I had mentioned in my Newsletter that I was running with the theme “When Life is Raw and it Feels so Good”. I left it pretty vague but it was with purpose! I wanted you here to sit with me a minute and bring you in on this journey that I know is drawing me into a vibrancy in my walk with the Lord, and in life as a whole! I feel compelled to share because I want this for everyone!
So grab your coffee, Bible, and sit in your favorite comfy spot and lets dive into this.
This is a really unique time and place for our generation of 1980’s babies. A lot of us have embarked on new businesses and are trying to balance parenthood with entrepreneur lifestyles. This is something I promised myself long ago I would NEVER do. Being a “Stay at Home Mom” and becoming an Entrepreneur were things I swore off with gusto, since high school. I was determined to be a professional in the work place. Welp, in my story God had MUCH different plans for me.
(Please know, sweet one, that I encourage you to press into God and ASK Him what HIS agenda for you is. I am in no way saying that working or being a mom in the work force is wrong, it is just not in my path at this point in life! so please still press into the heart of this message!)
I am now both a Mother who is home with my daughter and blessed to have a Postpartum Business that is just as much my ministry as it is something that helps to put food on the table! However, as many who own their own business know, it is a hustle to keep the flow, and often I am exhausted beyond words and I look at my day and it feels like nothing was accomplished. Networking, promoting, sometimes a lot of grind with nothing in return. On top of that, doing it with a Toddler is a WHOLE other ball game!
My daughter rocks, do not get me wrong! She is so precious, quiet and still around new mommies and babies. She whispers and knows when I need two hands to bind mommy tummies, massage out clogged milk ducts in breasts, or guide mothers in various natural baby care techniques. My girl is a gift strait from God. But making sure I am tending to her as I need to and still pursuing my business is so hard.
My girl is a trooper, but regardless, she is still VERY much a Toddler. Sometimes I have to remind myself that there MUST be balance in our lives, and when the hustle is too much, she is very adamant about letting me know! (Thats the nice way to put it.)
On top of that, I feel challenged each day to be a better wife and mother! So that means keeping up with tasks at home! Cleaning, Cooking, keeping up with chickens and cultivating gardens. I also try to stay healthy and vibrant so I incorporate exercise 4 days a week at least. Then there is the other areas such as non-profit work and church tasks that I partake in as well. Phew…. so where does that leave us? Tired!
This last week, while my mother was visiting, I didn’t even realize that I had been leaving my phone at home, or letting it die and not caring. I decided not to go to networking events, and exchanged them with going to family events, and just staying home, and I feel like these moments began “The Peel”.
What do I mean by “The Peel”?
This is a new term I use to refer to when God helps you to shed off the tasks, traits, distractions, relationships, and hindrances that are a barrier between us and HIM. It’s really RAW and I disclosed to a dear friend of mine how sometimes I wonder what will be left!
2 Corinthians 4:16
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day”
After the difficult couple of years leading up to now, I know that I am no in a season of “The Peel”. I am pressing into The Lord and He is returning with revelations, wisdom, correction, and above all an intimate unconditional love I could never even have fathomed.
I have been grinding my gears contemplating ways to grow my business, take on other business ideas, and then trying to grow our family as well. But I have been asking myself a lot lately, WHY? Is this why I am on this Earth? Is this my calling? Am I getting distracted with trying to make money and not focused enough on glorifying God?
My mom confirmed this as a positive practice when she delighted in her best friend always reminding her to ALWAYS ask herself this simple word… “WHY?” Her best friend encouraged her to ask “WHY” about everything! (Reminds me of my 3 year old…. we are in the “Why, why, why” stage right now…. haha Very funny God lol) But she reminds me that I need to be asking this question too!
Now that I am, it cuts to the core to the essence of life, as well as my beliefs. I am realizing that certain situations, on takings, distractions and relationships that are not healthy, nor are they part of God’s plan and purpose for my life. I realized that I had been putting forth A LOT of unnecessary energy toward them. Now with them “peeled” away I feel vulnerable and yet so liberated.
