Tag Archives: aspirations

The Adventure Begins

Every adventure begins with one step. One decision. The decision to make it happen. The decision to begin. Each day we take actions that affect the course of our lives. Every decision leads to a destination. Some steps we take without any conscious effort, like deciding I want a coffee.  I make Starbucks my destination then I start the car, drive in the direction of Starbucks and behold, I obtain the goal and enjoy victory as I sip on my over-priced cup of java. Mission accomplished.  Other steps require decisions that are hard to make.  Do I accept this job offer or look for another one?  What should be my major be in college?  Where should I send my kids to school? Is this the man I should marry?  Which church should we attend?  Every day, from the household budget to the oil change, we make decisions that impact our lives.  Sometimes the smallest decision, can make the biggest impact.

I remember standing in my kitchen just a little less than two years ago trying to decide if I should take the step to give this new business thing a try.  I wasn’t into sales and certainly wasn’t looking to add one more thing to my already overfilled schedule.  But I just couldn’t shake it.  I kept thinking about it.  The “what if” was lingering in my mind and I had this sense of urgency.  I told my husband, “I just don’t want to look back a year from now and think, I wish I would have started then”.  I could see the potential with this opportunity, I just wasn’t certain what was possible was possible for me.  After all, I was a teacher not a business person.  The next day I sat at the desk in my classroom looking at the computer screen with the little start-up kit.  All I had to do was click submit.  Submit.  That’s a hard word!  There are two forms of the word “submit” by definition.  One is to “accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person” Eh, yeah not exactly a warm fuzzy when I read that one.  The other definition is, “present (a proposal, application, or other document) to a person or body for consideration or judgment”.  Umm, not much better.  Submit.  It sounds so final.  And goodness sakes there is authority and judgment involved.  Yes, life would just be better without that submit button.  Yet, there it is; a gateway to the other side. A ticket to the unknown.

Curiousity will always get the best of me and I refuse to be left out of something.  I’m too nosey.  Yes, I am the friend that opens your cabinets when I’m in there using the bathroom.   So there I was. D-day. Decision day, with the submit button and all its authority and judgment staring me down.  Should I walk away or just click it?  What if I can’t do this? What if I fail?  What if the whole thing falls apart and I become the laughing stock of everything?  Oh my!  Pray.  That’s what I needed.  In this moment of decision with my reputation on the line, I needed to pray. STAT!  So I did.  I don’t remember if the students were in the room or not, but I told my assistant I needed some God time and I went to the one place of solace in a school building, the restroom.  I sat in the tile sanctuary and asked God to show me what to do.  I knew there was no way in the world I had time for one more thing but I needed a change in my life.  I needed the peace to either jump or walk away.  Either way, I needed to submit.  I needed to submit to Him.  To His crazy, mysterious, bigger-than-me ways and know that if God was presenting something to me, I didn’t need to question the outcome.  Whatever He had for me would be revealed in His time.  So often we think we control the outcome by the decisions we make.  We’re so afraid to “step out of God’s will” and make the wrong decision but Psalm 37:23 tells us our steps are established by God and He knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  What then do we have to fear?  Will God not provide a way out?  Make another way for us?  A good pastor friend of mine once said, “People are so afraid of making the wrong decisions in life, but God corrects our path.  He leads us along to learn from every choice me make.”  Wow.  That relieves so much pressure.  No matter what, God was going to use my life for good.  He would continue to offer choices and options that ultimately would lead me along the path he had for me.  After all, this is GOD we are talking about; The one who never leaves me or forsakes me (Deuteronomy 31:8).  With that peace in mind and my real submission to the One who makes my path straight (Proverbs 11:5), what did I have to lose?  Why not at least try and see if this crazy business thing might help me out?  Why not see if it really was as life changing as everyone made it out to be?  So I clicked the button. I took one tiny step.  It is better to try something and find out another path is better than do nothing and become immobile.  My life was never going to change if I didn’t take the chance to at least try.

Two years later and I can honestly say clicking that button was the best decision toward my destination. I no longer work in that classroom, I get to stay at home with my son and do the things I am most passionate about.  I’m still not a business person.  I help people and I change lives and for some crazy reason I make a great deal of income doing it. I never would have guessed all this was on the other side of that submit button.

