“…No matter what, God can fill every void, heal every hurt and restore anything that you’ve lost.”
The first time I ever spoke with Jenny Christian, I laughed from my soul for 30 minutes. One of those deep, rare expressions of pure freedom typically reserved for late night chats with your closest girlfriend.
The one who knows your heart and every last one of your skeletons, but loves your crazy Self anyway.
A proud daughter of Chicago’s West Side, Jenny counts a diverse array of titles among those amassed on her journey toward understanding her God-given Purpose. Content creator, author, philanthropist, model, and pageant queen among them.
But none mean as much to her in this moment, as stepping out on faith to launch FillHealRestore.com, a blog and web series created in 2016.
Her brainchild, allowing viewers to listen in as Black women and men from all walks share their experiences of transforming their personal tests into testimonies – by strengthening their faith and trusting in the power of God.
It, in its simplest form, is her ministry.
First and foremost, Jenny is a dreamer. Heavily defined by her “big hair, big heart, and big smile” mantra, it’s evident in the spark heard when she discusses her journey from thought, to vision, to final product. An undeniable spirit that preceded even her initial hello; enthusiasm and sincerity emanating from a few humble words in a Facebook message.
Reminiscent of my favorite Mary Mary verse, the presence of the Holy Spirit is wrapped around her like a favorite Sunday afternoon blanket. Cozy, warm and comfortable.
The God in her recognized the God in me, just like a sisterhood spirit should.
Evident from a vibrant Hey, to the inflection when she speaks about the power of Faith to move mountains. Even those that exist exclusively in the crevices of our insides. Or hide out in our broken places… intent on preventing any attempt to become whole.
And before, as Jenny can attest, we remember that above all – God is a restorer.
Her personal story is a wonderful illustration of His mastery.
At 4, her first experience with death involved a rescue by Mom and CPR administered by a good Samaritan. A car accident and near robbery in her 20s confirmed her belief that there is a reason for her being. Several journeys through the wilderness solidifying her own understanding of the Word: “The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy.”
What he didn’t anticipate though, was Jesus’ girl digging her heels in even deeper and reminding herself of God’s promises.
Underestimated this Ephesians 6:11-13 woman’s tenacity; spiritual armor strapped to a Queen’s shoulders, prepared to stand her ground.
Armed with His Word and gentle reminders that restoration is a two-way promise often offered to those willing to jump head first into His arms, even when they seem far away.
I, for one, am so grateful that she did.
I had an opportunity to chat with Jenny about topics from finding the strength to birth her passion and why some Christians are cracked, to continuing her mission to connect as many as possible with the power of faith and the enduring promise of God’s love.
Who is Jenny Christian?
JENNY: Just a girl from the West Side (of Chicago) with a lot of dreams, with a lot of ambition. And she always likes to be described as big. Big hair, big heart, and a big smile.
That’s what you’re going to notice first. That’s typically how people remember me; either the hair, the heart, or the smile.
Tell us about Fill Heal Restore. Did you start the blog before the series? Or was the series the vision before the platform?
JENNY: Fill Heal Restore started as a blog; a way for me to get out a lot of my personal experiences [with] how I got through using faith.
A few months after I started the blog, I thought about how it would be great to actually see and hear these stories. We all have so many different [experiences] we go through, we can learn from each other. [I thought] Why don’t I create a series where we could impact each other by using our test in telling our testimonies?
The goal was to encourage others to hope in God.
I wanted it to be a place of hope. I was in such a place of despair and desperation that I was almost losing my hope. It was one of those things where I just felt I don’t want anybody else to ever feel like this. Ever.
No matter what you go through, [you] can always hope in God because He’s the God of restoration, He’s the God of healing, He’s the God of filling every void. He’s the God of elevation. He’s the God of redemption.
No matter what our different stories may be and how low we may feel in that pit, He’s there ready to elevate us.
I thought it would be more impactful if people could hear the voices of other Believers as well. When you think you’re going through something bad, you can hear someone else.
You’re thinking the loss of your job may be bad, but they’ve lost a child.
When you made the decision to create this online space, was this something you already knew how to do?
JENNY: I’m not very savvy when it comes to technology and technical things. I wouldn’t even consider myself the best writer, [but] I do everything from my heart. What comes from the heart is received [by] the heart.
