Welcome to my Mercy Ship Adventure.
Please feel free to read about my journey and post a comment!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

This Time Last Year

I was sitting at work today talking to my co-workers about what I was doing this time last year. This time last year I was 2 days away from heading out into the adventure of a lifetime. This time last year I had no idea what I was in store for, how my life would change inside and out. This time last year I was running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to get every last detail taken care of. This time last year I was 2 days away from heading off to Africa to serve with Mercy Ships.

So much has changed in the last 12 months. I cannot believe that much time has gone by. In some ways it feels like it was yesterday and in some ways it feels like that part of my life was a lifetime ago. One thing is for sure, I am a changed person. Thank God for that. Thank God that though circumstances change- He does not. Though life does not go at all like you think it will, most of the time, God is our refuge and strength. It doesn't always feel like it, but He is.

Tomorrow I get the wonderful gift of getting to go to San Francisco to visit some of my very favorite and cherished friends that I met while serving with Mercy Ships. I am flying out with my friend Wendy, "Tex" as we affectionately called her, and we are meeting up with Ruth (from England) and Grace (who is staying in San Fran right now). We are also going to get to see Tyrone (the chef) and his wife Stefanie (who is also a nurse). I cannot wait to see these lovely friends again.

Tonight I am sitting with my friend Kim, talking about life and struggle and pain and grief...and being shattered. But we're also talking about the beauty that there can be in pain. The beauty in seeing how God truly does work things out. How He really is working for our good. There is beauty in being shattered and there is beauty in pain and there is hope.

Last year this time I had no idea what was on the road in front of me. And thank God that we only get to see the next step in the journey, and not down the road. If we knew what was down the road I might not ever want to take the next step. But thanks be to God who gives us the courage and faith to take the step. I am better for every step I have taken and more alive than ever, simply for being on the journey.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So much love for the Southfield Christian Girls!!

Yesterday I had the AMAZING opportunity of getting to share my story with the high school girls at Southfield Christian Schools. Oh my goodness how I LOVED it and LOVED them!! Thank you girls for listening to my stories. Thank you girls for letting me share with you. Thank you girls for sharing some of your stories with me.

I hope I get to come back again soon. What a gift you ladies are!

I will write more later about what I shared. But for now, just wanted to share my great love for these high school young women!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The View from the Valley

Recently on facebook I posted my status as, "Jenny is in a valley". A friend of mine typed back asking "how's the view?". At first I thought, "what a dumb question - there is no view". Sometimes because of where you are - you can't see anything but your current state of affairs. You cannot see the hope rising or the lessons learned - because you are in the midst of it. You don't have the vantage point of looking down on it to gain perspective.

Then I realized that wasn't entirely true. The truth is that there is a view from the valley. It might not be the million dollar view from the mountaintop, but there are still things to see and learn. Sometimes the view is priceless.

One thing I am learning is this - loss is extremely painful and changes things forever - but it is not completely unbearable. If I am willing to acknowledge it, I dare say there is even some good in it. I have never felt more loved and supported by so many friends and family members. I knew it before, but now I really know it - I am loved and I am not alone. There have been so many people willing to climb down into this valley and walk along side me. There have been so many who wish desperately that I didn't have to be in this valley at all.

Then there is the whole compassion thing. I have a whole new understanding of compassion for hurting people. For sure, none of us have the exact same experience or the exact same reaction to a situation. But, I certainly feel as though I have a much greater understanding for those who have endured loss. For anyone who has lost a dream, lost a person, lost hope or for anyone that has woken up one day to find that life is infinitely harder than they ever thought imaginable - I get it.

And then there is my dear mother. I love her more than ever. Over the past few months I have come to the startling realization that I am more like her than I ever cared to notice before. But the truth is, I am so glad to be like her. I am glad to have this shared experience with her. God has used this experience to bind us together like nothing else ever could. I want to be strong like her. I want to be tender like her. I want to find love like she found love. I want her to have that love again someday. I am thankful to be on this journey with her.

So, where am I in the valley? I am not sure. The truth is I started writing this post "View from the Valley" exactly one month ago. The past 30 days have been harder than I thought. I thought things would get easier and they have not. I thought things would hurt less, they hurt more. I thought I would have "moved on", I have perhaps set up camp. But, you know what? I am ok with that. I am tired of people wanting to make things better for me. I am tired of people telling me what to do to get out of the valley. I am tired of being tired.

The truth for me is this - the valley is not all bad. I firmly believe it is where I am suppose to be - for right now. I am not planning on being here forever. I am planning on turning my face towards God and letting Him do the healing. And, then I will put one foot in front of the other and at some point I will be on the other side of the valley.