede” (in English “Yes, we can”). I hate asking for help. I’d rather just figure it out on my own instead of risking with another person. They might let me down. I might seem incapable or useless. But I can’t do this on my own. This walk. This life. I need help. “Sí, se puede” becomes my prayer.

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