The title was put on my heart because the Scripture says, “The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy.” And I know for sure that God can fill, heal, and restore.
I felt like… We’re going to start this blog and you can tell your story your way. You’re not going to worry about being grammatically correct. You’re not going to worry about being articulate. You’re just going to tell your story from your heart. That’s what you want to get across: the message.
I ended up finding someone to build the site for me; but the words, the idea and everything behind it is my vision.
The same thing [happened] when it came to the series. I knew what I wanted… I knew that I didn’t want to necessarily interview, because I didn’t want it to be about me. I wanted the focus [to] be on [others] and how [they] overcame.
I gave that to a young lady I met on the set of a short film and she produced the rest of the show for me, taking what I gave her. And did a great job with it.
God has given me grace along the way. That I could give people my heart, my vision… and they helped me bring it to fruition.
In the series, you talk about how your life changed when you allowed yourself to press into His promises. How did allow yourself the room to do that?
JENNY: I go to Living Word Christian Center. Pastor Bill Winston is my pastor and he always speaks about pressing into the promises. I’m a heavy follower of T.D. Jakes, and so does he.
The thing is…you have to know the promises of God to be able to press into them. The only way to know what those promises are is to study our Word. I had to get into the habit of studying my Word. Reading it. Declaring it. Speaking it.
When you start pressing into it, sometimes that’s when the devil going to hit you hard with distractions. You’re going to think the Word isn’t working when really, the devil knows it’s going to work, so he’s trying to work double against you.
You have to work to continue to declare it with faith – not just seeing it, but speaking that thing with faith. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that He’s not going to waste any pain, or any part of His process.
Even the things that the devil means for evil, He’s going to make for your good. Continue to press in, knowing it’s a part of the process and the promise is right at the end.
He’s not going to let His Word return to Him void.
I have to keep recycling those things in my head.
Don’t think that because you declared it, your mind is going to change instantly. No, it’s work; and it’s a process to press into it. That’s the hardest thing, and the most important thing – to read it, know it, believe it, declare it…even when it doesn’t look good.
You’re an author, philanthropist, model, radio host and were in pageants. What aren’t you doing that you have on your list of things-to-do?
JENNY: There are always things we want to continue to tackle.
My father was a Blues singer, so I always knew that whatever I did, I wanted it to be in entertainment. However, I’ve never been comfortable enough to sing. That is not my calling. When I felt like entertainment called me [I thought], I’ll just try a lot of the things that [I] think I may enjoy and see how it goes.
I love media. I love broadcast. I love talking to people. I love meeting people. So I realized my lean is more along content creation. That’s where my comfort is.
It took me trying a lot of different things to know that for sure.
A lot of times we’re afraid to explore our passions. Or maybe there are reasons why we can’t. The fact that you allowed yourself to do it, settled on the ones you loved and created that aspect of your life around it, is really special.
JENNY: Thank you so much. A lot of times, we have to keep in mind that [the] things we might be good at may not be the things we’re supposed to do.
We’ve got to stick with what works best for us.
In what moments were you the absolute bravest version of your Self?
JENNY: When I finally had to accept that a lot of the things I was trying to hold on to were gone.
That the old life, the old apartment… because at that time, even though I knew I wanted to be in media/entertainment it was a more secular kind of thing. It was a humbling experience.
The other hard part was learning to be confident in the shadows; where you are being, in a sense, hidden by God, but you feel like you’re being rejected and overlooked by everyone else. He’s using that time, those moments and those experiences to teach you.
To humble you, to groom you so that when He is ready to reveal you, you’re ready.
Manifesting things before you’re ready can destroy everything that’s a part of your destiny.
And that’s not what you want to do. That was one of the hardest parts; learning to try to [be] comfortable in that shadow.
People will promise you things, and people will say they’re going to do things, but because you’re not at a level that they feel [is] beneficial to them to work with you – they won’t. They may not necessarily be mean about it, but they won’t.
It’s one of those things where you’re on a different journey, so you can’t let your heart harden or get bitter.
What has the feedback been on FillHealRestore.com and the series so far?
JENNY: I’m grateful that [there has] been an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.
Each story, not only my own, [has attracted] so many people, and they were reaching out to me in every way that they could. Whether it was a comment on YouTube, the direct messages, regular messages, text messages.
