UNLESS

“Unless someone like you cares a whole
awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

I loved and love being a wife, and I loved and love being a mom of boys. I would give my life, my time, and my last dime to the men in my life. My longing to matter does not diminish these roles. I believe I am a better wife and mother because of this journey.

unless3Since I said yes to my water walking destiny and opened Courage House, homes for children rescued from sex trafficking, there have been over fifty girls who have called Courage House home and have called me Mom. Each are my daughters. Some are from here in the United States and some are from Tanzania, Africa.

When each arrive at Courage House I tell them that they were created on purpose for a purpose and that before time began God imagined them, planned them, and that He has something for them to do that only they can do and if they don’t do it—it won’t ever be done. I tell them that they are water walkers, giant slayers and history makers. I tell them that I cannot wipe away or even begin to explain the why of their past, I do promise them that we will walk with them into their future. I promise them that we will be there when the nightmares and flashbacks come. We will love them when they don’t love themselves. We call them family. I tell them that they will always have a home and a family. For those who leave … we keep a light on for when they want to come back home.

And for those who are still held captive, I promise you, I will not quit using my voice to shout out loud that it is wrong for children to be sold for sex. I promise you, we will engage a million people, to build a thousand homes in a hundred cities and countries so that hundreds of thousands of you can be rescued and restored — so you can be and do all you were created to.

Spotlight: For more information on the organization Jenny founded, or to be one of the million somebodies that are going to build a 1,000 homes in 100 countries in 10 years so hundreds of thousands of children can be rescued from the evil of sex trafficking, go to courageworldwide.org.

It Matters if You Quit!

You Have A Purpose,
An Important Part To Play On This Planet.

There is something for you to do that only you can do; and if you don’t do it, it will never get done. Your unique contribution matters—and it matters if you quit!

Your destiny may be tied to loving and believing in someone when they can’t love or believe in themselves. It matters if you quit! Your destiny may involve consistent and persistent parenting for a child who struggles to learn. It matters if you quit! Your destiny may require you to build, write, or create something tangible to share with this world. It matters if you quit! Your destiny may be a discovery that literally saves lives or may involve a hug to be given or a note to be written that makes another feel life is worth living. It matters if you quit! Your destiny may be one of persevering in prayer for someone’s safety, salvation or healing. It matters if you quit!

You being you matters. Much is depending upon you having the courage to be you. Quitting is not an option.

“I would literally be dead if you had quit or said no. Thank you for having the courage to be you.”

My adoptive daughters have spoken those words to me on numerous occasions since I met them five years ago; both had pasts that involved extreme sexual abuse and exploitation. Loving them and calling them family was a part of my destiny. It was difficult but quitting was never an option.

When I began my journey of purpose I never imagined or contemplated what would have been at stake had I settled for less than I was created.

Now I do. After hearing my daughter’s story, now I do.

Be Bold

Don’t let other people’s opinions distort your reality.Be true to yourself. Be BOLD in pursuing your dreams. Be unapologetically you!” – Dr. Steven Maraboli

There are children who are living in hell – children who are being sold for sex. These children, my daughters – or so it feels. They are not going to come knocking on our doors for help. Someone is going to have to rescue them. Someone is going to have to fight for them, figuratively and literally. I learned that my destiny would require me to do just that – to be one of those somebodies.

It was going to require me to take bold action. Your destiny is going to require you to do the same.

be-boldFirst you are scared. You take courage because you need it desperately. But then one day you wake up and you aren’t scared anymore. Something has changed. You are fearless. You have become bold and now you are dangerous.

The dictionary says that to be bold is “to trust, to be confident, secure, sure, to be frank in speech, confident in demeanor, outspoken, blunt, assured, to be bold, to be free, open and plain, commanding, break the silence, courageous, daring in all things and in all matters, in speaking and acting.”

I love this. It really is a picture of what it means to be living your destiny.

