Our Big Audacious Birthday News

Can I tell you a story?

Yesterday, in honor of Velvet Ashes 2nd birthday, I shared the story of how Velvet Ashes began. We looked back in wonder at how God has done more with this community than any of our small minds could have imagined two years ago.

But there’s more to the story, more that has been developing in just the last weeks and days even.

For quite some time, the leadership of our editors’ team has been on the lookout for a financial manager (This is vital to our story, I promise).

None of us on the team feel gifted (or even slightly excited) about finances and budgets. We’re all women who’ve been on the field, so we’re quite accustomed to working off of shoe-string budgets, just making do with what we can. But as the ministry of Velvet Ashes has continued to grow, so have our costs, and so have our dreams.

In other words, we knew we desperately needed someone who knows about money to help us out.

So we put the word out, “Anyone know of someone who’s really good with money, who wants to do our budget for us? Oh, and like the rest of us, do this for free?”

Crickets… of course.

Then lo and behold, Amy Young shared the need with her friends and supporters and Kim and Steve Nease entered the picture. With lots of expertise in finances and business and ministry experience, and a huge heart for what Velvet Ashes does, they said they would be thrilled to help out.

Kim herself has lived and served overseas and she said, “I can only imagine what it would have meant to me to have something like Velvet Ashes back then.”

We sent them all of our financial records, and they were too polite to laugh, but I think they were shocked to see that Velvet Ashes has managed to survive and do what we’ve done on the tiny budget that we have.

That’s when they asked for a conference call and got all Holy Spirit inspired on us. They said, “You all are just barely scratching the surface of the potential God has for you. Let’s draft a budget that would include all that you dream of doing, of all that God could do with you in the coming year.”

So we did. And then nearly choked when our budget was more than quadruple what is has been. But they looked it over and said, “There is nothing extravagant here. This is still shoe-string, but this will help you grow into the potential God has given you. The money is out there. People want to partner and be a part of this. You just need to ask.”

Well… okay.

We wanted to be all faith-filled, but $23,975 still seemed like a lot to ask for, a number a little too pie in the sky for the likes of us.

And then.

Then someone came to us and said, “I know you’re thinking about raising money for Velvet Ashes. I believe in what you’re doing. I see how God is using Velvet Ashes to minister to women across the world, and that in turn is empowering the all of the ministries in which these women serve.

“I want to offer to match any donations made to Velvet Ashes up to $10,000 by the end of the year. You raise $10,000 and I’ll match it with another $10,000. I want to see you with the money you need for the coming year in the bank.”


Then long silence… because Amy Young and I were rendered speechless and teary.

Can you even…? I can’t even…

Sorry. Days later, I’m still stumbling for words.

The number of $23,975, that number that felt insurmountable was now swiftly cut down to $13,975.  Our dreams suddenly feel like they could actually happen.

We could actually have…

–    Special programs developed to walk alongside women entering a new culture and for those re-entering their home culture. 

–    High quality video for our Velvet Ashes Online Retreat, offering spiritual renewal for women across the world.  

–    The resources we need as a team to lead this ministry with vibrance.

–    The ability to participate in conferences, spreading the word about Velvet Ashes, so that women know this lifeline is here for them.  

It’s pretty clearly that our job now is to ask. We need to invite you to give to a movement that God has set in motion.

In honor of our 2nd birthday, would you consider gifting Velvet Ashes with a donation?

Our goal is to raise a minimum of $10,000 to match our generous donor’s gift.  But we’re feeling led to be bold, to dream big.  We’d like to be fully funded by the end of the year, and that means raising$13,975 I’d say this feels audacious, but considering our story, considering we raised $5,700 in 30 days when we were just a tiny tribe trying to kick start a dream, considering the outrageous generosity we’ve already been offered… maybe this isn’t audacious, maybe this is just the way of God.

If 1,400 of us (which is about one half of our subscribers) gave just $10 each, we’d have our goal met. A $10 birthday gift to show that you’re part of this community and it has meant something to you. That’s what we’re asking. Just $10.

If you’d like to go beyond, here’s what your gift can do…




Provides a year of daily images for our posts.


Covers 1 month of daily posts sent by email to our subscribers.


Keeps the website online and maintained for one month.




Provides 20 books to be gifted to women so they can participate in book club.


Creates a program to walk along women going through culture shock and reentry.


Goes towards promotional materials.




Sponsors 100 women to participate in the Velvet Ashes Online Retreat.


Hires a videographer for the Retreat video filming and editing.


