Have You Seen? {March 8th, 2020}

Would you like to connect with other women serving around the world, investing in building intentional community and friendship? There’s a spot for you in Connection Groups! Our spring session will be starting very soon. Registration for groups will begin at 6:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday, March 10th. Head over to our Connection Group page to check out the groups available this session and to learn more!

Last Week’s Theme: Rejoice

Eeyore, Dungeons, and Always Rejoicing by Maria Mullet—”Those words landed somewhere that felt really true. Strangely, there in that dark night of my soul, this call to rejoice didn’t beckon me to a dishonest rejection of reality; it actually called me into the hard reality and then asked me to choose something firm. Could it be that I’ve limited my definition of this word? That I’ve only tuned into the joy-filled side and missed the depths of its strength? Perhaps the best-known Scripture boasting this word is the passage in Philippians 4, when Paul exhorts us to “rejoice in the Lord always.” But even here, this action verb is among company of some other fairly serious verbs: be reasonable, don’t be anxious, pray. This is about something more than sugary joy. These are some of Paul’s closing remarks to his dear friends at Philippi. And this is what he tells them to always do. The next verse he tells them to always pray, and then reminds them that the peace of God is always guarding their hearts.”

Author Interview and a Fun Giveaway! {Book Club} by Sarah Hilkemann—”I wrote this book for anyone who has experienced or is experiencing a transition that is challenging. I want to give them permission to slow down and linger with what God is doing in those messy places, rather than trying to rush back to feeling “normal.” I hope they will feel the freedom to be truly honest about the impact of change on their souls and find the grace they need from God and others to be at peace with it. I hope they’ll learn to give themselves so much grace and compassion that it naturally overflows to others who are struggling. It’s the book I wish I’d had in every major transition in my life.”

Rejoice and Connect by Sarah Hilkemann—”We join with creation to proclaim God’s goodness. We hold tightly to hope as we rejoice in suffering, in the hard and challenging times. We celebrate with one another, just as we mourn with each other in loss. As I walked my way through my Bible’s list of “rejoice” passages, I was struck by the communal aspect of this word. There’s something so powerful about striving for joy and celebrating the Father’s goodness in community. There are so many ways we do this at Velvet Ashes, but I get to talk about one of my favorites: Connection Groups. There’s something amazing about the fact that five or six women—complete strangers in the beginning—can gather from various parts of the globe to meet together for ten weeks. But I’ve watched as sweet conversations have flowed. As sacred space is created for honesty and vulnerability and encouragement. Connection Groups create a place to rejoice together as we seek God’s Kingdom and celebrate His diverse creation and calling, and our unique personalities and giftings. These groups are peer-led, which means that every voice is important and needed.”

Rejoicing in the Hard Times + Crunchy Strawberry Salad by Ashley Felder—”Only the Lord knew that when I signed up for this topic months ago, He would be bringing me through a hardship, digging daily to find some semblance of joy. We’re currently in week 3 of “quarantine” in our country of service, where the virus is still spreading. Thankfully—and I’m oh so thankful—we spent the first 2 weeks right after the virus broke out in Thailand at our annual conference. As things were tightening down by the day in our host country, we were conferencing and swimming and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D. When it was time to return, I didn’t want to come back. Who wants to be stuck inside most hours of every day with 3 kids? Would there be enough food? What if someone got sick? I sure didn’t want to go to a local hospital! The questions and rumors were flying around, making a decision even more confusing. Our local friends were telling us not to return. Many of our expat friends couldn’t or decided not to return yet. But my husband felt led to come back. Flights were still available and our neighborhood wasn’t locked down. The door was still open.”

From Around the Web

The Last Week of Furlough

Leaning into Mystery

Raising Up a Generation of Healthy TCKs

The Pink Bike

On Instagram: Enneagram Types at the Immigration Office and Embracing Slow

Finally, The Unthinkable Great Walls We Must Walk Through

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Photo by Nadim Merrikh on Unsplash

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

She learns the language much faster.

She doesn’t have to wash clothes by hand.

She has so much more to show for her years on the field.

We are prone to tearing down rather than building up. Jealousy, envy, fear, all of these can sneak in and create walls between us as Kingdom women, pushing us apart rather than drawing us together.

We want to be women that invest. We want to see the good in one another and celebrate each other’s victories and gifts.

We have a special opportunity coming up to do just that! If you want to connect with other women who might be in a similar life stage or make friends with women who might be very different from you, there’s a space for you in Connection Groups. Registration is happening this week! You can check out our Connection Group page to learn more.

How do you intentionally build up others around you? Share your ideas and celebrate your sisters this week! Use the hashtag #VelvetAshesBuildUp on social media, and add your thoughts in the comments this week.

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