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  • Writer's pictureJenni Lien

Girl Dinner Pod | Mountaintop Seasons, Startup Life, Friends, Clothes & Future Plans

A ‘life in five testimonies’ kind of episode! Let’s pretend we’re about to grab a three-hour dinner followed by a two-hour hot chocolate friend date (I’ve been having quite a few of these lately and I love them!). We haven’t caught up in a while and so why don’t we settle in, catch up, share our hearts, pray, and encourage each other to keep our eyes on the Lord. He is with us, friends. This year, may we seek him and pursue his heart and plans for our lives (in that order) more than ever before.


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women


Listen to You Are You Christian podcast for women on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Or for my reading-lovers out there (I'm with you!), the transcript is below.


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women

Hello friends! It has been a minute. I can’t believe it’s been a month and a half since the last episode…


Why has it been so long? 


I think it’s just been a month and a half of me finding my feet.


New season, new job, new office for Pink and New and launching our first course, spending more time with family and friends…


But I love connecting with you through this podcast. It’s such a blessing when you write in and tell me you can relate or are waiting for new episodes—because I feel like the basis of our friendship, virtual as it may be, is to encourage each other to seek God and do what he’s made us to do in this life. And so our friendship is as real as any other as far as I’m concerned! I share with you like I share with my friends in real life… sometimes possibly more so.


So for this episode, given that we have a lot to catch up on, I thought it might be nice to do a ‘podcast in five testimonies’ type of episode. Moving forward, I’ll try my best to keep episodes coming biweekly. Some weeks might be more raw than others but I think it’s really precious to be able to see how God moves in a life not just the shiny moments but in the ‘I think this is what you’re doing and I’m walking in faith’ moments. 


Also I know not everyone is a big detailed sharer, but I just wanted to say if you did ever want to write in and share any questions or prayer requests, please do! In the past few weeks since launching Pink and New’s first course, I’ve received quite a few longer messages and it’s a blessing to build friendship with you. So feel free… and now for this episode.


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women


Life


It’s interesting having a podcast and thinking about sticking to a schedule. I mean I get why from a “business” perspective. Listeners like to know what to expect. Maybe it’s annoying when you expect an episode and hear crickets for six weeks. But with all things Yay, that’s just not my style. I don’t do it to appeal to a massive audience, try and get well-known guests, or make sure to podcast about trending topics. I share my life perhaps because I like this style myself. My favourite podcast episodes are solo episodes from others. I like hearing about peoples’ lives, the highs and lows, and see glimpses of the Holy Spirit through their journey. 


So when there are some weeks where I’m just not up for podcasting and I don’t want to release an episode just to have one. Podcasting is a joy but it takes a lot of time and effort, preparing, researching, recording, editing, creating promotional materials, scheduling, and so on. And it’s definitely worth it but, for example, there hasn’t been an episode in the last month and a half because I honestly was focused on my real life. 


If you’re a long-time listener of this podcast, I hope you’ll allow me to share my happiness about this season. It’s been a while since I was this happy every day. My days are very long, with a new full-time job and new business, but I am so full of joy.


I have had seasons where I was burned out at work, dealing with toxic leaders, busy but searching for meaning—and in this season, I just feel like I am exactly where God wants me and it’s faith steps every day because I have a glimpse of where I’m going but I’m not going to get there if I’m not checking my direction with God daily if you know what I mean.


My new day job at The Salvation Army Canadian HQ in communications is a dream. Working on Pink and New from one of my region’s top startup incubators is a dream. Connecting with women all over the world about seeking God for emotional health and healing is a dream. Growing closer to my family and having a great girl squad this season is a dream. And there are other things in the works! I am looking forward to some life changes coming up in a few months.


