Aroma Fundraiser Presentation 

Mental Health

By Jaylah Pendleton LCSW-A


Nervously, I sat spinning side to side in the swivel chair in my college mental health counselor’s office. My heart seemed to pound louder than his voice as he listed off signs, symptoms and health consequences of an eating disorder. He waited for me to deny or confirm that I had each symptom. I affirmed nearly all of them through tears, feeling overwhelmed by shame and longing for hope that I was not broken or stuck like this forever. This counselor and I worked together for the entire semester to help me overcome unhealthy eating patterns and improve my thought life. I was not cured in this short amount of time like I was hoping, though full healing and transformation did come. Previous life circumstances and the entire recovery process jump started my interest and passion for helping people overcome trauma, various challenges of life and mental illness. Working full time while starting a family, I slowly completed my master’s degree, graduating in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. I have been providing mental health therapy, with a focus on infant mental health, Child Parent Psychotherapy, rooted in attachment theory, for the past 4.5 years. 


Mental health, as defined by The World Health Organization, is “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” When stress or trauma becomes too much for an individual to cope with in a helpful or healthy way, mental health and even physical health starts to deteriorate. For some, this can result in the diagnosis of a mental disorder. Healing from a mental disorder looks different for everyone but no matter how chronic the illness or how deep the trauma, there is hope for healing. God has designed our bodies and brains to heal. One healing mechanism of the brain, which has a profound effect on all areas of life, is the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. 


Neuroplasticity is essentially the brain’s ability to change and adapt overtime through the use of neural networks, called neuropathways, empowered by the mind. Every moment, your mind is processing life’s experiences. As you process with your mind, your brain is strengthening, weakening or creating new neuropathways. One way to imagine this process is by comparing a six-lane highway to a small, beaten path in the woods. Our brains want to be efficient and quick, so they tend to take the six-lane highway, the neuropathways we use regularly, and avoid those off-road trails, anything new or unfamiliar. Unmanaged, our mind can create very chaotic pathways which manifest as mental illness or unhealthy habits. The power of neuroplasticity is that when we do manage our mind, we can heal, transform and truly become who God designed us to be. This is why God commands us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “…take every thought captive…” and in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our brains are always changing and adapting. How we manage our thoughts determines if the world or the word of God will become that six-lane highway of neuropathways.


Naturally, the next question is, “What does this actually look like in everyday life?” Science has shown that as soon as you are consciously aware of a thought, you have the power to change it. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth (John 16:13) and will bring to our awareness areas in our thought life that are not in alignment with the heart of God. He is the Spirit of truth; so much more than just A truth or a positive confession! One practical way to begin renewing your mind is to ask Holy Spirit to show you a lie that you have been believing that is greatly affecting your life, your relationship with God or your relationship with others. For me, that lie was, “I am unworthy of love.” Using scripture and asking Holy Spirit for a personal revelation, identify the truth. One example of a truth to replace this lie could be, “My worthiness is defined by Jesus’ blood.” Daily, take time to mediate on the scripture and revelation that the Holy Spirit gives you. Allow yourself to visualize and imagine what life would be like if you actually started to live out this truth. Sing, draw, or recite this truth as you exercise or take a new route home; bonus points for activities that boost neuroplasticity! Overtime, and it does take time, this six-lane highway of “I am unworthy”, will decrease and become the beaten path in the woods. What used to be a beaten path in the woods, “My worthiness is defined by Jesus’ blood” becomes the six-lane highway. When truth becomes a dominate thought pattern, it will renew your mind and bring transformation. 


In my life, I was radically delivered from that eating disorder after a three-year battle. Therapy helped, but it was ultimately Jesus who set me free. When freedom finally came, it was complete. I have been walking in freedom for 9 years now with not a single moment of relapse. I’d love to say that the deliverance was the end of this battle and everything was great after that! In reality, deliverance was just the start of transformation. After being delivered, the Lord told me, “I set you free, but we will heal your body and your mind together.” The process of renewing my mind with God built history between us and deepened our relationship. Though the eating disorder no longer had a grip on my behaviors, I still struggled with really low self-esteem, jealousy, comparison, and self-judgment. It took several years and consistency to renew my mind in this area to the point that I saw the positive changes manifest in my daily life and in my physical body. Even now, I still practice taking every thought captive though it has gotten easier and easier. 


One way the Holy Spirit has helped me renew my mind, is through songwriting. Often, he has led me to write songs that help me accept what he thinks of me. Recently, I found myself writing a song about being God’s work of art. Even after years of walking in freedom and renewing my mind in this area, I felt myself struggling to sing, “I am your work of art.” This inner struggle revealed that I am still growing in this revelation! Writing this song helped me dismantle another brick of the stronghold the enemy built in my mind. I pray that it helps you too. You are God’s masterpiece! He took time and care in forming you, from the miraculous ways your brain and body works to your unique personality and the little physical quirks you have. You are beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made; truly God’s work of Art. 

Your Work of Art

Verse 1

From the beginning you were an artist

Your gallery a garden

Kneeling in the mud

Breathing life into us


The earth tells your story

Revealing your glory

But of all you created

You call me your favorite



What sin once tainted 

You turned into beauty 

What the world called worthless

You made worthy

My life – your canvas

Your clay – my softened heart

If you are the artist

I am your work of art


Verse 2

What song was on your mind

As your lovers went astray

Did you already sculpt the cross

On which love you would display


Did your tears release a ballad

Though you knew all along

Your body and blood

Would sing our freedom song



May my life testify 

Of who you are and what you’ve done

I’ve never known so great a love

I was lost but you found me

I was blind but you made me see

You signed your name upon my heart and you called me

Your masterpiece