Exactly one year ago today, in the hush of dawn before children wake, I crept into our living room and cracked open my computer.
This was it.
A year and a half before this moment, I had sat on my porch sipping tea when a dream lodged itself in my heart, a dream of a place for women spread across the globe to find each other, to share their lives, to find the connection and encouragement they are hungry for.
Later when the pastor preached, “What’s that one thing? That one thing stirring in you that you know God is calling you to?” I knew what that one thing was.
Six months after my porch moment, six months of rolling it around in prayer, it was time for the first step. I emailed Amy. And she said “yes.” Then Patty said “yes.” And what followed was a chorus of “yes’es” from our amazing web designer, to an entire team of ladies with voice and gifting. Everyone was saying “Yes, we need this. We want to do this.”
So together we leapt out in crazy faith for our launch fund and the money poured in.
Then, after months of planning – branding, naming, designing, creating, Velvet Ashes was officially live.
I had previewed the site probably dozens of times, making adjustments, learning my way around. So there was no real surprise involved when I opened my computer on Nov 13, 2013. I knew what I would see at www.velvetashes.com.
But there was something in that moment, something that stole my breath. I had to blink away tears to see the screen.
The dream had grown real. It was really truly live. I sat in stunned silence at the wonder of it, at the way God had crafted this place, piece by precious piece.
There was awe in the air, because I had a sense of who this was all for. I knew that tucked into the corners of the globe were souls who needed to know they are not alone, who needed a breath of hope and a place to connect. I knew that, because I was one of them.
And I knew that a tender Father had crafted this place for us.
I had a sense of what might happen here. But I thought we would start out small and slowly over the years, gain momentum and grow into our potential. Apparently, I had no idea…
I had no idea that just one year later, Velvet Ashes would have 2,173 subscribers, that we would have 4,568 comments on our posts. I had no idea that our Connection Groups would explode like they have, that these groups would fill up within a matter of hours, and that the women in those Connection Groups alone would represent 30 different countries.
But are we here today to celebrate numbers? No. If we know anything from the nooks and corners where Velvet Ashes women live, God is not so taken with numbers. He is taken with hearts. Behind every one of those numbers is a person, a person whom Velvet Ashes has come along side to help make her journey a bit more bearable, the load a bit lighter.
This is happening because women are gathering here in this space and getting very real about…
So today we pause to light a candle, to build an altar, to celebrate and applaud the Father for the wonder he is doing in this place.
Our desire is to be like the Velvet Ash tree for which we are named. That like this desert tree, we would thrive in unlikely places. That as a community of women spread across the world, we would together lean into the words of Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you’re dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, an ever flowing spring.”
In celebration of our first birthday, we want to give one of you this gorgeous 10×10″ canvas, handmade especially for VA by our beloved Emily Thomas (check out her fabulous shop for Christmas gifts!).
Join us in celebrating what God is doing in and through this place. Enter to win by using the Rafflecopter here. Earn an entry by commenting and sharing what’s been meaningful to you here at Velvet Ashes. New subscribers are entered too! And earn more entries through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’re reading in email, click here to come join the giveaway!
Here is a slice of what ladies have been sharing with us about how Velvet Ashes has been meaningful to them…
“I’ve recently been introduced to Velvet Ashes and The Grove. WOW. Wish I would have had this community for the last nine years as my family and I have been living in a remote area among an unreached people group.” — Monica F.
“The realness allows the rest of us to be real in the moments both good and bad.” –Keri Christensen
“I am at that place where I have been in a south Asian country for the past 10 years, and I felt like giving up. However today’s article really spoke to me to not give up but continue faithfully, having forsaken all others.
Thank you.” — Fadzai Phiri
“It so delights my soul (and challenges me!) to see the impact you have had and are having in so many people’s lives as a result of Velvet Ashes. I am astounded at what must be a monumental effort… It has been life giving for me… I have savored every posting…they truly bring beauty and life to my heart during this time of transition.” — Holly
“There have been many times that I have opened Velvet Ashes and it spoke directly to something I have been struggling with or praying about. I have been so encouraged and blessed. Being part of a connection group has also been a great encouragement. It’s been really life giving for me. ” — Joellen Lemont
“A dear friend serving overseas recently shared Velvet Ashes with me. She said that it was a community she had been searching for all her life and now that she had it, she’s touched almost daily with a word from the Lord. She shared it with me because my husband and I are newly called to South America and beginning the application process…
I’ve spent a week reading posts and crying over them. I had asked my Father in prayer a few weeks ago to bring me closer to His heart. I feel without doubt, that this community is a huge part of His answer to my prayer.
The Father has touched my heart with these words in so many ways. I am so thankful to have found you!”
What’s something that’s been meaningful to you here at Velvet Ashes?
Come back tomorrow as we continue to celebrate! We’ll be announcing exciting upcoming plans!