January 24, 2017
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It is a horrific crime that some have heard of but is hardly spoken of today. I came across Kelly's Instagram page, then her Etsy Shop and quickly became inspired by her cause, to end modern day slavery. Here is Kelly's testimony and more about Speak Justice Design Co.
For years, human trafficking pulled heavily on my heart, but I didn't know what to do. Around 30 million people are enslaved around the world, and many of those people are in sex slavery. Just a few years ago, you didn’t hear much about sex trafficking, and most of us didn’t know much about how it was happening, especially in the U.S. There still aren’t solid statistics that accurately represent how many people are being trafficked because it’s such a difficult crime to track and stop. This global industry is making billions off of the innocence of the vulnerable. The average person trafficked into the sex trade is 12 years old. 12 years old.
It's a huge, dark, sickening problem, and I felt totally defeated whenever I thought about it. I didn't have much money to donate or much time to volunteer, so I just sat on God's call on my heart. I pushed it aside.
When I started my design business five years ago, I never imagined that God would use it as a vessel for his mission for me. I did contract design work for businesses and churches for a few years, and then I decided to open an Etsy shopto have a better outlet for doing the kind of design work that I love. During all that time, my business felt incomplete. I felt like it was supposed to be more, to mean more, but I didn’t know what.
Less than a year after opening my shop, God gave me the vision to use my work to take a stand. I had read another article about trafficking and was thinking, what can I do? How can I find a way to give? And God prompted, give your business away. Take whatever small reach and resources you have and leverage them for those with no voice. I knew in that frenzied, giddy night of brainstorming and praying that God had lined up everything -- my business, my Etsy shop, my social media platforms -- so that I would be ready when he tugged on my heart again. Here was the meaning. Here was the divine purpose.
I rebranded my business four months later to Speak Justice Design Co., and started donating from every sale to The Exodus Road, an organization that helps find, rescue, and restore people who are trapped in slavery. For every $10 that is spent in our shop, we donate $3. In the six months since the launch, we’ve raised almost $1,000 for rescue. That’s enough to pay for four weeks of investigations, or transitional care for nine survivors after a raid. I have never loved my work so much as I do now that I am helping fight for freedom.
I know that not everyone has the same calling, which is why Speak Justice is about living intentionally at home in the world. That includes ending slavery. That includes purposeful motherhood. That includes serving your community and speaking up for the marginalized. Oh man, it includes so many good things! I want to live intentionally and inspire others to be intentional in whatever they do. I’m passionate about God’s mission for me, and I want to help others discover their mission too! You don’t have to waste any more time wondering what that meaning is you’re looking for. God has a call for your life right now.
It's still a struggle because I have to balance this passion with my other calls to serve my family (my pastor hubby and two sweet and spunky boys, 3 and 1) and the church. Sometimes I feel like God has given me more missions than what I can accomplish. But I do my best to trust him with that and keep working. To pursue His idea of success, not mine. To just be obedient to the call and let him fill in the rest. Because it’s really his mission, after all.
MORE ABOUT KELLY
Kelly is an optimist, a sensitive heart, quiet by nature and hopelessly forgetful. Her happy places are in meaningful relationships, pour-your-heart-out worship, autumn in the mountains and anything with her boys. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Josh, and their two very social and animated boys, who are 3 and 1. She serves in student ministry with her husband and is the founder of Speak Justice Design Co.
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November 14, 2016
Becoming a wife and mother are filled daily with self-sacrifical choices for women. To place another's needs before your known is an absolute display of love and devotion.
My remarkable friend, Ana from She Found Grace discusses more about the importance of placing your spouse above all other needs. Ana is a wife and mother who longs to fulfill God's will in her life and to share His message with others. Her desire is to display characteristics of a godly woman and to utilize her platform as a wife and mother to connect with women who are also seeking God's Glory.
"I don't think we should stay together, it's just not working out", those words to this day give me shivers and I was the one who said them to my husband after only 4 years of marriage.
Growing up I was told, "your children come first because they will never leave you but a man can come and go." This was so heavily installed in my mind and growing up, I was always first before my father. If my parents were talking and I interrupted, my father was hushed. There was also no such thing as a date night in my household growing up; because, it was a waste of time and only selfish mothers wanted to be away from their kids...right?
As our family grew, my mother's priorities were her three little girls and at the end of the day when she was tired and had nothing left to give, she slept with us. My mother was only ever trying to be the mother she never had and I love her for it; but growing up, there was a lot of tension from the lack of time with my father. I could hear my father's plea for time but, my mother was convinced that as a Christian mother, her children were her ministry and not her husband.
When my time came for marriage, naturally my mind was made up... Chris (my husband ) was not to be to important because, he could just up and leave and I had wasted my time; but my daughters, OH my precious daughters, they were to be my mini-idols as all my time and energy was to go to only to them. And God forbid I left them to go on a date.
Maybe it's a cultural chain or maybe our motherly instincts that can and WILL cross healthy boundaries created by God. Regardless of the root, my marriage suffered severely, far more than that of my parent's marriage, at least from what I knew. I refused to spend time with my husband and when we did I was uninterested and I let it be known.
To me, I was being a GREAT mother but what I missed was God's order and the lack of that order was causing anger and separation in our home.
When I was 20 years old, I remember our marriage breaking apart quickly and finally after four short years, we had decided we just were never meant to be and he shared with me, "you never spend time with me and I needed your help and love too", but in my mind I saw nothing wrong with that what I was doing.
