Allume changed our lives in all the best ways. Two years ago we took a chance on a local conference. We didn’t know anyone going, we didn’t know very much about blogging, and we had no expectations whatsoever. We were familiar with several of the speakers and basically just needed some time away from our crazy lives. I remember being nervous with excitement about the unknown and hopeful of what God was going to reveal to me over the course of 3 days. I desperately needed refreshment, my soul was weary, my mind fried from the demands of motherhood and my body needing some serious time to rest.
True to God’s character, He showed up and provided us with small little fragments of a dream which has taken the last 2 years to unveil. We knew he was stirring up something in our hearts, we just had no idea how it would all pan out. We left Allume in 2013 with our worldview rocked. It was as if we saw the body of Christ displayed in its rawest form for the first time ever. I had no idea all of these organizations, women, writers, visionaries, and creatives were living, moving, and existing for Jesus all over the world. My eyes and my little bubble were opened to the world around me. For the first time in many years, I saw the cause of Christ displayed beautifully and artistically; it moved me and challenged me in ways I still can’t put into words.
My sister and I walked out of Allume with renewed spirits and a passion that only God can give. He lit a fire in our hearts, and we were determined to make a difference, to make a change in our lives, and it was going to start with the way we thought. We had to hit a reset button on our worldview; it started by sitting our two little sisters down and trying our best to communicate all we learned and felt over that weekend.
The fire was aflame, and we knew we had to be available. We knew we had to start listening but at the same time, we knew we had to start talking about our passions, our dreams and our gifts. God had put a desire in our hearts for us to do something together that allowed each of us to use our gifts for His Kingdom. Over the last two years and one more Allume conference with all 4 of us in attendance, we started brainstorming and growing our idea. We all saw bits and pieces of a boutique where we could give back. It couldn’t be just any boutique, it had to be something that made people excited– it had to empower and engage others. It had to be a collaboration of gifts and talents, a shop that brought people together for a common good.
Allume showed us the beauty of believers bringing their gifts and passions together. We wanted to expound on that mission and extend hospitality by opening our homes, our hearts, and our talents for the good of people right next door to us and thousands of miles away.
Thus Given was born, we took all the things we love to shop for and found people all over the world who are using their creative talents to create goods that change lives. Our desire is to empower and love those in need by purchasing these handmade products, and then in turn make them available to many more consumers who desire to partner in creating lasting change and good in places where people feel forgotten, lost and hopeless. Given is our way of changing the world one purchase, one person, and one dream at a time.
We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to debut our vision and products at Allume this year. What an amazing journey we’ve had these last two years. We are so thankful for Allume and the ways it has stretched us and expanded our worldview. Allume encouraged us to become more socially conscious consumers and completely reinvented our idea of what it means to live hospitably. We want Given to be a space where change can take place. The transformational change starts in our hearts, relinquishing our control and allowing God to reshape how we spend our time, our energy, and our money.
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” – Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out