Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Jenny Pena
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This little Instagram reel I added to YouTube will give you a quick walkthrough of how we came to be where we are now. It’s still incredible to me!
A bit of my crazy history first!
Yep, I dropped out of a Linguistics Master’s program and was so lost I had no idea what to do with myself! My life was a wreck, I hit rock bottom and it was pretty much all my own doing. Plus the guilt of the people I hurt, friendships, relationships, I was the toxic person in people’s lives.
I desperately needed a change and thought I would join the peace corps or start a new degree, or just disappear! All I knew were these small nudges that were getting me out of the pit of despair. Small nudges, ‘hey stop doing drugs. Hey, change your vocabulary. Maybe move away from all this temptation and start fresh.’
Following all the nudges until I found myself alone in the Big Apple! Moving to NYC alone was a huge step to get away from temptation. After a few mistakes and falling into bad habits again, I started fresh and followed more nudges.
Hey, stop smoking. Maybe don’t go clubbing anymore. Stop going on dates. Your clothes, your makeup are a distraction, stop. The drinking has gotten you in enough trouble.
From atheist to Christian
Until my sober self started seeing clearly. Like a veil was lifted from my eyes and the world wasn’t such a dreary place. The colors seemed brighter, I wanted to be in the light always.
Then the questions began….is this God? Is this what the Holy Spirit feels like! A friend asked me, don’t you know what Christ did for you?!!
Can you believe that!!! I had no idea! The question stopped me in my tracks. And I prayed, Father reveal to me what Christ did for me, I want to know!
And this little booklet I was about to trash as litter in the subway, revealed the whole story in comic book form, easy to absorb and understand and I cried there, feeling undeserving, repenting and in awe of how The Most High answers prayer!
My heart began yearning to be with my family in Miami, after a series of events that I will go into at another time…I was led to live in my moms home again after 5 years of not living there (from college at 18 til after NYC), and finding a church, learning and sharing with my family all I could.
How I met my husband
But a part of me ached for a career, a certificate, a ministry or SOMETHING to keep me functioning in society. All I wanted was to get back to basics. I wanted to learn about the earth, the plants, how to grow my own food. So I enrolled in a Horticulture certification program in my community college. After another series of events and some time in the 2nd or 3rd semester of getting certified, one class in particular changed my life forever!
Entomology, or the study of insects, was so fascinating to me. To learn about pests and how to identify and get rid of them! But some of us in class were still waiting on our textbooks to arrive. So the professor asked us to find a seat next to someone who did have a textbook. So I sat next to this guy I had seen participating a ton in the class and seemed pretty smart. I needed that in order to stay focused and get a good grade.
A few of the students were in other classes with me so we often got together before and after class to discuss study groups we were arranging. A few of us were going to the botanical garden to study plant identification for a test in that class. My textbook partner sat their overhearing our plans so we felt bad and invited him to join us too. He agreed even though it wasn’t for this class.
At this point in my life I had ended some pretty toxic relationships and had prayed for The Most High to help me focus just on Him, even if it meant I would be single forever. I didn’t want the distraction, and I wanted to stop making important life decisions based on men and their wants.
So we all met at the botanical garden but my textbook friend was late, he arrived when our group was already on the opposite side of the huge garden! I felt bad when we finally met up, everyone was tired and it had started raining! I told them I was going to stay behind and find this dude and at least work on some stuff for our insect class with him. The rain stopped so we sat in the butterfly garden chit chatting. He told me about the beehive in his apartment patio, eating vegan properly, his teaching career, and I probed of course about his age and lack of family and children at 37!
Well it started raining again and he invited me to continue our conversation at a local vegan spot he liked…. sidenote: I was immediately saying no to myself, and just wanted to leave!
But I said yes on the condition that I will follow him in my own car and it was just as friends nothing more. I decided on the way there that I wasn’t going to hide my newfound faith and journey I was on. As we ate and talked, I told him about the Bible studies I was attending and hosting. Told him a bit about my testimony and where I was at in life at that point. To my surprise, he wanted to know more and had actually been looking for bible studies to join. So I invited him to one I thought he might get along with. And even mentioned to one of my friends that she might be interested in him since they were closer in age!
Welll my friends, I did see him at bible studies and in class, but it took a few more months before I accepted the invitation to dinner at his home. I was flattered by his persistence in inviting me. He assured me he just wanted to make me smoothie and a real vegan meal. So one day driving back to my home, I accepted one of his text message invitations!
The dinner was amazing, I was surprised by the beehive in his little patio, and loved the standup bass and electric guitar, from then on he was irresistible to me. His gentleness, wisdom, love for God, and patience with me just drew me in.
But I had already given my word to go to a health evangelism school in Georgia. I had said I would never change my plans for a man ever again. So after a few weeks of officially dating, I sold my car and left to Georgia! We said, if it’s meant to be we will make it work.
But then I moved away….
Sure enough, he kept going to bible studies, even attended fasts and prayers, we had daily morning devotional together, he even sent me boxes of food to my dorm for me! At that point I still had my fathers free flight benefits since he worked for an airline. So any long weekend or days off I had in a row, I would go back to visit him.
In December on one of those visits he proposed! And in February we married in the courthouse!!!
It was humbling to see the way The Most High worked everything out! I went back to Georgia after we married. We began making plans for him to join me so we can begin a life of missionary work. The idea was to travel to different countries to help teach people about natural medicine. But again, God’s plans are different.
In mid March my heart started yearning to leave Georgia. “But God please I really don’t want to be in Miami, I am so done with that city! I want to complete the time and work I have dedicated in this new school and complete the job.” But those nudges are not to be ignored friends. After a few more events that were clear signs for me to leave, I went back to Miami. With no plan, and no ideas what to do with my life….once again!
I began crying over the silliest things. We thought it was just because of alll the changes. Newly married, plans changing, adjusting to a new home, no car or job. But then my body was giving me different signs, familiar signs but this time it was so welcomed!
Yep! The pregnancy test was positive! We were beyond overjoyed and it was finally clear why I felt so strongly to move back to Miami and be with my husband. We needed to start our very own ministry, A FAMILY!!!!
You can read about more of the Most High’s hand in our lives in blog posts about our three birth stories, leaving the US for the first time and travels along the way, even marriage tips and marriage through pregnancy and verses for moms and anxiety and depression
This is our story, we broke all the expectations and lies about what people imagined about us, our young relationship and marriage….despite marrying after only a few months of meeting and dating, even after getting pregnant shortly after our marriage, we STILL are going strong and IN LOVE after 9 years and 3 babies later, praise The Most High!
- Stay always learning and growing
- pray and study the Bible together
- nurture your relationship
- forgive quickly
Try your Bible savvy with my husbands new YouTube Channel! Have a fun time with your loved on or make a bible study out of it. Be sure to subscribe and support his channel!