Some women know and love Jesus, and then there are those rare ones who live, breathe, and exude Jesus out of every aspect of their being. This is how I would describe Andrea Howey. In just a few minutes conversation with her, I felt her heart for God beating out of her chest, I sensed the Spirit of God flowing from her mouth, and saw her love for Jesus expressed through the beautiful art her hands create. Andrea Howey & Co. is a sponsor for Redeemed Girl Institute. It’s my joy to welcome her to the blog today as she shares her passion for glorifying God through art and for seeing women redeemed. — Marian Jordan Ellis
Andrea, for our readers who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Andrea (pronounced “ON-dree-uh”). I’m from Dallas, Texas, and have lived in Texas all my life. I love rainy days, good coffee, stacks of books, chips and salsa, all the beautiful things at Anthropologie, fresh flowers, and Christmas music year-round. I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I’d like, but when I do, my favorite place to visit is Sydney, Australia (best. flat whites. ever.) I’ve been hand lettering Bible verses and encouraging words, quotes, and thoughts since 2013, and haven’t run out of things to letter yet. My desire is that God would use what He’s put in my hands to encourage people’s hearts, strengthen their faith, and point people to Jesus.
How has Jesus redeemed your life?
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was a young girl, and by the grace of God, I haven’t detoured from walking with Him over the years. Even so, I have made plenty of mistakes, done things I regret, and there are many things God is still teaching me how to walk in victory in. But even in spite of all those missteps and mistakes, I am so grateful redemption means that no matter what we have done, our lives are redeemed. As much as my sin cost, the price Jesus paid was greater, and it was finished. I don’t have to live my life trying to earn what He already died for me to have… wholeness, healing, forgiveness. I don’t have to prove myself to God to win His favor, to be loved, to keep on His good side, to be sure I’m still saved. It’s a finished work, and I’m so grateful for that gift. He’s redeemed me from fear of losing even an ounce of what He died for me to have and from having to earn my way into His grace, favor, and love.
How did Andrea Howey & Co. begin? When did you feel the Holy Spirit birthing this passion for calligraphy and art?
I started hand lettering during a tough season of my life when my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer. It was a difficult time watching my dad grow steadily worse yet still believing and expecting a miracle of total healing in his body. I found myself searching the Bible for scripture that fueled my faith and kept hope alive in the midst of constant discouragement and bad reports.
As I wrote down scriptures by hand, the Holy Spirit began to help me see how to place emphasis on various words or phrases using different lettering styles or composition. I hadn’t been searching for a new hobby or trendy art form, and in fact, hand lettering was so new at the time, it wasn’t even a “thing” yet. As I began sharing these hand lettered scriptures on social media, I saw how much the Word of God displayed in that way resonated with people and how much hope and encouragement it brought as I shared what the Holy Spirit was revealing to me. My dad passed away, but what God had started to uncover in me through hand lettering began to take shape and grow, and I knew He was bringing something to life in me that was meant for far more than just a personal hobby. And over the last five years, He has continued to refine, develop, and use this gift in my life, step by step, opening doors to opportunities to build it into a business, all with the aim of encouraging hearts according to the truth in His word, strengthening people’s faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, and pointing people to Jesus and the depth of His love and grace. It’s truly one of the greatest privileges and joys of my life.
Andrea, your primary artistic works highlight scripture. Why is this? What do you find (powerful) about God’s Word?
There is nothing like the word of God that will speak straight to the heart of a matter. Our words can be good and helpful, but the Word of God is alive. I once heard it said that we ought to look at our Bibles as though God’s breath is still warm on the page. It’s living, alive, active. Our words may bring a momentary comfort or encouragement, but God’s Word has the power to transform our lives.
I’ve been challenged in my own life to be sure that what I’m saying is based on the word, and not just my own opinion. They world is full of opinions, full of its own truths, but we have to be diligent and disciplined to search out the Word of God on matters that we’re dealing with in life. When we take hold of the Bible, His Word, for ourselves, we will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will activate it and make it come alive and personal to us, helping us to expose the lies of the enemy in our thoughts and actions.
What have you learned about starting a business? How would you encourage other women who want to begin using their passions for God’s glory?
I feel like I’m still trying to learn how to start and grow my small business! Honestly, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing most days (only partly kidding). But what should encourage others who desire to start a business or pursue a passion project but feel intimidated because they don’t know where to start or wonder if they have the expertise, resources, connections, or ability needed to do it, then let my story serve as a prime example that if God can use me, He can use anyone. He’s no respecter of persons. If He can help my ordinary self, He can help you, too. Bottom line: we are each qualified to do what God has called us to do.
Whatever He has called you to do, He knew exactly who He was getting when He put that dream and vision in your heart. He is thrilled when we come to Him and say, “God, I don’t know what to do. I need your help.” God isn’t worried that we don’t know what we’re doing. He knows what HE’S doing. He has already promised to show us what to do.
He says, “Call to me, and I will show you things that you could never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:3) He promises to give us wisdom. James 1:5-6, MSG, says, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.”
I really do believe you have what it takes in Him to step up, learn the craft, start the business, move across the country, apply for that degree program, write the book, take the leap, make the call, do the hard things… whatever *it* is that God has been prompting you to do. And if you just needed permission from someone to take a leap of faith, let me be one to say, “Go for it! I’m cheering for you!”
Gird yourself up with His promises. You have something in your hands and heart meant for your good, for the benefit of others, and for His glory. You have the call of God on your life, and you are qualified in Him to walk in it.
Let’s not allow the enemy to taunt us a moment longer with the lie that says we don’t have what it takes and that we’re unqualified. I love what 1 Timothy 1:12, AMP, says, “I give thanks to Him Who has granted me the needed strength and made me able for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy, appointing me to this stewardship of the ministry.” You have been given the strength and ability to do what God has put in your heart to do, and God has already counted you faithful and trustworthy to do it well. You have what it takes. We both do, in Jesus name.
Andrea Howey & Co. is a sponsor for this year’s Institute because our ministries are both like-minded with the purpose of teaching women God’s truth and glorifying Jesus. Tell us why you thought this partnership was a great fit…. What are you excited for at Redeemed Girl Institute?
I am so honored and overjoyed to come alongside Redeemed Girl Institute this year. My mission through Andrea Howey & Co. is to create hand-lettered words and goods that encourage the God-given courage, hope, faith, and love in people. By partnering with Redeemed Girl Institute, I know hearts will be deeply encouraged in the things of God. These four days are beautifully, prayerfully, and intentionally planned to create time and space for in-depth study of the Word, intimate worship, a recalibrating of vision, rest and renewal, and sweet community and fellowship with friends. One of the best things we can do is to make the choice grow in our relationship with Jesus, rest in His presence, be renewed in the Word of God, and filled with the power of His Spirit. My heart is so expectant for what God wants to reveal in and through each woman who comes to the 2018 Redeemed Girl Institute. I’m already praying for you, my friend. Step your toe into the water, and just watch what God does.