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the Covenant experience narrative

The Blue Tribune is your place to learn about all things Covenant and keep up with stories from campus and beyond. By guiding you through the different aspects of Covenant, we'll help you decide if you want to pursue your very own Covenant experience.

Flower Therapy and Deep Community: Sarah Jelgerhuis ’09

smiling woman with large flowers

From pursuing a career in counseling to working in event planning to owning an Etsy shop, Sarah Jelgerhuis ’09 reflects on how the connections formed at Covenant College and the hands-on discipleship she experienced shaped her life and career.

From Creative Side Outlet to Full-Time Gig

Sarah’s innate love for people initially stirred her heart in the direction of teaching of some kind, eventually leading her to pursue a sociology major at Covenant with the intention of becoming a counselor. However, after completing an internship after her sophomore year, her interests redirected to event planning. Many doors were opened for Sarah down the path of event planning, but the late nights and weekends it required pushed her to pursue a creative side outlet: an Etsy shop. After a move to St. Louis, Sarah and her husband prayed about what a job for her would look like at that moment, and she found the confidence to give the Etsy shop a shot at being her full-time career. Although she didn't know it at the time, Sarah would eventually end up combining many of the things she loved—creativity, atmosphere-building, making connections, and seeking discipleship—by creating tissue pom poms and flowers through an Etsy shop called Paperwhite Designs.

Cultivating Deep Connections at Paperwhite Designs

From that initial start that allowed her to quit her day job, Sarah saw great success through Paperwhite Designs. After a few years of running the business on her own, Sarah’s success grew to the point where she was able to bring on an employee. Over the next ten years, Sarah had the opportunity and privilege of working with eleven individuals, each relationship being a glowing reminder of how deeply God has blessed her and her family through her business and the opportunities that arose from it. Sarah affectionately called the time she spent folding paper flowers side-by-side with these people “flower therapy,” as her love for cultivating connections blended beautifully with her love of creating. “I get to share life with others in my home on a daily basis and teach my kids the power of a good work ethic and the beauty of integrating our story with someone else's in a life changing way,” Sarah says, “I also get to add beauty to the world on a daily basis.” 

Covenant’s Place in the Story

Looking back, Sarah doesn’t just see the impact Covenant coursework had on her career—she sees the way that Covenant taught her how to live alongside others meaningfully translated into her business the most. “Yes, the business classes and sociology classes have proved to be immensely helpful in running my own business, but the hands-on experiential discipleship lessons in relationships have enhanced the culture and mission of Paperwhite Designs.” Running Paperwhite Designs, Sarah has seen the mission of Covenant reflected in her business’ culture and mission: creativity and developing deep connections with others as a Christ-follower.

To read more of her story, visit Sarah’s alumni profile.

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