Hi there, purpose seeker...
Welcome to Three to Abandon! And thanks for reading a little bit more about who I am and why I started this. It's been quite an epic, wild ride God has had me on in order to get to here, so I really hope you enjoy this story. Heck, grab a bag of popcorn and glass of wine while you're at it, because things might get a little dramatic.
Do you ever look back and realize your road to a big life milestone actually started long before you even knew what was happening? Like when you really think about all the components, all the moments, the things you believed to be irrelevant... you realize all of it ended up being a part of something really grand?
Well, that's a big-picture view of my story. And here are all the juicy details:
Part 1: Adulting
Since I was a young girl, I've had big dreams, a strong personality, and very different ideas that I just didn't know how to chase or embrace.
I was both artistic yet analytical. Outgoing yet introverted. Strategic yet impulsive. Believer yet rebel. Confused yet confident.
So naturally, as I got older I channeled all of this personal dichotomy and uncertainty into a career in Marketing and Advertising. I felt like it would give me the freedom to contribute to nearly any sector or area of life, and that, my friend, would satisfy me depending on what part of ME I wanted to embrace at the moment.
But of course, this perceived freedom would be short-lived.
After moving around a lot, having many different roles, I knew the corporate life was unfulfilling for me, albeit entertaining.
I started to wonder what my true calling was, and this thought would continuously come back around, whispering to my soul, as if someone were gently tapping me on the shoulder.
Eventually, I started working with a Christian non-profit in their creative department. Though I was already a Christian, steadily my thirst for a relationship with Christ grew even more, and I was also starting to believe my talents finally held meaning! Finally, I was using what God gave me - my weird ideas, my strategic mindset, my creativity - for the greater good. How grand!
But yet again, that job satisfaction only lasted for so long, and yet again I was asking God "is this really what you would have me do with my life? Is this what I'm meant for?"
Then reality, or rather God, came knocking... hard.
Part 2: The Deal
In 2013 I had to have an emergency appendectomy - a seemingly normal procedure, until the surgeon met with me post-surgery week later to quietly say, "it looks like cancer... You're lucky, when we usually find this it's spread throughout the body... We're sending it to Mayo Clinic to be confirmed... You'll probably have to have chemo... We'll first do another surgery and..." (Her words faded out as the world around me turned into a blur.)
Tests would be run. Lab results would be passed around. Doctors would talk about me. And I waited for two long weeks to hear from a bunch of strangers how I would live my life for the next few months, maybe even years.
In that time, there was a lot of prayer, a lot of searching, a lot of crying, and a lot of promises made to God.
"I haven't even really lived yet," I said. "You haven't even used me yet." And my final plea was to strike a deal with Him.
I cried in my car a lot so that no one at work would know yet. Heck, I hadn't even told my family outside of my husband - I couldn't bring myself to it. It was in that time alone that I made my appeal:
"If you rid me of this, I swear, I will use it for your glory and to help your people. If you do this for me, Lord. I promise I will."
Part 3: Is This Real Life
Walking into my followup appointment, my husband and I blasted C+C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now" on his phone. We were ready for whatever was next; we had already started the process of grief, and having just passed the "bargaining and depression" stages, it kind of felt like we were on our way to the acceptance stage already. So somehow this music - in whatever weird world we were living in - seemed appropriate.
Now, I don't know how to ease into this part of the story, because honestly it just blindsided me. Yet it was done so nonchalantly at the same time...
The surgeon walked in, and in a complete monotone voice, said that my results had come back. Their tests revealed something questionable, "strange cells, but not cancer."
So basically, let's just end the story here, I'm an X-men or something.
In all seriousness though, I sat dumbfounded that after all this emotional agony, I had actually escaped the dreaded diagnosis no one wants to hear or experience. I would have to see an oncologist for a little bit just to be sure, but for now it looked like my life's path made a 180 degree turn.
I don't know if this was a mistake or a miracle. But it was certainly a message, and my faith after that grew.
I knew I had no time to waste on the deal I had struck and the promise I had made.
Part 4: Do.
From that time on, I started to chip away at figuring out God's plan for my life, my purpose. Very intentionally.
Partly because I really wanted to embrace the promise I made, and partly because I was living with PTSD for a little while and thought if I didn't hold up my end of the bargain my mystery cells would indeed turn into cancer.
Luckily that's not how God works!
But just like Rome wasn't built in a day, it took a while for me to discover the purpose God had for me, and I prayed for more than a year on that topic specifically.
Finally, as I'm sitting in my car again, a year later, the first thing He told me to do in pursuit of the purpose for my life, after all of this mess and all this time, was simply "Do."
That's it. And there I was. Thinking about a few things: 1. God really likes my car. He seems to reveal a lot to me when I'm there... and 2. I was both excited yet unsure. His message was so... what am I trying to say here... vague.
After processing for a bit, my response was just as short as his message to me. "Ok," I said.
It was then I realized that I had not ever in my life actually been living in pursuit of my calling or my purpose because I hadn't actually been chasing it. I wasn't actually DOING anything bigger or more daring than just my day-to-day job in order to find it.
News flash: you do not find your purpose in the comfort of the norm.
It was all coming back around for me now, full circle. He gave me a diverse - and at times contradicting - toolkit of talents and strengths, so that I might use it all to seek and find.
From then on, doors opened, doors closed. New ideas came into my mind and new passions burned in my heart. I explored and had fun doing it while I helped others in the process.
And if something wasn't working out in the moment, I pulled up my big girl panties and switched gears. Because I knew it wasn't for nothing, and it was fun while it was happening.
But the most amazing thing in this pursuit of purpose was that I felt like there was this invisible freight train behind me, pushing me full-speed. I didn't know where I was headed day-to-day, but I knew, every moment during that time period, that God had me going somewhere specific. There was no stopping it. And I had no doubt or fear about it. That's when Three to Abandon bloomed.
Little did I know, helping others find God's purpose would be part of my purpose today. It has all led to this.
This is a non-profit organization that has engaged hearts and souls from people all over the U.S. and beyond, that's helping them find out who they really are and who they're really meant to become. I'm so honored God chose me to create this for others.
What will happen next? Will this be an organization that exists for decades? What will it grow into? I have absolutely no idea!
What I do know, is that right now, people are finding hope and finding their purpose through this organization. I kid you not - my crazy journey to purpose has paved the way for you if you are willing to simply explore it.
I hope this portion of my life story has inspired you to get up and chase what God has for your life and abandon anything that's held you back so far. If you start that journey with us, great. If it's through some other avenue, great.
Either way, let's do it. You're going to look back and some point like me, and it's all going to make sense.
- Special shout out to Jenny's husband, Zac, who continues to support her big dreams and love her unconditionally through this effort of helping others. Guiding verse: 2 Timothy 1:7 -