Abundant Life

flowers
Today it hit me. The reality of this recent life-change hit me. All my friends set alarms this morning and went back to work. Summer break is over. I woke up, made my way to the back yard swing and sat in the flower garden talking to Jesus. This is blessing. Blessing that makes my heart well up and brings tears to my eyes.
Two years ago I was headed back to my teaching job leaving my 5 month old with a full time sitter for the first time and feeling so much anxiety it was hard to breathe. With my husband in school full time, I had no choice but to work after my son was born. The demands of being the main income provider, juggling work with a family and the needs of 15 special education students was weighing heavily. Thoughts swirled around in my mind to the point of chaos and I was physically exhausted from the stress and anxiety. I had no idea how I would “get by”. That was my goal. To maintain. To just get through each day.
John 10:10 says the enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy but Christ came that we would have abundant life. Abundant life isn’t just getting by. It’s not maintaining. Abundance does not equal mediocrity. An abundant life is fruitful, overflowing, full of hope, a well-spring of joy. I was not living an abundant life. From the outside all looked well; A house, a car, a husband, a beautiful baby boy and a big furry dog. On the inside I was full of fear, shame, regret, discouragement and this striving to please everyone else. Such a desire to please everyone that I kept my feelings to myself so not to be a burden. I was a hot mess to say the least.
6 weeks of pastoral counseling and discovering centering prayer helped me refocus my eyes on Jesus and away from my feelings which were growing to monstrous proportions the more I worried over them. Slowly and daily the more I focused on the Lord, the less fear I felt. I began to deal with the rot that was at the root of my feelings. The stressors in my life had triggered the anxiety but there were deep places of hurt that needed healing before I could move on. Time was a healing balm and rest was what I needed. I started spending time each day with the Lord. In quiet. Just focusing on his presence and listening. As I moved from fear to freedom I felt like there was more God had in store, I just didn’t know what.
8 months later God brought It Works into our lives. God brings the opportunity. It’s when you meet it with determination and perseverance that the possibilities are endless. We needed this. We needed it financially and I was desperate for a change. I discovered a product called Confianza. I had been against taking prescription medication for anxiety and liked the idea of something all natural. It was perfect for me. It calmed those swirling thoughts so I could fully focus on God’s presence. I felt like I could finally “be still” enough to know that He is God. I poured myself into time with the Lord every morning and poured all the energy he gave me into my family and this business. Within 3 months, I realized what we had our hands on and knew this could be my ticket home.
Less than 16 months after starting this business, I was able to call my principal and say, “I will not be returning this school year”. This is abundant life. Not because of the income, but because of what it brings. There is nothing greater than complete freedom! This is life lived outside the box and a greater potential to be led wherever God chooses. We no longer limit ourselves to the idea of one job, one location or one path. Anything is possible!
John 10:10 Psalm 46:10

New Vision

smokies 114

I celebrated my one year anniversary with It Works on March 20, 2014 and while I am still completely amazed at the blessings God has brought to our lives through this business, I started feeling an urge to seek Him more with it. As it grows by leaps and bounds, I yearn to seek the Lord and find His perspective; his vision for my business. When I slowed down to really truly pray about this I just didn’t have the words. How do you pray for something that already feels like such an incredible blessing? How do you pray for something that’s all completely his doing? As I pondered this, one scripture kept coming to mind, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26. So I just sat. I sat at His feet and waited to hear. For days. And I wrote down every thought, image and idea that came to mind. This was my takeaway; this is the new vision for my business:

We are helping.
This is about friendships. This is whimsy.
We are not desperate and drained, like dogs seeking water. No, we are confident and strong. This is fun.
We have energy. We have strength.
We are quiet but mighty.
There is this peace that sparkles; it’s contagious.
This is not of me. Not of us, so that anyone could boast. This is a God thing.
Together, we turn it all gold. We’ve got beauty to share and blessings to spread.

As I begin a new month, with new goals, I am more confident than ever that God is doing big things here. I am so excited to see what He has in store.

New Year, New Goals

The Sestina's - A Family Mission
The Sestina’s – A Family Mission

I started this morning by praying over my business; this crazy business God dropped into my lap less than a year ago. I brought to Him my dreams, desires and aspirations. I told Him all I would love to see happen for the kingdom through this business. I want to help others through my writing, I want to advance through promotions and find strong leaders so I can pay off debt, have more time with my family and invest money into starting a ministry. I want to be part of something bigger than me; something greater than anything I could ever accomplish in my own strength. This morning as I sat in my bathroom sanctuary, I gave God all these ideas, hopes and dreams. I sensed his calling to trust beyond all logic and understanding, to be confident enough to take long strides with him. He reminded me I don’t need to tip-toe through this journey but at times he speaks in slow ways and I need to be patient . His love is tender. He takes all that I offer and weaves it into a tapestry; a well-planned design. I walk a path he set for me long ago with the passions and desires He placed in my heart spurring me on. As I look to Him, he guides me and becomes my only true source of strength. May every trial and failure, every success and victory be all for His glory!
Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:4, Proverbs 16:3