Fourteen years ago, I laid down a dream that had been in me since I was 12-years-old.
I know that feeling. That feeling of losing something you’ve worked so hard for - the thing that’s within reach, just to have it slip through your fingers. I know it and can still conjure up the feelings, the emotions like an old song that plays on the radio. I can remember what I was doing, how it felt, how it smelled and who was there.
When it happened, I felt the loss. I was confused.
Now, when I look back, I can see why it had to happen. And even then, I knew a little of the why, but I could have never guessed this.
My dream ever since I can remember was to live in New York and be in fashion. Honestly, I don’t understand what little girl wouldn’t want to! I see it in my own little 6-year-old now. She’s a little fashionista already, insisting on the way she dresses, how her hair looks and truly believes she is the most beautiful girl in the world. She’s right!
Like all little girls who are determined with a dream, I did everything I could to meet that dream. I worked in fashion, went to college and got a degree, then put on the suit and started managing in the hopes to work my way up to have my own buying office. That was the goal.
I did it all and even dressed the part. I just missed one thing - asking God how He wanted me to use this talent and passion in me.
If you’ve followed this blog or Created Woman long enough or read my story on the website, (link here) you know what happened in 2003. People still laugh when I tell them I left fashion and went into ministry. The question usually is “How did that happen?” I can chuckle about it now because the truth is I love my life! I love that I get to do ministry in a way that fits who God created me to be. I mean really! Fashion and Faith together? Who knew!
Through this journey, dreams have been the driving force behind everything we do. Our whole goal is to help women discover their dream, which we believe is the very purpose they were born. But, the difference is we make sure to add in the one important question that I missed.
How does God want you to use the dream HE put in you?
We don’t have to figure out the how, either. If God gave it to us, He also has the instructions. We just have to wait on them sometimes.
The simple truth is all of us have the same purpose and that is to point people back to Jesus. The how is where we get messed up. The how is simply through our own gifts and talents, and He can use those talents in the most unusual way or the most unexpected way.
Like starting an organization that combines fashion and faith, ha!
As we continue to teach women about Jesus and helping them find their purpose, we’ve used fashion as a hook to get them in the door. From fun, fashion partners, shopping and even teaching women how to dress and show up as an Ambassadors of Christ. Honestly, it’s the really fun part! It’s enabled us to break down walls, too, welcoming women into our ‘doors’ in a way that’s unintimidating. It is how we’ve been able to reach HER.
The past year, we launched Gather Her - a monthly gathering of women to enjoy a night of faith, fashion and friends. It’s been incredible to see God move in a new, fresh way! Honestly, the past 12 months over here at Created Woman has been a season of WOW! From Gather Her, to beauty bar, new leaders and volunteers - God has really showed up and showed off.
Well, He showed up again and I have to be honest, I was a little scared at first. Not scared of the “ask” but scared that I would run ahead again. It’s my MO sometimes.
I knew this ‘ask’ was always in the future, but I never knew how it looked. So I stood still for a few years, waiting for the right time, in my personal and family life. I waited until Created Woman was in the right place. But most importantly, I waited until He revealed the how instead of running ahead or trying to force the dream before its due date. I waited on God to show up, and He did.
This fall, Created Woman takes the step to launch our very own fashion line - one that prayerfully will be revealed at Style Speaks 2018 (Save the date now for 02.17.18 Style Speaks V: Dare to Dream). Not a huge line, but a small capsule wardrobe existing of 6-7 pieces. (You’ll have to follow the blog the next few months to learn more)
As you can imagine, when the word “Go” was spoken, I was a little hesitant. I had laid it down so long ago, and I knew that I had to lay it down because I had made it, my passion about clothes, all about me. My career goals, my needs, the corner office, the lifestyle - how could I pick it back up again and trust myself?
Right when things began to be revealed, a mentor-friend gave me a book unknowingly what was happening called the Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkerson. In it, he writes about the dream-giver, aka, God, giving you a dream and just when you about to reach it, He says, “Give it back to me.” As you can imagine, I knew that was me! I gave it back so long ago, begrudgingly, but obediently. The story continues that soon the dream-giver gave the dream back, but this time it looked different. It smelled different, it felt different. It was for a different use altogether - to bring glory to the dream-giver.
So how does this dream look different than 14 years ago?
This time, the clothes won’t be for my glory, but for His.
The Created Woman fashion line will be a means to an end, a way to:
- Reach HER
- Fund Her
- Train Her
- Release Her
The dream-giver showed me that I no longer had the desire for the corner office or a certain lifestyle. But that my heart now was to help every woman discover her God-given purpose and run with it! It’s true; I live and breathe it!
Every Single Woman Has A Purpose.
At the end of the day, Created Woman is a ministry, which means we are a non-profit that relies on donations, grants, ticket sales and in-kind donations. It’s a difficult road to travel - one that requires a lot of behind the scenes work, building relationships, and talking to people outside of our events and trainings. And, as non-profit, if you are not turning a profit, then the word “non-profit” takes on a whole new meaning, like “no money.” And that’s not sustainable.
The truth is, the world doesn’t need another clothing line, boutique or dress. But it does need more kingdom businesses that make an impact for Him - one that will fund women who want to take classes to grow, be mentored, and be change-agents in their community. And if it’s a business that helps HER show up as an Ambassador of Christ and feel like the princess she is, then even better!
I don’t have all the answers for you in this one post. But I would love for you to take this journey with us! It’s just the beginning of a new, fresh way we get to build HIS kingdom. I’m even geeking out because just this week we got our fabric samples in (Insert Tom Cruise jumping on a couch here, ha!)
But before I sign off, I want to leave all of you dreamers with this one thought and that is this:
There is a difference between a God-dream and a You-dream.
A God-dream ALWAYS points people back to Jesus. A You-dream is for your own comfort, goals and desires. Not that they are bad, but God never promises to fulfill a You-dream.
Psalms 37:4 says,
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Too often we say, think and believe God will give us all of our desires so we keep believing and waiting on dreams that might not be meant to be. Because the part we forget is the beginning of that verse: Delight yourself in the Lord. When we do that, the truth is He begins to change our desires for His desires because His ways are higher than ours. His thoughts are higher than ours.
So if you have a dream, a passion. Don’t forget to ask that one question: “God, how do you want me to use this dream?” Otherwise, you might have to walk the long way around the mountain, sometimes over and over.
I can tell you this, if the end result doesn’t point people to Jesus, it’s best to stand still and wait on more instructions! Because God-dreams are way better than You-dreams.
I’m living proof!
Follow our journey on launching the Created Woman fashion line on #FashionFridays. We'd love to hear from you, too! Afterall, the clothes are designed with you in mind.
GATHER HER || 11.09.17
FAITH + FASHION + FRIENDS + FREE
God-sized Dreams & Health for the holidays
Whitney Rohl founder of Fit-Bar & TBA
Two women who are blazing trails and dare to go after their God-sized dreams!
Enjoy an evening with women just like you who want to explore their faith and love all things fashion!
RSVP for FREE
Fashion Partner: Holiday make up and jewerlry looks by the CW Family!
~ Food: Catered by Tita Joliff
~ Bar is available for purchase.
~ Raffle items! $3/ticket or 6 for $15
...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.