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Purpose, A beginning


Purpose, A beginning

Lori Connell

Five years ago I found myself teaching women in Honduras to make jewelry and to earn an income that would eventually help them to break the generational cycle of poverty in their families.  But that’s not how the story started.  It rarely is.  Let’s start at the beginning.

hope through design 

hope through design 

I didn’t discover that I was an artist until I was 27 years old. Most artists I know were always artists.  They were always doodling, drawing and making art from childhood forward.  Not me.  Nope, I would have told you that I could not draw a straight line.  (As if that is a requirement for artistic-ness).  In any case, I never did anything artistic until I had my first child.  There I was with a baby, a new full-time mom with a little “free time”. I put the quotations in – because in this stage of life, your world revolves around this little chunk of humanity you just brought into the world.  So there I was, stay at home mom, with the aforementioned “free time”.  

What started as “hobby hopping” proved to be the springboard for a lifelong quest for my “artistic calling”.  I craft-hopped for a long time until I discovered oil painting.  I love observing God’s nature and bringing it to life on canvas. For a few years, I even taught art to the children at the school my children attended. 

Flash forward many years.  The kids were now teenagers and I had come to refer to myself as an artist.  (It was hard to actually think of myself this way – but it is who God created me to be. I became enamored with “lampworking” which is essentially miniature glass blowing.  After my first lesson on the torch, I was eternally hooked.  I made bead after bead until I became accomplished at it.  And there I was with a bowl full of pretty glass beads that had no purpose.  Enter jewelry making.  First, it was bead stringing to complement my glass beads.  Next it was learning metal working skills to move beyond the basics in jewelry making.  Finally, I found myself in jewelry school to become a jeweler.   After jewelry school, I found myself making and selling jewelry in a local artist’s boutique.

During all of these years of hobby-hopping which lead to artistic pursuit, I was on a quest for skills and knowledge.  I really couldn’t have articulated the reason for it all, save that I wanted to explore my artistic side and pursue art/craft as a potential career.

I loved what I was doing.  I am driven to create.  And yet, somehow it seemed a little hollow. 

This is the part where life’s meandering path meets purpose. 

two sisters who have found hope and purpose through jewelry design.

two sisters who have found hope and purpose through jewelry design.

I now know that throughout the years, as I pursued art for the sake of art, God was preparing me for something more.  I know that as I sought to fulfill myself, God was seeing to it that I had the skill set needed for this current mission, and thus, to be fulfilled on a much deeper level.   I see the “divine thread” through it all and I am so grateful.  Thanks be to God that He walks with us on our meanderings.  If we hang with Him long enough, the threads reveal a pattern that He intended all along. As I move forward in this mission I feel called to –  Mi Esperanza— I pray that God will direct my steps.  I pray He will give me the courage to press forward when it seems a little scary and unknown.                                                                              And I can’t wait to see what He has planned. Julie