Allows VA team members to attend conferences to introduce women to Velvet Ashes.


Help Accomplish Our Dream Big Goal of $13,975


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We’d also like you to partner with us by inviting others to join this movement. I’m guessing you know people who may not be women on the field, but they are people with a heart to come alongside through prayer and financial support to enable the work of God across the globe. We’re creating a special group just for these people.

Would you share this post with potential partners?

We’re inviting these people to join the Velvet Ashes Partner Team here:

Friends, if you’ve been in this community for long, then hopefully you already know the heart of it. We are not out to become “big” for the sake of being big. We don’t believe value is measured in numbers. We simply want to open wide the doors of community for weary women serving in all corners of the world. We want to come alongside those that are preparing to go, to be the hand that so many of us wish we had had. We want to walk with those going through the upside down journey of re-entry.

We want to offer the tender care of Jesus, and we want to do it well.

That is our dream.

And our birthday wish is for the funds to make this dream possible.

A Gift

To celebrate our birthday, we have a gift for you!  We want to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done in this community.  This gorgeous print from images2inspire is free and downloadable (for one week only!).

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 2.33.36 PM

PDF Download – Give thanks to the Lord

The download comes with three options:

  1. 8×10 print
  2. 5×7 print
  3. Devotional cards (great for giving a note to a friend, bible journaling, or hanging around the house.)

Need a fresh reminder to hang in your home?  Some lovely new Thanksgiving decor?  Leave a comment or link up below telling us how Jesus has met you through the community of Velvet Ashes. Then print and enjoy.  (Not for commercial use or distribution.)

So how has Jesus met you here?  Thanks for celebrating and dreaming big with us!   


This is what we call The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions


  1. Cassidy Lancaster November 12, 2015

    Can I tell you a story, too?

    Today (It’s still Thursday here) I was going through my inbox catching up on VA posts and ended up browsing the website and reading some articles on re-entry to prepare me for my upcoming transition to the US. I noticed the sidebar that said something about supporting VA and I thought, “oh man, I didn’t realize I could do that!” I love investing in things that have made my life better and I pledge to give when I get my paycheck this weekend on the 15th and again when I get my final paycheck from my organization in December.


    Velvet Ashes has been a huge blessing in my life since I heard about it through a friend last year and even more so this year as I got involved in a Connection Group, got connected on Instagram, and started sharing VA with other overseas worker friends. Thank you for all that you do and the big things you WILL do as this budget becomes a reality.


    Our Daddy is a good Daddy who wants to see His daughters THRIVE! 🙂

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      Cassidy, it’s so encouraging to hear of your excitement for investing in this.  Thanks for believing with us.  We’re thrilled to have you here at VA.  And that’s our favorite way to grow this community, by people who are touched and encourage by VA telling all their people about it. 🙂

    2. Amy Young November 13, 2015

      He does! And thanks for sharing, this makes me smile!

  2. Leslie Verner November 12, 2015

    I am definitely one of those people who wish you had this when I was overseas five years ago!  Though I’m back in my passport country, I’m gravitating towards this group because I still feel so at home among those who work cross-culturally (and know/hope that I’ll be back there eventually…).  I am so impressed with the authenticity of this group and always feel so encouraged and strengthened through reading.  It’s taken me awhile to believe that true relationships can be formed “virtually,” but it is so obvious that God is using this for His good and glory that I really can’t deny it anymore.  I’m excited to see how God is going to continue to use Velvet Ashes in the future.  (And it’s also due to Velvet Ashes that I started blogging;-)  )  Thank you, Danielle, Patty, Kim & Amy for your faith, wisdom and vision.  You are being used mightily.

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      Leslie, you’re so right.  Being overseas is an experience that forever changes you, AND builds you a forever connection with people who have done the same.  Velvet Ashes is absolutely for you!   And yeah, it is surprising how rich relationships can be when they are “virtual,” isn’t it?  LOVE hearing that VA inspired you to find your voice in blogging.

    2. Kimberly Todd November 13, 2015

      I love you, Leslie. I’m so glad you’ve gotten involved at VA because it’s one more thread connecting us. Virtually real. =)

  3. Michele Zintz November 13, 2015

    PLEASE- keep sending reminders about this giving opportunity to the end of the year!  I’m having a stretched-to-the-limit (well, okay a bit past the limit) month, but I am sure I can give at least $10 next month. I’m also sure I’m not the only one who will space it if I don’t get another reminder!

