Savoring a Goodbye (The Grove: Savoring}

Dear Velvet Ashes,

I have deleted the start of this letter six times already, no matter how I begin, it doesn’t sound quite right.

This week we have been savoring and I have loved every moment of it. And because I knew this day was coming, I have been sad most moments too. I don’t tend to think of savoring and dreading as good bedfellows, but they can be. This week I can see how savoring and dreading point to how much something has meant, does mean, and will go on meaning to me.

In July and August I did not sleep through the night—not one night—and my stomach started to produce too much acid. I suspected it was a course redirection. I did not particularly want a course redirection, but as the days grew into weeks, it was apparent God was at the heart of what I was experiencing. I sensed it was related to Velvet Ashes, but what I could not tell was if these “labor pains” were birthing me into something new within Velvet Ashes, or outside of Velvet Ashes.

You have experienced your own course redirection, whether to the field, to a new stage of life, or a new role within your calling. You know what I am talking about. It can be disorienting and exciting as you are invited to trust that God has your good at heart and knows you better than you know yourself. Add to the mix that I wrote a book called Looming Transitions, so I supposedly know how to do this. (Ha!)

Today is my last official day to be a part of Velvet Ashes from the inside, it is not my last day to be a part of Velvet Ashes. I will be quiet for a couple of months, but in the future I hope to join with you in participating in this wonderful community, commenting on posts, joining you in reading books, and liking your comments on Instagram.

If I thanked everyone I want to, we would be here all day. But in brief, Danielle, thank you for emailing and inviting me to help birth and tend this amazing slice of the Body of Christ. Thank you to the Velvet Ashes Board. Working with you these past years has been a joy and I have learned so much about running a non-profit from you. Thank you, amazing volunteers. Every time Velvet Ashes grew and the work became too much, we invited you to help and you have. Every day you make Velvet Ashes happen. Every day! Blog posts, images, Book Club, blog support, Connection Groups, and Social Media posts materialize because of you.

And thank you, friend, who is reading this. Thank you for being a part of Velvet Ashes. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for joining Book Club, Connection Groups, the Retreat, and for showing the world that an online community is real. That sometimes the “me too” is more powerful than physical proximity.

Velvet Ashes is none of ours. Velvet Ashes is all of ours. Velvet Ashes is God’s.

If you would like to stay in touch or hear what is next for me, you can. I’m on Instagram and as a plan unfolds I will share it on the “occasional updates” through my blog.

I am sad my time has come to an end. And I am excited to see what God has in store for you, Velvet Ashes. I will forever be grateful for our time together. I am changed by you. I am a better child of the King because of you. I love you.

With love and joy (and a few tears!),

Amy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Velvet Ashes,

This is where we reach through the screen and hand you a tissue.

Velvet Ashes is what it is today because Amy was here from the beginning. When Amy gets involved in something she throws her whole heart, mind, soul and energy into it and the outcome is stunning(to borrow a favorite word of hers). She has taken the core elements of VA and built them to an incredible standard that then speaks into the lives of the women in our community – helping them to thrive in their place of service.

Christ is at the heart of all that Amy does, and the fruit of that is love like his. She builds into people’s lives as they use their gifts and abilities within our community. Amy’s leadership, drive, passion and plain ole hard work are a cornerstone by which Velvet Ashes has grown and blossomed. We love her and are so grateful for all she has done.

While not from within Velvet Ashes, Amy’s course redirection is a continuation of the work God has done through her here, and as such we can do nothing but affirm and bless and send and cheer her on. God has prepared her for more good works, and more good works for her. We will all benefit as she follows this call.

Amy knows how to transition well (see that portion of her book), and is working to leave us equipped to go forward. We are grateful. Working, waiting and watching, we trust that God will continue to raise up women to lead from within Velvet Ashes, as he has faithfully done time and time again.

Finally, we would love to hear from you, beloved VA community, what whispers you hear from God, because like Amy said,

“Velvet Ashes is none of ours. Velvet Ashes is all of ours. Velvet Ashes is God’s.”

