What to Do if Your Dreams Feel Unachievable

Jena Nardella

I have never written a book before, but I have always wanted to. I started journaling at the age of 12 and found delight in the power of words. I began reading with fervor, holding books with reverence for their ability to paint images and emotions on a page. I dreamt of being able to inspire readers the way other writers have inspired me.

Recently, my dream became a reality. I have been commissioned to write a book and to live out this life-long dream of mine. I was so excited with the [...]

Are You Willing to Admit You Are a Liability to the Project You Started?

Jena Nardella

Most founders don’t want to talk about it. Many founders aren’t even aware of it. But all founders will be susceptible to it at some point in time. It is a condition that has been appropriately, though somewhat painfully termed, Founder’s Syndrome. It is a difficult condition for all involved parties, especially if everyone but the founder knows that it exists.

I am a Founder’s Syndrome survivor. I have fought internal and external battles to ensure that I overcome it. It is not a favorable condition, and it is not an easy one to admit having, nor to be cured of. 

I don’t have children, but I have birthed a vision into the world to empower communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. Since the age of 21, I have poured everything, and I mean everything, that I had into ensuring that the vision could become a reality. It was a 24/7 kind of job that [...]

Tough Advice for a Young Idealist: Struggle Less for Ideas, and More for People

Jena Nardella

My first thoughts of Africa were wrapped up in idealism, dripping with it. I had romanticized Africa as a place of simplicity, poverty, culture and beauty. Like other Americans, I imagined Africa as it belonged in the travel magazines, in the headlines of the newspapers and in the argument for why children should finish their dinners.

Perhaps, we sentimentalize places and people who are different from us until we truly know them. Or perhaps we long for them, in the way Isaiah longed for a New Jerusalem. As a 21-year-old, I co-founded Blood:Water Mission with the belief that we could eradicate HIV/AIDS and provide safe water for all. If we could simply rally enough people to care, certainly there could be…

How to Find Rest in Jesus. Right. Freaking. Now!

Jena Nardella

Does the term Zerrissenheit mean anything to you? It sounds like the cousin of gazuntheit, but its meaning is quite different than an exclamation after a sneeze. The German term is loosely translated to mean torn-to-pieces-hood. Hurry, distraction, worry and pre-occupation are all expressions of the Zerrissenheit lifestyle. It’s one that I am quite familiar with, though, not proudly. Amidst the rush of trying to serve our friends in Africa with access to safe water and HIV/AIDS care for the last eight years, I have let the health of my own life deteriorate. The rotten fruits I have been producing are exhaustion, fear, jealousy and anxiety, things we all agree make up a lousy story.

On MySubplot.com, I committed to practicing the spiritual discipline of Rest. I am a month into my sabbatical, and am just now

How a Homeless Man Changed My Life

Jena Nardella

I believe that God speaks to us in the everyday moments of our lives – the people we pass by on the street, the whispers of heaven through a quiet walk in the woods, the glimpses of new perspective that come from the simple art of paying attention.

When I was 9, I met a homeless man who changed my life. He stood alone on a…

The Sacred Act of Remembering

Jena Nardella

It’s amazing how quickly we can forget our own stories. We are inundated with the immediate pressures of today, and if we are lucky, we find time to look ahead with vision for the weeks or years to come. But how much time do we spend considering where we have come from? I realize that I have not spent enough time remembering my own story.

Last weekend, James and I drove several hours through winding mountain roads to find ourselves in a secret garden and quaint lodge at the foot of the Smoky Mountains…

How I Got Asked to Pray After the First Lady

Jena Nardella

I came home from work on the evening of August 29th, flipped through the major network channels and was quickly disturbed by the bickering and bantering of the political campaigns, advertisements, and pundits. I felt an ache in my gut, a sadness in my heart for the way our country conducts itself through the election season, from both sides. I turned the tv off, trying to keep cynicism from creeping in.

So when I received a call the following day with…