Thursday

God and Art Series: Artist's work illustrates new creation


Becca Koopmans
As any mother knows, staying home with small children can be a challenge and, like any challenge in life, this experience can bring out the good in people. It can also bring out the little things that need work as well. Becca Koopmans, owner of WearLoveNow on Etsy, found this to be true and it later helped serve as a foundation for her store in which she sells upcycled clothing.

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Becca grew up in  Michigan, in a family with five kids that was "close-knit and loving."

"My heritage includes generations of educators, readers, musicians and creative minds," Becca says. "One grandpa caned chairs, the other grandpa painted and toyed with inventions. My mom and both grandmas sewed. One grandma was an accomplished musician and my aunt made rugs, painted, dabbled with pottery and other manual art forms. My dad was always exploring business ventures as a natural entrepreneur.


"We gravitated toward an evangelical church when I was in junior high school and at 13 I realized God’s salvation for me in Jesus and began a life of following him," she says. "I had deeply rooted image issues that would later come into play with my pursuit of ‘wearing love.' Meanwhile, I invested in music seriously through college and took watercolor painting classes and pottery wheel classes at different stages of life. After college at Wheaton, I taught fourth grade for a few years then went back to get my master of arts in educational ministries. I worked with kids in camp settings, churches, wrote curriculum and was even able to be a part of Tyndale House Publishing for a bit before getting married to my dear husband Stan and moving to Wisconsin where we now live."

WearLoveNow
Becca found that while staying at home with small children was challenging, it was also very rewarding. "I have loved all of the different positions and jobs that God has entrusted to me, but my most challenging and rewarding one has been a stay-at-home mom of four awesome kiddos: Liesel,12, Steven, 9, Schyler, 9, and Mari,7," she says. "In the years of their infancy and toddling, getting a shower and dressed in the morning was such a feat for me. As I attempted to look put together on the outside, in my wardrobe of jeans and Ts, I felt naked and exposed on the inside with my heart’s scantily-clothed patience and limited love. I found that the invisible garments of my soul often looked and smelled like my dirty running socks days later in the pile in our closet … unappealing and stinky. So, began my quest of a healthy heart — true to both my faith and love of fashion. The more I grew to express my style in my wardrobe on the outside, the more I cooperated to be clothed by God on the inside with grace, compassion, humility and love."

It was during this stage in her life that Colossians 3:14 became real to Becca: "regardless of what else you put on, WEAR LOVE."

WearLoveNow
"Our youngest daughter has some neurological issues and medical needs. My presence at home became critical for many reasons and so I became more isolated in my life when I was anticipating more social and ministry-oriented options in my days," Becca says. "This caused me to get on my knees and listen. The combination of my heart’s passion to wear love and help women with image issues, along with my ideas to create clothing from recycled pieces … making the old new again, resulted in Wear Love Now. I tested the market waters with some friends and then some invitational open houses and soon realized that people loved the biblical concept, the unique upcycled clothes and the compassionate giving to a world-wide relief ministry."
WearLoveNow

With every purchase from her shop, Becca donates ten percent to Samaritan's Purse, a world-wide relief organization dedicated to helping those who suffer by providing medicine, food and other assistance while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. One ministry of Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child, provides a shoebox full of gifts to children all over the world, including those in the United States, who may not receive a Christmas gift. They also hear the gospel as well. Becca's children are involved in this aspect of Samaritan's Purse.

WearLoveNow
"Samaritan’s Purse was our relief organization choice because our kids have been very involved in their seasonal Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes," Becca says. "As a family we all were brokenhearted by watching some African accounts of desperate famine and drought. We knew Samaritan’s Purse was a presence there and in many other places needing help. It is exciting to hear my kids’ enthusiasm for Wear Love Now’s sales … they realize each time someone orders an item, we get to give money to Samaritan’s Purse and offer God’s healing help where we can’t go."

WearLoveNow
Selling her clothing on Etsy has helped Becca not feel so isolated and it has helped her minister to others while caring for her family. "I joined the Etsy network a few months ago and I am so very glad I did. It has been such an encouraging venue for Wear Love Now," she says. "I feel that my life and ministry are no longer in isolation as I care for my family, but rather is now world-wide in some literal and figurative ways. My hope is to continue to offer people creative, one of a kind clothing that is salvaged and has a purpose — much like each one of us is in Christ — one of a kind and a new creation with great purpose."