My name is Tauilo Talafaaoti, founder and owner of The Story of Grace (TSOG). I was born and raised in South Auckland, New Zealand however I am currently residing in Brisbane, Australia. I am of Samoan descent - the youngest and only girl out of three siblings.
For the past few years, I’ve been going through what I would consider a faith crisis. My parents raised me in the church so I have always known of God and eventually I had formed what I would consider a really close friendship with Him. However, when it came to the application of Jesus in my everyday life or the desire and will to live only for him...I felt there was a massive gap. I never fully understood why Jesus died on the cross nor had I considered the relevance of the cross and it's impact on my life. For so long, I had lived a life that believed in Jesus but my actions nor words followed pursuit on my proclaimed faith.
I had always believed that in order for me to succeed in life, I had to leave the nest and experience the world on my own and at the raw age of 19, with my parent's blessing - I made the move. I moved away from my comfort zone from under the protection and guidance of my parents and found myself living in a completely different country. I had little to no support and found that I had to learn how to start from scratch - independent living. It was such an awakening trying to build a life for myself without my parents stronghold support or guidance. In my search for independence and success, although the freedom to do as I please was sweet for a little while - I also learnt the hard way that there was no one that will ever love and support you the way that parents do. I became content with not having to answer to anyone or do anything for anyone other than myself. I found a thrill in living the life of a partier - I fell into alcoholism, drug use - partying all night till the early hours of the morning - it became my lifestyle. It seemed like harmless fun at first - eventually I found myself digging a hole of self destruction that I would much later on in life struggle to get myself out of. Self destruction was progressive - it's started off as harmless fun until one day it became the sweet escape from the real world, it became my happy place away from the struggles of reality I faced in my everyday life. Life's struggles far outweighed the triumphs in those dark years and my life soon became a meaningless cycle - a daily fight to survive, to live.
Nothing can really prepare you for what you will have to face in life and I learned that the hard way and unfortunately I was all alone. I thought I was doing everything that I thought was right however there was always a void in my life that in turn had an effect on my mental health. It seemed although on the surface I had my life sorted - I had a full time job, a car, I had plans of moving into my own place and was in my second year of universities studies - however underneath the surface, the battles I faced with my mental health brought complete hopelessness and depression in my life. I couldn't find the help that I desperately needed and the more I pursued the pleasures of the world - the more I felt trapped and imprisoned. I was constantly seeking any type or form of escape from the mental health struggles I faced daily but in doing so - I was only making things worse for myself. I had to make the difficult decision of leaving the life I had worked so hard to build for myself, leave all my hopes and dreams and reluctantly recouped to the safe haven that was home, back under my parents wings.
It was at the lowest point in my life that I had experienced the ultimate love of Jesus.
What is the story of Grace?
I grew up with brothers and naturally in a male dominated environment I had always been a bit of a tomboy. My dream has always been to own a clothing brand but what type and how I was to achieve this dream was all a mystery to me. For many years I scavenged to search for the "right" niche, throwing in the towel on countless attempts to find the "right" one - until now.
The story of Grace is inspired by how God brought me back to Him. It was at the lowest point in my life that I found Jesus again. To be totally transparent, this isn't a story where I am saying I am now perfect because that would be a lie. I am still deep in battle with my mental health issues but the difference now is...I am battling with Jesus. I have been a wavering Christian finding myself being all about Him , and the next I tend to forget to acknowledge that He exists. But upon reflecting and encountering what Jesus did on the cross for me, it has brought such peace into my life. When you fully understand the work of Calvary, what it means to you and how to apply it to your life, it brings so much freedom. When you fully understand that Jesus Christ loved us so much that he, being totally innocent and one who did not commit a single sin, who took ALL of our sins (just imagine the sin you and I have committed) and got crucified and murdered on the cross. He killed our sin and came back to life and in doing so, created us a whole new life. No longer are we guilty, no longer are we trapped under the curse of sin but through Jesus Christ alone, we have been set free and made new. When Jesus was raised to life again, he provided for our every need. God’s provision through the cross is for every need that can ever arise in the life of any human being.
It is my desire to create real authentic clothing line that brought light to the story of Jesus Christ. I love graphic t-shirts - it is basically what I live in. I wanted to create a graphic clothing line that told the story of Jesus and the Bible. I didn’t want to just put bible verses on my clothing (although that is such a good idea!), it is my intent and desire to use this platform to worship Him. He is fighting for us whether we know it or not and I want people to see that this world is not the only world that exists. What you place your faith in determines where you go when this life shall end and when we move on from this world.
Jesus is the most important thing in our life. I believe that He is the key to life! He is the answer to everything and through my clothing line - I want to share and proclaim this message with the world.
The story of Grace is the story of Jesus Christ. The story of the cross and what the cross means to us.
Joshua 24:14-15 KJV “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”