By now you may have heard the word on the street about the amazing giveaway I’m doing to celebrate my book launch: a beautiful 24 X 36 wooden sign (frame included!) with the 8 declarations from Put Your Warrior Boots On, made by the exquisite House of Belonging.
GIVEAWAY: If you haven’t put your name in the hat to win this for your home, CLICK HERE or find me on Instagram – @lisawhittle (ends at 6pm ET TONIGHT)!
Though wildly popular, it dawned on me that you may not be familiar with The House of Belonging, and I want you to know that there’s so much more behind this partnership – there’s a reason why this company is so powerful and why it’s founder, Tiffini, has become my true warrior sister.
Her story is a beauty from ashes testimony. It is the truest example of a Jesus Strong life.
I’m honored to introduce her to you, today.
Friend, please meet Tiffini.
Q and A
1. Tiffini, I have to admit that what drew me to you at first was your beautiful art. I am a home décor freak, always wanted to be an interior decorator, and I followed The House of Belonging and just fell in love with the art. But not only was the artwork stunning, it was the words on the art that drew me in. They were powerful and I knew they came from a deep place. Can you tell me a little of how HOB started?
That is hard to answer in a short paragraph! I love sharing it though. I humbly hear that often. The art drew me, but the words kept me. That is our Papa isn’t it? That words matter. HOB was birthed out of my journey. A rescue mission, we love to call it. In 2010, I knew in my bones that something was stolen from me. Something was missing + I knew I had to go to my Papa to find it.
I was suffering from the inside out. I had arrived at the end of myself and risked my whole world
falling apart (and it did for the most part) as I began letting the spinning plates fall. One by one.
My kids + I had been through over a decade of crazy. Insane, spiraling cycles ending up in me being in an impossible situation to ever get out of. Humanly speaking. While no one else saw our pain.
God did + He was always waiting. Always acting. I chose to take His hand in rescue. House of Belonging was born in a basement with myself and my oldest daughter, who does all of our designing, and the vision that Papa gave me. All of which I could never have seen what was coming and what still is still ahead. I liken it to walking through fire. It was gutting. The birthing. Still is.
It is now a family affair. All 5 of my children work at HOB (I have 4 grown children, 1 teenager + 7 grandchildren).
2. Before we even became friends, my friends would send me screenshots of your warrior apparel – your hats and such – because my rally cry is, of course, to Put Your Warrior Boots On and they knew we were kindreds in that. What is it about the word warrior that means so much to you?
I spent all of my life as an orphan. I don’t mean in an actual orphanage. I have biological parents. I have a relationship with my mom, but not with my biological father. I had four step-fathers. Coming from a childhood of hard places, I never felt I belonged. I didn’t know how to have human relationships, and I didn’t know what trust was or how to handle emotions. As children, we learn early on to protect ourselves in whatever ways we can.
I was completely out of control on the inside, but I never gave up. I believe I was born a warrior in the womb. I first heard God when I was 9. I believed it and from that moment on I had conversations with Him.
The day that changed the course of my life was when Holy Spirit breathed me to life through the story of Gideon in Judges 6 + 7. How He saw me. Who I was as His daughter. My identity was a beloved warrior daughter. All of it coming from Him. From His living words. Ever since then He speaks to my identity. Not to the orphan who grew up believing she was unlovable, weak, powerless and never enough.
Now, warrior beats in my chest. As warriors, we have our Father’s heart. It is a warrior heart for rebels, survivors + revolutionaries. A fire that will ignite in broken hearts through His Word to Papa’s heart. We are born in the battlefield of real life. And as warriors, this is where we find our identities, our belonging.
3. You have a campaign called “words matter.” Tell me about how words have the power to change and transform, especially words from The Word?
Words matter because they are the threads that weave the stories. Suffering stories are my heart. I am a former sufferer for suffering’s sake until God invited me to come + see the mystery of suffering and look in awe and wonder at what He does with our suffering. He isn’t the cause of it. He is the rebuilder of it.
My heart is teaching others how to enter into other’s pain and not have to fix it, tell it religious antidotes, and even participate in real-time ways.
Eugene Peterson says it best, “In other words, we need to quit feeling sorry for people who suffer and instead look up to them, learn from them, and if they will let us join them in protest and prayer. Pity can be nearsighted.”
I want somehow for Words Matter to give a voice to all kinds of suffering stories with a myriad of endings, not all fairy tale endings, but God-story endings that invite us to dare to be fully awake in our own suffering. To partner with Papa in the mystery. To give those who live lifetimes of suffering a voice, affirmation, and acknowledgment instead of isolation, shame, and loneliness. We do not know how to enter into pain without religion. We must enter in with living words AND Papa’s heart with relationship.
4. What is it about the 8 declarations on this custom piece you made for me that resonated with you, and which one, in particular, do you personally need to most remember?
I LOVE them all, you’re talking to a word girl ;D
But for me, declaration #2 (I Know What I Believe). The cross is everything. It is central. It is the gospel. BIG GOD. BIG GOSPEL.
5. I can’t believe you are a grandma! What do you most hope for your kids and grandkids as they walk through this world that seems to have gone crazy?
To know their God, their identity, and their stone.
Their identity is their stone. Their story.
That they throw that stone into the chaos. Sharing God’s shalom with the world in chaos.
Friend, I can’t wait to meet you one day! I am championing you on from here. I am humbled to war with you. To be on the front lines with you. Don’t you ever stand down. Keep giving voice to the cross… to every single one of your declarations. You will be challenged daily, but I want to encourage you that the world in chaos needs the gospel in real time. In real people who are Jesus followers in every way of the word. Who don’t fall away when suffering and persecution come.
I love you.
Connect with Tiffini & The House of Belonging!
The Signature Collection 8 Declarations Sign (as seen above) will be available beginning June 1, 2017.