Hi friends! We're back from vacation and I have a beautiful Celebration Series interview to share with y'all today. My dear friend Jenny Rockett is talking motherhood, joy, loss, and the personal growth that has resulted from an extremely difficult past few months. In May, Jenny and her husband Mark lost their second daughter Lucy. Their openness with which they've shared their pain and their faith in the midst of it all has demonstrated what I already knew to be true—that these two are strong and loving parents with an absolutely unshakeable faith. I've been so encouraged by each of them since they day we met back in college and I feel grateful to be introducing you to their story today!
But first, a little about Jenny specifically. Back in college, we all knew that Jenny was meant to be a mother. She has always cared deeply for her friends and family, putting our needs above her own, taking care of the details and behind-the-scenes stuff so that her loved ones could be set up to thrive. As the messy, irresponsible and generally spastic person that I was in college, I was always so impressed by Jenny's ability to seemingly have it all together. At all times. She's smart, organized, punctual and tidy, not to mention driven, passionate, fiercely positive, beautiful inside-and-out and never afraid to tell it like it is. She's an absolutely joy to be around and I feel so lucky to call her a friend.
Let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and how you got to where you are today.
hey, y’all! i’m jenny rockett, and i currently live in suwanee, georgia (a northeast suburb of atlanta) with my awesome husband, mark, and hilariously sweet daughter, ellie! i grew up in augusta, georgia, and lived in the same house my whole life until i went off to the university of georgia. i met mark my freshman year at uga, we started dating soon after we met, and got married two weeks after we graduated college! i taught middle school and high school math and science for two years (i always wanted to be a teacher) and then did tutoring and home organizing (ahh, my happy place) for a year before we had our first daughter, ellie! two years later, we had our second daughter, lucy, who is now our most precious guardian angel in heaven. since i’ve become a mom, i’ve been able to stay home and be what i like to call the C.O.O. (yes, chief operating officer) of the rockett household and have loved every single second of it!
What about being a mother brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
everything. i have always wanted to be a mommy...and i am grateful every morning when i wake up that i get to answer to my favorite name no less than 8700 times per day. i am so humbled and honored that God chose and will choose the exact kiddos i am supposed to mother for however long i am able to mother them. i truly believe each and every child is a gift, and it is our job as parents and moms to shepherd them into being the person God created them to be.
i love watching ellie discover the world around her and hear her heart as she processes everything she sees and feels. i love hearing ellie pray heartfelt prayers about people and things she understands. i love the contagious joy ellie has and how she radiates that to everyone we come in contact with. i have such joy and fulfillment in the days we don’t leave the house and don’t get any “tasks” accomplished but get to play and talk and sing (be glad you’re not present to witness my singing)...i feel great purpose in the days we get to go serve someone and talk about it on the way to and from...i feel the same doing the laundry and watching ellie insist that she gets to put the clothes in the washer and take the clothes out of the dryer one.by.one...so truly, every moment brings me absolute joy and fulfillment.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
oh goodness...so many things/people. i have recently been on a reading binge and have been inspired by kristen welch’s raising grateful kids in an entitled world and shauna niequist’s bittersweet. i am deeply inspired by people who are living authentic, generous lives. i feel like there is this “new” movement in women and moms that just shouts from the mountaintops that we were created for authentic community...that we are called to open ourselves and our homes to doing life--the good, the bad, and every moment in between-- with our community of people. i am inspired by women who blog regularly (a current goal of mine...well, maybe just to blog, and then we’ll get to the regular part)...i love finding people’s stories who resonate and inspire me and then being able to follow along their life’s journey.
i have been so moved and inspired by the outpouring of love, thoughtfulness, and generosity that mark, ellie, and i have received since sweet lucy graduated to heaven; it has made me want to pay it forward and then some at every opportunity we have. one example is that we have one couple who has prayed for a way to encourage us during this time, and they have sent us a thoughtful package of small goodies on lucy’s one and two month heaven anniversaries. it has meant the world to us, and it’s inspired me to be intentional with opportunities that we have to love, encourage, and bless others.
ellie (and lucy) continually inspire me to be the best person and model of Christ that i can be. it is quite a feeling to know that the world ellie will grow up to know and love is largely the world that i’ve shown her...so i am inspired daily to be my best self for her. ellie inspires me with her pure childlike faith; she knows lucy is healed, healthy, & happy in heaven with Jesus and talks about her all of the time. she doesn’t have the deep sadness that we have as adults because she knows she loved, still loves, and will always love her sister.