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
I needed to center back on pleasing Jesus, and not looking to please everyone around me. With my business and with things outside of my family. My relationship with God and my relationship with my Hubby and family are before any other relationships and on taking. I encourage you to take a hard look at your life also if you are feeling a bit scattered and weary. Setting your life up to have God first, with nothing coming in next to Him but everything in its place below Him is becoming more and more important as times get busier and more chaotic. God will help us avoid getting caught up in the World, and keep our eyes on Eternity.
Here are some “Why’s” I asked, and I pray that they will help you have eyes and a mind that is renewed and set on things above!
Why is this person my friend?
Sounds harsh, but I really had to see if my relationships were healthy, and some proved to not be. I needed to take a step back. See if this was good for my daughter to be raised around. If their lifestyle merged with ours. If they have doctrines and practices that we supported and loved to be in the presence of. These are all important questions to ask. If the answer is no to the majority of these questions and the relationship at the root is not healthy then take a step back. Don’t sever ties or end your friendship (Unless God is calling you to do that), just create space and respectful distance where it is due! This doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means that, at this time, you need to honor what is best for you and your family. This is something that is not easy for me! I cherish friends, so if someone likes me then I try to love them and please them. However, this is a dangerous habit, because I need to only seek to please God, and honor what is best for my family. I am not called to be close friends with everyone, but I am called to honor God and create a thriving family life! Balance, sweet ones, is key.
Ephesians 4: 2-3
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Why Am I Investing Time Into This?
I found that some business opportunities proved to be to, again, please a person, rather than to please God. If the root turned out to be “People Pleasing”, then I knew that I needed to remove that element from my life.
Friends, this is no small thing. People pleasing is not only a sin, it is mixing agendas, God’s agenda (The only one that matters) and our own personal agenda ( the one that leaves us supernaturally anemic). If you find that people pleasing is a theme in your life, get with some Godly friends and pray for that tendency to be broken. Breaking off of this path is not only liberating, it is amazing how much weight sheds off of your shoulders, and how much confidence is restored. These are all things I have walked through personally, so friend, you are never alone.
“Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
I don’t know about you but I am desperate to be a servant of Christ after all He has done for me.
”Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
Why Am I Motivated To Do This?
I have begun to cherish praying for God to search my heart and bring to the surface heart issues. This is a prayer that God has been faithful to answer time and time again. I have had elements of my walk, my tendencies, and matters of the heart that I never even knew needed to be addressed, brought to the surface. As soon as God gave me the eyes to realized them, I asked forgiveness for them, and turned from them, without looking back, it was amazing the fruit that sprung forth in my life. Again, it hurts, sometimes I resist and feel frustrated, but in the end I know that once I embrace a humble spirit, I am able to make room in my life for God to use me, and thats all I could ever hope for. “Humble Pie” is a very important staple in my diet these days, and you know what? It doesn’t taste too bad after you get more and more used to it.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
I am constantly aiming to keep an open line of communication with The Lord on the matter of Money. Many of us are motivated to pay our bills, pay off debt, put money in savings amongst many other financial goals. Money is necessary to function in this country, and I have seen it be used in amazing ways to bless, restore, and create a lot of head way in the realm of helping others and expanding the Kingdom of God. However, if you find that you are driven by money; you want to become wealthy, or you are constantly hungry for a lavish lifestyle, then friend I am going to grab you by your hands here, look you in the eye, and ask you why?
“Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.”
Many people disagree with me here, and if you do, then know that you are not the first. But, I have always been focused on the model which God so graciously blessed us all with, and that is no other than Jesus. Friends, Jesus was a hard working carpenter. He was at the bottom of the social scale, and that is how He CHOSE to come to the Earth to pave the way for us. If we are to model ourselves after Him… then shouldn’t our life styles reflect hard working hands that offer so much to others that wealth is never an option?
In Cheryl Ford’s book “Triumphs of the Heart.” She connects this so bluntly and beautifully with one of Jesus’ most famous parables, that I am going to quote all of it.
“So many things can distract us from God’s purposes. Looking at the Amplified Bible’s description of seed sown among the thorns in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, we find a good picture of life in America today: “And the one’s sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word. Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distraction of the age, and the pleasure and delight of false glamour and deceitful riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.”
What about us? While much in our lives seems beyond our control, we still have many options. Is the house with the huge payment really necessary? What about the new car, boat, latest technological gadgetry, fancy vacation?”
