Refresh Stories - Amber Colberg
This month we get to meet Amber Colberg. Amber is a stay at home mom with three girls; a nine year old, a six year old and a three month old. She homeschools the older two, and also runs a business - Prayerful Signs. Her story is filled with hope and encouragement. We hope it propels you to dream too!
Give us a short testimony of how you came to know Jesus.
My family started attending church when I was 9 so I feel like I’ve grown up in church. When I was 12, I went to a camp with my youth group at a lake in New Mexico. That evening the youth group leader gave an invitation to accept the Lord into your heart if you hadn’t. So, right before beginning my 7th grade year, I did.
That night I remember really giving my heart to Jesus and I’ve been walking it out since then. I knew I could pray and talk to Him and that He was always with me and listening, but it felt more like a distant relationship vs. an intimate one. In college, I had my moments of rebellion. I always came back though - like a bungee cord, the Holy Spirit always pulls you back. If I would have been confident in my identity in Christ then, I believe some of my decisions would have been different.
My husband and I found an amazing church home 5 years ago and I felt the Lord calling me into a deeper relationship with Him. Right around that same time I received a prophetic word, “You’re enjoying the blessings on the shore, don’t be afraid to go in deeper. He’s calling you into the water.” After that confirmation I decided to rededicate my life to Jesus and get baptized by immersion after having been sprinkled as a baby.
You run Prayerful Signs - tell us a little about what that is and how it started.
It is a sign company that started with praying for my two little girls. I was doing a Bible study at the time with the book “Praying Circles Around Your Children” and while going through that book, I wrote my oldest daughter’s name in my journal and used it to create an acrostic, using virtues I wanted to pray for her on each letter of her name. Doing it that way made it easy to remember what I wanted to pray for her. I showed my acrostic to the other moms, and one said to me I should put it on her wall.
At the time, I wasn’t really sure how to do that, knowing that if we were to move and I had used a stencil, I wouldn’t be able to take it with us, but the idea was a seed that got planted. When my oldest went to kindergarten, I was in her room praying for her, and His voice came and reminded me saying, “put it on the wall, call it Prayerful Signs.” I remember calling my mom and telling her, “I think I’m hearing things,” because at that time, I didn’t know I could actually hear that quiet voice. She encouraged me to listen to it.
I was certain someone had already come up with this idea, so I started researching to see if it had already been done, but I couldn’t find anything like it. When you file to start a business, you have to search the database to make sure no other company has the same name, and I was just waiting for it to come back already used, but it wasn’t. So I went ahead and registered it as a company. I posted the picture of my first sign on Facebook, once I finally got it made and put on wood. When I put it on social media, the response was so encouraging. I decided to create a business page, and from there it really just took off. I began getting orders! A lot of work went into that first year, trying to figure everything out.
So Prayerful Signs started out of your own prayer journey for your children. You made the acrostic using the virtues you felt like God wanted you to pray for them to have. Do you find yourself changing the list of virtues?
No, they have stayed the same. He gave me specific virtues to pray for each of them as I was making their acrostic. My oldest asked me the other day if I use the same virtues for every sign. She was helping me with one of the signs and she said, “Oh, put thankful on the T, no wait, don’t put thankful, that’s on my sign.” But I shared with her that if that’s what she felt like she was hearing, we could talk to the customer, and they could verify if that’s something they want for their son’s sign. It’s been so amazing that it started for children, but it has grown to include marriage gifts with last names, businesses, churches. People recognize the importance of prayer and watching it manifest itself. When I see my girls walking out those virtues that we’ve been praying for them, it is so neat to witness those come to fruition. God knows who He created them to be, and with the words He gave me, my husband and I have been able to help nourish those traits in them and build their identity. It’s amazing on all aspects.
When the Lord asked you to do this, was it exciting, overwhelming?
At first, it was scary. I wasn’t sure if that voice was really the Lord, even though I knew in my spirit that I would not have come up with this idea. At the time, I had something else going that was my own, that I thought I wanted to do, and it prepared me for what was ahead, but it was also a distraction. So I had to choose to shut that down and go this direction, because that’s ultimately what God wanted me to do. I want to use my gifts to advance His kingdom, and not necessarily do what I wanted to be doing. After it finally started going, it just got really exciting.
