Why did I, a Pastor, get into the Fashion Industry?

img_4320I mean really. Why in the world would I as a Pastor, who fills my time with discipleship, ministry meetings, staff meetings, preaching, mentoring, leading, serving, decide to get into something as “shallow” or “materialistic” as the fashion industry? Good question. I asked myself that MANY times. And I realized I never really shared the “why” behind that with you who’ve watched and may have wondered the same thing. So, if you’re interested, here’s the short version: It fell into my lap after about two years of the Lord prepping me with prophetic words, bizarre happenings, and ultimately the most powerful, open-heaven dream experience of my life. That’s the short of it. Here’s the full story if you’re still reading…Fashion is something that always caught my eye as a girl. Make up, pretty things, makeovers, I always loved it. But not as much as I loved ministry. I’ve been doing ministry, discipling and teaching others since I was 14, knowing the call of God on my life to do missions and make disciples. I have been happily doing this for 20 years, with no sense of lack or want. The Lord has been faithful to give me opportunity to minister, and I’ve been in ministry for 12 years along side my husband, with eight years before that. So why add anything to it? Well, because I’ve always wanted to be sure I’m being sensitive to what God’s doing in my life. And a handful of years ago I came across the teachings by Lance Wallnau about being a modern day “Joseph”, going into all areas of influence in our culture to disciple our nation from the inside out, not just from the place of the pulpit. Taking our giftings into the work force (business), the Arts and Entertainment industry, the Education, Medical, Government, Family and Religious mountains. These are the areas that influence a nation the most. And we as believers have a responsibility to establish the Kingdom of God (bringing peace, joy and righteousness) to every one of those areas. As I tore into this revelation, scriptures connected to it, it stirred me on the deepest level of my spirit, it felt somehow prophetic for my life, but I assumed that was because I was called to the “Religion” mountain, called to pour my life into serving and discipling believers. Little did I know what the Lord had in store. (Look up “Lance Wallnau: 7 mountains of influence” on Youtube… mind blowing.)

Then these strange things started happening. For about two years total (probably because the Lord knew I’d need some serious confirmation to put my energy anywhere besides the church), EVERY SINGLE PROPHETIC WORD I received (and there was a lot of them living in a prophetic culture at our church) had something to do with fashion. It was “I saw you in a blazer and high heels, and the Lord was saying he is giving you more authority and raising you up…”, or “I saw you in an ornate wedding dress and there was a line of people behind you and you were explaining the different gemstones on the dress to them…”, and the list goes on and on. It was happening so frequently I began to laugh about the irony of it. At the same time, anytime I went anywhere, it was like there was an invisible spotlight over my head and everyone from friends, to students, to strangers began to approach me and ask me to style them, help them learn to dress themselves, or straight up invite me into their closet to put outfits together. It made me uncomfortable the level of attention I was receiving surrounding this topic, but I knew it was the Lord because I couldn’t even make this stuff up. I mean, when strangers approach you with these requests out of nowhere, it’s like, “Ok really? What’s going on here?!” I mean, that’s NOT NORMAL. I began to second guess myself and wonder if I was dressed too over the top. But I was confused because there were LOTS of other women I knew who I considered even more fashionable than myself. Putting a cute outfit together had become a creative outlet for me because it only took a couple minutes and was something I could do while juggling four young boys. It didn’t take as long as sitting down to write a song or paint a picture. It was an outlet for me, yet these freaky occurrances were happening everywhere I went. Finally, I was like, “Lord, are you trying to get my attention about something? I mean, if you want me to get into fashion or something, you’ll have to be REALLY obvious because I refuse to put my time into something that won’t bear an eternal impact. I want every minute of my life to matter for eternity. Plus, I don’t have anywhere to go with fashion right now anyways, so if you’re trying to make a point, you’ll have to make it OBVIOUS because these prophetic words and perfect strangers commenting on my clothing is just weird.”

Then I had a DREAM. The most heavenly, unreal, powerful, exhilarating dream I’ve had in my life. I won’t go into the details of it, but in the dream it felt like I was under an open heaven; there was literally no barrier between me and heaven. It was as though heaven came and settled down upon me while I slept. There was such a sense of expectancy, hope, and the message of the dream was that the Lord was wanting to expand my “ministry” (place of being used) and promote me into something new if I was to respond with a yes. I didn’t know what that meant yet, but I am always willing to do anything as long as I know God is in it, so I told him yes. Shortly after, someone told me about *the company I currently work for* and said, “You should style for them!” I was like, “What’s that?” I went and googled the company, read what the stylist does, and was like, “HOLY FREAKING COW! This job was MADE for me!! I already do this with all my friends when we’re out shopping, how cool to get paid to do this!” So I applied online, and waited for a response prayerfully.

A few weeks later, I received an invitation from the company to come interview. I prayed about it, and strangely felt a check in my spirit that now was not the time to apply. I asked Stephen what he felt. He felt the timing was not good too. After all, we didn’t know if we were going to have more kids, were busy with college ministry, so I decided to trust the Lord and put it down. I was a little confused, but decided to trust.

