Four important things are happening here at The Grove today. For all of you “cut-to-the-chase” people, here are the bullet points:
- We have big news about our Dream Big fund!
- We’re announcing a One Word for our whole community, a Velvet Ashes One Word. (This may or may not involve me spilling my guts, fair warning.)
- We announcing a Save-the-Date for Velvet Ashes Online Retreat (THE highlight of the year at Velvet Ashes!)
- We inviting you all to link up and share your One Words for 2016. (My personal favorite link up of the whole year.)
We did it! HE did it! The Velvet Ashes Dream Big fund is fully funded! Goal reached. Can you believe it? I want to go back and tell my November self (the self that choked on our new quadrupled budget) that nothing is too big for Jehovah Jireh. Our team has been texting back and forth these last few hours sharing the wonder and awe of it all.
Thank you, thank you to everyone who dreamed big with us. Thank you for your prayers and sacrifices and overwhelming generosity. And to every single one of you, I hope this stamps an affirmation on your heart, that God sees you. He sees your soul, he sees your struggles, and he wants to breathe his life into you through this community. I hope this tells you that you matter, that people love you, people believe in you, and people want you to have the support of Velvet Ashes.
As one of our generous donors said, “God is up to something big with Velvet Ashes.” With awe and joy, we are walking into 2016 anticipating all that he will do.
Sad you missed out on being a part of this dream? It’s not too late to join. Every donation given to VA goes to furthering this ministry. The Dream Big fund at Pure Charity is open until midnight U.S. EST. And at any time you can give to Velvet Ashes here.
“This is God’s work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it! This is the very day God acted— let’s celebrate.” (Psalm 118:23-24 MSG)
This week we’ve been reflecting on our One Words for 2015, the word (or phrase) we each felt God pressing into our souls at this time last year. We’re sharing our new words for 2016, that which we feel the Spirit calling us into.
This year, we’re doing something new. We’re announcing a One Word for our whole community, a Velvet Ashes One Word. Because a few months ago, our leadership team met together in person. And we prayed over you. We prayed over this gorgeous community of authentic women, and we asked the Father what he wants for us. We said, “We are here and we are yours.”
And he gave us a word.
He gave us a word that I believe beats at the heart of his desire for us.
I think it’s a word that encapsulates what each of us are desperately hungry for. I know when I peel back my fears, my hopes and desires, this is what I really want. I want to… commune.
To connect in a deep, daily and intimate way with the Maker of the universe, the Knitter of my soul.
To break bread and sip wine with the Man who can banish my every fear, cleanse my darkest shame, heal my deepest wound.
To be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of peace, joy and love.
Isn’t that what we were made for?
But let me ask you something, does this describe the life you’re living or the life you long for?
How many of us teach and preach the freedom and intimacy that is available to all in Christ, yet fail to live in it ourselves?
How many of us have gotten lost in a whirl of service to our King while missing out on the sweet abiding life of communion with our King?
I’m not sure how to describe what’s been going on in me these last few months.
It’s been… tender and intimate. Slow and building.
Tearfully dramatic and gloriously ordinary.
Thousands of words typed in my journal.
My face on the carpet in prayer in the dark before dawn.
I’ve been in this Jesus relationship for a few decades now, the journey of growth and learning that never ends. But these last few months, I’ve been circling deeper, tasting a communion with my Jesus that it is making a marked difference in how I live, and I am oh-so-hungry for more.
Are you hungry too?
Can we together as a sisterhood say that in 2016 we will together journey in communion with Christ? That we will help one another pickaxe our way through the barriers between us and him?
Can we be there for each other in those moments of utter failure, when all seems lost? Can we be there to wipe off the shame, to tilt our faces again toward his grace that waits for these moments?
Can we be there to share with each other the small victories? To rejoice in growth and change that we thought would never be ours?
Friends, I think he wants to take us into the deep this year, into a depth of connection with him that we long for.
One thing I’ve become convinced of, this communing with God, it takes time and space in our lives.
Yes, he is with us in busyness, in the rush of to-dos and the stress of the daily grind.
But he has a work of transformation that he wants to do in each of us that can only come in the quiet still space.
I know, I know. My list of excuses runs long like yours.
And yet I am hungry. And he is calling… Calling us to get away with him.
What if… what if we set it up for you? What if you just set aside a day (or even a half day) this spring? And we bring a personal spiritual retreat to you?
A time designed just for you to connect and commune with Jesus… right where you are.
Last year, in our first ever retreat, 700 women in 92 countries participated. And the response was… well, you can read for yourself:
“I was blown away by how timely and amazing this retreat was.” – Kim A.
“I cried. A lot. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Velvet Ashes hosting this retreat. So.Much.Good.Stuff. Words fail.” – Kim
“I’ll be honest I was skeptical at first as to how this would actually work and would it be refreshing. I can say proudly YES, yes it has been beneficial and encouraging. I enjoyed the easy step-by-step journal of what to do and followed it, not skipping over anything. I love how God spoke to me in the quietness and made this day truly a Sabbath day.” – Kathy
“Thank you so much for this breath of fresh air! I really connected with so many women in the videos! It was a breath of grace to hear them speak and know that we connect in similar struggles.” – Mauren
“Ladies, I would like to tell you what an AMAZING retreat experience I had with some of my co-workers. It was beautiful time individually with Jesus…and also for the 3 of us to experience together with Jesus.
I left with my soul refreshed and also FULL. FULL of knowing Jesus was with us. FULL of the vibe that we had experienced Him together but also separately. FULL of the feeling that I RELEASED a bunch of expectations flung into the air falling down a cliff.
My only question is….when is the next one?” – Nicole E.
We’ve got an answer for that question!
This year’s Velvet Ashes Retreat is coming to you April 14-18.
We’re letting you know early so you can be sure to block off a day (or half-day) to experience this spiritual retreat that comes to you! You just log in from wherever you are to receive all the resources we have planned for you.
And let me say that if you thought last year’s retreat was amazing… just wait. Details to come.
Can I just tell you how much I love you all? How much I love being in community with you?
Here’s to where he’s leading us in 2016.
Here’s to filling ourselves with the only thing that ever satisfies… communion.
May we walk daily together in him, into the richness of the life he died to give us.
Anyone excited about the Retreat??
Celebrate our Dream Big fund with us in the comments!
And finally, we want to hear all about your One Words!
Happy New Year, friends.