I was really grateful for that because, to be honest with you, there was a point where I’d almost decided to just scrap the whole [thing] because I got nervous.
I got nervous of sharing my own story. Then, from the time of filming to the time it was released was a few months, and I hit a financial setback. I couldn’t give my production team the rest of their money. And by the time I did get it, I didn’t want to release it anymore.
My faith had taken a blow. I had to build myself back up in the Word.
When I did release it… to get that feedback felt like confirmation [that] Alright we’re back on track. We’re doing the right thing. The devil didn’t win that one, he almost got me.
What advice do you have for other women interested in content creation, or exploring their own entrepreneurial ventures? What do you wish you knew before you started?
JENNY: I wish I would’ve just done it without so much thinking. Get a journal, write out your vision, and don’t necessarily share it with everybody either, because everyone won’t be happy.
Don’t share it?
JENNY: No, no, no. Do not share it with everyone, because everyone won’t share the enthusiasm behind that vision with you.
Some people will talk you out of it, just because they didn’t have enough courage to live their own [dreams] or because they want you to stay on the level they’re [on]. And that could be misery. You don’t want to do that.
I’ve learned to keep a lot of things to myself until I’m ready to release it. With that process, I say journal a lot of it. Journal whatever that vision or project consists of. Start outlining the stages you would want; what you ultimately see. And start with step one.
I started when I got the name. The name was put on my heart first, and then I knew that I wanted to document my stories.
Protect your heart, protect your ideas. My ideas are my heart.
They’re my babies, so I protect them. Keep them for yourself, journal them, and then go for it. Go for it without thinking about it. A lot of times, when we start thinking, we’ll talk ourselves out of it.
You’ll never know who you’ll impact in the end, or who will impact you. There could be divine connections along that way.
That’s what I wish I’d done earlier – just go for it. I realize I had to go through different processes too. We can’t rush.
I’d like to do a little word association. I’m going to say a word and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
JENNY: A dreamer.
A dreamer, I love that. Dreamer and a doer, because you’re doing it. Are you walking in your purpose right now? I think the answer is yes…
JENNY: You know, I think I’m on the right road. I think I’ve finally found where it is.
He’s still grooming me to get there and there’s still so much left of it to get to. I don’t feel like I’ve arrived just yet, but I feel like this is the new beginning of that purpose season… of that walking in purpose season.
And I’m excited about it.
How will you know when you get there?
JENNY: I think that will be a good question to ask when I’m a little more into this journey. I’m still at the very beginning, and I know that God can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that I can imagine.
I don’t ever want to limit what He has for me, so I can’t say.
What’s next for you?
JENNY: One thing everyone can expect, of course, is a Season 2. In addition to that, I’m adding a part of the site of my videos called Cracked Christian.
I called it that because I believe that on this journey of becoming a Christian, we are broken pieces being made whole in Him. Sometimes we become so ashamed of those broken pieces that we try to hide them from people.
It becomes hard for newer Believers to really grasp hold of the goodness and the care and the comfort we can have in God, because no one wants to expose those cracked pieces.
Those broken pieces that aren’t so pretty.
When it comes to that change, that comes through this process. Not just about getting to your purpose, but about living a whole life in Him. No one talks about those things too much anymore.
I want to let people know that even when you’re a believer, things aren’t always sunshine and Skittles.
There are some real stormy days. And sometimes when you’re cracked, you cut other people. You don’t mean to, but you do. Sometimes because you’re cracked, people don’t hold you with the same fragility that they should.
I want to start that side of it to put a more personal part of spiritual life, of growing in your spiritual life, on my video collection.
Why should Nia readers check out FillHealRestore.com?
JENNY: You never know if the remedy for your resentment, your pain, or the answer to your purpose and your questions are in one of those videos. Even if you don’t want to hear about me, there’s so many other stories that I’m sure can impact you or someone else breaking through to another level in your life.
I think it’s something that everyone can benefit from. There’s a least one story that someone can get with.
Every Sunday in December, NiaMagazine.com is partnering with FillHealRestore.com to bring you 4 Black women’s stories of faith, triumph and inspiration. Check back each week for more of the amazing work Jenny and her team are doing to spread God’s love.
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