Patty Stallings was visiting our home, and she and I needed to go to the store together. My then four-year-old son Titus heard that he would be coming along, so he waited until I was out of the room, then turned to Patty with a straight face and said, “I’m gonna need some of your money.”
The strategic little thinker knows that my pat answer when he asks for things at the store is: “You can use your money” or “Save up your money for that.” So when he knew that Ms. Patty (one of his favorite people) would be with us, he saw it as a golden opportunity. Patty and I couldn’t stop laughing when she told me what he’d said.
But do you know what? She gave him some of her money.
She handed him a five-dollar bill and helped him pick out a special treat. He paid for it himself at the checkout, literally bouncing with excitement. In true Titus fashion, he declared it, “The best day EVER!”
The mother in me was a bit mortified that my son had so shamelessly asked someone for money. But then it struck me. He didn’t ask. It was not a question, but a statement. “I’m gonna need some of your money.”
He was simply stating his “need,” knowing that Ms. Patty could meet it. When he did that, she took him up on the opportunity and experienced the joy of giving.
I often get asked where Velvet Ashes gets its funding. People are surprised when I tell them that each year at the end of the year, we tell our community what our financial need is for the coming year, and… they meet it.
“But isn’t your community mostly made up of women who are raising their own support?”
“So they give out of their own small pockets to keep the ministry going? Wow, they must really believe in this. And feel the need for it.”
We know the need we have for this place, don’t we? We believe in this space, because time and time again, God has met us here. In each of our far-flung corners of the world, God has reminded us through this glowing screen, that we are not alone.
That he is Immanuel. God with us.
That He who called you to your far-flung corner for his kingdom’s sake has not left you alone.
Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we feel alone. We feel discouraged because God’s presence is not always there in the way that we want it to be. We live with unanswered prayers for ministry success or personal transformation or a heart desire. So we start to question.
Am I even making a difference? Is it worth the sacrifice? Do my needs matter to God? Does anyone even care? Am I alone in this?
This is that safe place to ask those questions. This is where we circle up as a group of women who are living the same kind of story. And here’s the astounding thing that happens in this space: God anoints our words to each other and they become his Holy Spirit message to his daughters.
This happens all the time around here. It happened to Suzanne Mauritzen. She’d been struggling with an issue. She writes,
“People come to my gate multiple times a day—some people I know who come just to greet (very cultural here) or to ask for money. Some are complete strangers, asking if they can they do any work in exchange for money. I am an introvert and adding the cultural stresses of being interrupted, I feel like I must guard my ‘rest’ time, even if that is at someone else’s expense.”
Suzanne said that God had been working on her heart on this. He used a conversation with her Velvet Ashes Connection Group and time in his Word. And then she read “Is the Shortest Path the Best One?” at Velvet Ashes. She said,
“[The post] talked about the desires that I have (in this case, it was the desire to keep my sanity by curving out some intentional, much-needed introvert time). The question in the blog post was ‘How often have you gotten what you thought you wanted, only to have a profound sense of disappointment?’
It was the bull’s-eye that desperately needed to be hit, allowing me to get to the underlying issue and the root of my skewed thinking: physical rest is the sole thing to keep my sanity. In and of itself, physical rest is good and needed, but only a means to an end, not the end or the solution. It’s only in the person of Jesus Christ can I find my rest and strength when I need the strength to continue.”
Suzanne says she’s so thankful that God used a Velvet Ashes blog post to lovingly confront her with truth.
Has that happened to you? Have you read a blog post from Velvet Ashes that “hit the bull’s eye” and you knew it was God’s voice to you? Share with us in the comments or on Instagram with #VelvetAshesNotAlone. (See below)
This month at Velvet Ashes, we’re stating our financial need for 2018. Like my unashamed son, I’m writing to tell you, “We’re gonna need some of your money.”
We’re gonna need some of your money so that we can keep this place going and growing. Women serving God’s kingdom around the world need to know they are not alone. We need to be reminded this Christmas season and always that Immanuel has come. God with us. We are not alone.
We started out this year’s giving campaign with a bang on Giving Tuesday when we raised $6,600 in one day. One day! Now help us reach our goal of raising our 2018 budget of $31,393 by the end of the month. I’m not asking. I’m stating the need, giving you the opportunity to be part of what God is doing.
Each of us giving out of our rather small pockets has created a movement and community of women across the globe. And together we are declaring to a lost and lonely world, “You are not alone. Immanuel.”
We have collected $25,508.00 of our $31,393.00 target. It is 81.25% of our goal for the Not Alone campaign