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GREECE UPDATE: Just call me Regina George

Listen up, kiddos. Mama’s got a story for you.

Just in case you’re about to click away, let me start with a PSA:

IF YOU CLIFF DIVE, LAND FEET FIRST.

Alright, so now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you the story of how I did not do that.

If this were a movie, it would probably start out with a shot of me in a Grecian hospital bed surrounded by nurses all speaking loudly in Greek to each other over the sound of my heart monitor, and me just watching them very confusedly from above the oxygen tube in my nose a la Hazel Grace Lancaster. Then there would be a disk scratching noise and a freeze frame, and a voiceover of me saying, “I bet you’re wondering how I got myself into this situation.”

Caption: 24 hours earlier.

[Camera pans over the breathtaking Aegean sea, which–SPOILER ALERT–I am about to lose a fight with]

So, everyone is standing in line to jump off the highest point of the cliff. Obviously, right? Our security may rest in Jesus, but that doesn’t mean we want to go down in history as the kid who ALMOST jumped off of the highest cliff.

Anyway, I got to the front of the line and…well, jumped. Like ya do.

Except I hit the water wrong, which hopefully ya don’t do.

At first I thought maybe I had just gotten the wind knocked out of me really badly, but on some level I knew that it was more serious than that. I knew as I sank down, saltwater filling my mouth, that the pain was worse than it should have been. And when I came up for air, I knew that breathing was harder than it used to be.

I swam a few feet, believing with all my heart that it was going to pass. I had to get out of the way for the next jumper.

Just get out of the way.

Just get out of the way.

Just get out of the way.

I focused on that for as long as I could before admitting defeat and calling for help.

Everything is kind of a blur after that. I remember gripping the side of a cliff after my teammates helped me get mostly out of the water, bending over the rock surface and trying not to be sick. I remember being towed by other swimmers to a different shore, one that was easier to get out at. I remember waiting almost 2 hours on a relatively flat rock for the ambulance to arrive.

6 hours after I jumped, I arrived at the hospital. A couple of CT scans and an MRI later, I had my diagnosis. The worst of it was a fractured vertebrae. As bad as that sounds, it was a huge relief to know what was wrong. After that my attitude shifted to worry–would I ever walk again, or run, or swim? Was that the last time I would ever stand?

The answer to all those questions is that I will make a full recovery (praise God) after 6-8 weeks in a back brace. Just call me Regina George.

After I had my diagnosis, I got some painkillers and then everything calmed down quite a bit. I still couldn’t speak very well due to the fact that my lungs were angry at me, but I was able to get a good night’s rest, which I was and still am grateful for.

Tl;dr. I used to look like this…

Now I look like this…

And God is good.

And He is sovereign.

There were a couple of moments yesterday when that simple fact, that God is sovereign, brought me back to the familiar place of questioning His love for me. After all, how could a God who loves me AND is sovereign allow this to happen to me?

But I’ve had a long time to mull it over, and it’s starting to make sense that He could be using this for my good, and even for my team’s good. It’s starting to make sense that this is just a part of His perfect plan.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that line in Praise You In This Storm my Casting Crowns that goes, “You are who You are no matter where I am.” God’s plan is infinitely greater than me. Plus, He didn’t have to let me live through that, much less give me a great chance at a full recovery. Yet, here I am. He gave me incredible doctors and a peaceful room and friends who are praying for me. He made it so that insurance would completely cover my hospital bills. There is always so much to be thankful for.

I’ll leave you with something I wrote in my quiet time journal after a pretty discouraging week:

“Psalm 139:18 says, ‘I come to the end–I am still with you.’ That is how I’m going to roll out of this trip. No matter what happens during the rest of our time in Athens, we’re going to come to the end and still have Him. That is all we have ever needed.

My spirit has communion with its Maker right now, and if that’s all I have then I have everything.

I’m starting to realize that there is absolutely no merit to this pressure I’ve been feeling to be productive. Jesus never commanded His disciples to be productive, only to be faithful. He is the one with the ability to yield results, not me.

So I’m going to have faith. I’m going to keep dreaming about what Athens could be, and I’m going to keep praying that God would bring it to fruition. I’ve been treating Him like a weak God, but that isn’t true of Him at all. I’m going to keep believing that He is going to finish what He started here.

And I’m going to keep struggling. The spiritual attacks have been brutal for my team this week, but as long as God is with me I’m not admitting defeat. He is greater.”

All of that is still true as I type this from my hospital bed. Truer than I realized when I wrote It, probably.

God is greater than my injuries, and He is greater than any giants you are facing today.

Until next time,

Jenna

P.S. This kept me entertained for a good while: http://the-toast.net/2016/06/06/bible-verses-where-behold-has-been-replaced-with-look-buddy/

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4 Comments

  1. Janet Martin

    June 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Jenna, Jenna, Jenna,!!!
    OMG!! I talked to Dad, you are amazing, God is most Amazing!!! Praying and praise God for are in His care and are ok. Really OK!!! I love you! Grandma Janet

    1. Jenna

      June 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you! It’s definitely been a rough couple of days, but I’m getting through it with Him. 😊

  2. Joy Morse

    June 11, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Oh my Jenna, what a work God is doing in your life. God heard all the generational prayers that have been prayed over since your birth on the day of your accident. What day did it happen? What a beautiful praise to God in hard circumstances. The other day someone said to me, “Circumstances don’t create character, they reveal character. Much has been revealed about your character. Praise the Lord. Well, I have a hundred questions but I’ll call your mother tomorrow and see if she has answers – smile. I knew you were in Greece and have prayed for you (and Miranda, Carah Robenalt, Jessica Van Kley, or others you probably don’t know on mission trips. Miranda is home from Malawi. My nephew, Baylor Bresemann, from Baylor University is also in Greece but I don’t know exactly where. You are a wonderful writer – thank you. Love you and extra prayers for a great recovery. Love, Joy

    1. Jenna

      June 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      It happened 2 days ago, Saturday morning. Thank you so much for the encouragement! It’s been pretty crazy. I really appreciate your prayers!

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