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art of adventure feature

Alive To Her Own Adventure: Margo Den Ouden

On Fridays we feature a woman who is coming alive to her own adventure! A woman who is practicing the rhythms of stepping into the unknown, taking tiny risks, trusting God, and loving extravagantly in her season. It is our desire that through their lives and unique stories of adventure you will be inspired & challenged to say YES to all of God’s gentle invitations for you to follow Him, and in doing so you will come alive to your own adventure! 


Today I get to introduce you to a woman who I was lucky enough to meet a few weeks before we left the Netherlands. When she shared with me her story about starting 46 Dresses, how the idea was sparked, and the vision the Lord gave her for it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. On our way home, I began to tell my husband about my conversation with her. Through tears, I told him how inspired I was by her simple heart to reach women and show them their true worth, to do what she could to make a difference.

I’m excited for you to meet Margo today! I invite you to sit with us and let your heart be stirred to dream again, step into the unknown with Jesus, and be generous with your life. Margo shares the story of how 46 Dresses got started (in a beautiful, moving video), reveals one of her biggest fears + and how she overcomes it, as well as some encouragement to get us stepping out of our comfort zones. And read to the end to be entered to win a surprise from the Shop! 

FIRST, INTRODUCE YOURSELF {TELL US WHERE YOU ARE FROM, WHAT YOU DO, YOUR MOST MEMORABLE/SCARY/BEAUTIFUL ADVENTURE, & ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT YOU!}

My name is Margo, wife of Martijn, mother of James, lover of God and His people. I grew up in a warm family in The Netherlands as the oldest of three children.  I’m the founder and managing director of 46 Dresses, where we share the joy of wearing a dress and then blessing other women with it. My most memorable adventure started 6 years ago, when a mutual colleague linked my future husband, Martijn, and I together. We fell instantly in love, but had to choose within 3 months to move together to Los Angeles, or to be in a (very) long distance relationship, as he had signed a contract for a job there just before we met. I followed him to L.A. and the rest is history!

WHAT does this CURRENT SEASON of your life look like & how do you define a life of adventure right now, where you’re at?

This time is a season of reaping what we have sown. For six years, I invested in people and work, and everything is (slowly) falling into place. It is a season of deep trust in the Lord, as I walk truly by faith, not by sight. I started the 46 Dresses foundation a year ago, and it gets a lot of attention in the media and we reach many women. However, I currently do not receive any income, which is quite an adventure! For me and my husband, this is a financially challenging period, for the first time in our lives.

SHARE WITH US A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW AND WHEN GOD HAS MET YOU WHEN YOU’VE WALKED INTO THE UNKNOWN WITH HIM?

God gave me a promise about 46 Dresses: a promise to fulfill my deepest wish of combining fulltime ministry with a successful business and bringing true beauty ‘back’ to women. To tell women how beautiful they truly are- inside and out.

He promised that it would bear much fruit, and it already does, except for the funding part. I trust Him to fulfill His promise completely, even though it would be rationally wiser to quit and find a well-paid job. Sometimes we must be more convinced of the beauty of tomorrow than the difficulty of today.

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT tiny risk(s) you have taken recently or will take soon?

To make more impact with 46 Dresses, we decided to leave our bedroom startup and become a fully functioning organization. For this process we needed every euro, and we decided to start a crowdfunding donation campaign for 5,000 euros. Many experts discouraged us by saying things like, “crowdfunding donation campaigns do not work in The Netherlands”, but we did it anyway, relying on and fully trusting the Lord. Knowing that He blesses small and large, but also that if this did not work, it would be a great character-building testimony.
Three days before the end of the campaign we were just above 50% of the target. The experts were saying: “I told you so”, but we reached 107% in the final moments!

HOW DO YOU HEAR GOD’S VOICE MOST CLEARLY? IS IT A TIME OF DAY, A PLACE YOU GO, A THING YOU DO…ANYTHING!

