When you walk in the Spirit, His plans for your life can differ greatly from your own.
Just ask former practicing attorney and adjunct professor Jill Donovan, who is now the face of one of Hollywood’s fastest-growing trends: Rustic Cuff.
“I had no desire or passion to this, but God’s ways prevailed, I told Him, ‘I’m yours,'” Donovan says. “… I’m not forcing it. I just embrace the change, and when I do that, even bigger things can happen. My life (has) an overriding theme of what God can do when (I) embrace how the path changes.”
Stories like this and more are detailed in her new book, The Kindness Effect, out now.
Every time a cuff sparkles in the spotlight, the Oral Roberts University grad is reminded of God’s faithfulness, even though her journey started with utter humiliation.
After years of trying to get on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Donovan was awarded a chance when she submitted a story about her regifting closet, a trove of gifts that would jump homes.
Donovan was happy to tell her story to the audience and the eventual 20 million broadcast viewers. But two etiquette queens on the show had some other ideas.
After hearing her tales, they tore her to pieces, calling her methods tacky, and sending Donovan on a spree to empty all the shelves in her home, never to regift again … or so she thought.
“Every situation I had been in up until that point, God had proven himself faithful,” Donovan says. “Even though I didn’t understand (the) meaning of why something turned rough when I thought it was going to go right, I remembered how faithful God was in my life in every other situation, and it was easy to trust Him because I already experienced His goodness. It was not less difficult, but just allowed me to relax a little bit. … Even if I never found out the meaning, I knew God’s purpose would prevail.”
Years later, a purpose, simple and shiny, was revealed.
Those emptied shelves were replaced with hand-crafted cuffs made to be given away to remind others of the Father’s love.
Once created, Donovan began mailing her cuffs out to people she wanted to wear them, and it wasn’t long before she spotted them on the arms of Kathie Lee Gifford, Harry Connick Jr., Sherri Shepherd, Brittney Spears and Giuliana Rancic, among others.
And while she geeks over the celebrity love, her goal in this was never to achieve fame in the world’s eyes; rather, it was to show someone at any given moment how much they matter to God.
When Donovan dresses each morning, she prepares her heart for what the Lord wants her to do: Her right arm is filled with gifts from her daughters, and her left is stacked with cuffs awaiting the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
As she moves about her day, she meditates in the Spirit, asking the Lord whom she should speak to and how to minister. When He answers, she uses the cuff as a talking piece and gives it away as a reminder of His goodness.
“That one moment in a person’s life, when you give them (a) cuff, they are the center of Someone’s universe,” Donovan says. “It’s not about what (the cuff) says. What it is, the action of being led, being present where you are, saying, ‘OK God, is this someone I’m supposed to talk to?’ That’s not something three years ago I would have ever dreamt, and it’s definitely evolved.”
When the cuffs hop arms, Donovan is affecting change in the world. She’s reminding men and women that when the Holy Spirit prompts us, we can serve and show love that can radically change lives.