Archive | May, 2015

Everyday Justice

We’re back!
We had a refreshing and rejuvenating week fasting from social media.  The culmination of the week was observing Memorial Day by reflecting on, thinking of, and praying for all the brave individuals who have laid down their lives for our freedom.  Their sacrificial love, not unlike Jesus who laid down His life for us, is truly one of the greatest gifts of all.
This week we have been filled with deep gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy, though our hearts were hurting thinking of our brothers and sisters around the globe who aren’t able to experience similar freedoms and opportunities.  However, as we reflected and prayed on this, we didn’t feel despair, but rather with HOPE!
We thought of all the people who are working, fighting, and sacrificing daily to provide justice.  There are countless ways that people are being light in darkness, and taking God’s call to seek justice seriously!
Act Justly
The list of these modern-day justice warriors is long, and ranges from large organizations, like The International Justice Mission, Free the slaves, The International Rescue Committee, World Vision, The Justice Conference, Together Rising and more, to individuals like you – teachers, social workers, volunteers, health care providers, and people who strategically use their finances to support justice, and purchase products that enrich, empower and restore lives.

We don’t want forget to remember those who are currently working to bring justice to a fallen world in small and large ways.  So, for the next month we want to celebrate #everydayjustice.

Will you join us?  When you participate in, or see others doing everyday acts of justice, let us know! Take a picture and use the hashtag #everydayjustice.
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 We will be praying over all the photos that come in, sharing and re-posting them, and we might even surprise some justice fighters with Bought Beautifully products!
UPDATE – Check out our first photo: Missi with the Food Group, working to provide food for hungry children in the Sheridan community! Way to go Missi – We love seeing #everydayjustice in action.
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Life Lived Beautifully

We have been incredibly blessed to form many wonderful relationships in our Bought Beautifully journey. Today we introduce you to the lovely Gretchen Saffles and

Life Lived Beautifully!

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Tell us about the history of Life Lived Beautifully:

Life Lived Beautifully began in May 2013 as a jewelry business. After my husband and I got married, we moved to a new city in Tennessee for him to work at a church plant. The Lord used this opportunity to give us a fresh start and a blank canvas to for Him to write on! He led me to begin Life Lived Beautifully with the mission of pointing women to Christ through creativity. We are almost two years into business, and the products and direction of the business have completely changed, but the mission statement has stayed the same. When I first began LLB, the Lord was calling me to reignite the creativity He had woven into my bones. I began dreaming big again, and He began molding those dreams into His. After about six months of selling jewelry and handmade items, He began to change the direction of the business to go back to my original passions – Bible study and teaching women the Word of God. I brought out my paint brushes again after a friend of mine suffered from a serious illness and began to paint out of a desire to worship the Lord. As I painted, God began showing me different wants I could share my faith through art. I began selling stationary and eventually God planted an even bigger dream in my heart to create a journal! The amazing thing about this dream was that I had absolutely no training in design and had no idea how to make a journal. It was truly God-sized and crazy to the outside observer. As I began to pray and write down the vision for the journal, the Lord began to provide in crazy ways how the journal could actually be made. I met a girl through the small group I lead who was a graphic design major and she offered to help teach me how to use design programs. I also found a printer who was able to print the first batch of journals within a reasonable cost. God kept connecting the dots in ways that I never could have dreamed! When we launched the first set of journals, they sold out within an hour.
Ever since that first launch, God has continued to define the passion and mission of Life Lived Beautifully – to know Jesus and to make Him known to the world. This ministry would not exist apart from the miraculous work of the Lord and we praise Him daily for what He is doing!
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What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

Dreaming big is not easy. As a matter of fact, it is one of the hardest things you could do! As I began to really dream dreams that were bigger than myself, I realized over and over that I couldn’t accomplish them without the work of God and the help of others. I began the business with almost no start-up funds. When I was making jewelry, the Lord provided free materials in the most creative ways! However, with every dream comes striving (Ecclesiastes 5:3). And with that striving comes a lot of pruning. As I have created and the business has continued to grow, the Lord has continually brought me to the realization that He must become greater and I must become less! When we first launched the Give Me Jesus journal, I used almost all the money that I had saved in my business bank account! Over and over the Lord showed me that if we want to see Him do something big, we have to walk on water. We can’t fear failure and we can’t live in insecurity. We have to trust and hand over every aspect of the ministry to the Lord. Even though the decision to make the journals was one of the riskiest decisions I have ever made, it has also been one of the most rewarding. We have been able to see God provide in countless ways. With each order of journals we have sold out. It is incredible to watch God grow the seeds, and it is humbling at the same time. Dreaming big is always worth knowing Christ more deeply and fully!

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 How have you seen God blow your mind?

This past fall we sold over 2,000 journals after launching them in May. Within just 8 months God had watered the dream and caused incredible growth! We honestly had no idea that it would continue to grow at that rate. Along with the growth, we also found out that we were expecting our fist baby! Once January came, we began praying for help. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to steward this mission alone anymore and that God would provide exactly who we needed. As we continued to pray, the Lord laid a burden on my friend’s heart to come alongside the mission of Life Lived Beautifully. Right around the time where we knew we wouldn’t be able to keep up at the same pace (especially with a baby), the Lord provided who we needed to help grow and sustain! In every step of the process, He has gone before. Dreaming big and living on mission for the Lord is something that is beyond ourselves. It is the greatest thing we could do in this life – to lay down our own desires and take up the cross of Christ. This is what we were called to do, and through being obedient, we will constantly see God provide in supernatural ways! He is the Author, Perfecter, and Creator of every big dream! And it is for His glory that we work, create, and continue to move forward. Jesus is the goal. He is the prize. He is everything we could ever need!

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 As an organization what excited about right now?

We are excited about the new dreams the Lord has placed in our heart! We are praying through some new products that we hope will be tools to both men and women to know the Word of God more! Not only that, but we continue to pray that this ministry reaches women all over the world. It is incredible to see God knitting together an international ministry out of such a small dream. We are expectant to see Him continue to grow the vision and share the gospel through creative ways! 

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015?

I have written down goals for Life Lived Beautifully so many times, and they always come back to daily obedience. As fun as it is to write down big visions, it takes small baby steps each day. It takes getting really low on our knees so we can see God in His perfect greatness and majesty! We have learned to hold our dreams and goals loosely, but also we to pray with fervency and with belief in our great God! One of our dreams in 2015 was to hire an employee and launch a study on the Proverbs 31 woman and we were able to do both by April! We now are working on creating a men’s journal (similar to the Give Me Jesus journal) and more Bible studies and journals for women! In the next three years, we would love to find ways to continue to connect women all over through the gospel. Our vision is to see women meeting together regularly to study God’s Word and encourage each other! One of the biggest dreams we have is to have a conference that would equip women to do these things! We are praying through the timing and vision for this and can’t wait to see the creative ways that God provides!

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Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? 

Stay focused. Every single day there are a million things that are vying for our attention but only one thing that matters. Choosing Christ and revolving your life around the gospel is the only thing that matters. If your heart has forgotten the glory of the gospel, open up the Word. Start reading and eating from the Well that satisfies and sustains! Never lose vision of the mission God has called us to by looking to the right and to the left. Stay focused on eternity and walk with Jesus. There is no greater thing in life than to know Him intimately and to live in light of His grace each day!

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Isn’t she lovely!?  For daily inspirations and more follow Gretchen on instagram, facebook and twitter

Look for her products to return to Bought Beautifully in the coming months, after her little bundle of joy has arrived and they settle back into a new normal!

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