More About the Founder, Jenny

 

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? 

No? Maybe?

Well, that's a big-picture view of my story. And here are all the juicy details:

Part 1: Adulting

 
adulting three to abandon
 

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

 
the deal three to abandon
 

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

 
wish three to abandon
 

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.

 
life purpose
 

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 - 

 

 

My Oklahoma State Response to Westboro Baptist Church

 
 

On Oct 24 a terrible tragedy happened to my "extended" family at Oklahoma State University. Everyone knows the story by now. Many have mourned. Many are still mourning. My very own best friend escaped the crash by the grace of God and is still wrestling with emotions and thoughts she can't explain. Sometimes it's hard to keep the faith. Where was God in all this? What was His purpose? Or how do accidents and tragedies fit in His purpose? Some of those questions are hard to answer, because it's part of a bigger picture we can't comprehend. We don't have the knowledge or perspective in order to understand. In the meantime, that's what community is for: to support, to speak truth when nothing makes sense, to love. That's what Oklahoma State has done so far, among many others, including our in-state "rivalry" Oklahoma University. (Way to go guys!) We thank everyone for the prayers and support.

I don't have all the answers, but I'd like to continue the overwhelming support for my OSU family by completely slaying the misguided theology and tactics of Westboro Baptist Church. Their insensitive tweets on Saturday were enough to make me want to write this, but then I heard they were going to picket the victims. They have the freedom to do what they will, but I think today it's time for a bible lesson straight from an OSU alum. Ready to study-up, Westboro? Here are the verses you SHOULD be referencing... 

  1. Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn." (The entirety of Romans 12 is applicable actually.)
  2. Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice."
  3. Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
  4. James 4:11-12 "Do not speak evil against one another....But who are you to judge your neighbor?"
  5. James 1:26 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."
  6. Colossians 3:8 "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
  7. Luke 6:31 "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
  8. Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do." 
    • *I forgive you, Westboro*

Not that we need any more evidence, but one of my favorite things about Jesus is He often got most passionate when confronting religious leaders about their hypocrisy. He wasn't passionately confronting men or women about their sexual orientation or experiences. He wasn't passionately confronting addicts or thieves. But He did passionately confront those who did not practice what they made a living of preaching. So because you consider yourself religious leaders, being a "church," you may also want to reference Matthew 23 *Jesus gets passionate about hypocrites*, and John 8 *Jesus shows religious leaders they should not condemn others, no matter their circumstances*. 

At all times we should strive to exhibit Faith Hope and Love, and "the greatest of these is love." That's what the Oklahoma State family does. That's what true Christian family does. (1 Cor. 13) 

Because your church is so keen on being "honest" I'm here to tell you, with love and truth, that you have a very warped view of Christianity.

You will never, ever, change someone's heart by telling them they are hated. You will never, ever, show them who the real Jesus is by calling them derogatory names. You will never, ever, be effective in your communication if you harass others, especially when they are in mourning.

 

There are so many more verses and so many good people that are the example of what you should be spending your time on instead of picketing or using social media to hate others. But I can promise you one thing, if you choose to picket any victims of the Oklahoma State incident including the students themselves, my families will be there. We will gladly show you what true love looks like. That's Oklahoma State. That's real Christianity.

 - J Fleming

Founder Three to Abandon, Christ lover, Christ Follower, Proud and Thankful Oklahoma State Alumna

 
 

Syrian Refugees: I'm Sorry, We Have a "Not Right Now" Problem

 
Dollarphotoclub_76210168.jpg
 

 

Refugees - I'm sorry.

I'm sitting here drinking my hot cup of tea, bundled up in a $40 sweater, typing on my more than $1K mac. I'm reading about your torture and I'm angry. But in the moment I'm comfortable.

While you suffer, I'm eating dinner. While you drown, I'm brushing my teeth. While you wander across land that's not yours, it's just a brand new day for me in the same old routine.

I like having this comfort too much. I like my life...

I'm sorry.

I'm angry that no one wants to take responsibility for your safety or basic human needs. But I've got to tell you that our response, or lack there of, is all because of this problem that we have - it's a not right now problem.

All of you other countries around the world - take these people in! But us, not right now. You guys please find God, He's the answer! But we can't show Him to you, not right now. You will get help in due time when it really matters! But not right now, because we're not even sure what "when it really matters" looks like.

I'm sorry.

I'm a Christian and I'm supposed to be carrying the torch on what freedom and fearlessness really looks like, but not right now. You see my Governor he says he's a Christian too, but he's too scared to let you in. He could be a huge contributor to forming some sort of strategy to bring refugees in and still protect our nation, even if it is a smaller select number, but not right now. He, we, could remember that Christ cares more about reaching out to the hurting more than he does being safe, but not right now. My governor may still be super busy worrying about our own morality right now, so no time to save people. Not right now.

Refugees - I'm sorry.

But it's time to be honest. Sorry isn't good enough. And our fake love isn't good enough. Distant "love" doesn't keep you fed or safe. Our "praying for you" promises might be little lies. It is - for lack of better words, and for the sake of being blunt - lazy, selfish, cowardly bull. It is thumb-twiddling, acting busy, seemingly apologetic, crap. I can see Jesus flipping another table right now.

We are the next pharisees. 

I'm so tired of Americans and Christians alike being a "not right now" people. What we're doing right now is hiding. Behind our screens, behind our style, behind our jobs, behind our lifestyle, behind our obligations and appointments. We placed this all on ourselves. You, refugees, have nothing to do with this fear, deep shame, and doubt that lives in us. We fan that flame daily and we think we love it.

Brothers and sisters, it's time to wake up and not fear death. Or even more shockingly, it's time to wake up and not fear much smaller things: sharing your home, sharing your money, sharing your food, sharing your clothes, sharing His word. Is the only thing you're actually doing right now is focusing on hoarding those small things you clearly cherish more than Jesus? For those who aren't Christian, do you cherish these frivolous things more than love and simple humanity? 

There is never an option for "not right now." There is no such thing. Time moves. God moves. People move. A people in need is moving toward you RIGHT NOW. They can't even plead their case with you because they don't have time to make their argument when they're drowning, starving, dying, weeping, suffering.

 

Americans, Christians - 

Don't read this and feel more shame or guilt - feel awakened and ready. Don't get suggestions on how to help and stay seated - rise up and choose to do one of them. Don't read this and push it off to "not right now" - share it and DO.

  1.  Click here to see practical ways to help.
  2.  Click here to have the opportunity to serve refugees and lose that fear, that insecurity and doubt.

I'm sorry, refugees, that it took us so long. But a few good people are ready right now. 

 

I hope you see this apology, refugees. I hope it spreads like wildfire.

- J

 

 

More Info on Three to Abandon