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A Personal Update…

by | Jan 1, 2018

January 1, 2018 9:00am

It was about this time of morning, exactly 2 years ago, when I got the call.

One of those calls you pray you never receive. One of those calls that puts you in a puddle on the floor. One of those calls that changes your life – forever.

Me and the girls are having a lovely New Years getaway in Gulf Shores with dear friends when my estranged husband calls from Atlanta. The phone rings. I don’t pick up – he’s not the first person I want to talk to in 2016. He calls again. I ignore it. A third call. Exasperated, I pick up. He says

“I have bad news. You should sit down…

Stephanie died last night.”

If you’ve ever received unexpected devastating news, you may know the physiological response. That feeling of all the blood draining from you while being punched in the gut. The wind knocked out of you. There are no tears. Only a sick, reeling feeling, an emotional grenade explosion.

Shaking, I turn off the phone and hand it to Tara.

“Stephanie is dead. Call him back and find out what happened.”

Tara and her family lived on White Street with me, Steph and our families for many years. We did meal share, kids, playsets, cackling and life together. It’s amazing that with so many days, months and years spent together, this blurry pic is the only photo ever captured of us together:

Left to right back row: Tara and Steph, front row: me and 4th meal share momma Anne. Our motto on the street “Don’t crack up alone.”

It’s hard to describe my friendship with Stephanie to other adults, because I’ve never had another adult friendship quite like ours. It was a friendship that permitted and encouraged the most ridiculous, silly and hilarious behavior imaginable. Together, we were like two 7th graders trapped in adult bodies.

Acting out our favorite Saturday Night Live skits in ways you’d never do at a dinner party. Or, if you did, you definitely regretted later. Sally O’Malley and Mary Katherine Gallagher impersonations were the norm, as were all kinds of nicknames and greetings: hello = “sup, trick?” Goodbye = “peace out sucka!” Calling to vent our frustrations about this or that thing was called “dump trucking”. I remember us cutting up at our kids school one day, and another mom looking at us like we were crazy. LOL Oh me… typing this out… ouch… I really miss you Trick.

I’ll continue this story later. I just couldn’t write a “personal update” without acknowledging how New Years Eve and Day are… significant.

It just occurred to me some of you may not know me. Whoops! I’m Jen Gordon, designer and creator of the Hope Deck. 🙂 I send out periodic personal and product updates and awesome God wink stories that I hope encourage others in their faith.

I want to thank all of you that replied with encouragement and prayers for me and the Hope Deck project last year. Here’s what God did in 2017 for His glory:

  • Gave me the courage and faith to resign from my stable, salaried, known, comfortable full-time job as creative director for YEC and start my own business working on the Hope Deck.
  • Over-funded the Kickstarter campaign by almost $3000 to help pay for the second printing of the Hope Deck
  • Assembled warriors who see the enemy slaying potential of cards to join the referral program and help spread the word about the Hope Deck!

For 2018 God has brought several themes to mind that I imagine will weave throughout any new artwork/worship tools He creates through me:

  • Reconciliation – Confession of sin, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, repair – what can the Holy Spirit do that is beyond my imagination? How do I hold on to hope and desire for redemption in the midst of great brokenness?
  • Community – What does it look like in our busy culture? Do I need to be this busy? What relationships is God calling me to, that I am resisting?
  • Prayer – Listening, asking, listening, asking, listening in the name of Jesus Christ and revealing of God’s voice and will
  • Purpose – Finding purpose, abundance and joy in God’s will regardless of my current circumstances

Lastly, there is a strong prompting to learn more about how God is moving in your lives. What is God doing? Can you relate to any of the things God is bringing forth for me to ponder and act on?

You didn’t find out about the Hope Deck by coincidence or for no reason. We may never meet, but I believe our lives have intersected for a reason, albeit reasons we may not understand this side of heaven. One thing I do know is together and connected we are a bigger voice, bigger love, bigger God glorifying chorus!

Please shoot me an email and tell me which of these four things: Reconciliation, Community, Prayer and Purpose resonate with you. Doesn’t have to be a long message, just take a couple of minutes. My desire is to have a piece of all of us in whatever comes next for the Hope Deck.

I would seriously *love* for your sweet soul to be represented!

With immense gratitude and love, jen