    I was just introduced to Velvet Ashes less than a month ago.  I never knew anything on the internet could be so encouraging.  I’ve never been so consistently touched and inspired by any kind of blog.  Last week, I admitted to finding myself suddenly in tears over issues I was completely unaware I was having.  Somehow you all are going so much deeper than just the normal, ‘yeah-culture-shock-is-tough’ stuff we’ve all read before, and I honestly hear the Lord speaking to me in every post.  It’s still surprising me every time!  THANK YOU  for taking this on.  I definitely plan to support you financially as often as I can!

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      “I never knew anything on the internet could be so encouraging.”  Can we quote you on that, Michele?? 🙂  So glad you’ve been hearing from the Lord through each post.  That is our prayer.  And YES, we’ll definitely be posting reminders!  Thank you!

      1. Michele Zintz November 13, 2015

        Quote away! 🙂

    2. Amy Young November 13, 2015

      Michele and now you’ve passed on the encouragement! :). I love how God does that … take something, grow it, and then let us share it!

  4. Joanna May November 13, 2015

    Happy Birthday Velvet Ashes! And thank you to Danielle and the Velvet Ashes team for dreaming big. I only discovered this site a few weeks ago, but the honesty and vulnerability of the posts have touched me deeply. This is a wonderful ministry. It will be so exciting to see God turn all your dreams into reality. Bless you all. Be excited!

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      We are excited! So thrilled that you’ve joined us at VA and have been deeply touched.

  5. Joanna May November 13, 2015

    Just to add, when I made a donation to the Dream Big Fund, I couldn’t put in my real billing address, as the system is set up only for US addresses (I’m from the UK). I had to make up an address to get through to the next step. So I hope the payment goes through! You may want change the payment system to a universal one, otherwise it is a barrier to non-US citizens making a payment.

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      Thanks for making us aware of this issue, Joanna!  We hadn’t realized that non-US addresses couldn’t be entered.  We’ll let you know if your payment went through!  Thank you.  We’re working on it and will keep everyone posted about this issue.

    2. Danielle Wheeler November 19, 2015

      Hi Joanna, just wanted to update you.  It does look like your donation went through, but you may check to see that it doesn’t end up with a glitch.  We now are funneling our donations through Pure Charity for the rest of the campaign.  This allows for billing addresses from anywhere.  Now people won’t have to make up an address. 😉  You can help us spread the word by sharing this link:


  6. Kate November 13, 2015

    seconding Joanna’s comment here, and Michele’s reminders! I don’t feel comfortable making up an address but would be happy to give a little when the “tentmaking” pays at the end of the month. I love to read the blog as I put my boy down for his nap each morning, it’s hugely inspiring and something I truly savour!

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 13, 2015

      Kate, we’ll keep you posted about the address issue.  We’re working on it!  And love hearing that Velvet Ashes is something you savor during the oh-so-precious nap time!!

  7. Ashley Felder November 13, 2015

    I’m so excited to see how God will orchestrate this one! Seems big, but to him? Pennies!

  8. Ruth November 14, 2015

    Velvet Ashes has definitely been an encouragement to me! It’s so great to know there are people out there, all over the world, who get you and understand this life. I so appreciate the honesty and openness. These past few months I have felt like every theme has been coming at just the right time and speaking to me specifically. So glad you followed through with this vision!  What a unique community.

  9. Anonymous November 15, 2015

    I just sat down to catch up on six day’s worth of emails and blog posts after being out of town for a week. As soon as I read this post, I immediately donated what I could. Velvet Ashes has been a life line for me this year. God sent y’all just when I needed VA the most! We started out the year with a non-life threatening, but still life-altering medical diagnosis, quickly followed by serious issues with the team we were on, and we face some big changes in the coming months. I have been so blessed and encouraged by the women here (getting teary-eyed just thinking about it!) and am excited to help in a small way. God’s using VA so mightily in so many lives. I cannot wait to see how He provides — I think it will be above and beyond!

  10. Julie B November 15, 2015

    Happy Birthday Velvet Ashes!  What a great place you fill for women who share God’s heart for the nations.  As one who does “member care”  – I refer every woman I come in contact with to VA!  Thank you for being such a great resource.  Sending in a “birthday present” – trusting the Lord to multiply it for His use.  Love you all.

  11. Brittany November 18, 2015

    I’ve been absent off and on a lot lately, but VA has been a constant encouragement for me.  I am ALL about what you are doing and I praise God for the role you are playing in my life.  I’m so thankful for you and excited about what God is going to continue to do through all of you wonderful ladies!  Happy Birthday!!!

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