My soap making journey began in one of the darkest times of my life. Life was like a charred debris field, the fiery consequence of domestic violence. What did I have to offer when all that remained of my life was ashes and rubble? There is nothing left, right?
Wrong. Did you know homesteaders of old used ashes to make lye, a requirement for soap making? If they can make something of value from waste material, imagine what God, the creator of the universe, can do with brokenness! When we are reduced to nothingness, that is when His glory shines brightly as He rebuilds our lives. Bright Hope Soap Works is the outcome of those trials and tribulations.
The Early Days
Before the days of You Tube and social media, two women, one in New York and the other in Tennessee, taught me over the phone to make soap. Both women suggested handcrafted soaps would be a perfect fit for my existing farmstead business. As a result, I acquired goats and developed a new passion: soap crafting. It was an instant success. The opportunity to have a home-based business built around my passions was a dream come true.
But, my story did not have a happily-ever-after ending. Personal achievement in the context of domestic violence is like a death sentence. In order to survive the conflict created by my fledgling business, my newly acquired goats had to go.
My children stood crying as the critters they bottle-fed and loved were carted off down the road with their new owners. I felt like a part of me died that day.
I made soap using the resources remaining available to me: cow’s milk. My little business continued for a while. But, bad became worse as the violence escalated. Survival required a restraining order and legal action. The violence ultimately ended with my life looking a lot like a charred debris field. I closed my business when I relocated to a new safe location.
Would I be able to rebuild a career around my passions or would the trauma of the abuse lead to debilitation? Could I forgive my abuser, or would I become a prisoner to bitterness?
The Healing Begins
The answer to these questions was demonstrated eight years later. In the summer of 2015, I went to my old hometown to visit family. I learned Sierra, one of the baby does I sold on that tearful day, was still alive. My children and I eagerly loaded up in the van to pay her a visit. Sierra ran to the gate and greeted us like we were long lost friends. She put her nose to mine. It was as though she remembered me. The owner saw what took place and suggested I take her home.
It took a few months to gather soap making supplies. But, the day came when I used Sierra’s milk to make soap again. It was a powerfully emotional moment for me. Sierra’s presence in my life reminded me from where I had come. It was a place of incredible anguish. Yet, what took place the day I returned to soap making transformed my life and later the lives of others.
I discovered a powerful healing metaphor in the soap making process.
The Transformation Occurs
Thirteen years ago, those two women not only taught me a marketable skill but they gave me a tool that transformed my trials into triumph. True, taking simple raw materials and fashioning them into high quality products enhanced my self-worth. And, when customers returned for more, I realized I had something of value to offer. But my work took on a whole new dimension when I saw a healing metaphor in the soap making process. That metaphor tells an inspiring story. It is not just my story. It is a story for anyone going through difficulties.
Soap Making Metaphor Explained
Soap requires the use of lye, a caustic soda. But when mixed with oils a metamorphosis occurs; a gentle, yet luxurious, soap forms.
In the same way, trials are caustic like lye. But when hardship is combined with the oils of God’s mercy and grace, our suffering is transformed into a testimony. A testimony of courage, joy, and faith. A beautiful testimony of His grace.
I witness this metaphor every time I make soap. It does not only apply to domestic violence. It applies to a person battling cancer, a debilitating disease, or experiencing loss. This story allows me to meet people in the middle of their own struggle. I join them in rewriting a story of hope through soap crafting. With the aid of colors and fragrances, I design soaps that convey a message.
Trials Refine and Redefine Life
My new life is full of joy. Indeed, I returned to a career built around my passion but with a clearer purpose.
My new vision is to inspire others, being raised out of the ashes and rubble, to embrace hope and live a restored life better than ever. So together we can glorify God, being used to transform those around us.
Bright Hope Soap Works Exists to Encourage You, in Every Way
I serve customers by nourishing their skin and nurturing their hearts. Making premium quality soap allows me to nourish the skin. Using the artistic aspect of soap-making to tell inspirational stories gives me the ability to nurture the heart.
Customers can experience and/or share hope when they purchase our Legacy Collection. But, there is more. Four times per year, I create custom soaps for causes using colors and fragrances as symbols. Those soaps are donated to individuals or organizations to raise awareness or funding for their cause. Still, I wanted to take it further. As a result, I spotlight inspirational stories regularly on our website and through our newsletter. These triumph-over-trials stories demonstrate that hope is widespread. Join me in my quest to make the web a hope filled place.
A Heartfelt Thank You!
By supporting Bright Hope Soap Works, you affirm the beauty of passion and career coming together. You participate in the celebration of triumph over trials. Also, your purchases enable me to join those who suffer in their journeys, design soaps to tell their stories, and donate those soaps to assist them in their hardships. Thank you for affirming and participating in this vision.