This is the beginnings of a regular blog series that I've always dreamt of doing: guest posts written by new and loyal amanda k. jewelry customers alike. I am fascinated by the idea that often women have decided that they "can't" wear bold pieces, statement necklaces, bright colors. For whatever their reasoning, for some it's an internal struggle that exists because of some lie they are believing about themselves or the world around them. It is my hope that through something as seemingly trivial as jewelry, we can speak some truth into the lives of women and build up rather than tear down. And perhaps some of us will come away challenged to try something new in the process.
Please help me welcome our first guest post written by Ellen Elizabeth, a dear friend and loyal customer.
"My Amanda K jewelry makes me feel Confident. Beautiful. Secure. Valuable. "
When I first moved to Dallas, Amanda and I were in a small group together. She always wears her jewelry. Always. And I admired it – it was beautiful, unique, and eye-catching. But those weren’t things that I was comfortable pursuing for myself. I was raised in a faith tradition that taught us to be plain. We drove black cars (occasionally navy blue, or a dark green if you were really daring!). We couldn’t wear makeup or any jewelry – even wedding rings were forbidden. Our hairstyles were simple. Especially as women, we were taught to be gentle, meek, and mild; never stand out, and never draw attention to yourself. But it never quite made sense to me. I saw the world around us that God created and it had so much beauty – flowers, sunrises, and sunsets. Our garden produced a bounty every year, and I saw so many colors and textures there – crisp green pears, red-ripe strawberries, the smoothness of a watermelon, the rough green leaves and silky tassel of corn. And I didn’t understand why we had to deny ourselves when God had created this beautiful world all around us – didn’t he want us to enjoy it?
We all appreciate beauty on some level. If you have ever admired a sunset over the ocean, smiled at a baby in the grocery store check-out line, browsed through an art gallery or museum, or based your online dating swipe on how hot the fellow is (or isn’t…) – then you have pursued beauty. Deciding what to wear every morning takes an intuition of what colors, styles and shapes work together. Everyone one of us picks out furniture and some sort of décor for their home, chooses what color vehicle to purchase, has certain styles of clothing they would never purchase. Very few people would purchase a house with lime-green walls and move in without repainting. All of these involve making decisions based on factors that aren’t intrinsically practical– that’s where the creativity, and style come in. We know what we like and what we don’t (though this can change over time).
Growing up, the pastor’s wife had peacocks. And we would admire those beautiful birds when they put on their mating show, scooping up any discarded feathers. And another pastor’s wife kept a flower bed full of beautiful blooms. But if I used fabric with brightly-colored flowers to make a dress, or added lace or buttons to my dress, that would have created a scandal. There were rules upon rules to be followed. Nobody could really explain why – it’s just how we did things. And sometimes, maybe I think we do the same thing with ourselves. We make rules without really having a reason, and then we stick to them – something like “It’s just not me to wear a big necklace”, “I will stand out too much if I wear bright colors”. And because we judge ourselves so harshly, we assume others will judge us as well – “If I wear something that stylish, will people think I am shallow?” Rules are easy to follow and give us a quick checkpoint to make sure we are on track (and a way to compare ourselves with others). But Christianity has never been about rules, though people have tried to distill it down to that, time and again (Pharisees, anyone?). Christianity is about relationship, and relationship provides freedom that rules never can, but it comes with a greater level of responsibility to examine your heart. Because the proudest woman in the room may certainly be the simplest in her attire. And the humblest one may the loudest.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that people were created in God’s image. And as his image-bearers, one of the things that gives us is his gift of beauty. And we have a responsibility to use the gifts that he has given us (Matthew 25:14-30).
We were placed in a beautiful world – mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, zebras, tigers, and parrots – the list goes on and on. God gave us this world to enjoy. But as his image bearers, we also have those gifts of creativity inside of us – to express through pottery, painting, sculpture, music, and other ways. Amanda expresses her gift by making unique jewelry. And part of embracing our status as an image-bearer is finding ways to live out that creativity that He gave us. Boldly, without apology, with a freedom to break away from the masses, and be ourselves. Being willing to blaze a trail, if that’s where our path leads. That may mean buying a piece of jewelry that is a little bolder than you would normally wear. It may mean signing up for a class to learn the skills to steward your gifts better (or even experimenting to find out what your gifts are). Because as we embrace and make time and space to express our own gifts, we become more supportive of those around us embracing theirs.
As the old saying goes, beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. We all have a different sense of style and beauty, we have been given passion and inspiration to create different things. What dreams are in your heart, ready to be birthed into the world? It’s certainly a messy endeavor – new life always is. But the process is exhilarating.
I love how encouraging Ellen is in her words on beauty. I did no prompting when I asked her to write, yet she spoke directly of the things I've pondered for years. And so much of these thoughts are where my business and creativity stem from. See my about page if you're curious on any of that.
I want to thank the always amazing Susanna from Southern Pines Photography for our beautiful photos and a fun afternoon interview that felt more like hanging out with friends.
Until next time, lovelies!