The weeks following were life shifting heart changes for me about my season of life with having children and such, and I found such a place of peace and freedom as we decided to close the door on any more children, and just move forward raising our boys and growing up with them. So much peace settled into my heart as I set both feet firmly into a new season looking forward.

My thoughts wandered back to the Stylist position and I found myself a little confused. I went back to that dream and said, “You know Lord, I receive and accept anything you want to do in my life. Whatever shifting you need to do, wherever you want to use me, I will obey. Whatever that looks like. I’m confused about the fashion job, because I had a check about it, but if that was you and the timing was just off, I need you to make it obvious. I ask you to open doors no man can open. And close doors no man can close. Make it plain where you want me to step so I can embrace all that you have for me and my future with you.”

The NEXT DAY, I randomly received three emails, one after another, from *the company I work for*, asking me to re-consider coming to interview for them. Now get this: I had no prior formal experience in fashion. I would be the first stylist this far out from their Austin headquarters, and I had already turned them down once. Yet, here are three emails (the number of the Lord), asking me to reconsider. I took this as an “open door” from the Lord, and stepped through. The rest is history. I’ve enjoyed styling for this company for over 15 months now and have styled over 3000 women to date, soon to add men to that number.

I have felt from the beginning that this company is not my landing point, but rather a preparative season. I won’t be there forever, but in the time I’ve been there, I have learned SO VERY MUCH. I have built some really beautiful relationships, some have already created opportunity for ministry. I have gained some really valuable skills for both communication AND styling, and been so encouraged to be so challenged by a secular company with such a beautiful heart to serve, love, and show kindness! I’ve gained skills that will no doubt be useful in future seasons of my life, whatever that may be (because God wastes nothing), and what I find the most refreshing, is I feel connected to the LOST world who needs Jesus! This has been so wonderful, because ministry can, while being my favorite place, can become like a bubble, and feel a little disconnected from the lost world.

So now, as I carry most of my working hours still in ministry, and part-time hours in the fashion world, it’s been an interesting balance. I realize that most people have no idea why I would have taken a job like this that seems so “superficial”. Some have been offended by it. And I understand that. It’s hard when you relate to a leader one way, and they shift into something new without you understanding the reason, it’s hard to shift with them. Which is part of why I wanted to explain for anyone who wondered. And to put to words the significance of a job on any of the other six “mountains” outside of the church. For me, it’s not really about the clothes, though that’s definitely fun! It’s always about the people. This “superficial” task of teaching people to dress themselves has a profound way of accessing people’s hearts. Jesus was really great at meeting practical needs as well as spiritual (hello his first miracle of turning water into wine because people didn’t want to stop partying…). People are people. They have very practical needs. And for the church to act “hands off” with people unless it comes with spiritual verbage is quite frankly, RELIGIOUS, and not in a good way. Jesus found needs, and met them. He asked us to do the same. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, use your gifts to serve one another. So, that’s what I do. And I love seeing how I am able to serve women (and soon, men) with this skill the Lord grew in me for fashion. It’s encouraging when I hear feedback from clients who are honest, that having nothing to wear and no knowledge how to dress, which has brought them shame, fear, and held them back from getting out, and after helping them learn to dress themselves and putting some tools in their hands, they can get out and start to explore life. It’s a starting point. Its not the answer for all their problems. But it helps. And it refreshes. And it’s a way I can use my creativity to to serve others. I’m loving this wild ride.

So for those who wondered, that’s why I as a Pastor, decided to become a stylist for one of the nation’s fastest growing fashion companies. It wasn’t something I went looking for, it took lots of convincing from the Lord, and I’m sure down the road I’ll be able to look back and more fully understand the “why” behind the “this right now”. Either way, I’m having a great time, and loving the fact that God can work outside our religious boxes, and infuse purpose into things that we might consider “superficial” or “unspiritual” or “just a job”. I consider it an honor to expand influence from just the “Religion” mountain that shapes our culture, to include the “Arts and Entertainment” mountain. I just want to do, whatever I do, to please the Lord. To be faithful with my gifts, and bear fruit, that is my heart’s desire. And if that be in fashion for a season, so be it. 🙂

You may find yourself on the Mountain of Education, shaping our future’s minds. Or on the Medical mountain, serving people’s healthy. Or in Government, God’s servants. Or in Media, being a voice to our culture. Or in Arts and Entertainment, capturing the heart through expression. Or on the Family mountain, serving the health and healing of our families. Or in Business, creating the tools needed for all the other mountains to operate. You are needed. Your job isn’t just a job. It’s a way to disciple a nation from the inside. This has been my journey from the “Religion” mountain, to the “Arts” mountain. How about yours? It matters. Bring Peace, Joy, Righteousness in the Holy spirit wherever you are, and you’re establishing the Kingdom of God. Thanks for reading!

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