So thank you for allowing me a little time to settle into this new season and share my joy. I really hope it’s not annoying to hear because I prayed for this for so long, and if it’s annoying because you want to feel joy but aren’t right now (we’re all in this stage sometimes) I am praying that you truly experience godly joy that is like no other and receive your answered prayer soon! I pray we always feel like sisters who want the best for each other. When we’re doing well, may we celebrate together. When we’re not, may we cover each other in prayer and encourage each other. God has a call on each and every one of our lives and it’s a joy to walk together and encourage each other to pursue him. 


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women

Pink and New


While Yay is a space for personal testifying, Pink and New is a business. It’s a startup. It’s incorporated. We’re at the beginning, but God willing we’re on the way to executing his vision. 


I alluded to this in some posts throughout the last week, but I’m not sure I’ve shared about why I decided to make Pink and New a business instead of a non-profit. But I thought perhaps my testimony in this space could help someone else who is praying through something similar.


To make a long story short, a few years ago during small group I shared a prayer that I would be able to do ministry full time. Not necessarily in a church setting but something that would allow me to pursue God as my career. Yes, where God calls us is our ministry, and this could be in a school, hospital, law firm, AI research lab etc. But I wanted to do something that allowed me to study God’s word, spend time in his presence, and pray more. At the time, I was in the thick of my glam Hong Kong media days, going to events every week, wearing designer goods—I couldn’t quite imagine what God would do but had already seen him do miracles in the sense of doing The Yay Project when a short time prior I was too fearful to even pray out loud in my small group… and eventually he healed me so much I was able to testify online and near daily. So I was open to whatever new life adventure might come. 


Then in the next season, it was a lot of “God, please just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” when I was thinking about leaving Hong Kong. But he didn’t tell me like he did in the past, but I had impressions. So I took steps of faith, figuring that if I was wrong he’d redirect me. Sometimes, I kind of wanted to be wrong because what I sensed seemed a little scary. But you know when we’re so busy looking at God that we don’t have time to be scared? And in other seasons, where we’re so busy looking at ourselves that we forget how much better it is to look at God? That was a “Look at God and jump” season and it brought me back to Canada, into a Master’s in Business, starting a business—Pink and New, an emotional health startup for Christian women, traveling for national pitch competitions, being accepted startup incubator programs, getting my first office space for Pink and New… and more.


Last week, I shared about Pink and New at an event called Startups & Beer. There are five incubator and accelerator programs where I live in Canada, an area many call Canada’s Silicon Valley. Sometimes I get confused looks when I say Pink and New is part of a startup incubator so in case this term is unfamiliar, essentially an incubator “is a program that gives very early-stage companies access to mentorship, investors and other support [such as office space] to help them get established” and an accelerator “is a program that gives developing companies [so those who have moved beyond incubator stage] access to mentorship, investors and other support that help them become stable, self-sufficient businesses, both definitions are from the Business Development Bank of Canada. So Startups & Beer asks each incubator/accelerator to nominate two companies each to share what they’re working on with other local founders, investors, and supporters.


When my mentor nominated me, I honestly almost said no. (And of course I feel like I shouldn’t admit this because entrepreneurs are supposed to be confident but this is a testimony podcast and in reality sometimes we get opportunities and they’re scary but we do them anyway while relying on God.) I was in the thick of planning for the roll out of Pink and New. This was the week before we launched our first course Live Loved (learn more on our Instagram, Facebook or Substack) and I was also in the midst of having new conversations with potential institutional partners… all to say the things I was thinking about and planning for were developing and being refined and developing again… which is normal in the startup world but a bit nerve-racking to be asked to share this ‘work in progress even though it always will be’ with some of my city’s most influential people. 


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women

But I said yes because I realized 1) pitches are never perfect but it’s an opportunity to gain practice and feedback and 2) it’s an opportunity to give God the glory, not necessarily in literally saying “to God be the glory” in my pitch but trusting that if he is giving me this opportunity, and if me seeking him and doing my best is good enough for him then I could trust him with the outcome. And that night, I met someone who introduced me to someone and perhaps that will lead to something, at the very least an exciting conversation with someone who is pursuing God’s call in an adjacent space.