With gratitude and expectation,

The Velvet Ashes Board of Directors

~~~

We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Share your images on this week’s theme with #VelvetAshesSavoring. You can add yours!

26 Comments

  1. Laura November 22, 2018

    Amy, thank you for your leadership through the years. You have been a blessing and made an impact on all of our lives. We are excited for what is next for you and are praying God will continue to bless you as you serve Him. Personally, I am thankful for your friendship and how you have challenged me as a writer and a leader. You will be greatly missed in this space!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Thank you Laura. I love how the body functions . . . working with you has also pushed me to grow in leadership and writing because I think so highly of you!

  2. Elizabeth Trotter November 22, 2018

    Dearest Amy, I’ve said this before privately, but I want to say it publicly: I love you and I will miss you!! I believe the future of Velvet Ashes is secure, and I believe your future ministry holds much good for you, and for others. I just love you so much and have enjoyed working with you over the years. You have been a wonderful editor, boss, and confidant!! Love you forever, and Godspeed.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      I love you too Elizabeth!!! And I will miss working with you :). I love how you point me (and all you encounter) to God — the beautiful, mysterious, ineffable Lord we serve together. Hugs!

  3. Danielle Wheeler November 22, 2018

    Can you believe it’s been six years since that email? It’s been quite a journey. So many things beyond what we ever imagined. So many milestones, so many memories, and soooo many emails. 😉 Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for ALL you have poured into Velvet Ashes. I pray God’s deepest blessings on you and what is to come.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      No, I can’t believe it’s been six years! So much life has been lived between then and now, eh :). I had to laugh at your comment because others might be able to say, “we’ll always have ________ (fill in the blank of some exotic place)”. And what do we have? “We’ll always have email :)” Ha! And so true :)! Thank you for the prayers and blessing!

  4. Spring November 23, 2018

    I needed that virtual tissue. Thank you for journying with us. Thank you for being willing, and for helping be a part of make Velvet Ashes what it is today.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Spring :). I’m so glad you said, “YES” to being a part of the IG team (and facilitating Connection Groups and writing guest posts and and and). I love how you see the needs of the IG community and are almost always the one to say, “Hey, did you see the need this person has?! How can VA help?” I love that you see people, you see needs, and you respond with the merciful heart of love. Reflecting God :).

  5. Grace L November 23, 2018

    Amy, I have felt like I have known you even though we have never met. I have loved your posts on Velvet Ashes and was always blessed by them. You shared so much of yourself that I was sure that if we ever would meet in person, that you would be my friend and I would like you in person as much as I do in this virtual space. I look forward to learning more about your next steps as you journey on. God bless you, dear sister, in all you do.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Grace, I feel the same!! Through the breadcrumbs of comments you’ve left, I sensed that a cup of tea with you would be a welcome respite in a busy day :). AND my next endeavor will also be a virtual one, so I think our paths will keep crossing :). Much love, my friend whom I have met through the written words we share 🙂

  6. Caitlin L. November 23, 2018

    Amy, thank you for your love and dedication! You are a great blessing and I look forward to watching what God will do through you in this next step in life. God Bless!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Caitlin!!! the blessing is most definitely a two-way road :). Thank you for your love and dedication . . . to your connection group, and to leading the Connection Group Facilitators, and to me. You are so good at responding to emails in such a way I knew you did not skim them, but took the time to read them. And by reading them, you saw me, the writer of the words. Seeing someone is a powerful gift. Thanks for giving it to me 🙂

  7. Sarah Hilkemann November 23, 2018

    I wish I didn’t have to read this post since it means that you are really leaving, this is really happening. Yet, I look back at all the ways you’ve touched my life through Velvet Ashes and I smile. You’ve taught me so much and I know those lessons will not stop! Bless you, Amy, as you keep serving and loving, finding ways to give hope and live authentically for the Kingdom. Love you!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Sarah, sarah, sarah. I thank God for you every time I think of you. I don’t quite know how to put into words all the ways God has used you in my life and in this space. You were one of the first to join the Book Club. Those early comments were so needed as “proof of concept.” They were so needed to remind me I was not writing into a big void and simply talking to myself. (Well, at least not talking to myself ALL the time! Ha!) When we were in the same CG, I was drawn to your thoughtfulness. Sarah, one of the greatest gifts you freely give to those around you is taking the time to see them. I do not sense you are listening with one ear and forming your response, instead, you listen with both ears. You are so good at being present with people. As God has ended your time on the field and opened the door for you to be more involved with VA, I know we both thought we’d be working together longer than we have ended up working together :). But this is not a surprise to God. I love you Sarah and I love that you are now shepherding part of VA. Blessings, blessings, blessings friend.

