Jenna, would you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Most days you can find me in yoga pants, working on the couch with a smile on my face and rescue pups in my lap. I am a wife to my beloved and a devoted puppy mom. I am a wedding photographer, a blogger, a fashion fanatic, a watercolor artist, a teacher, and a woman who seeks adventure. We only have one life, I believe in making it count, having fun, and showing off my terrible dance moves. My faith pushes me to change the world in grace, in love, and in sharing my heart. I love rescuing dogs, eating macaroni and cheese every Monday, and taking daily naps. I believe that good things happen to those who hustle but greater things happen to those who chase happiness.
At the age of 23, I took a chance and left my corporate job to pursue full time entrepreneurship. It was a risk but one I was willing to take, that leap of faith paid off in so many ways. I love serving other creative entrepreneurs and teaching them how to build profitable, sustainable, authentic businesses that offer balance. I believe in authenticity, I keep it real. I believe in community over competition and in the sentiment that we rise in lifting others. Seeing people succeed while doing what they love fires me up. We only have one life to live, I believe in making it count and in chasing happiness with reckless abandon.
What is your vision for the church and what do you believe is our calling as believers?
My faith has been such a wild road for me. I grew up in the church, was baptized and confirmed and lived a Godly life through my teens. I went to college, took a nose dive for a few months into all of the new freedoms in front of me but not so gracefully landed in the arms of an incredible Christian organization. My faith then became a real relationship and not just a religion and it’s been a journey ever since. There were months of drought, where I wasn’t in the Word or praying or relying on God and then there have been times where God has me on my knees in gratitude and thankfulness. It’s been a journey but one that has brought me to today! We moved to a tiny village in Wisconsin (yes, village) and it took us years to find a church we connected to. As a business owner and someone who works from home, I often feel so isolated and alone. My walk in faith started to feel that way and I missed the sense of community that we had in college or at our last church. In a small village, there aren’t a lot of options for places of worship but God planted a church and we happened to drive by it the week it opened. We landed upon our church a year ago and it felt so right, the piece that has been missing in our lives and our marriage. Slowly we started to get involved, join a small group, and get in the word every day as a couple. It’s been such a beautiful thing to watch my faith flourish again and to get back to the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding. It was the first time in my life that I was drawn to the Lord not out of obligation but because I knew that he was the missing piece in a life that was going so great and all the glory be to Him.
This spring we discussed on our blog about embracing your place and using what God has placed in our hands. How have you been called to be “the church” where God has placed you and using what He’s placed in your hands?
I always think about being the hands and feet. In my life, it’s been such a challenge. Most of my friends aren’t believers, many of my family struggle with their faith and I often felt so closed off about it, how to approach it. This year I realized that I have been given a platform for a reason, to use it and to use it well. It isn’t my doing, but His and it gives me an opportunity to share my life and heart and all that’s going on. It’s been such a blessing to use my platform to share my love of mac and cheese and puppy rescuing but also my heart for marriage and mission. We are called to serve and that can look different in everyone’s lives. I think fear holds us back so deeply in truly living out our faith and following the calling we are given but when we trust in His way and listen to his voice, our paths are redirected towards him. This past year my business has truly evolved to be a place to serve others in inspiration, share my personal struggles, and talk about real life and what it can look like (the good, bad, and ugly.) My greatest obstacle is in remember that I can plant the seeds and it’s up to Him to grow the harvest. I can plant seeds, I know I can, the harvest and the growth is up to him but when I remember my role in it all, I feel more confident in sharing what He’s doing in my life and heart.
I also have a deep heart for missions. I have felt a calling and a pull to do more for the world but I have been hesitant to answer it. The Lord put the right mission in my life at the right time. It happened in a whirlwind of 48 hours where I met Kayla of The Her Initiative and within two days I had a flight booked for five days later to go to the Dominican Republic for days of documenting and telling the story of their mission. If you think I haven’t questioned myself in serving in third world countries, you’re wrong. So many times I have asked myself “who am I to fly down here and think I’ll make a difference.” I’ve gotten in my head about how these trips might appear or what how our intentions might be perceived as but as a whole we sit around strategizing on how we can make a greater impact, the consensus was, who am I to not share this experience with others? You don’t have to travel abroad, you don’t have to go to a third world country, you don’t have to do any of that to make an impact but this is what’s really happening this week.
The truth is, these trips are so much more than just a mission trip, this isn’t even that, it’s a chance to see the work being done in places like Villa Hermosa, it’s about connecting with people, educating, empowering, teaching, and learning (Lord, I’ve done a lot of learning!) It is about celebrating what God is doing here and giving him the glory for the good that is happening and strategizing on how to help lessen the bad. It is about lighting a fire under our privileged bums, and starting a wave of movement that proves that millennials don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. If telling their stories, if seeing their homes, if hugging a baby, if purchasing one container of clean water can impact their life, who am I to sit back and not make even the slightest ripple happen. It only takes a little movement to make a wave and friends, we’re ready to make some waves and change the lives of the people who have undoubtedly changed mine.
How can women (of any age) choose to be “the church” where they are right now?
I have a heart around this mission that I have yet to vocalize in a way that makes sense but it’s called One Freaking Percent. Last night I was washing my face and watching the clean water run down the drain and I was brought back to this moment in the Dominican Republic with The Her Initiative! These sweet children were learning what hand soap was and were washing their hands for the first time ever. It’s crazy to even think about, isn’t it? It’s easy to think of a scene like this and wonder where you could even start to make an impact. It’s even easier to just put it out of your mind and go on living life like normal but I can’t do either of those things. You see, I truly believe that our generation wants a better world, that we want to be the change, but a lot of times we are stuck on where to begin.
I want to introduce you to a dream I have, the #onefreakingpercent campaign. When I was doing research, I realized that if every millennial donated $25/month to a cause they believed in, it would be less than one freaking percent of the average income we make. That’s one less happy hour or manicure or movie date and we could truly change the world with it. In the upcoming months I want to help show how easy it is to make a difference, how we can empower others to give, and how together we can truly change the world! #onefreakingpercent at a time!