“Knowing the kind of person you want to be is one thing. Living it out in all of your moments in all of your days is the challenge of your lifetime.”- Cleo Wade
My name is Jenna.
Thanks for being here.
Where It All Began
I am a born and raised Oregon girl who went from rustic farm life to the big ol’ city. I’ve played all sorts of roles in my life, but I am currently so grateful to be a stay-at-home mom with our two little people, Emery and Daniel. I absolutely love my work as a wife and mother!
I believe that all of our work is holy work and that it is our job to be good stewards of the tasks we are given, big or small. I take joy and pride in the daily tasks at home. Even the small and mundane things that go unnoticed like cleaning toilets, changing diapers, doing dishes, and doing laundry are dignified work if you ask me. If that sounds odd to you, that’s probably because it is!
I have a husband who respects my heart and my voice, and pushes me to be a champion in all that I do. I may be a bit partial, but I think that we make an amazing team together. I never dreamt that would be my story.
I have learned that submission (yep, said it) to each other’s needs, dreams, and desires in marriage is what leads to the kind of sacrificial love that says, you matter and I matter, but I choose to put your needs above mine. This vulnerable leap from the ‘self’ to the ‘other’ cultivates the perfect environment for love to actually flourish, ripen, and deepen. I’m still learning that in marriage as with all other things, God’s way of doing things will always prove to be wisest.
I grew up in the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountains mountains outside of Ashland, Oregon on my family’s guest ranch. My very first job was setting chokers for our small logging operation, when I was 9. (What were my parents thinking, right?)
It was actually super awesome to work in the woods every day. Hard, but really awesome. As I got older, our work transferred into helping with all of the necessary tasks of operating a Wedding Venue, a Commercial Camp facility, and a Guest-Retreat center at the ranch.
Needless to say, labor and adventuring in the outdoors marked my whole childhood because they went hand in hand. My time spent in the woods and at work on the ranch was the source of my best education because it propelled my work-ethic, my wildness, and a posture of creativity and entrepreneurship.
I was blessed to have been born into a home with loving parents. I have a very business-oriented family where the entrepreneur spirit is alive and well. I have some particularly capable and driven men and women in my family whom added tremendously to the merit of my training & experience in business and in all things God and Family.
My Grandparents, Don and Jean Rowlett laid the Spiritual groundwork for our family. Their impact was in their steadfast character: Generous, dependable, wise, kind, and ultimately so loving in action. Even though they are both in heaven now, I continue to be deeply grateful for the trickle-down effect of their generational blessing. I’d like to think that perhaps The Pearl Project will in some ways reveal the deep reverence that I have for the Godly example that my Grandparents offered to me in their everyday kind of love, for my entire childhood.
I have had many rare privileges in life, but I can honestly say that none of them were handed to me outright. If you know anything about my family, you’ll know that you earn every darn thing you ever have or experience. In retrospect, I am so thankful for that and thankful for a family that taught me the value of hard work and big dreams.
I graduated from high school in Ashland and went on to the University of Oregon studying Political Science and Communication. The plan was to eventually become a teacher. While studying at Oregon, I simultaneously had studied and graduated from theLeadership Institute out of Arlington, Virginia where I was able to get some fantastic training under my belt. I was incredibly blessed to study under some of the most brilliant minds and effective leaders in our nation.
In addition to my time at the U of O and The Leadership Institute, I did summer school Political Science & Economicsprograms in Washington DC each year at George Washington University on scholarship through the Young Americas Foundation. Perhaps my favorite element of this experience was the role that Cultural-Analysis took in the course of our studies. The sociological aspect of our training was profound, and I was so grateful to have that exposure coupled with our specialized training in all-things Politics.
I attended all of the National Leadership Conferences and the West Coast Leadership Conferences on scholarship each year of my college career. While at the University of Oregon, I was the Membership Chairman of the U of O College Republicans, and the State Secretary for the Oregon Federation of College Republicans. It was in these programs and events that I found like-minded friends whose camaraderie I attribute to my desire to actually finish school when I felt pulled otherwise at times.
I joined fellow College Republicans state wide in volunteering for various political campaigns in Eugene and in the capital. My chapter helped to bring in big-name conservative speakers to campus during the Bush-Cheney administration. We worked directly with Oregon Right to Life,helped put on the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Eugene, and helped with local fundraisers and events for local Lane County Veterans.
