Tag Archives: guidance

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.

Transformation

There are some transformations that can not be seen, only known. A year ago I started my It Works business but before I made that leap I had just walked through one of the darkest valleys of my life. Most would not have known because I wore a smile and played the part of a happy new mommy, but inside I was going through a fierce spiritual battle. I was suffering from extreme fear and anxiety. Just getting through each day was a victory in and of itself. When the opportunity for this business presented itself, I thought there was no way I could do it. I could barely keep it together as it was. Yet, as I sought the Lord, I felt a peace and a need to pursue this business. I said yes. I took the step forward and through that one trust step the Lord has strengthened each step that followed. He has brought a new way of trust into our relationship and created a change within me that is unparalleled to any work in my life prior. He has used this business to take what was weak and make it strong, to take fear of the unknown and create a confident trust in him. By stepping out of what was known into the unknown, I was forced to rely completely and solely on God alone. This faith walk has changed my life and my relationship with the Lord. I will be forever grateful for this transformation.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

The Great Unknown

smokies 150

Something incredible happens when we step out of our known into the unknown of God’s plan for us; we start to trust fully in His will. Operating outside of your comfort zone opens the door for God to do amazing things. You truly become a vessel to be used by Him. When I started this business I had no idea God would use it to draw me into that type of relationship with Him. As it has grown, I have grown and changed as well. The remarkable dynamic is that as the business grows larger, I feel smaller. There is a sacred type of worship that comes from sensing your smallness in comparison to God’s greatness. I stand in awe of who he is and his omniscient ways. I heard one of the leaders in our company say, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” This couldn’t ring more true in my life right now. I was not equipped in any manner to run a business. I was a mommy and a teacher with a degree in special education. I knew service and sacrifice and I had a strong desire to help others. I never dreamed God would use those qualities for something like this but he has. He has taken this to a level I would have never imagined and it just continues to grow. If this be only for a season, I am so grateful; so incredibly thankful for being called to be part of it. God is able; more than able to do marvelous works in your life. Step out of everything you have come to know as safe and recognizable in this world and open yourself up to the possibilities that await with our God of transformation. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Welcome to abundant life in the great unknown.

John 10:10

Blessings

A year ago today in my journal I wrote “I couldn’t sleep last night and as I laid awake I thought about my friend Krista getting that $10,000 bonus from It Works and instead of praising you, I felt jealous. Forgive me. Thank you Lord for reminding me that you have given various blessings to each of us at different times. Thank you for the peace you’ve placed in my life. May I never take your gifts for granted or be envious of someone else’s blessing. You are sovereign. You’ve already made all the provision I need and I trust you Lord.” February 3, 2013.

Little did I know in June, I would receive that same $10,000 bonus from It Works. I didn’t even see this business as an option for me then. Krista was at home with her kids so it seemed right for her but I was working full time and just couldn’t see myself doing something like this. I had no idea what God had in store! I didn’t know “my time” was coming.

We NEVER know what could be just around the next turn! God has our path planned before we even enter into this world. He is sovereign and he is only good.

He continues to dazzle me everyday!!!!

Psalm 18:30, Jeremiah 1:5

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