Strong Women Wednesday – Jenna Horgan
When I was coming up with ideas for my blog, I started to realize that I can’t create this community on my own. Nor would the community thrive if it were just me providing you with encouragement. I wanted to offer you wisdom and hope from women just like you and I. Women who have been in the trenches and have experienced the best and worst of life. I pray that I will find women who are willing to share their stories with us on a weekly basis. The stories don’t have to be amazing or jaw dropping. Because truth be told, any story where Jesus is present is a jaw dropping story on its own. Sit back, relax and enjoy our first edition of Strong Women Wednesday!
I first met Jenna Horgan about 3 years ago. She was on the same church missions trip to Kenya that my husband was on. I remember hugging her the first time we met and feeling as if I’ve known her all my life. Jenna is the kind of friend you’ve always needed. She is raw, honest, truth-filled and an absolute joy to be around. I am so thankful she agreed to let me interview her for my first Strong Women Wednesday post.
KE: Jenna, tell me about yourself
JH: I Moved to Kenya, Africa in 2014 as a single Missionary to help in two Lower Primary Schools in the villages of Vipingo and Bomani. In High School I use to pray that God would take me out of my small town and do something so big and unexpected with my life. I remember distinctly sitting in class looking out windows thinking “what if … what if God took me out of my small town in Wisconsin and did something big. Would I ever be good enough for that? Would I ever have a skill strong enough to do that?” Right now I am the Administrator of an Academy that was founded by my sending church where I over see close to 400 lower primary students, 35 Staff, a feeding center, and help run our brand new baby rescue center. I never found a skill that made me good enough for this life I get to live every day. And every morning I wake up in Kenya still not good enough for this life. But, I found a God who I think gets secret kicks by using the least of these to do big things:)
KE: How do you define strength and what does it look like in your life?
JH: Strength is 100% faith in who you serve. and I’ll explain why…. There isn’t a reason anyone (even my mother. who thinks the sun shines from my bellybutton) could list what would make me suited for what I am doing. I fear change. I’m strongly attached to my friends. I was a ‘Ritalin Child’ who grew up with ADD and Dyslexia. I’m insecure. I can’t handle the heat. I get lonely, too easily… But I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind. And I’d give my whole life to this God who holds the universe in His hands. So when He said ‘it’s time’ … pack two bags and hug your family, you get to move to Kenya, I did it. And when the position was needed of Administrator – I knew who wrote that into place. I know my God is so much bigger and so much stronger then where I could ever take my ministry. I am strong because I know whom I belong to. I have faith that He can do ANYTHING he wants with my small life. And he is:)
KE: As you know, strong faith is the focus of my ministry/website. But it can be hard to maintain a strong faith when life gets real messy. What do you do to keep your relationship with Jesus as strong as possible?
JH: I take time outs. Someone once said “don’t replace what is urgent with what is important” And I think that came from an author so you might want to google that. #CopyRights So, when my day requires 5 meetings, one trip into the market to buy 400 KG’s of beans, one Bible Study and give the 8th grade girls the sex talk at school? And I know that my heart isn’t good? I remember not to replace what is urgent with what is important. I get right with God and beg him to make good time so I can still get stuff done. He rarely humors me. Just to be put on record.
KE: Managing a household is hard. Whether you work, stay home, are single, married or have 8 kids; women often feel like they are just surviving each day. What advice would you give to women to help them strengthen their family?
JH: God could have picked anyone to do what you are doing! He literally had a choice between 7.125 billion other people but chose YOU to change that diaper, drive that car pool, lead that staff meeting, hire that employ ….
Be certain that God is into the details.
You were chosen.
So be faithful in the small things;)
KE: Depending on your definition of strength, “strong body” can mean something different to everyone. What healthy habits do you incorporate into your daily schedule to help keep your body strong?
JH: Sometimes I try not to put so much fudge on my ice-cream…. I’m sorry. On this one I fail.
KE: What do you feel is the difference between relying on your own strength and relying on God’s strength?
JH: I’ll answer this personally. Because I don’t think I have the code for this one..
Sometimes, for me, it means not preparing so much. Like when I have a staff meeting and I KNOW the ‘subject’ but don’t know the way I’m going to execute it. I ask God with my whole heart to show up and walk in and listen to him. Kinda like ‘praying for rain and then bringing an umbrella’ deal.
I also listen for the whispers:) the “go talk to them quick. I know it’s weird. I know you’re late. But because those two things are against you and you’re still thinking about it … Maybe God has something He wants you to do”
KE: Would you mind sharing something you have struggled with and telling us how you used God’s strength to get you through?
JH: I talk big, but I still have moments when I cry sitting on my bathroom floor thinking, I’m not brave enough to be living this life.
I remember a Bible College professor telling me once “God doesn’t need you! He could use the jaw bone of a DONKEY (true story. happened in the Bible) to accomplish His will”
I also think that as women – we’re allowed to have breakdown moments on that bathroom floor where we ‘ugly cry it out’. Who say’s that God doesn’t meet us there. Or that honestly it isn’t just plain healthy sometimes.
KE: If you could share one message with every woman who is willing to listen, what would it be?
JH: You are so much stronger then what you think you are.
You have the ability to change the world with your patience and your gentleness.
Being a strong woman doesn’t always mean that your at the front of a picket line or the top of some business venture. You hold so much together just by the way you wake up every day instead of giving up. People are watching. And you will never get to chose who will see you one day loving Jesus in a simple way and have it change their life. Be faithful in the small stuff:)
KE: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JH: Can I share some truth?
I’m not fully funded anymore living in Kenya. I’m only about half of where I’m suppose to be. That was another faith step – knowing that this is home and this is where I’m suppose to be and that I’d have to keep working at finding people who may be interested giving in missions to get me back to the mark I needed. If you are interested in giving you can contact me here – firstname.lastname@example.org
And if not – don’t fret for a second:) Just be praying with me! I have tasted and seen how big my God is and He’s got this:) If you’d like monthly updates – just write to that address as well! I’d love to keep sharing
Thanks Jenna for opening your heart with our readers and giving us a glimpse into how you draw your strength from the Lord. If you would like to share your story during a Strong Women Wednesday post or know someone who would, please click on my Contact page and send me a message.
Stay tuned for next week as I have the privilege of featuring the amazingly creative woman who took my crazy ideas and turned them into this beautiful website.