Yay for this long awaited for anybody post. Jenna has been dreaming + brainstorming with me throughout most of this process, and I finally got her to write HER story. I know it’s one that will encourage you, and I know it will remind you that God has you RIGHT where you are for a reason. ANYBODY can change the world, so don’t believe the lie that God can’t use you. Jenna will remind you that He sure can 😉
Anybody can change the world: I am just an ordinary mom and an ordinary wife.
Hi! I am Jenna. I am a wife to Phillip and a mom to three precious kids, Parker (7), Beckham (5) and Emerson (almost 5). I have lived in Texas all my life. I was raised in a teeny town called Kermit and then moved to a little bit bigger small town known as Midland, when I was 8. Midland is my home. I have lived my whole life here and it holds the fondest memories I have + some that I would like to forget. But I think that is normal anywhere you grow up. Growing up I had a really “normal” life. Both of my parents are still married. I have two younger sisters. We went to church every time the doors were open. I went to school. Played some sports. Had friends, lost friends, had heartbreaks and breakups. Found love and snatch him up before anyone else could. This new love and I found ourselves doing things a little backwards. But God has restored and redeemed every mistake we had made along the way. We now have been married for almost 8 years and we have 3 beautiful children. Two of which came from us, and the other a gift from God that came all the way over from Ethiopia. Looking in on my life everything seemed pretty normal.
I have never viewed my self as a “world changer” or anyone that is “admirable” or “special”. I just don’t feel like those things. I feel normal. I feel like everyone else. Just blending in and trying to survive in this crazy world.
Three years ago God started to radically shift my marriage, my faith and my family. God started ripping things out of my heart, sifting things out that shouldn’t be there. Phillip and I’s marriage had always been “good”, you know, we didn’t have any “real” problems. We just didn’t see eye to eye on our faith. And that was our biggest problem. But it was there. It was real and it caused A LOT of tension and A LOT of fights. I prayed for my husband’s faith and for his heart to be radically surrendered to the Lord for 5 years. In May of 2010 God delivered on his promise that He would change my husbands heart. We were baptized and completely surrendered to the will of the Father. That’s when life changed.
I feel like in my faith I had always been wearing fogged up goggles and then God removed them that spring and I could all of a sudden see. I wasn’t squinting through the fogged lenses any longer. Through the intense desire to care for the orphan and my love for Ethiopia God broke our hearts and we began to see. For me…I saw that my life was in fact not “normal” it is grossly privileged. I was and still am swimming in Blessing and I couldn’t see it through the fog. Not until now.
To say my heart broke over the injustice in the 3rd world would be an understatement. I knew that God had shown me something unique, something urgent and something worth fighting for and I couldn’t keep it to myself. I had to do what ever I could do to fight for justice, to bring love and BE love. We as a family had to do anything we could to make things better for someone. Anyone, even if it was just for one person out of billions suffering from injustice and brokenness. So my husband and I yielded to this newfound pain we were feeling. We yielded to the tenderness we were feeling for our brothers and sisters in Africa. We yielded our hearts to the Holy Spirit and let Him work. As a result, we became the parents of the most beautiful girl in November 2011 and were able to welcome her home in January 2012. This last summer we were able to find and meet her Mother and we were able to share with her how big and how great our God is. That He loved her and her daughter so much that He is redeeming their brokenness, their pain, their suffering. He is redeeming it all.
I often wonder, “What if we had said no?”
Through our yielding, adoption has not been the only thing God has prompted us to do. We have had the privilege of taking mission teams to Ethiopia. We have watched the hearts of our friends break over the same brokenness our hearts break over. We have seen a passion for orphan care grown in our children and in our friends. We have participated in fights against Human Trafficking. We have become proud advocates for companies such as Noonday and No.41 and organizations such as Ordinary Hero, Compassion International, and Stop Child Trafficking Now. All of which bring HOPE for a better future. All of which bring restoration. All of which bring the hope of Jesus to the broken.
Through God and His infinite goodness my plain, normal, not very special family here in West Texas has gotten to help change my daughter’s world and the world of her mother and brothers. We have gotten to sponsor children and make people aware of the injustice and suffering around the globe. I guess that defines us as “World Changers”. The title doesn’t feel right. We don’t feel adequate to claim such a thing or worthy to be called that. But through God, and surrendering to those tugs in your heart and saying YES to whatever it is that He may be calling you to do, you too can be a “World Changer”. No matter how plain, normal and boring. Anybody can change the world.
I would like to propose a challenge to you. I challenge you to pray bold prayers. With a willing heart to say yes no matter how scary or intimidating that outcome of those prayers may be. You know the verse we all learn as children?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
You really can. You can change the world through Christ who strengthens you.