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.
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!),
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!