In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. A few years later, and through a very non-linear journey, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that little blog led to bestselling books and a publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women uncover what they're made to do and take steps to make it happen, too.
Many of you have heard the exciting news that SoulScripts is reopening. And I am truly honored to introduce you to her.
The story of this shop is so intertwined with my own journey of heartbreak, healing, and rebuilding that I can’t talk about the re-opening of this shop without talking about the difficult journey that brought us here.
What started as a simple means of making some extra money in college has become, through refinement, something so much deeper.
Grab a blanket, get comfy, and let me take you on a journey. Let me introduce you to SoulScripts, all grown up.
I started SoulScripts from the inside of my dorm room in college, with nothing more than a little faith and big dreams. It started as a small Etsy shop selling hand-lettered decor.
I would share my designs on social media, and began writing longer captions on Facebook (and eventually Instagram). In those captions, I’d tell stories that related to whatever item I was selling. Sometimes they were personal stories of events or experiences I’d had and lessons I’d learned through it.
As those posts picked up traction online, more people discovered my work and I began to make more and more sales in my shop.
I eventually had to recruit my roommate and other sorority sisters to help me package and ship out of the storage closet on the third floor of our house.
It was my senior year, and I loved how that storage closet became a place where conversations about anything and everything were welcome.
I distinctly remember a friend walking into the room where we packaged with a pint of ice cream in her hand, plopping down, and tearfully telling us about the boy who had just broken her heart.
We listened and rallied around her.
I loved how that closet became a place where we could open up about break-ups, family drama, insecurities, and whatever else we were walking through.
Then, about a year after starting that shop, I reflected back on those conversations in SoulScripts HQ — er, the storage closet — and thought about the power of a supportive community.
I decided I’d write a post about vulnerability and community. And I used a phrase that said, “Your Brokenness is Welcome Here,” essentially to communicate, “I’m here for you, right where you are.”
The response that followed blew me away. There was an overwhelming amount of requests for apparel and products with that phrase. So we opened up a clothing line and that small line sold out in hours.
I couldn’t believe it.
It continued to grow bigger than I ever could have imagined. But, in spite of its success, I felt the message had lost clarity overtime.
As people would ask me what it meant, I would say things like, “It’s God’s invitation to us, He welcomes us as we are.”
Now, as much as that is absolutely true, I quickly learned how much that could be taken out of context or even a message that could serve as an excuse to not work hard or aim for growth and maturing in life.
As much as I would love to see women wearing the shirts to cancer treatments, or gifting it to a friend walking through a hard time, I began to notice that in the majority of cases, women would post a selfie in the shirt and go on and on about how it’s just okay to be a mess. They’d essentially share that they were just setting up camp in their struggle because “Jesus loves this hot mess.”
Yikes, I’d think, That’s not exactly what I meant.
And I began to worry the message was being interpreted as an excuse that could hold women back, rather than as I originally intended when I first wrote it: an invitation to open up and get the support it takes to take steps forward.
I intended the message to be a catalyst toward growth and overcoming but very quickly it seemed to become an excuse for misbehavior, sloth, or unwillingness to grow or move forward.
Other times, we’d run across someone who left a mean or snarky comment on social media or stirred up drama in a group we hosted. When we’d remove their comment or hold them accountable, they’d complain saying, “I thought my brokenness was welcome!”
I cringed as these events began to happen more and more as that was never the heart behind the message.
Additionally, the company had evolved from being a focused shop business to including many other programs that made up what formed into a women’s ministry arm, too.
After some time, I felt unsettled about that, and wondered whether or not that was the right direction in spite of popular demand. I learned that trying to do too many things with one company can lead to a lot of confusion — both for the leaders and owners of the company and to its community.
Thus, I knew I needed to do two things:
Perhaps because it grew so much more quickly than I had anticipated, and because I didn’t start with a very clear vision beyond just trying something I loved — handlettering and creating products to sell — I came to realize that perhaps I, as a leader, didn’t fully understand at that time what SoulScripts was supposed to become.
And I knew in my soul that I needed to take a step back if I ever hoped to see it become what it had the potential to be.
I fought the idea of closing SoulScripts for a long time. The shop was my business baby. It was born out of my hope to encourage and support women through life.
But like I said, I knew that the company needed a clear direction and the message needed refining.
Plus, I needed to better understand how that message could help move women forward in their struggles, rather than hold them back.
So in August, 2019, I finally closed the doors to the shop.
I quickly began receiving hundreds of messages from people who demanded an explanation. I so badly wanted to explain all of my reasons, but I sensed God telling me: “Wait one year before you explain this pivot I’m having you make. You’re in the middle of it now. Trying to explain it before you get a full view just isn’t going to work.”
I didn’t really know why God wanted me to wait one year but now I get it.
At the time, I didn’t know what that one year would bring.
A few months later in December of that year, as I was sitting in a coffee shop, a thought came to me, which I wrote down in my journal: Bring back “Your Brokenness Is Welcome Here” as a product line and support community designed to help women overcome their hardships.
It seemed strange at the time. It didn’t really make sense to me to focus on overcoming hardships. I was in the happiest time of my life. It was Christmas and we had just found out we were expecting our first child.
Just a month after my coffee shop moment, we went in for an ultrasound appointment only to find out that our baby’s heart was no longer beating. (If you want to hear more about our journey through miscarriage, check out this podcast episode).
A few months after our first miscarriage, we got pregnant again. It was supposed to be our redemption story. It was supposed to be the happy ending we had been praying for.
