"Life is way more beautiful making friends out of the women around you than it is sizing them up & gossiping. Learn someone's story today." - Lionhart
Happy May! In a month where we celebrate the most important women in our lives, I asked Shannon Douglas of Lionhart to share what motivates her and her team to encourage women around the world to love themselves!
What made you want to start Lion Hart?
Lionhart as a whole is an accumulation of many experiences, seasons and people I’ve met. Part of my own story involves growing up with an addict father and dealing with his abandonment, turning to men to fill places within me that only Christ could, and different situations involving abuse and being used—all of which made me question who I was at times. When I first moved to Florida to work for an organization called To Write Love On Her Arms, I was met with different stories everyday of women who were questioning their value because of different struggles they had faced. And as someone who has mentored and discipled younger ladies, I have always sought to be a voice of strength and wisdom in their lives that I didn’t have at their age. I started Lionhart as a ministry to speak truth into the lives of women who are struggling with their worth, and it’s been growing and changing into what God wants it to be for the past year.
How have your own experiences helped you
My own experiences with abuse, sex, and men have certainly led me to the comfort of Christ, and turning to the truth of who He is and the woman He made me to be. It’s been a long road, but there has been so much beauty and reward in the outcome. I believe it’s my responsibility and joy as a Christian to now use my story to help others in similar places, and I hope Lionhart can be a vessel to reach women who need to know they are not alone.
I read that you aren't shopping for a whole year. How have you managed not to get tired of your clothes?
God is an incredible provider. Since deciding not to purchase clothes for at least a year, I’ve been given everything from boots to bras to scarves to dresses from different ladies in my life, and I haven’t once been truly in need of anything. It’s been a beautiful example of community, and relying on God and my family in Christ to provide. It’s also been immensely freeing to remove clothing from my list of things that stress me out or make me question myself. Too often I see girls placing their importance in the outfits they’re wearing, instead of who they are underneath the clothes.
I guess you could also say that a pair of scissors and accessories have become good friends of mine. When I’m tired of something in my closet, I cut it up into something new, or find a different piece to pair it with. It’s been fun creating new looks out of things I already had.
Who is your style icon?
Would it be weird if I said Mother Teresa? I read a story by Shane Claiborne once that after spending some time with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, he noticed that her feet were knobby and deformed. When he asked someone why that was, they told him that Mother Teresa always took the worst pair of shoes for herself out of the donations that came in, and her feet took a beating for it. I’ve also always admired her for the plain white sari she repeatedly wore, as it didn’t set her apart from those she often served on the streets. I wonder what the world would look like if more of us dressed to un-impress in order to better relate to or help others who are less fortunate than we.
What is your favorite place to shop?
Thrift stores, always. I used to love shopping at ModCloth.com, but it’s important to know where your garments are coming from and if they’re being ethically manufactured.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Since Lionhart is a non-profit organization that wasn’t structured in a way to make money, I would have to say the biggest thing I struggle with is having a day-job to pay my bills that isn’t a passion of mine, and that limiting the time I get to invest into Lionhart throughout the week. I am grateful though, for a wonderful team of volunteers who help me run Lionhart and who have incredible hearts for struggling women.
Do you have any advice for girls that are struggling with self esteem issues?
If you are struggling with truly knowing and valuing who you are, find some good, strong, wise women to seek out advice from and walk through life with. There is immense power in community, and in having someone in your life to remind you of the truth of who you are when you can’t see it for yourself.
Also, find some encouraging sayings that speak to you and write them on your mirror. We love “I am fearfully & wonderfully made” and “Be brave today.” Let those words sink in as reminders of who you are every day that you wake up. You are important, you are valuable, you are beautiful the way you were created, and you deserve to know and feel those truths.
Favorite beauty product?
Perfume is my guilty pleasure-- Dolce & Gabanna, Nanette Lepore, and Marc Jacobs are my favorites. I’m also obsessed with a chap stick called Shaka Laka Lip Blaka. I order it in bulk online—no joke. Shaka Laka also has a great line of sun protection products, and as a company is partnered with an array of wonderful foundations/organizations. Go support them: http://shakalaka.com/
To learn more about Lionhart please feel free to check out their website!
How do you maintain your self esteem?