I had the pleasure of being both a member of a Velvet Ashes Connection Group last fall and being a Group Mentor this spring. I remember how God used the experience of my fall leader to impact one of our group members in a big way. He aligned our leader’s history of a tragic event in her past with the yet to be destiny of one of our members.
When I stepped out to become a leader it was because I so desperately needed the continual encouragement and outlet of Velvet Ashes during our time in Mexico.
We went through a doozy of a first year on the field, followed by our second year where we met challenges with the people we worked with, those who had left the field, and now were facing personal issues in our marriage including infertility and my husband struggling to pass his online college classes. We were looking at current life circumstances that seemed to be swallowing us up, while we stared down at a future that might be filled with no children and no college graduation. Things were pretty daunting, and I knew I needed to stay connected to an outlet that was outside of my current situation.
Something I never would have expected when entering the field (and don’t wish on anyone else) is the feeling of not feeling safe or accepted in my current situation on the field. Language barriers left us pretty isolated in our community, and difficult relationships on the field left for a lack of friendship and connection.
Velvet Ashes was a safe haven where I finally felt understood. Girls in my group were quite literally taking the words out of my mouth before I could even speak them. It felt like we were all going through similar circumstances and could completely understand where the others were coming from. I knew I needed more of this in my life to get me through the hard days.
Enter: Spring Group Connection. Having the opportunity not to just be in a group but to lead a group was a wonderful experience. God placed some wonderful women in my group, and one in particular who had walked through infertility and loss, and ultimately adoption of their children. She was further down this road than I, and was a massive blessing to me in the hard days when I wanted somebody to ask, “Am I crazy for feeling this way?” or “Is this normal?”
In both the fall and spring connection groups I attended, the Lord put women strategically in each other’s paths to help one another walk through struggles they had already been through. He allowed me to see how He put to use the struggles some of these women had suffered years prior to bless those who are walking through it today. I can only hope he spoke encouragement to these women who had struggled before and allowed them to see some purpose in their pain.
One thing I know for sure about being a part of the Velvet Ashes Community for the last two years is that our stories aren’t all that different from one another. We all have struggles, and many of them are similar. Our marriages are taken through the ringer. We feel isolated from language barriers. We miss home. We don’t know where our home is anymore. We have friends or family who don’t understand our decisions to leave. We have tough relationships on the field.
Chances are you’ve experienced one or more of these. Why experience them alone when you could have a rich time of connecting with other women who might be able to shine a light, give an ear, or speak wisdom into your life. It was a life-saver for me in my greatest time of need, and I can only hope that it is the same for all of you who decide to join this fall.
What is scary about connection for you in this season? What about connection stirs your soul?
Connection Groups are OPEN! You can sign up here!