We didn’t dream of owning a business one day. We also didn’t wake up one morning and decide we were going to do this. It sort of...evolved. 99 Hills came through some pain and a desire for something different. Prior to starting 99 Hills we were both on staff at a large, very successful church that we love. Our positions were ideal for us. We happened to be two of those people who actually ended up getting a career in what we went to school to study. Joel, a technical director and Jenn, a communications director. We served on staff for 8 years and had a blast. We grew more individually and as a couple than in any other time of our life. Our kids were born and dedicated there. It was our life and we never thought we’d do anything else.
I (Jenn) noticed a huge shift in myself once I started having kids. Life is hard. Life with kids is way harder. When I was at the church, I was thinking of the kids...when I was at home, I was thinking of everything I had to get done at the church. Mommy guilt anyone? I had it bad. Suddenly my passions at church were slowly and painfully being replaced by my desire to care for my family and home. Things felt out of control almost all of the time. I still loved what I was doing but I wasn’t happy. I felt divided. I was stressed. My kids were in a season of being sick literally all the time and most of the time I couldn’t even take them to the doctor myself - someone else had to do it. We hired a Nanny who was incredible but again, someone else was loving and caring for my kids, not me. I know many Moms who feel this way. Women who love what they do and love their kids so they want to do both. It’s hard, but they do it. Some women have to do it because they need the income to live. And some choose to stay home and do without some things so they can be home. This is how Mommy Wars start and that’s not where I’m going with this. I’m kind of a mixture of all of those women. I wanted to do both but I wasn’t doing either of them well. We also needed the income...or so I thought.
I think I was right on the edge of a breakdown when I finally listened to God telling me it was OK to leave my secure ministry position to stay home and try something else. It was a huge risk and it was a difficult realization - one that I did not want to come to. But I finally felt peace. He reminded me over and over through His Word that He would provide. And He did. He has never failed. We haven’t missed a payment or missed a meal. All that time God was trying to whisper “I’ve got this, you will live” but everything was too loud. My new “position” allowed me to have more one-on-one time with my kids. I was the one who got to pick up my daughter from school. I got to hear my son’s vocabulary explode. I took them to their doctor appointments. But I also got to fulfill my other side of doing ministry and providing some income to our family. I started taking on churches and businesses as clients to manage their social media. This allows me to work when I want to, like during naps, bed time or school. I am free to be both Mom and ministry partner.
That’s when a stirring for something else began in our hearts. I felt it way before Joel. You see, in the quiet, I could already tell how God was moving. When my house was still at night, I felt unquestionable peace and confidence that we could do this full time. It wouldn’t be easy but it would be fun. Joel’s world was still too loud, he couldn’t hear what I could in the quiet. But when he started to realize things needed to change, the stirring wouldn’t leave. God was not going to stop even through the noise.