I just said a prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to write this post for me. I know I can’t do it. I can’t communicate to you, dear community, all that I want to say in this post.
Those of you who are subscribers received an update email from me last month in which I shared the story of how God gave me an invitation many months ago. It was an invitation to a season of rest, a sabbatical year.
I could leave it at that and simply announce that I’m now heading into a sabbatical year. But I thought I would share some of the process with you.
The thing about God’s invitations is they often don’t make sense. In fact, they seem to go against all common sense. Common sense said to me, “Don’t take a year off from a ministry you love and believe in and have spent six years pouring your life into.” Common sense said, “You’re crazy to make a major change in an organization when it is thriving.”
When I thought about going against common sense, fear raised its loud voice and pelted me with all the questions I didn’t have answers to. Who will replace me? What will this mean for the ministry? What will this mean for me?
God’s response? “I am in this, and it will be beautiful.”
And it has been, already more beautiful than I dared to hope. Common sense doesn’t have Holy Spirit perspective.
As I shared my desire with the Velvet Ashes Board to take a year of rest in obedience to God’s invitation, we discussed a replacement plan. As we did, we all agreed that the executive director position has grown into a full time job. I knew that even after a year of sabbatical, a full time job with four young kids was not His particular calling for me. I could clearly see that what was best for both the ministry of Velvet Ashes and for myself and my family was to have someone else in that full-time position.
So over a period of months, God revealed who He was calling to be the next executive director of Velvet Ashes. I honestly could not be more thrilled. I have only joy and confidence in the future of Velvet Ashes. I am so excited for you to be introduced to the new executive director in the coming weeks. I truly trust that God will continue to steward and grow Velvet Ashes through her and the Board. You are in good, good hands.
This post is for me an official ending of my role as executive director and the beginning of a season of rest, a year to cease from producing and to let the soil of my heart lie fallow.
It’s been six years of planting and producing. It’s been six years of watching God grow this seed-sized vision into more than I ever asked or imagined. Six years of getting to know the most incredible women and becoming a community with you.
You came together and rallied around this idea that we need each other. Together we said, “We need a space to connect and share with other women living this cross-cultural life.” We all put our hands and words and pennies together to make that possible, and look what He has done with our collective offering!
He is in this space, and it is beautiful. It is beautiful to see how God meets us and ministers to us through each other. I know I am forever changed because of how God has challenged, encouraged, and grown me through you.
After this year of rest, I plan to be back, so this is not goodbye. I’ll be back in a different role, doing some of what I have been doing.
But in the meantime, in this coming year, can I ask you to pray for me?
Will you pray that I will truly rest and listen to His voice?
Will you ask that I move fully into His invitation for me, into new depths of intimacy?
I wonder if any of you are currently wrestling with an invitation that you know is from Him, but you feel fear’s voice pelting you. I think He wants me to tell you what He’s been telling me:
Trust. Move forward. He is in this, and it will be beautiful.
Love you, friends.
A Word to the Velvet Ashes Community from the Velvet Ashes Board
Aren’t you grateful the seed of Velvet Ashes found a place to nestle in the heart of Danielle? Through her courageous obedience, our Father planted a rich, nurturing, tenderhearted, authentic community for His daughters.
When God has something in mind that so clearly expresses His heart, He doesn’t entrust it to just anyone. He chose Danielle to establish, cultivate, and steward Velvet Ashes. And He did so knowing that one day, He would invite Danielle into a new season that would release her from the role she steps away from today.
How very pleased He must be with Danielle for the way she has tended Velvet Ashes. She has led out of her values of inclusiveness and trust, inviting others into shaping and growing Velvet Ashes. She has created space for others to expand and invest into this community. She has led the way with a bold trust in God’s faithfulness.
We hear His whisper to you, Danielle, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You stewarded well what I gave you. Now enter into this season of joy and rest, knowing I’ve got this!”
We anticipate God to do what He’s done all along – to provide the people and resources to continue to grow the influence and reach of Velvet Ashes to enfold and nourish the women He adores.
A couple years ago, the Board was asked by a consultant if we were in a season of growth or pruning. We pushed back at that either/or question because pruning is such a critical stage of growth. The Gardener will sometimes prune what is healthy and thriving because He envisions what He wants the tree look like in the next season. We absolutely can trust Him with the future of Velvet Ashes!
As Danielle steps into this season of rest, we bless and honor her for her good work, her tender heart, and her visionary leadership over the last 6+ years. Velvet Ashes is thriving because of her careful and obedient stewardship.
Thank you, Danielle.
With love and affection,
The Velvet Ashes Board of Directors