At the event, I also met a few students, who are from this year’s cohort of the Master’s program I did last year, as they were volunteering at the event. One of them said she was really amazed at how quickly I’ve moved since I graduated from the program. To be honest, I am definitely living out prayers that I barely dared to dream one year ago—and much work is still to be done, but it’s undeniable that God has blessed me. And when I start to get imposter syndrome, I have to remind myself to look at God.


I want to not be ashamed to say things like “God has blessed me” because he has! It’s not me bragging that I worked hard and got these opportunities but truly God opened doors in his timing and he just sometimes does put us in places and spaces that we feel underqualified to be in but hey we’re there so what to do but pursue God and keep going right? May we pray more! 


So anyway this girl was amazed, and at the same time I was chatting with other new startup founder friends all of whom are many steps ahead of me, having won Forbes 30 Under 30, raised literally millions in funding, and so on, and some have done it in a remarkably short period of time. It’s inspiring to see how they think and work and balance so they don’t burn out—and honestly most if not all of the people I’ve met are really nice. Canadians! ;) So I honestly don’t feel any jealousy or comparison maybe because they’re in an entirely different space but also because we only ever need to run at God’s pace. 


So this is a little bit about how things are going but the point I hope I’m making is that while the startup world and these competitive incubator programs might seem exciting and glam, I didn’t pursue this field for that. I would have been totally fine to make Pink and New a non-profit. But that’s not how God led. He opened doors, I walked through them, and now I’m still “eyes on God, one step in front of the other” regularly being reminded by God that yes while I have many, many things to do, doing them without having enough time looking at God, will result in wonky execution because my view of his plan isn’t right. 


God’s calling us all to something this season. I pray we have soft hearts to take steps of faith and trust that even if we don’t know exactly what he’s doing, and it can be uncomfortable to say ‘we’re walking in faith and don’t exactly know what the outcome will be’ to others, we can trust him and truly who knows where we’ll be in a year?!



Friends


I think part of what has me so happy this season is that I can be truly, unapologetically myself—and that God has brought me people who love me as myself. Not a man yet but believing that God has a beautiful love story for me in his perfect timing and I am super chill about this now and also can’t wait to see what that is. That can be another episode perhaps, but quickly I just want to say that if we look at our lives and see God’s answered prayers and how specifically he knows us… he has his reasons for his timing, but we can trust that our love lives, like every other aspect of our lives, is in his hands. 


Right now, I want to talk about my girl friends.


You might have heard me say this when I was in Taipei about praying for great friends and God answered, but he’s done so again to the point where I was considering staying where I am and not continuing with the plan to move to my current dream city this summer. But I prayed and think dream city is still the next step so… enjoying the rest of my time here.


Anyway, God has brought me a group of friends who are solid (and within a 1-2 hour drive of dream city). Most of them have known each other since their undergrad uni days and still go to the same church (I met them last year when I was in grad school, and we’ve been able to go even deeper this season). Half of them are also in their 30s, single, and in the middle of life changes such as switching careers which is awesome. I love and will always have a soft spot for people brave enough to pursue God’s leading into something new. It is not easy. And to be able to pray, encourage and support each other as we do it—hooray!


I also feel very affirmed by my friends. They constantly call out my adventurousness and depth, not just to compliment me but because we are getting to have new adventures together and sharing more deeply during our chats. We went from hanging out some Sundays to seeing each other multiple times a week—and I want to share because I’ve gotten a few messages from women asking about praying for godly friendships, and I feel so blessed but it definitely has not always been the case. There were definitely times when even though I was in the same church circle for years, I’d feel disappointed about spending certain holidays alone or when I wouldn’t receive certain invites. Maybe it’s because God has healed me of fear of rejection and because I know a lot of people are experiencing loneliness (and that’s not always an easy thing to admit), these days you’ll see me inviting everyone everywhere, wanting to blend groups etc. Not saying I’m a perfect friend, or people always say yes (though most do), and honestly sometimes people and groups just don’t mix and that is OK. But I guess I just want to encourage anyone that wants more friends to keep praying and maybe to pray about being that friend that invites people to do things. 