Once I got that first sign done, and saw that it might actually be something that changes people’s lives, I realized more that I was fulfilling my purpose here on earth. Even though I may not ever know the impact these signs have had until I get to heaven, I know that I have been obedient, and through that, other people can be encouraged to step out too. In the beginning when it’s scary and you don’t know why He’s calling you to it, or what it’s really going to look like. The real beauty of it is your willingness to walk in obedience to it, and not be focused on the end result, but the journey. He’s been working on me at the same time He was growing the business. I had those thoughts that a lot of people have, “You’ve got the wrong person,” but eventually I was able to discern those thoughts, and learn to tune it out and keep going.
Have you had moments in your journey that have set you back or made you want to quit?
Yes. Probably twice, I’ve been really close to throwing in the towel.
What helped you decide not to quit?
It’s when I remember that this isn’t mine. It’s His. When it’s your own, there’s a difference. But this is God’s - I can’t quit. He’s gotten me this far, and the enemy might want me to shut it down, but knowing all along that He’s walking this out with me, right by my side, and He fights every single battle keeps me in it. It’s been so cool to see how when the battles and the hardships come, He just tears that wall down and makes it not an issue any more. That’s how I know His hand is on what He’s called me to. When you aren’t having to strive, not having to try to make it happen - it’s just happening. The outcome that I’ve seen on some of these signs; there’s no explaining it except that I’m walking where He’s called me.
What areas with Prayerful Signs do you wish you had more help?
I really would love more prayer warriors in the virtue selection process. Once a customer submits a name to me, my team spends time just praying for that name and listening for the virtues that God puts on their heart. It’s not always just a sit down and pray time - sometimes the virtues come during day- to- day life. So we have an app, and my team can get on and see the names and we all have the ability to add virtues to that name as we feel God laying them on our hearts. After we have them all, we email them to the customer. We encourage them to pray as well, but after they read the virtues, they will let us know that either they are perfect, or request certain things to be changed.
What started out as a small focus seems to have grown bigger - how did that happen?
When I started Prayerful Signs, I really thought it was just about praying for children. But then I would have a customer ask me to make one for their parent’s anniversary, or another who would ask for one using the word “Teacher.” Then I had people asking if I could just make signs with one word, so the Lord was really bringing specific people into my life, making this business grow naturally. I have to be careful and intentional in waiting for the Lord’s green light with each new growth step I take.
Do you ever get discouraged by people not understanding what you’re trying to do?
Yes, I do. But everyone is at different places in their walk. When they get it, they get it, but when they don’t, I just know that it’s a seed planted in their lives. You never know what God is doing with it, but His hand is in everything, and you have to keep that in mind during each conversation. It helps grow me in talking to all different people. Ultimately, we do tell them that these signs are prayed over by a Christian, and we have to tell them what we believe.
What tools do you have to help push through your discouragement or fatigue?
Worship music, always. To me, obedience means you’re aligned with God’s heart, and when you are in line with what He wants, things seem to fall into place. During those difficult times, I have to remember scripture, and spend time in the Word, because He will drop things into my heart to encourage me. He can speak through the Word and through the music. Juggling the responsibilities of customers, employees and my family requires a lot of leadership and intentionality, and I have to have reminders of where His heart is for me, and what He really wants prioritized in my life. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In quietness and trust, it shall be your strength.”
What kind of advice or encouragement do you have for other women pursuing their purpose?
Hebrews 3:15 - “If you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.” Responding to His invitation leads to the journey of obedience, and getting to receive the joy and blessing that comes from that journey. If I had hardened my heart and refused to listen to that little voice, I would have missed out on this amazing journey. To get to hear someone say “God’s hand is on your business” is such a gift. Also, remember that it takes courage to be obedient. You never know who’s watching you, looking at the way you live your life. Your decision to walk this calling out in faith can encourage other people to start their own obedience journey.
Video of Prayerful Signs here.
Written by Amanda Merritt
Amanda is a Kansas girl who claims Texas as her own. She married Curtis at 19 and never looked back. Three children, six moves and three states later, they settled back down northwest of Fort Worth and love their life in the country. She’s a PTA president by default and loves being an advocate for her children’s school, along with being dance mom for her two daughters and soccer mom for her son. In her free time, she bakes a ridiculous amount of delicious goodies, has at least three books started at any given time, and works on any craft project she can get her hands on. She has three life goals - love the Lord, love people, and teach her children to do the same.