Boldness comes from following your Creator from the ordinary into the extraordinary, from the impossible to the possible, from the mundane to the miraculous. , You have never felt so alive. You now have something you can live for, but you also have something you would die for.

You are fearless. You are bold. You are a water walker, giant slayer and history maker. Quitting is now never an option.

Where Does Your Story Begin?

I don’t Know Max Personally But I Feel
Like I Do Because I Love Reading His Books.

He is a great storyteller! His book Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot was a tool God used in my search of my purpose and destiny. There is a fabulous assessment in it called S.T.O.R.Y. In it you are asked to write down very specific memories—one from childhood, one from your teen years, and one from your adult memory—memories or moments when you were completely and utterly yourself. Not just happy memories but significant moments when you were simply and completely being you.

Here are the guidelines to follow when thinking about your moment:

• It must be important to you, though it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it.
• It must be a specific accomplishment to you, but not a milestone, such as a birthday.
• It must be specific in actions. For example, I was good at … or I succeeded at …, not “I loved to play the piano” or “I loved to play softball.”

Mine childhood one immediately came to mind.

dont-be-ashamed-of-your-storyI performed in my first play when I was five years old. I loved every minute of being on stage. I loved everyone watching me. I loved performing for an audience. It didn’t matter if I was a pilgrim or an Indian, a farmer or a cow, a tree or a flower—I played each part as if it were opening night on Broadway!

I would stand in front of a mirror for hours perfecting my performance. Neither mirrors nor a stage frightened me at that age. A few years into my young acting career, the annual productions were not frequent enough to fulfill my need to perform in front of an audience, so I started writing and producing my own plays. Not only did I write the plays and produce them, I had the starring role. I found the costumes for the other actors, who usually included my brother, sister, and all the neighborhood children, I assigned them their parts, I advertised the event, I sold the tickets, and I knocked on doors inviting everyone I knew and anyone I didn’t to come and watch. My favorite part was seeing people come together in one place, at one time for something I had a passion for. Today I am doing the same thing.

This memory was an important clue to me discovering and fulfilling my destiny.

I am destined to bring people together for a common purpose that is bigger than themselves; a purpose that has the potential to impact another and change the world. My journey led me to a group of children being sold for sex and now I bring people together to build them homes and call them family.

What is your story? What is your memory and moment – when you were completely and utterly yourself? It may be the clue you need to find your destiny.

Be A World Changer

The First People To Hear My Grandmother
Mimi’s Eulogy Were A Group Of Little Kids.

The day I received that phone call that she had passed away was a Sunday morning, and I was scheduled to teach the children’s class at church. The story I was to teach them about David and Goliath. The focus word for the kids was courage. I was an emotional mess. Everything that morning reminded me of my Mimi—especially this particular story and word. But I would not quit. I would go tell the story of David and Goliath and my Mimi.

As I stood before the kids, I didn’t have to embellish the story to hold their attention. The story of how a shepherd boy defeated a nine-foot giant armed only with a little slingshot, some common river rocks, and an enormous belief in his God is still riveting to me.

WORLD_CHANGER_screenWhen I finished, I promised these children God would never ask them to fight a nine-foot giant with a slingshot! I did promise them, however, that at some time in their life—and probably more than once—that He would ask them to do something that was very difficult, very scary, and could only be accomplished with an enormous belief in their Creator, and all the courage they could muster. Every adult in the room nodded their agreement.

I then told them about my little grandmother and the giant she had to fight. It wasn’t a nine-foot-tall Philistine. It was prejudice and racism in the Deep South during the early 1940s and 50s before there was a civil rights movement. She fought this injustice courageously because it was simply wrong to treat any person with cruelty. She spoke up when it would have been safer to be quiet. She battled this giant because she believed her God asked her to. And now, I do the same. It is my purpose.

Our purpose is in our DNA and it is often in our histories and the generations that have come before us! Sometimes we must look back in the past before we can journey to our future.