We don’t need lots of people who we feel totally get us and love and support us. Sometimes just one or two can make a place feel like home.


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women

Clothes


As I was praying over what to share in this episode, I started thinking about fashion. I’ve always loved fashion, since I was a kid. I’m not obsessed with trends and dress more casually these days but still find it really interesting to read up about designers, inspirations, even sustainability etc. And I thought maybe it would be interesting to chat about this in this episode because I’d guess at least some of us are into fashion, design, architecture etc. and maybe this sharing will be interesting to somebody who is also updating their life habits.


While my Hong Kong life was luxe and flashier, because Hong Kong is more luxe and flashy (apologies for the mispronunciation re luxe in the ep!) than even Toronto, Canada’s most urban city, in this season of my life, I want to be more soft and minimal. I’m not sure how long I’ll be in Canada, I’d guess at least for a couple of years, but long enough that I’ve started to think more about what makes sense for this stage of life and who I want to be.


This is not exactly revolutionary as minimalism and capsule wardrobes have been talked about for years but it’s probably the first season I’m thinking about it seriously and doing something about it. I’ll be moving in a few months once my next place is ready, and starting to look at my furniture budget, condo layout, and so on. Honestly my Hong Kong apartment was kind of like a big closet that also had lots of books (lol). Moving forward, I want to bring quality pieces that I love and wear rather than my full dress up closet… and if I’m not wearing it hardly ever, does it make sense to sell it instead? I’ve picked up a lot of designer goods in the past… what is worth keeping because I’ll enjoy it for many years to come and what can be released? Also what are your favourite places for home decor inspiration? Let me know. I’m currently leaning towards a Japandi style but open to being inspired otherwise.


So new year, new season, new lifestyle, new habits. It feels good to keep changing and evolving. My closet, like my bank account, like my investment portfolio, like my business… things have gotten / are getting in order. It’s taken about a year but praise God we’re nearly there. I’ve done a lot of research and work on these areas in the past year—if you want to learn more about how to get any of these areas in order for yourself, reach out! Happy to share what resources I used, and if there’s enough interest maybe do an episode on them. Also I’m sure God will show me other areas that aren’t in order yet because he works in beautiful layers, amen? May we not be afraid of his revelations and pruning. A more pruned and fruitful life awaits us whenever we surrender to him.


You Are You Christian Podcast for Women

Friends, I hope we are living in 2024 full of faith and hope in what God will do. Not every season is easy but we can always have joy. And sometimes the season we are in is truly so joyous, I pray we resist temptations to be proud but try and encourage others in the areas where God and others encouraged us so that we pursued him and he delivered us. I am full of eager expectation in the Lord. There are a lot of seeds being planted. A lot of hopes being sowed. But the best plan will only come to fruition if we are being watered by the Lord, amen?


Thanks for allowing me to process with you guys. I pray these testimonies encouraged you to seek God more and believe him for more. Somehow amidst all this sharing, I didn’t get into detail about Pink and New’s exciting first course called Live Loved in partnership with Ellel Ministries Canada. Next episode then? More soon and in the meantime, I’d love for you to check out Pink and New on Instagram and/or Facebook if you haven’t already. Details about the course and the link to sign up is in our bios there. And sign up for our new newsletter on Pink and New’s Substack as well!


Love you friends. Have a blessed rest of your day and speak soon.


Ps. Thank you for being here. If you’re here, I bet you are a glass half full, want the best of what God has for you, and are willing to surrender and seek God to get his best and to understand him better and better. That is the coolest thing. That is why we’re friends. :) And I hope that I’ll be able to build more ways where we can really connect about this. I’m praying about this, what God might do, but one step at a time. We can’t do everything at once, amen? But I just want to say that I am definitely praying about this and would love to have Yay and Pink and New be accounts where it’s not a one way broadcast but we really know each other and do life together from all corners of the world.

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