If you’ve ever witnessed the grace and power of crashing waves, then you understand that there is something quite captivating and other worldly about the ocean. A crisp blue force rolling onto the grainy specks of tan as a roaring sound signals that gravity is still in motion. Both exciting and calming, beautiful and adventurous; the ocean is alluring in every way. And it seemed perfect for every occasion growing up.
I was raised in sunny Southern California, where the beach was about a 5 minute bike ride away from me. With this kind of access to the Pacific coast, the beach became my sanctuary through the years. Whether it was celebrating the highs of my days or weeping as I held the fragments of my shattered world, many of my life moments happened with a sandy blue backdrop.
With absolutely no exaggerations, I escaped to the Pacific for the following:
Do you get the picture? The ocean and I go way back. It was where my soul came to rejoice, laugh, cry, and breathe. It held so much of me in ways I didn’t understand until I moved away. Now, I reside in Northern California, which I must admit is a close second to Southern California. Green hills cascade over the noticeably absent freeways; and my small town has a culture and community that I have come to appreciate with time. It’s beautiful, but in it’s own ocean less sort of way.
My transition to Northern California was as rocky as one, two, three. One because there was no where to get a decent smoothie. Two because leaving behind everything you know is understandably difficult. Three, I was lost. I had just graduated college and had very little clue about the next steps for my life. In addition to these three reasons, I had also just been diagnosed with a depression disorder. It took the rug right out from under me during this whole transition.
Depressed. Directionless. Surrounded by unknowns. Seems like the perfect setting to begin to ask the hard questions for the first time. Questions like: “Who am I?”. Yet, it felt so wrong to wrestle with this question apart from my sanctuary and a bed of sand to keep me company. So, at every chance I could, I made an 8 hour drive down the 101 South all the way to the shores of Santa Barbara county. The drive there was never too difficult; however, the drive back was always an exhausting uphill slope to my new home.
After one such trip about four years ago now, I landed in the office of my current mentor as we made our introductions. I sort of stumbled into his office one day without a clear understanding of why my feet and heart were moving without my mind’s permission. Drudging into his office with a soul full of uncertainty, I spent the first meeting desperately trying to just get out a sentence or two, and he was patiently trying to figure me out (which is still how our meetings go from time to time). However, our second meeting he had come prepared. I had just come. That was good enough for me at the time.
“Do you know what your name means?”.
It was a simple question he asked. But not one I wanted to answer. I always understood my name to mean “fair one” which basically translates to “white girl” in today’s language (I know you can’t see me as I type this, but I just violently rolled my eyes and shook my head in disgust). That’s my existence? The flavorless, shallow personality of girl with pale skin who probably says something like “oh em gee”. That just didn’t feel like me at all. So, I went on resenting my name for years until this moment.
He caught on to my annoyance pretty quickly as I told him what I thought my name meant. He was rather alarmed by my understanding of my own name. “That’s what you think your name means?” he blurted out with tones of surprise. Now I was confused. He pressed the issue and passionately asserted the real meaning of my name.
“No, Jen. Your name means a lot more than that. Your name means ‘White Wave’".
“White Wave?” I thought. He kept talking but my mind couldn’t hold his words. It was as if my soul finally set into it’s rightful place.
How did I not know this meaning? How did I live so much of my life with a literal, physical backdrop of a blissful ocean scene while all the while missing who I am: a white wave. It was always there; but it was as if this conversation caused the fog to roll back in my soul and allowed me to finally see beyond the dungy grey into a world of wild adventure, captivating beauty, and colorful creativity.
I believe this moment shifted something inside of me me and aligned me to the reality of my God given identity in this world. My daily existence now crashes into the divine intention my Creator.
I don’t know how found you this particular blog, but I need to ask you…do you know who you are? It may be right under your nose buried under the things that seem insignificant, but are desperately screaming out the reflection of who you were made to be. If you don’t know, it’s time to lean in close to your Creator and discover the very specific destiny and identity that He has intended for you.
As you have stumbled upon this site, I’m guessing you are wondering who I am just as I asked myself this question four years ago. So, who am I?
I am a “White Wave”.
So, I believe you have waited long enough. Let me introduce myself…
My name is JENNIFER: the white wave. It’s so nice to meet you.
For some soulful ocean tunes, check out my "white wave"
Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.