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  • Writer's pictureSarah Keeling

Not My Plans, But His Plans


Have you ever had a big dream? Ever been thinking about doing something for a long time before really diving in? Ever had a vision that kept you awake at night with ideas and excitement? Ever felt the gentle whisper of God encouraging you to make your dream a reality?

That is exactly how I felt, and how Heart Work Tees originated. I had a dream that I could make silly shirts to encourage women when they feel like they cannot possible fold one more sock or scrub one more peanut butter covered spoon (that stuff does not come off).

I created the “Laundry Slayer” in my mind to help me conquer my laundry. It made me laugh, and it made my service a little more fun. I told my friends about it, and they thought it was funny too. I had the desire to make it into a t-shirt, but never could quite make it happen.

Then life got crazy and we moved, and the t-shirt idea was put on the back burner. I was invited to a Bible study over “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” by Ann Voskamp. I know that it sounds cheesy, but that study really changed my life. Could I really have joy just from counting my blessings? I was doubtful, but tried it anyway. Wow. I was surprised that my heart opened and changed into something more beautiful and more content. I felt happy. Like really happy. And the happiness lasted. Hallelujah!


Like a joy-crazed addict, I wanted more. There is a chapter in the book about “being the gift.” Paying it forward, in a sense. Ann quoted Rabindranath Tagore,

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

I had a deep desire to do something BIG to serve other women. I thought, “but what can I do? I’m JUST a mom, and one with an autoimmune disease who still has to take naps.” This desire did not go away though, and after a few weeks, I remember that Ann posted a article about “The Seed Company: The Esther Initiative.” They are training women in South Asia to tell Bible stories to women who cannot read and have never heard the Bible. My heart went out for those women who have never had God’s truth in their life. His Word has been my lifeline, and they never heard it at all? I wanted to do something to support this ministry ASAP.

That’s when I heard the gentle whisper, “you can sell t-shirts.” Have you ever felt God’s prompting but dismissed it as your own rambling thoughts? I did that. Then, I went to my husband and shared what I’d been thinking, the whole lot of it. This is what he said, “I really think you should do it Sarah. You are supposed to sell t-shirts.”

After that I kind of dove in, because that’s how I roll. I listened to marketing podcasts, researched t-shirt printers, scoured the internet for ideas, and dug into the Bible for verses. The verse that kept standing out to me was Colossians 3:23,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”


This became my theme verse. Whatever we do (dishes, laundry, mopping, etc), it all matters to God, and we can do it with excellence.

I had big plans for my shirts. I decided that I wanted to donate all the proceeds to The Esther Initiative. After talking with The Seed Company, we were able to create my own Heart Work Initiative, which is a branch off the Esther Initiative.

At this point, I was pumped. Ideas were flowing and I had some seriously big plans. I was going to raise $5,000 in one year and get to meet Ann Voskamp and maybe someday travel to South Asia to meet these amazing women. (I know, I’m a dreamer.)

Heart Work Initiatve. The Seed Company.jpg

For the sake of your brains, I’m breaking this post up into two parts. Click here for the next part.

I will give you a hint though: my plan did NOT happen the way I expected. Quite the opposite, really.


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