But at 13 weeks, as we were about to announce our pregnancy, we found out that we had lost that baby too.
It was absolutely devastating. I found myself in a season of deep grief and an ongoing journey of healing.
And friend, let me say: healing takes work. It doesn’t just happen. It requires vulnerability. It requires time. It requires courage to address the pain.
And healing also requires community.
Anyway, as I walked through those losses, I noticed that family and friends would reach out to me, telling me that they wished they knew what to say. Or they simply told me: I don’t have the words to say.
As I shared both losses with my online community, you guys began to repeat my own phrase, “Your Brokenness Is Welcome Here,” back to me.
Hearing that, in the middle of my heartbreak, hit me in a deeper way.
That’s when the meaning of the message and the purpose of SoulScripts, as I’m introducing it to you today, become clear.
Words can be healing. However, when a friend walks through hardship — loss, illness, heartbreak, and more — it can be hard to find the right words to comfort.
Sometimes, it feels like words fall short or like no matter what we say, it’ll be the wrong thing.
As people in my life expressed that they didn’t know what to say to me when we lost two babies, I saw how SoulScripts could meet a need.
When hardship strikes, so many women get stuck because they suffer alone (or at least, they feel like they’re suffering alone). And when we do reach out to a friend who is struggling, we often find ourselves without the words to help.
So we’re here with this promise: “We give you words when you have none.”
My hope is that this can allow you to communicate, “I’m here for you, and I’m with you.”
Although we will have more messages available in our shop in future collections, I pray this core message — and all of our messages that we will have available in future collections — can serve as an alternative to sending traditional flowers or a simple text when hardship strikes.
Life is really beautiful but it can also be really hard. My hope is that you can wear this yourself, or send it to a friend in need of healing words.
Our mission here is to provide you the words when you have none, and give you a simple comforting tool to support a friend, or even yourself, as the hard and holy steps forward through suffering are taken.
Like I said, when the message started to revolve around sin and shame, not around healthy vulnerability, support, and growth in community, it nearly became an excuse for people to sit in their brokenness, instead of moving forward through it.
“Your Brokenness Is Welcome Here” was never meant to mean:
It DOES mean:
“Your Brokenness is Welcome Here” was never meant to be a hall pass to just sit in our struggles. It’s about healing and moving forward. It’s both a comforting invitation and an overcoming anthem.
Sometimes we believe the lie that society wants us to just be okay and to keep our hard things behind closed doors. But if we hide our heartbreak, it’s much harder to move through it and heal.
On the contrary, when we open up, ask for help, and partner with God and trusted friends on the journey to heal, we’ll come out of the other side of the fire stronger.
THIS is the meaning behind the message. It’s a healing invitation to take the first hard and holy steps forward toward growth. An invitation to open up about our struggle, let ourselves be loved by God and others, and get the help we need based on what we’re going through.
It’s more than a business or a message. It’s a movement for women ready to link arms, show up in the hard stuff, and stand in victory (rather than get stuck in a victim mentality).
As I mentioned, SoulScripts started as a small business and then, overtime, evolved into other resources and content as I opened up about my faith.
As I took the last year to reflect on not only my background, expertise, and also the roots of how this entire company began, it became clear to me what I am called to shepherd and build, and what is not mine to shepherd and build.
I started SoulScripts as a shop, and so, we are keeping it simple and allowing it to remain a shop with a core mission and clear focus.
While I am open about my faith, and will never hide or deny it, I do not believe God has called me to be positioned as a Bible teacher, pastor, or the like.
There was a season where a lot of the content I’d shared about highlighting and bible journaling began to snowball into that but I had to take a step back and evaluate if that was really aligned with where I was supposed to go.
I think sometimes, in the west, we glamorize the idea of Christian influencer, and platform or digital ministry. That’s not to say it’s wrong to do but I just never had a very settled feeling about being a “Career Christian,” and knew that for the health of my own heart and for the sake of those that had began to look to me as a leader, I needed to pivot away from that direction.
As I paused everything, it became clear to me what I am called to shepherd and build, and what is not mine to shepherd and build. I started SoulScripts as a shop, and so, we are keeping it simple and allowing it to remain a shop with a core mission and clear focus.
Therefore, previous programs that were discontinued when we closed will remain discontinued.
What started as a little shop in my college sorority house became something that’s so much deeper. And the journey that ultimately brought me here has taught me four important truths I want to share with you:
SoulScripts will officially reopen its doors on October 1st, 2020.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. I chose to re-open in October in memory of the two babies I lost this year, and in support of the countless women who have experienced similar pain.
However, even if you haven’t walked through this exact situation, the shop is for you if you or someone you love has faced something hard.
Additionally, the shop is rooted in mission. We are committed to providing transformative opportunities to women by partnering with ABLE on select products.
ABLE employs, trains, educates, and empowers women who are coming out of difficult situations and the artisans who are handcrafting the items for our jewelry line embody that spirit of hope and overcoming we intend SoulScripts to provide.
The shop will open for one week at a time, every few months. It will first open on October 1 and will close after October 7.
Here’s the process:
The Comeback Collection will include:
If you want to get notified on all things SoulScripts, including our open dates and collections, sign up for updates at soulscripts.com.
I can’t thank you enough for your support on this project. It is truly a company that is so near and dear to my heart, and I believe so strongly in the new and improved clear direction, mission, and purpose it embodies.
And my hope is that you do, too.
Like I said, my hope is that this is something you can wear yourself or something to send a friend you love who is walking through a hard time. Let her know: I’m with you. I love you. We’re gonna get through this together. Your brokenness is welcome here