What has been difficult lately?
how long can i write? only kidding...i just have so, so many thoughts for this question...i will try to be as concise as possible, but bear with me! the short answer is that our sweetest baby, lucy, passed away on may 12 at 8.5 months old. she was born (and prenatally diagnosed) with down syndrome and a common heart defect in babies with down syndrome (complete av canal defect). she had her first heart surgery in december, and in theory, it was supposed to be a one and done surgery and then she would be off to the races. well, our lucy lu did not follow any textbook (love that girl!), and she struggled quite a bit after her surgery. she was in the hospital for several night stays at least once a month (we tried to convince her that her home was better than egleston [the hospital], but she disagreed and LOVED her family at egleston). it was becoming clear that she would require a future valve surgery, but she had to stay well and gain weight before that would happen. in may, she went to the hospital for two separate stays, and in her last stay, they said she had sepsis (essentially her body was fighting itself), but i think she had just fought the good fight and knew she had better waiting for her!
my ache for lucy is so indescribably deep, yet her impact and legacy is unbelievable. i have moments of absolute grief and profound loss, but by the grace of God am always able to see the gift and joy of her life. our good friend, who officiated lucy’s celebration of life service, said, “lucy will be far more apart of your future than she ever was of your past.” how beautiful is that?! i continually meditate on the fact that one day (in the blink of an eye), i’ll see her again, and then i’ll be with her forever! i also have great peace and comfort as a mom that she is pain free and is without suffering. she gets to live in GLORY...having a better time than any of us—everyday!
lucy has changed me in ways i have just started to realize, and i won’t ever be able to go back to the person that i was before i knew her. i have a deep sense of what matters and that at the end of someone’s life, all you have are memories and pictures to take with you...and you had better make the memories and moments count. it is important to be present, be available—always—to the people you call your people (or squad or tribe or whatever the cool word is for that).
loving, learning, living, longing, and legacy are the words that roll around in my head when i try to capture the journey of life with lucy (& now with lucy in heaven).
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your life?
oh goodness. well, obviously my life’s journey and experiences are unlike anyone else in the world and the ways my journey has formed and shaped me has made me who i am. but i would like to think that i embody and live out my life verse, which is, “always be joyful. never stop praying. be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 thessalonians 5:16-18) i feel really strongly that God has wired me with an innate positivity and bigger picture worldview that always helps me through what could be and seemingly are some of the hardest days and moments of my life. i believe there is good in every moment and every situation, and i think it comes naturally for me to find that. joy and mourning run parallel in our lives—we can’t have one, or really appreciate one, without the other. but i know that it is my job as a follower of Christ to glorify Him in all that i do, and i try my hardest to do that joyfully along my journey!
What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?
so i actually just retook the (free online) test...i love all deep-thinking things...because i wanted to be sure i remembered what i was correctly. i took two tests (wanted to confirm), and i got ISFJ. an interesting thing...that i’ll have to go and ponder once i’m finished answering this question...is that the last time i took the test (probably pre-kiddos and definitely pre-lucy), i was INFJ (thank you pinterest board for confirming). i think this further goes to show how much that sweet girl taught and changed me; she showed me to look at the possibility of what things could be and how everything and everyone could connect verses following the rules and expectations of certain situations and people.
Jenny, I can't thank you enough for sharing your story with us. Your faith and ability to find positivity and joy in the midst of your pain has set such a beautiful example for me and I'm so grateful to have you in my life. You can find more from Jenny on her blog and over on instagram.
Love & Respect,