Back in 2014 while I was working in Southeast Asia, I became very fascinated by the idea of having a tent at home, which would signify the Holy presence of God. I wanted a refuge, a resting place, a space where I can always go to encounter the One I love. Yes the Spirit of God is everywhere and is not restricted by manmade things, but there is something very special about having a designated place for the person that you most honor and treasure.
I was engaged then and due to fly back to London to be married in a few months’ time. I called my fiancé then, hubby now, and asked whether we could have a tee pee tent at home. He said yes! So this tent has been my place of intimacy, rest and soul-searching. It is where I bring my utmost brokenness, joys and mysteries to the One my soul delights in.
When it came to the time of forming some kind of a brand for this artwork-making business, I had this logo in mind. It came to me one time while I was worshipping the Lord.
I had no pen and paper with me so I quickly sketched it with my finger on iPhone using the doodle app, not wanting any detail to slip away. I saw something like the shape of a tee pee tent, and wings on both sides, overlooking the thing in the middle. That reminded me of the cherubims that guarded the ark of the covenant. At the same time, I had this thought that the name should start with an A, which is kind of like the shape of the tent in the logo. Then suddenly, it all made sense! “The Ark of Presence, where Love and Glory dwells” became the identity of the brand.
Moses said to God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
My hope is that everything about The Ark would breathe the glory of God. If the Presence of God is not in this, it would be completely in vain.
So, the hands and the heart behind The Ark is this girl (or rather married woman) who adores wild daisies, succulents, cacti, leaves, branches, trees, sunshine, extremely warm weather, the sea, pebbles, seashells, sand, being in water, adventur-ing with flip flops and backpack, scented candles, open space, quietness, joyfulness, childlikeness, reading while sipping tea, genuine love songs, dance performances that make you cry, vulnerable story-telling, and different cultures in the world.
I am a lover of love and beauty – a lover of the Person of love and beauty and glory and grace and truth – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my beginning, my process, and my destination – in all of my existence and everything I do. He brought me from death to life; an amazing, hope-filled, darkness crushing and light-shining life.
I am an art psychotherapist by training and have had the privilege of using the profession to reach the lost, bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Before that I was a graphic designer / art director. I had left the design career to carry out the current ‘mission’ God laid on my heart.
However, I have never actually stopped creating. A couple of years ago I found myself feeling rather discontent about the gifts I was buying for friends’ birthdays, weddings, Christmas, special occasions or simply to show encouragement. I started to hand-make different types of art pieces to give to family and friends and strangers (this is a ‘custom’ that I developed as a child, I’m grateful to my parents who loved and kept the endless Disney cards I painted for them).
In October 2016, after a series of amazing events and encouraging words from friends, I decided to step out and start a tiny, tiny little online business, selling ‘stuff’ that I make. Jesus called me to start The Ark, to create and sell artworks for His glory; to bring hope, light and love to this weary and broken world. I had very little idea how it might work. And I am still learning a lot each day.
I had a lot of struggles to start with. I was afraid my work was not good enough, that it’s not worth looking at, that people wouldn’t be interested, that it’s going to be a failure, that it was just a projection of ugly self-ambition. However, the Lord Jesus and my wonderful hubby keep encouraging me and spurring me on the right track. It is so easy to get back to that dark loophole and compare with others and lose the vision and the joy of creating, but I thank God that ultimately He defines ‘success’, not me, not anyone else. If I seek to please people, I lose everything. But if I seek to do everything for the glory and pleasure of Jesus, I would be the richest I can be. I have learnt and am learning that I always just need an attitude of a daughter making something for her Father – all love and no fear.
Everything in The Ark is hand-crafted by love, inspired by nature, and filled with life-giving thoughts. It is my passion to impart encouragement, childlike hope, joy, love, and dreams to the world.
One piece that I’ve been working on behind the scenes for a while, and I’m thrilled to release, is my new “Master Piece in Progress” tote bag*. The inspiration for this bag came from the book of Ephesians: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph2:10) and a quote by Sophia Bush: “’You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”
I am astounded that God would call us His masterpiece. We are created in His image – the image of pure love, light and holiness. His wonder is placed inside of each of us, no matter where and when and how we are born. We are created in Him, through Him, for Him – our life purpose is to worship and enjoy Him. I find it extremely easy to appreciate the beauty of God, but the beauty of myself? I’m not so sure. However, God calls us His masterpiece. He creates as He speaks. Even when we’re not quite there yet, that’s how He sees us.
I’ve been learning to give grace to myself and the rest of broken humanity – which includes anyone from a family member who gets on my nerves to traffickers who sell and abuse people for money; from the most well-off and arrogant person in the world, to street children who don’t know their worth and cannot imagine anything beyond picking food from garbage dumps.
I pray that this bag will serve as a reminder, wherever you bring it, that we are all hand-crafted by the Artist of the universe – unique and holy and made for love. We all deserve respect and honor; and at the same time, we all require patience and grace from others, because we are all “not quite there yet”. But the process is beautiful. Because the Artist is beautiful. I am so thankful that I get to share a piece of my heart with you in this simple tote bag.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
I give all the glory to my amazing God – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit – the Creator of creators, who loves and inspires me daily; who has given me courage to be me, and a fearless heart to dream again.
*Artfully Seeking subscribers receive 10% off their tote purchase until April 18, 2018.