Psalm 139:1-3 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. My business trips have taken me to some amazing locations and allowed me to meet some truly incredible people. All have touched my heart in some way, but my recent trip to Nashville left me changed. Our itinerary included two book signings as well as a chat hosted for me by New York Times bestselling author Ken Abraham, who we had the pleasure of meeting nearly two years ago, and his lovely wife Lisa in their home. As expected, our time with the Abrahams and their guests was wonderful, and it allowed me the gift of meeting Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries (now Mercy Multiplied). Nancy and I immediately sparked a friendship, and I was invited to spend the next day touring the Mercy Multiplied headquarters and its home for women. Mercy Multiplied is a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to helping young women between the ages of 13 and 28 break free from life-controlling behaviors and situations including eating disorders, self-harm, addictions, unplanned pregnancies, depression, abuse and sex trafficking. I’ll just go ahead and say it – I viewed most of the headquarters and home through tears. I was so, so moved by the mission, and its attention to detail and excellence. I was blown away when I entered the home, which houses approximately 40 women at a time. Nancy explained that when they announced they were building the home, she was flooded with donations of secondhand furniture, but she turned them all down. She wanted these women to feel and believe that they are daughters of a King and not feel like they were living in a home furnished by castoffs. In fact, to date, 10% of every donation that Mercy Multiplied receives goes right back out the door to support other ministries and outreaches. My heart was also torn to pieces by the home’s Baby Hall of Fame… a hall lined with framed pictures of the babies birthed by mothers in the house. The organization works with these women to either “parent or partner,” to give life to their babies and become parents or partner with a family through adoption. The ministry has saved the lives of hundreds of babies, and it was overwhelming to see their precious faces adorning the walls. I can’t express how humbled I was to see my books in the living room of this beautiful place! I was lucky enough to get to speak to the 40 residents about living life with a purpose. I’m able to do that through painting and giving back, and thanks to the new lives they have found in Jesus Christ and the hope that Mercy Multiplied has supplied, they are ready to take their next steps to embrace the purpose God has placed on their futures. As I learned more and more about the operations of this powerful organization, I began to hear God nudging me about the future plans for my company. The headquarters contains a small prayer room with pictures of each of the residents hung inside, and it is constantly filled by a rotation of the ministry’s staff, so that these girls are covered in prayer at all times. What a simple but mighty way to blanket our work in God’s goodness and grace! After our life transforming time with Nancy, we headed to an event where one of my original paintings was being auctioned off to benefit Mercy Multipled alongside a diamond heart, from another wonderful ministry called Hammered Hearts, founded by the splendid Dru Hammer, who survived a nasty divorce, yet couldn’t grieve. Her heart was hardened, and she couldn’t express her pain. On a trip to Israel with my dear friend, Kathie Lee Gifford, Dru discovered a heart-shaped stone and heard the Lord speak Ezekiel 36:26 (I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”) over her and begin the steps of softening, awakening and healing her heart. Now, Dru is committed to raising funds to aid women and children who are left financially vulnerable and insecure following divorces. One of her diamond hammered hearts was auctioned and raised $15,000 for Mercy Multiplied. We were so honored to be able to raise $5,000 for the ministry with the auction of my angel painting (when the auction began, the opening bid was $200, so we were all holding our breath and hoping that number would increase!). I continue to find myself in awe that this little art hobby of mine has grown into a big ministry with a staff of nine women, and that I have these opportunities to meet and learn from faith warriors and women paving the way for us to continue to grow and make a difference for the kingdom. 2016 is a year of new things and new heights for the Anne Neilson brand, and I am so excited to have you join us as we grow. I invite you to learn more about Mercy Multiplied. And check out this extremely moving video by singer Francesca Battistelli. Learn more about Hammered Hearts and the work of Dru Hammer.