My name is Jenna. I grew up in West Virginia without a father.
My mother raised us on her own. I am the oldest of 4 kids; I have a brother and two sisters. Men came in and out of my life with the title of “step-dad” but none of them stayed around for very long. There was constant fighting around me as I grew up. And at the age of 17 I decided it was enough and I moved out.
I lived out the pattern I saw in my mother. I had many boyfriends that hurt me. I was abused often and raped.
I met my husband, Jeremy, when I was 18. A friend set me up on a blind date with him and we hit it off immediately. We dated a few months and then I moved in with him. I did my best to take care of him and his son by cooking and cleaning for them. But there was no commitment from him. We loved each other but we didn’t know how to love each other. We fought constantly and eventually we both had enough and I moved out.
I moved to Florida with a previous boyfriend for a few weeks but found myself yet again with a man in my life who was uncommitted to me. After moving back home I discovered I was 3 months pregnant with Jeremy’s baby. I found myself alone, a single mom, and scared.
Not long after that I was invited to attend a concert at a church. They played a song called “I Can Only Imagine” at that concert and it brought me to tears.
“I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine”
I couldn’t imagine seeing God face to face because I didn’t know him. But I knew that he wanted me to know him. So I came back to that little Baptist church to get to know Jesus and just two weeks after that concert I accepted Jesus as my Savior on a Sunday morning, shaking, crying, and completely changed. Somehow I knew that God would never leave me.
I called Jeremy to tell him what happened. I told him that I had met Jesus and that I had been baptized and had become a Christian. My new faith helped me be brave enough to ask him if we could meet and talk. I wanted to be with him; I wanted to have a family with him. Jeremy accepted Christ too and asked me to become his wife. In August of 2007, after our son was born, we were married.
Life got busy for us. We soon had 3 kids and I found myself a young wife and mom devoted to my home but completely disconnected to my husband. We were attending our church, James River Assembly, faithfully. But we were not studying the Bible together. We were not praying together. We were just working and working and trying to keep up with our kids and our life. I felt abandoned. I so desperately wanted a husband committed to leading me with Christ-like love. I gave up on Jeremy and left. I moved in with a friend and told Jeremy I wanted a divorce.
I hated him. We fought constantly. We were both so hurt and angry with each other. But God was not giving up on us and he had a plan to restore us yet again. He put a godly woman in our lives that continually encouraged us to stay together. She constantly prayed for us and our marriage. Jeremy and I wouldn’t listen but she wouldn’t give up.
Two weeks before our court date I called her to ask if I could come over and do some laundry. She was sleeping with her phone on silent when I called. But God woke her up and told her to grab her phone at the exact moment my name appeared on the screen. She answered. And that night, once again, God captured my heart and everything changed. I opened up to my friend and told her everything. I recommitted my heart to Jesus and to Jeremy. God never gives up on us.
Jeremy and I attended a counselling and a marriage class at our church. We learned that God is completely committed to us and will never leave us. But life works so much better when we commit ourselves to God as well. Jeremy and I are now more happy and in love than we have ever been.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your ways to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.