You, like me, may assume that you are not consumed with lavish living and that is great, but I do think that in America we all have this struggle to one degree or another. It is easy for us to slip into the 1st World way of thinking and not realize that our focus has become materialistic, and self serving.
My husband and I are making it by the grace of God in Hawaii and that is no easy feat. As many know, Hawaii is not an easy place to set your roots. Him and I have been in many scary situations where getting food on the table happened, LITERALLY, by a miracle from God. Now, we are chipping away and getting more financially secure, with a lot of discipline, organization and trust in God to provide. We are adamant about tithing, and this year we decided to give each month more that our tithe as an offering. This is a big stretch for us. However, even though we are doing these things, we must stay centered on pressing into God to use us, to use our finances to bless others, and we need to always be on the look out for our hearts getting too consumed with hoarding blessings, money or possessions.
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
This wrong focus can extend into many areas of our life and even our spiritual walk. Cheryl Ford continued this break down by elaborating,
“Culturally, we are such a busy and preoccupied people. Just assembling, maintaining, using, and paying for all the stuff we keep accumulating is enough to bury us. But then we must cope with avalanching time commitments that add to our exhaustion. Even our children are trying to cope with the stress of their busy schedules! Who is to blame? You, along with many others, might protest your innocence. I can almost hear some of you cry, “Wait a minute! I’ve got God- given responsibilities, and because of them, I am not free like Anna” ( a prophetess from the New Testament). True, but whether we suffer under a tyrannical schedule, debts that seem as impossible as the national one, or a host of unimportant time bandits, more often than not we have become victims of our own misguided choices.
God wants to train you to discern the difference between what is necessary and what distracts from His purposes for your life. He wants to remove the tangle of spiritual “thorns” choking your spiritual (And even your mental, physical, and emotional) life. If you let Him, he will show you how to cultivate a watchful heart so you can keep a resolute focus even in the busiest and most trying of times.”
So again, asking yourself why you are embarking on a new business venture, job, or even helping your husband pray about his opportunities, ask The Lord to give you a watchful heart, and always ask “Why?” when you need to get to the root of your decisions.
2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Why Do I Feel Like I am Searching For Purpose?
This is the Big Daddy Question my love. This one rocked my spiritual world, and honestly, I am laying this question at the throne often. Oddly enough, once I started asking myself “Why”, the Lord has placed, books, pastors, and women into my life that have revealed to me a huge element in my faith that I needed to address.
I don’t know about you, but I am a dreamer. I love day dreaming about businesses, off the grid living, books I am going to write, babies were gonna make and adopt, amongst many other wonderful dreams that I am faithful will come true one day! But I was recently reading about the apostles, and really diving into their lives, their devotions, their dreams. They too had large dreams for what they would do for The Lord. And you know what? None of them really ever arrived and fulfilled their ultimate dream for serving Jesus.
Well, aren’t I depressing…. Actually when I read this I was genuinely depressed. But then God opened my eyes… and He, for a moment, gave me eternal eyes.
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
God revealed to me that He is an artist. I am his paintbrush, and the power of Christ and what He did on the cross for us, is the paint. I am an instrument in this masterpiece. And though I definitely believe that God gives each of us passions and desires with divine purpose, it is up to us to submit them all to Him and allow Him to use them for His will and His amazing purpose. God is a God that honors the heart, and if we trust that about Him, He will never come up short. In fact, He often goes above and beyond with what He does erect in lives submitted!
It was powerful for me to learn that nothing is created outside of God. He is the creator of all. So all of my beautiful dreams and ideas are all created by God first! It is up to me, to allow them to be used for God’s glory, or to smother them with my own greed, and selfishness. The choice is ours.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
God often will give us these beautiful desires for reasons that are so much bigger than our own lives! God is a God that is omnipresent, and is an orchestrator of all, so He knows how to bless and create vibrancy in life that we could never even fathom if we just simple say “We trust you Lord.”
I pray that I can continue to ask “Why” so that I will always be on the look out for things that seek to take me away from God’s agenda for my life, even if it is me implementing my own agenda. I pray that you will join me in this prayer and practice.
I believe a revival is coming and I know it will begin with us choosing God above all, including ourselves.I am so thankful that our God is a God that wants us to want Him above all! And that when we press in, He presses back!
So Have Grit Sweet One,
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”