Today’s featured overcomer is the ever-lovely Jenna Woestman. Jenna is a master of many things – singing, cooking, mothering, writing, and wit. When I think of people who live out in the open, unhindered by shadows, this lady is one of the first to pop into my mind. She’s not afraid to admit that life is rough, and more importantly, she isn’t afraid to admit the greatness of her God. I hope you are blessed by her candor today.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What fills your days?
I’m from Indianapolis, IN by way of Dallas, TX, and I grew up in Iowa. I like to think of myself as a happy mashup of city and country; I equally love shopping and mucking out stalls, pedicures and backpacking, cocktail dresses and carhartts. I’m married to Joey, a student ministry pastor who will totally change your mind about student ministry pastors, and we have a precocious three year old daughter named Analie. I also love to feed people and lead worship, but not usually at the same time. I’m happiest at home, lost in a crowd of strangers, comfortable with a group of friends and a glass of wine, and crazy out of my mind over a fresh herb garden in summer.
What ignites your passion?
I love experiencing God through his creation, feeling the power of his Word brought to life through music, empowering my husband and being a hands-on mama to our daughter.
What is one of the biggest lies you’ve had to overcome?
My worth as a woman is not tied to my fertility or how many children I am able to have.
Tell us a bit about your story. What has God brought you through and how has it affected the way you walk with Him now?
In 2009, towards the end of my husband’s seminary education and after many months of trying to get pregnant, I experienced a difficult miscarriage and was told that we would not be able to get pregnant naturally again. The months that followed were so dark that I can’t remember much about them, except the pervading theme of worthlessness, anger at God, and not being able to understand how he would have taken the trouble to create me and yet make me broken.
But even in darkness I could not hide from God. As I crawled through the desert place, I realized the meaning of the verse in Proverbs that says “there are three things that are never satisfied, no four that never say ‘enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire”. I could not let go of my bitterness with God for making me in a way that I felt was wrong, and to be honest I really didn’t want to try very hard. It was easier to be consumed with pain and anger than it was to try to understand why God had given me something hard.
We were able to conceive our daughter through a couple rounds of IVF, which is a faith story for another time, and I held on to her with white knuckles, refusing to give her to God because I didn’t trust him. I was afraid he would take her too, just like he took our first pregnancy, and my ability to conceive children.
Then one day as I was washing dishes and listening to Scripture, the story of Sarah came alive to me in a new way. She was barren for 90 years, yet she trusted God with her only son Isaac. I stood at my sink, sobbing as I listened to Sarah’s faith and thought about how she would have felt. God showed me, in that moment, how he had prepared Sarah and carried her through what surely would have been a series of excruciating years. I realized that he had prepared me, too. He didn’t create me this way on accident. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb…your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.” (Ps 139:14-15)
What key truths have helped you overcome your biggest lies?
We are all broken, everyone just wears it differently. Each smiling face hides a story, and God can shine through each story to make his church a beautiful patchwork of healing and growth. He made me broken this way because he loves me and he wanted me to be this way to grow me, and to grow you.
If you could tell this generation of women one thing, what would it be? What truth would you declare over their hearts?
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” – Eph 2:10
God doesn’t call us to walk the road of pain without a purpose and plan. We will all find ourselves here, and some will stay longer than others, but it’s not because he doesn’t love us. If you’re struggling with anger or bitterness with God because of how he made you, it’s a hard place. It’s lonely. Persevere with God, even in the darkness, because YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made. All of you. Even the broken parts. God’s grace can show you where the light in your story is. Then, raise it high.