God’s Gold at the end of the rainbow

I wanted to share with you the experiences I had at the Game Changers event at the beginning of July in a hope that it may inspire others to be involved in the wonderful organisation that is Free Range Chicks.

anne-bird-and-brideI have been to a few of their events over the past few years after being introduced to the organisation by friends from my church about 4 years ago. At that time, I was struggling with extreme anxiety as a result of a number of traumatic losses in my personal life. I had called myself a Christian but I did not feel I had a relationship with God. However, I did believe, within the fog that was my mind at the time, that God was very much part of my recovery. Without going into all the detail I believe my involvement in Free Range Chicks events and meeting some amazing women was all very much part of that process.

New business

Fast forward four years and I was due to go on another Free Range Chicks weekend. I had just started my new business in Wedding Dress Design and my daughter got married in France at the end of May. As you can imagine, I was in need of a break and some R&R from what had been a hectic time!

The week before the Conference I had been contacted by a bride on Facebook asking if I could make her wedding dress. Her story was hard to hear. At 27 she had lost both her parents. She had chosen a dress about 6 months ago but it wasn’t really what she wanted. She was a mum of a two-year-old and since her daughter’s birth she just felt that she had “lost who she was”. She used to be more adventurous in her outlook and clothing and now she just wore black all the time as it was easy and practical. She wanted me to create a dress that was more like the person she used to be, someone who loved to party, who loved colours and things that were quirky and a bit different. She was just lovely and we hit it off straight away.

Rainbow Wedding Dress

I designed a dress that was unusual in the fact that it had rainbow coloured petticoats under a rainbow-bride
white tea length dress. It had some applique lace flowers and sparkley sequin patches in all those matching colours on the dress bodice and skirt. The bride also needed the dress in 2 months’ time! The timing for me was just perfect as I had the space to do it, so I spent a very enjoyable week sourcing brightly coloured lace and all things rainbow inspired.

When I arrived at the Free Range Chicks Conference I hadn’t really thought about what the weekend would entail or prepared myself for what would happen. I was told there would be two sets of workshops going on and I could choose which one I wanted to attend.

To be honest, I really did not know which I should do but in the end decided to attend the talk on going deeper with God. I liked and admired the Speaker but did feel a little in awe of her as she was very prophetic and I did not know if this suited my kind of Christianity.

The Speaker started to talk and share with us her vision for the weekend and showed us a picture of the ocean and horizon with a rainbow that reached out over the sea to the horizon. Here was an imprint of a foot. The whole picture was full of bright colours and she talked about us going deeper with God by taking steps forward and walking with Him into the rainbow. Then she showed us a picture of a girl dancing who was dressed in rainbow coloured clothes to depict that this would be us if we took this walk of faith into the rainbow.

God’s message to me

I was completely blown away by this visual picture and how it was speaking to me and matching up with the week I’d had with my “rainbow bride”. God had clearly had a plan for me to step out of my comfort zone and take the workshop and he was blessing me as a result.

The session was just wonderful and we learnt about how we needed to make time to study the bible and read it more so we could gain that more intimate relationship with God. A creative bible where you could colour in pages and write notes about what you had read was shown around and this was just perfect for me as I was a creative person and rediscovering this side of myself had been a huge part of my recent recovery and career changes.

I found throughout the weekend I was able to talk more about my faith and share things that had happened to me. Something I would not have the confidence to have done before. It was if I was looking back at myself saying “who is this person Anne?! “

Touched by the Holy Spirit

On the final morning we had worship and I had an incredible sense of the Holy Spirit touching me and completely washing me clean from the past. It was almost an indescribable joy that I had never experienced before and it was just incredible! At the end of this I was crying tears that I felt were helping to heal hurts from before. Although I had been touched by worship before I had never had something like this. I really felt those kind of things did not happen to people like me. However, I did believe this was an affirmation from God about how far I had come already through engaging with Him in my recent life.

When I came home I felt like I was on this incredible “high” and I wanted to share with everyone what I had experienced. I also wanted other people to experience it too! I talked and shared with family and friends about what had happened and I felt God was bringing me to some kind of crossroads in my life.

However, all was not completely rosy! The bride then told me that she had decided not to go ahead with the wedding dress I was going to make her. She had decided that she might regret not having a more traditional dress and that she would wear the dress she had bought originally.

Disappointment

I was devastated.

I just felt so much that God had brought her to me and that the weekend had been confirmation of the fact that I was meant to make her dress. Initially I felt I had got it wrong and started to doubt myself. However, then I felt that God had meant me to make this dress anyway. I was exhibiting at a big wedding show at the end of September and needed to make some more dresses to show brides-to-be what I could do. I decided that I would still make the dress and show it as one of my future creations. I bought the main fabric to start the process off.

A week later I received another message from my rainbow bride. She told me she had been thinking about my dress day and night and could not get it out of her head. She had been for a fitting at the shop where she bought her original dress and came away in tears. She asked if I would still be able to make her dress!

Impact of Free Range Chicks event.

What happened at the Free Range Chicks event has had a huge impact on me and my faith ever since. I went there a blank canvas, with no ideas or expectations. I was uncertain that I was making the right choice in attending the Going Deeper workshop. However, I was given the certainty that it was right as well as affirmation of what was needed for me in my life at that time. When I came home and was faced with disappointment I decided to take the leap of faith anyway and make the rainbow bride dress and I was blessed so much as a result.

The bride was such a joy to work with and I was so very proud of my achievements of completing my first “real” brides wedding dress. She has become a good friend and she even wore the dress to help me promote my business last weekend at the big wedding show. I think my recent experiences have shown me that amazing things can still happen to anyone (even me!) and if we step out in faith it can be the biggest blessing ever.

Anne

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