  8. Nancy November 23, 2018

    Thanks Amy for helping to birth Velvet Ashes. It has been a blessing to me and many others. I am grateful that I have gotten to know you virtually as well as personally. May God lead you and direct you in your next steps. I know He will use you.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Nancy! One of the highlights of the spring of 2018 was getting to meet you in person! You’ll smile at this — when I was in Germany, about 1/4 of the cross-cultural workers I was with are native Spanish speakers. Meeting them made me think of you . . . and your heart of all Cross-Cultural workers to be supported and cared for. I get it! They want more books translated into Spanish! I heard echoes of you 🙂

  9. Kiera Duncan November 25, 2018

    I echo Grace L. above, – Amy, we’ve never met and yet I feel like I know you. 🙂 Thank you for all you’ve done for Velvet Ashes (especially Book Club!) and thank you for Looming Transitions, both of which have benefited me greatly. You will be missed. Blessing on you as you continue to follow God’s call wherever He leads you.

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Kiera, isn’t it weird we haven’t met?! It seems we have, surely, right? But no, we haven’t :). At least not yet! Thanks for your kind words . . . I hope my next endeavor will also serve the greater body (it’s another online place with a slightly different focus). Much love!

  10. Ruth November 25, 2018

    So sad for us here–we will miss you and your presence. May God bless you as you take your next steps!

  11. Monica F November 25, 2018

    I never met you Amy, but I feel like you became a friend through the Velvet Ashes community- reading your posts I have always felt so encouraged by your words. Thank you for blessing all of us. God bless you on your journey!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Thank you, Monica. God has sure done something special here, hasn’t He? Taken strangers all over the world, and though we’ve never met, made us friends. Velvet Ashes has helped make the Epistles all the more real and vibrant to me as the authors and readers loved on each other. And here we are, a couple of thousand years later, in a similar situation (NOT that we are witnessing scripture in the making, HAHA, NO. But that we are witnessing how the Holy Spirit uses words penned and words read to unite people.). Monica, if you’re ever in Denver, let’s get together! ANd I hope to see you in a few months at the next virtual endeavor I’m up to (It’s also for cross-cultural workers!).

  12. SarahW November 26, 2018

    I also needed that virtual tissue. And I echo the above comments that although we have never met I feel like we would be friends. Thank you for pouring yourself into this ministry. Blessings to you on all that lies ahead. We know that while your role is changing you are not truly leaving and because you have made this a welcoming space there will always be a place for you at this table. Go with God, dear Amy. We look forward to where your journey with Him will lead!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Sarah, thank you! That’s how I feel . . . I’m leaving, but I’m not :). This is also the weirdest transition I’ve had. Precious transitions, I physically left or something else physically changed. But since all of our relationships have been virtual . . . there isn’t much to leave when it comes to relationships. Now, when it comes to being on the inside of shaping and guiding Va, yes, that will change. Ahhhh, I sense that I’ve moved into processing mode :). All this to say, thanks for affirming that my place at the table is still held 🙂

  13. RuthieH November 27, 2018

    Amy, I have so enjoyed and been blessed by your presence here at Velvet Ashes. Your blogs (and books) are some of my favorites, as I love reading your “voice” as you recount your overseas experiences and pass on the wisdom gleaned from them. Thank you for all you have invested in Velvet Ashes, the sacrifices made through prayer, giving, serving, advising, supporting, and so much more. I pray you that continue to see many “returns” on what you have given toward the kingdom through VA and the many other ways you serve others. Blessings on your future paths!

    1. Amy Young November 29, 2018

      Ruthie! I love how we confuse mutual FB friends and they wonder if we are “real” friends. Ha! We are real friends . . . but friends who have not met in person :). Until that day, see you on FB (and other nooks and crannies of the web!)

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.