I ended up finishing college after 5 years at Southern Oregon University with a degree in Political Scienceand a minor in Communication. My senior year I also completed the state required training to become licensed in Mediation/ Conflict Resolution by the State of Oregon.I was nominated as the ‘Political Science Woman of the Year’in 2009 by The American Association of University Women (AAUW)and graduated at the top of my program.
I would say that my college years were successful by our cultural metrics of success, and I had lots of wonderful memories from that time. However those years were in many ways very devastating for me emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
There were simply areas of my life that my discipleship to Jesus had yet to touch, particularly when it came to my emotional and relational health. That coupled with a deeply struggling relationship with my father since my childhood, my life echoed a gap between who I was and who I desperately wanted to be.
The space in between that tension nearly ruined me because any hope that I had once possessed had diminished. After two brutally unhealthy co-dependent and abusive relationships, a victim mentality and hypocritical pride (a mask for fear) marked my whole life and all my interactions. I was mentally prepared to be rejected by everyone, I believed that I was never good enough, and I was certain that everyone in my life would also leave me if I required anything from the relationship as well.
I recognize that sounds dramatic, but quite frankly, I spent particularly the latter portion of my college career drowning from the effects of my lifestyle and my relationships. I was so, so fearful of everything.
My sense of self-worth was obliterated, my relationships were as shallow as they get, and my spiritual life consisted of a perfectionist kind of heresy where I believed that if I just show up at church and read my Bible a lot, God would magically make things okay for me.
What I had not yet understood was how my faith in God could actually translate into healing and restoration from what I was actually experiencing in the reality of my life.
That difficult phase for me was also what eventually led me to the epicenter of my spiritual journey. By the grace of God at one of my lowest points, literally on my knees, I desperately begged Jesus to show up and become real to me in the story of my own life. I asked Him to be the God of my mess, and to show me a vision for who I was to become, or else life wasn’t going to be worth living for me anymore. What happened next is a literal modern-day miracle, and has forever set the trajectory of my life moving forward. I plan to articulate those details in-depth throughout the course of this project.
You know those moments in life where you can’t un-see what you saw, and you can’t un-know what you’ve experienced for yourself, or else you’d be a liar? That’s what this is.
I am literally unable to deny God’s power in the story of my life because He gave me exactly what I had asked Him for: A vision of who He created me to be. And now nothing less will suffice, and nothing short of that vision is worth it.
What surfaced for me from that painful, and extremely tender day was that my desperate plea was met by a gracious and a good God. I came to Him vulnerable, so broken, and completely humbled, perhaps for the first time in my life. My experience that day led me to recommit my life to Jesus without hesitation.
I handed over all of the mess to Him, and asked Him to be the God of my emotions, the God of my relationships, and the God of everything in between. At that point, I became a follower of Jesus in the most real way that I know how. It remains to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
As I continue to learn what it looks like to love others as Jesus did, I remain deeply appreciative of the relentless grace and the tenderness that are the attributes of the God who planned the purpose of my life before I was even born. I have experienced a very dark hole in my life that I was helpless to get out of. Every crevice of my heart that was empty or cracked is gradually being patched up and restored through the goodness of a savior who died to offer healing to a broken world.
I know what it is to have nothing, and I know now what it is to have, in Jesus’s words, “life to the full.” Every blessing I have is my responsibility to steward well: my husband, kids, my health, my family and friends. I take that seriously and that responsibility is a total joy.
Basically Jesus, Leadership Training, Politics, Business, and mommying are my jam! Being a mother is bar-none, and is the most difficult and the mot fulfilling job i’ve ever had.
These days I no longer feel the motivation behind politics in the way that I felt back in my early twenties, but cultural analysis certainly remains tied to politics and remains one of my favorite topics to study.
The way I see it is that there is no job that is below me, and my kids will be taught the same. Because of what I have come to experience in my apprenticeship to Jesus, I have every intention of teaching my children about life from a place of Biblical truth with the deepest and most grace-filled love at its core.
Everything that I’ve ever wanted in life I now have by the grace of God. I have been truly blessed. My life’s work is to nurture the gifts that I have been given from a place of gratitude for the life that He has given to me. This means that I have a lot to lose and it also means that I’m able to dream bigger than I ever imagined.
Thanks for being here.