There is deposited within us a desire within us to matter—it is part of our identity and destiny! That desire is for us to be water-walkers, giant-slayers, and history-makers. If you don’t have a family tree that includes a grandmother like mine, your destiny may be to be the very first water-walker, giant-slayer, and history-maker in your family!  Take courage! Your children and grandchildren will thank you.

You being you matters. It matters to this generation and the one to come!

How high will be the ceiling you leave for the next generation? Ignore the “what ifs” and the “how will I ever” taunts of the giant. You will be provided with all the slingshots and rocks you will ever need. Let your passion compel you into action!

Let your life be the breadcrumbs others will follow to their unique destinies!

Pinpoint Your Passion

“Finding your passion isn’t about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The only one You’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.”– Kristin Hannah

On the first day of a spiritual gifts class I attended at my church, we were asked by the instructor: “What are you passionate about?”

Passion? My passion? Me? Hmmmmmmm … The question loomed. I didn’t have an answer. My anxiety mounted as the group began putting their pens down; each person’s paper was full of passions. My paper was blank. The instructor began calling on people to share. I had no idea what I would say when it was my turn. Jenny? My mind was blank, my hands were sweating but my mouth blurted out everything – I am passionate about everything!

That was my problem.

Whatever we were having a conversation about I have an opinion on and a passion about. Ugh! How would I ever find my destiny if I couldn’t narrow down one particular passion?

I went home that night, embarrassed and whined to my husband about my predicament. I know your passion. You are the Dear Abby of the neighborhood. You love to talk. You love to give advice. You love to give encouragement. You are the eternal cheerlead! Yes! I am! Yes! I do!

This profound discovery of my passion, led me to action: I opened my home weekly to a small group of women to “do” life together. We read books, did bible studies, laughed, cried and shared our hearts – intimately and authentically. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was doing something that lined up with my passion. This group of women became the first righteous girlfriend group (RGG). We believed for and with each other. This was my first taste of my destiny—of being and doing all I was created to be and do. It was highly addictive!

Defining my passion was difficult for me, but it was a clue to my destiny. Passion was so nebulous to me. I could recognize it in others but not in myself. I did a little research on the word to help clarify exactly what a passion is. Webster calls it “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love or hate.” Ah, simplicity!

So on your journey to your destiny look for clues in what you love, hate, or get emotional about? What is your passion?

Dare to Dream

“All our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I challenge you. Dare to dream. Dare to imagine the impossible becoming possible, the ordinary; extraordinary, the mediocre; miraculous. You are chosen, you are designed, and you are created on purpose for a specific, unique purpose. Shout it out loud! Risk being seen as crazy. What do you really have to lose … except the fulfillment of your dreams?

As I stumbled along on my own journey, trying to find the courage daily to be the me I was created to be, I found another reason why birthing our dreams is so important. When you are being the “you who you were created to be,” people notice and are impacted. Your destiny isn’t for you, it is for others. Someone is waiting for you to be you.

Any and everything you have to battle through to uncover your identity and discover your destiny is worth it! Someone may be praying a prayer to God right now, waiting on Him to answer and move but maybe just maybe He is waiting on you.

“I would be dead if it wasn’t for you and your dreams. If you had not said yes to God I would not be here.”

Those words were spoken to me by a child who had been trafficked for sex since she was six years old. That is impact. I shudder to think where I would have been if I had not chosen to believe what God says about me, my life, my destiny and my circumstances. I admit there were days when I wavered with doubt, flirted with indecision, and cried a bucket of tears—but I never gave up. I never stopped believing. Quitting just wasn’t an option.

Please don’t be one of those who give up when things get difficult. Vow to never quit. Believe. Speak. Fight for your identity and your destiny. There is so much at stake! Never apologize for being you. Don’t play small so others feel better. Daily find the courage to be who you were created to be, nothing more, but absolutely refuse to settle for anything less and then encourage everyone else that crosses your path to do the same!

Speaking out loud, acting bold, seeming crazy, are all acts of faith that will grow you and your dreams. Dream big!