I was sinking into a chair by an open window, eyes focused on the rain, mind on a continent I had just abruptly left, and heart feeling a heavy peace as I listened to the Velvet Ashes album. It was from the 2016 Retreat.
This was the moment that my preconceived hesitation with this community melted away. With a blanket heavy on my lap and my cheeks cold from the open window, I relaxed and allowed myself the luxury of hope, the frivolity to imagine what it would be like to join a worldwide community of women serving cross-culturally. What could that mean for my loneliness? What could that change in my ability to never feel full enough to be poured out? Visions of me trying to meet those needs with spare parts and no energy began to be replaced with a click to a website that had a team working to make all that available to me in the bush of S. Sudan. I wish I could have that Eine Blume Retreat soundtrack playing for you as you read this. Inside those notes I relive that moment to this day.
And from that moment as a new member of this community in a chair by a window, to this moment as the Executive Director of Velvet Ashes at a desk with plans and calendars full of what’s to come for our community, I am still so grateful for the work being done to make strangers feel like members of the same team, cheering each other on and lifting each other up.
Reminiscent of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, this week Danielle has helped us remember and be grateful for beginnings and what has been. Sarah has brought appreciation for Velvet Ashes now, and I get the privilege of giving you a glimpse of some amazing new things to come.
In 2022 we are creating more. More Space. More resources. More community.
We are giving you literal and physical space! We will be spacing out our writing to give you more time to read, apply, think, and internalize what God may be speaking to you through the Velvet Ashes writing team.
We are also creating a new space for our Velvet Ashes Community! In 2022, our website will have a new look and you will have the opportunity to be a part of a new space. We are introducing the Velvet Ashes Membership community.
The new membership community will give you exclusive monthly content that will resource and challenge you to grow in the area of our monthly theme. Each month’s content is curated with cross-cultural women in mind and there is something for everyone. Whether you want to be challenged spiritually or intellectually, need creativity or just some fun, we will load you up with resources that are meaningful and connect you as a community for the entire month. I can’t wait to reveal more of what’s to come in the coming weeks.
Ever wished you could just reach out to someone who may have advice on a tricky visa situation? What about other moms who have children that are really struggling? Or maybe other single women who could give encouragement about being understood on your team? Our new membership site will have a safe way to chat freely in groups created just for you without using Facebook.
Along with this we will be providing recipes and things for you to do and share about to deepen those relationships you find here.
Although there will be a small fee associated with our membership site, we are not taking away the things that you love about just casually being a part of our community. Blogs? We got you. Connection groups? Still yours totally free. Retreats and webinars are still coming each year just like they always do. We are simply adding an opportunity for those of you who would be encouraged by just a little more.
We have been hard at work (is it work if you love it?!) here to bring all of this to you in January. We hope that from whatever seat you find yourself sinking into as you read this you know that thousands of miles away, a small team of 3 is praying for you and working on your behalf to help fill you up so you can be poured out wherever you are.
We would love to hear from you! It honestly is what keeps us going. What have you loved about Velvet Ashes in the past? What are you excited about for the future? What would you love that we didn’t mention?