What is Velvet Ashes?

We are an online community of women serving overseas.

We are a unique tribe, bonded by the shared journey of uprooting our lives and re-rooting in foreign soil.

We know the pain of goodbyes, the upheaval of change, the redefining of self.

We know the extremes of our lives that leave our hearts raw and weary.

And in all of this we know the deep longing of our souls to be known and to know we are not alone.

We are made for community, deep and rich.

We are wired for relationship with women, women we can laugh and cry with, women who can whisper into our dark places and say, “I know.”

And who can do this but those who have lived it, those who are journeying through the same kind of story?

Velvet Ashes is here to connect the hearts of women who are separated by geography but bound together by the life of serving overseas.

Velvet Ashes is a place for us to gather, to belong.

It’s a place to crack open our hearts and let the stories flow.

It’s a place to be mentored by the lives of those who have learned to thrive in this life. Wisdom and hope in heaping helpings.

It’s a place where we can link arms with one another and grab hold of the promise of Him who said, “I will give you a full life in the {seemingly} emptiest of places.” (Isaiah 58:11)

This is Velvet Ashes.

 What does the name mean?

We are named for the Velvet Ash tree, resonating with this tree because it lives in the seeming emptiness of the desert.  Yet it is in the desert that this tree thrives, it’s root reaching deep.   Like the extremes of cross-cultural living, the Velvet Ash grows through both the extreme heat and the extreme cold.  Our lives call for this kind of hardiness, this ability to thrive amidst the array of environments and situations we find ourselves in.

But you know what’s really special about the Velvet Ash?  It bears a unique marking on the tips of its branches called a “leaf scar.”  These scars form in the places where the leaves have fallen away.  Like the tree, it’s our scars that become what is uniquely beautiful about us.

And the shape of the Velvet Ash tree’s scars?  It’s the shape of a smile, reminding us that there is joy always.

Finally, the name Velvet Ashes calls to us to bring our brokenness to Him who gives beauty for ashes.  (Isaiah 63:1)

Read more about how our community began and how God has grown the richness of the Velvet Ash tree metaphor.