Jenny Forks isn’t afraid to tell her story. But that hasn’t always been the case. Hearing the Boerne designer and business owner recounts the traumatic details of her late teenage years, you can understand why. The judgment and shame of teenage pregnancy, are compounded by enduring two violent assaults and the rejection of much of her community. Aren’t these the kind of things we try to keep hidden and hope to just forget? Jenny has learned that there is a better path that leads to healing and - in her case - to find a passion and a purpose. And that path started with finally bringing her story out into the light.
CALLED TO SPEAK UP
Jenny was a successful designer and business owner when the pandemic hit in 2020. While she focused on keeping her business open, she began asking God what else she could do. “He said pretty clearly, ‘Tell your story.’”
That story started 24 years ago with an unplanned pregnancy during Jenny’s senior year of high school in the Corpus Christi area, and a series of violent and traumatic events that followed. These events are detailed in her upcoming book: “Feet First, Braving it with Faith Alone,” which will be released through Amazon in early November.
Jenny never intended to write a book. She first needed to tell her story to her now adult daughter. “I knew that I needed to tell my daughter the true full story. We cried together and worked on that for a couple of weeks,” Jenny said. “But I kept hearing from God, saying, ‘You’re not done. Tell your story and tell it loudly.’”
Doors kept opening to share: a friend’s podcast led to speaking opportunities and, ultimately, the decision to write a book. Along the way, she learned the value of bringing difficult experiences out of the darkness and into the light. “The more you tell your story it gets easier,” she adds. “And it is very healing.”
“Sharing also helps other people going through similar experiences to know that they are not alone,” Jenny notes. “And it shows them a way that they can find healing as well.” Jenny hopes to inspire others to bring their traumatic stories into the light. “Being able to speak up and become comfortable sharing your story provides so much healing, and not only for yourself. It is also such a powerful way to help and inspire others to get through what they are going through.”
SHINING LIGHT INTO DARKNESS
Jenny’s faith in God is at the core of her story. “People have failed me,” she says. “But God has never left my side and never failed me.” This is a message she shares through her business, J.Forks Designs, on Main Street in Boerne. A section of the store, called The Lighthouse, is designed to provide people with the hope and inspiration that Jenny has found through her faith in Jesus Christ. “A lighthouse is a beacon that brings you home when you’re lost out at sea. God is our home.”
Jenny uses her store as a platform for sharing the message of hope and healing. In addition to The Lighthouse, she has started a Bible Study that meets in the back of her store every Wednesday night. “It’s open to anyone,” Jenny explains. “People from all sorts of churches, employees, people who come into my store. I teach from God’s word, and all are welcome.”
Jenny finds that her past experiences allow her to help others in crisis. She was recently appointed to the Board of the Kendall County Women’s Shelter, and she volunteers regularly at the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center.
“God has given me the gift to be able to tell my story,” Jenny says. “To tell it loudly to help others. I want to inspire people to stand up, be brave and tell their stories. You never know who you’ll inspire to do the same. When you link arms and have people right beside you, you’re so much stronger. The more of us who can tell our stories, link arms, and put the armor of God on together, the stronger we’ll all be.”