As I returned to Christ that year, my husband came to Christ through this change. But even as a Christian woman, I refused to believe God's order; until one day in the midst of this chaos, a very close friend and I talked about my marriage (since I admired her so much and her marriage was so giving - it was beautiful.) And since we knew them so intimately, I knew the arguments and chatter they had never destroyed them the way it was doing to ours.
She shared with me God's order in a family and as hard as it was for me to agree, I had to believe God created this design in his infinite wisdom and that it's meant to work and so far my order was causing heart-break. I dove into the word of God and every time it mentioned families, it would say husband's are first after God. After God it was my husband, myself and THEN my children. It was so hard for me to believe that God really wanted this as the order. I had to trust that He is far wiser than me and that my marriage was where it was partly, because of the order it was in.
So I am sure you are wondering were in scripture it says this. Well, I will share just a few that I had to memorize as I asked God to transform me and renew my mind to His will.
Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” All of one’s heart, soul, and strength is to be committed to loving God, making Him the first priority.
If married, your spouse comes next. A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians5:25). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. Here is an example a husband should follow: God first, then his wife. In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The principle is that a woman’s husband is second only to God in her priorities.
If husbands and wives are second only to God in our priorities, and since a husband and wife are one flesh (Ephesians 5:31), it stands to reason that the result of the marriage relationship—children—should be the next priority. Parents are to raise godly children who will be the next generation of those who love the Lord with all their hearts (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4), showing once again that God comes first. All other family relationships should reflect that. credit to: Gotquestion.com
When I finally gave my whole heart to God on this matter, I quickly saw the change in my marriage. So much so, that my own mother wanted to know what happened in our marriage. So much so that almost a decade, later my husband and I are firm in the Lord and give Him the Glory for our marriage.
I learned that yes, our daughters are so important and they are my ministry; but, my husband and I need to be together stronger for our daughters and that our marriage wasn't neglected - as I was led to believe all my life.
Our daughters needed to see what works in a marriage and that it only works in God's order. They need to see that mommy loves daddy so much that she take the time to be alone with him and that we are a team and not two strangers constantly fighting against each other. They need to feel stability coming from both of us as their parents and what it looks like to glorify God in a marriage. We had to set standards, so when they get married, they know the difference between a godly marriage and the marriage we had prior to God's order. We want to save them the experience of going through what we did to understand God's order of marriage.
To maintain a godly marriage you first need to put God in it; then obey His order.
You can't have a godly marriage without God in it. A godly marriage will still have issues, because we are two sinners in need of grace; but when we have Jesus, we know who to run to. We know His order and what we can do to let go of our pride and make marriage work.
My husband and I had to learn to be together in a room without children and talk about our marriage, repent and fix what we had done. We had to pray and still do for God's Spirit to guide us as a team. We found ways to laugh and play together as our daughters laughed along with us. We are terrible at date nights; but still, I must admit that we know the importance of them.
Now, when we leave for a few hours, our daughter's smile as I get ready and yell with joy to "HAVE FUN love birds!"
I see such a difference in our marriage and how putting my husband first is truly God's design.
If you are wondering about my parents, they have come to realize the importance of this matter. And even though they no longer have small children at home, they are hardly ever alone and are always going on the dates they missed out on in their young marriage.
Now we have two generations following God's design and my daughters make a point to share with me that they can't wait to go on dates and love their husbands.
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October 26, 2016
Madeleine from My Lamp Blog shares her heart and her choice to not watch the news. She is a Theology student at Swiss University and her passion lies in studying the bible while encouraging others to pursue their purpose for God's Kingdom.
Bad things are all over the news; terrorism, disaster, misery etc. The headlines are screaming for our attention about brutal things happening on earth.
When you leave your house in the morning, it’s just everywhere; on the newspaper someone forgot in the metro, you walk down a street and hear people talking about it, while waiting at Starbucks for a coffee, you hear discussions about the latest terror attack and later you check your phone to see the news spread all over social media.
We almost can’t escape those headlines. They are all over the place!
But the Bible reminds us to guard our hearts.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23
In the Hebrew, the term “heart” means the innermost. It covers things like our thoughts, mind, reason, wishes, feelings and motives. When the Bible tells us to shield our heart, it means that we should protect the part of us that’s responsible for our deeds.
In our mind, we decide which actions we are going to take, our motives drive us and our feelings make us react in a certain way.
One way you can guard your heart is by deciding what you let into your mind and therefore determine what influences your actions.
Look at what Jesus said:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22
Your eye is the window to your heart. The unhealthy eye looks at the bad circumstances of this world like greed, terrorism, egoism, etc.
What you let through your eyes into your mind, in other words, what you are looking at and thinking about, influences your deeds and out viewpoints. When you see all the catastrophes happening, fear spreads into your heart, it cripples you, you become bitter and loose your joy.
What is the alternative? Read and look at the truth, which is God’s Word. He is the certainty and the light. Let him fill you up with love and your heart will be full of light.
"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones".
Good news lifts up your spirit, brings joy into your heart and can even heal you. When you read God’s truth, it warms your heart and it will eventually determine your actions and reactions to different circumstances and events.
But what if you aren’t informed when you stop reading and watching the news? Well, in my own experience, you will get to know what’s happening sooner or later because people are talking about it.
And what if you start looking away from the poverty and misery in the world and stop helping those people? This won’t happen either. Because when you are not constantly distracted and influenced by the news, you can make decisions based on your preferences. Take your time and look through different organizations that do good things for the poor and support them. Or find something near your home where you can actively diminish the misery of some people.
But it doesn’t help anyone when you constantly fill yourself with bad news and grow weary with worry.
I'm not saying that reading the news is bad. There is just a much better way full of joy and love! Fill yourself up with THE good news every day! ☺
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