was never in my plans; it wasn’t even in the back of my mind. A thought not yet thought, a dream not yet dreampt. It never really occurred to me that I could design greeting cards until one day, four years ago, when I was looking for a place to make a birthday card for my friend Len. I wanted to use a photograph of our Great Pyrenees dogs to upload to a card in order to wish a happy birthday to my dog-loving friend. I had looked up such sites before, but could find none that would allow me to upload my own photographs onto the card. And then, out of the blue (always a sure sign that a blessing is in the midst), I found Greeting Card Universe. It was exactly what I had been looking for and the site said that I could upload my photographs and make cards out of them and actually make money off of them. I had an overwhelming urge to do just that, caring about the photography and not really expecting to make any money from what came out my heart and head. The site said that it could take several months to sell a card and it could be years before any revenue was made.
My husband, who was still living at the time, encouraged me to make more. To put the words in my heart with the photographs that I had been given. I had to come up with a name for the store and because I give God all the glory for what I see through the lens of my camera, Through the Eyes of the Spirit just popped into my mind. Jim was one of my biggest fans and a sounding board for new ideas and thoughts. He was brutally honest and I appreciated that, as honesty is very important to me. I began to put words to the photographs I had taken and created cards that I could scarcely imagine that anyone would want. I was at a crossroads. A place where I had two choices; share what I had been given or cowardly hide it away because I couldn’t fathom that anyone would want anything that I had created.
So I did it. I took the leap of faith and uploaded a card with my own photograph and my own verse and prepared to wait for months or even years for anyone to take an interest. Eleven days later, I sold my first greeting card. The feeling was one of jubilation, honor, humbleness and, quite honestly, disbelief. I simply could not believe that there were people who had an interest in the words I had to say, words that were given to me, those not my own, but placed in my heart by a faithful God.
I immediately considered the first sale a fluke and then more came. And more after that. It seemed that I had a knack for coming up with the words that people wanted to say, but didn’t quite know how. I made card after card, the verses rolling off my tongue as though they were native to me. What inspiration and joy I had from each one and every time I had a sale, I was thankful and gave thanks to the Lord who had given such a wonderful thing to me. It became a ministry. One of encouragement to the downtrodden and suffering. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Many times I cried over the verses for they were born of life experiences and hardships that I would never have dreamed could ever be anything more than a burden.
It has been four years since I joined the world of greeting card design and more than 20,000 cards have sold. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty thousand. I am stunned. I continue to be stunned. And with each sale, whether it be for one card or 500 cards, I feel the same as I did when the very first one sold. The thrill and exhilaration has not faded. Each time I get a notification, I first thank God, for it is all for His glory. My name will fade from the mind only moments after hearing it, but His name will still be on the lips of His people until the end of time. I am honored that He has chosen me to be a part of His ministry through something that I love as much as my life itself.
In my heart of hearts, I am a photographer. I see things differently and that, in itself, is a blessing. I would love to be able to thank every single person, from all fifty states and thirty different countries for their support. It isn’t possible. I don’t know who buys my cards. All I am privy to is the location from which the card was purchased, but that doesn’t impede my desire to pray when I sell a card for “loss of mother” or “college graduate” or “thank you from bride to father”. I am grateful for each one and feel a sense of gratitude and humbleness that out of hundreds of thousand of cards, someone picked mine.
I don’t take this blessing lightly as it has had a profound influence on my life. And I am, as I said, very grateful. I am blessed beyond what I have the words to say and at times when I am feeling low, He lifts me by using the talents and gifts He gave to me to bring joy that would otherwise be absent. I am in love with Jesus and take great pleasure in knowing that He loves me more than I can ever love Him. Although life has a way of kicking me down from time to time, it cannot compete with what lives inside of me. Life will go on whether I am a part of it or not, but how wonderful to know, that through the gifts given to me, that I am able to bring joy and encouragement to others. That, without doubt or reservation, makes my life worth living and for that, I am grateful beyond words that I can say.
So again I say, to everyone who has ever purchased a card from Through the Eyes of the Spirit, I hope you got even a tenth of the joy from receiving the card as I got from creating it.
Isiah 41:10 ~ So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.