My empire came soon enough.
I moved to Portland, Oregon.
I met and married Brian.
I finished college at George Fox University with a 3.96 GPA (Social & Behavioral Sciences).
I was a full-time Worship Pastor for Students.
I oversaw a ministry leadership team of 50+.
I conquered a 3-year battle with “infertility” and had Chance.
I, I, I… me, me, me… I had more than I would ever need. But it wasn’t enough. I ALWAYS had to be better… I always wanted more.
To be honest, I never TRULY thought I was “all that”. In fact, I was certain I was nothing… but I gave everyone around me the appearance that I had “arrived”. If I wasn’t the best… you bet I worked day & night till I was. If I knew I couldn’t be “better” than you in “that”, I made sure I was better than you in something else. I thrived on hearing those words, “Jenni is SO good at ______.” I had EVERYTHING to prove.
… and everything to lose.
To the public, Brian and I were the couple that had it all. We had the big house, the thriving ministry, the coolest friends, the cutest, most well-behaved baby… blah blah blah. But what was REALLY happening behind the scenes? I was a ticking time-bomb.
My worship band was being asked to play extra gigs. We had two recording projects under our belt. I was stealing time away from my family to “DO MORE” for Ministry. This made me feel important… after all, I was doing all this for God, right? In “doing more”, all I was really doing was becoming less. I was burning out.
I left Student Ministries. I was aware enough to know I had lost myself in all of this… but I had NO idea where to start looking for me.
About this same time, we started losing all our “stuff“. I no longer working. Brian’s business was no longer flourishing. We couldn’t keep up with our house payments. We already lost one of our cars to the “repo-man”, and we were in the process of losing our house.
Brian barely had ANY of my time, and when we DID have a “date night”, I was distracted, to say the least. Brian and I rarely talked, but when we DID talk, it often ended in a disagreement. The disagreement would end with me EXPLODING on him. This made it impossible for Brian to EVER want to pursue or be open with me.
I didn’t see it then, but I had become my Mother. I made Brian walk on eggshells. If we’re gonna REALLY be honest, I was just WAITING to see how far I could push Brian till he left me.
That’s when I did the unthinkable. I dove head-first into an affair. The seven-year-old side of me thought I had finally found someone who really loved me and would pursue me. Finally. But the 28-year old side of me was ready to demolish my beautiful life… every blessing God had ever given me to show His love for me. I was about to ruin everything I had ever worked and hoped for because deep down, I didn’t believe I deserved any of it.
I was destroying my Empire with my own two hands…