I hear God’s voice most clearly while in solitude, and praying or thinking about Him or reading the scriptures, mostly with worship music playing. In the moments just before falling asleep, in the quiet, I often hear God share with me scriptures or promises for others.

SO MUCH OF WALKING WITH GOD ON THIS ADVENTURE IS ABOUT FACING OUR FEARS, EMBRACING CHANGE, AND TRUSTING HIM…WHAT IS *ONE* OF YOUR BIGGEST FEARS THAT KEEPS YOUR PARALYZED FROM SAYING YES TO GOD’S ADVENTURES FOR YOU?

One of my biggest fears is that God will not come through.

I wrestle with this question: Do I believe that  God will provide in every season?

My feelings don’t often speak the truth my heart needs to hear- they can be great servants, but terrible masters.

AND HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT SPECIFIC FEAR?

  1. Proclaim God’s truth: Stand firm in God’s promises, empty myself of the know-it-all mentality; allow God to love the fear out of me.
  2. I love watching sermons online and listening to worship music!
  3. Turning to our Ecclesia group (bible study community that we host every other week) and asking them to pray for me.
  4. Finally, I write scripture with lipstick on our mirror in the bathroom, such as “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

What words of encouragement + truth do you have for women who are reading this, who are hungry for an adventure with God, but for various reasons (feeling stuck, confused, fearful, too busy, etc) don’t feel like they can ever have that in their life.

Don’t believe the lie. God is calling you into an adventurous life. The enemy is trying to create a distortion field, where he steals dreams, hope and plans for the future. Don’t believe the lie that you are inadequate or not good enough. God placed you here for a purpose and a promise. The promise is that God is always good, and the purpose is to be revealed in your life.

AND BEFORE YOU GO…WE’D love to hear about 46 dresses! Tell us…what is your heart behind it and how did it begin? What is a piece of wisdom you’d like to pass on to women who are desiring to start their own creative business or pursue a dream on their heart?

From the beginning of 46 Dresses my heart was to create within women a sense of beauty and power at the same time. I wanted every woman to know they are royalty.

Someone told me I wouldn’t succeed, and that I should go find a real job, but I decided, “This IS my job.” My piece of wisdom: don’t let people discourage you, while God obviously has assigned YOU to fulfill a certain task.

This 2 minute video will explain the full story of how 46 Dresses got started. You’ll hear about the profound conversation that started it all, how the blue dress in her closet changed everything, + what 46 Dresses is doing next!

margo video


{GIVEAWAY!}

We love encouraging you to come alive to your own adventure with God…so where is He asking you to take His hand and trust Him, or what fears are holding you back right now? 

Share below and you’ll be entered to win a surprise from the Art of Adventure Shop!
Winner announced on Monday.

Also, you can connect more with Margo + 46 Dresses here:
@margo.ouden
@46dresses

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Comments (2)

  1. Thank you so much for the encouragement in this post. It’s just what I needed.
    I feel that I have been called to live in the city of Cape Town in order to be a blessing to the church I have joined and also to start a life group there. However 2 months later of not being able to find a place to live in the area that I feel I have been called to, my resolve and hope absolutely dwindled. I even went so far as to tell God to use someone else. I took my eyes off Jesus and lost focus. I forgot that God is the God of the impossible – living in Cape Town seems impossible. Accommodation is so expensive and going to viewings along with 20 other people is very disheartening. Feeling called to lead a group of people also adds another degree of difficulty to finding a place to live as it would be hard, not impossible, but hard to have a group in a 30m2 apartment. God has given me a dream of hosting people in my home, sharing life and making memories together. Satan has been trying to steal my hopes and dreams. Thank God His grace is new every morning. I will trust in the one who provides and in His perfect timing. I am soooo ready for this season to end, but until God says it’s time, I will hold onto His promises.

Be intentional about seeking a God-adventure in 2017! Hand-painted calendars on sale for $6 in the shop