This past October I made the decision to close Scratch. Yes. You read that correctly.
At the time of this decision making, I was 2 months pregnant (I am currently now a little over 5 and a half months), and got 2-week notices from 3 of my employees all within a 3 month span of one another. The timing of everything in that period was absolutey crushing and soul-stretching for me. Add in a dash of new pregnancy hormones on top of all that, and you get yourself quite a big ball of twisted up happy/sad/confused emotions.
To be quite honest, I felt completely defeated. I was so excited to be pregnant, but so very discouraged in not knowing what I was going to do with my business while trying to focus on adjusting our life to a third child. A child that would be arriving within a few short several months.
"GOD?! What the heck?! What am I supposed to do with all of these changes at once? How? I mean...I just don't get it! I have worked so hard, and I have put so much effort into trying to build this business, and I, and I and I,I,I..." that's pretty much how my conversations with God went throughout those difficult weeks of wrestling with fear and purpose.
But, don't you know, the times that bring us to our knees are really the times where we grow the most. One of my favorite verses in Habakuk 3:17-19 says this: "(17) Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, (18) Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the victorious God of my salvation! (19) The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk, not to stand still in terror, but to walk, and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility!"
My high places of TROUBLE. My high places of SUFFERING. My high places of RESPONSIBILITY. My high places of GROWTH.
What I hadn't realized was that somewhere along the way in 2014, I fell asleep. I was so distracted with my daily responsibilities and to-do lists that I was numb and living on cruise control.
Recently, I have been listening to a lot of Lisa Bevere's teachings (if you haven't read any of her books, or listened to any of her podcasts, you need to). In her book 'Lioness Arising' she talks in great detail about a lion documentary she had watched. In this documentary, she shared how in order to get to the lion, the team of lion experts had to first tranquilize the lioness. If they didn't, they were as good as dead. The lioness will fiercely protect her ferocious partner, and if you want to get to him, you have to get through her first. Did you get that? In order to get to the family and man of the household, the female had to be tranquilized. In order to get to the rest of the pride, the lioness had to be asleep.
Imobilized. Distracted. Numb.
As women in Christ, we often do not realize the power and anointing we hold for our families. God is faithfully showing me this, and waking. Me. Up.
What darts of the everyday has Satan used to distract you from who you really are? Do you know the power you hold? Do you know the strength available to you through the Holy Spirit?
I had forgotten. I was tranquilized by a dart of responsibility that I had put on myself. I was so driven by my personal career goals this past year that I thought if I worked harder, I could make them happen in my own timing, and in my own strength. And because of this, I finally came to the point where I was so exhausted with all of my own silly efforts, that I just wanted to give up.
Instead of placing my times, my business, and my family in His hands, I foolishly tried to carry the weight myself. I just didn't realize it because I had become so distracted by it all. My heart had been hardened by exhaustion and striving.
And here's the funny thing in all of this...I am still exactly in the stage that God wants me to be in! I know that I am fully in His will. 'Well how do you know that? Didn't you just say you were in your own efforts, in your own works of the flesh?' Absolutely. That is exactly where I was at. But it was all a part of the journey and the process for me. When God gives you vision it can sometimes almost be a burden, and very confusing at times, because our flesh is hardwired to want to rush ahead to the next thing. But God can't give a child what they aren't ready to have. He has the blessing already prepared for you, but He needs to prepare YOU for the blessing. We need to be mature enough to handle what God has for us, and that takes time.
Exodus 17:1 "All the congregation of the Israelites moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord..."
Stages. The Israelites eventually did make it to the Promised Land, but it was in stages. It also took them 40 years to make what was supposed to be an 11 day journey. Yeaaaaah. You know how that happened? Murmuring, complaining, and their own agendas of how they thought things should go. Our lives are no different. We cannot skip the vital and necessary steps that God has ordained for us to walk through and run ahead for the blessing.
After a lot of wrestling, praying, and fasting about an answer for the bakery, my husband and I knew that it wasn't God's will for me to just run away and give up. We decided to push through and keep moving. God would bring new people in, He would guide me, and He would give me wisdom as I followed Him in faith. Which He has been so faithful to do!
In this New Year God has re-anointed me, picked me up, given me new vision, and set me back on my feet. Striving to run ahead of Him will get me nowhere but exhaustion. And quitting is a sure-fire way to NOT achieve your dreams.
I wanted to be on Cupcake Wars (oh, I totally auditioned!). The producers sent emails and were initially interested. The answer was NO. Then they contacted me again for another dessert competition show. The answer was NO. I wanted to run two bakeries at once. The beginning of 2014 opened with me closing our first location. The answer was NO. I wanted to open another bigger and "better" second location at Park City this past summer. God's answer was NO. I wanted to safely and happily stay with the exact same staff (that I loved, and still DO) during and after my pregnancy. The answer was NO. I wanted to throw in the towel, close my business, and give up!! And guess what God's answer was? NO.
See a pattern? We don't get to order our own steps. God does. And looking back now, I realize I probably wouldn't have been able to handle any of those things anyway.
Quite honestly, I'm only 29, and there's a very good chance I may not own a bakery for the rest of my life. But for now, I know that God is using it in this current season. I don't know where it will take me, but I do know that it has taught me many valuable life-lessons that I would not have learned without walking through the struggle that comes along with being an entrepreneur.
So, in sharing all of this with you, what I really want to say is this: I want to live dangerously awake for God, and I want to re-awaken your purpose as well. Let's not live distracted.
I want to live intentionally and care about what really matters in life; loving people, loving God, giving and serving, and actively looking to do good. I want community and I want purpose. I don't want a life wrapped up in daily sales amounts, Facebook likes, and YouTube views. How empty and sad.
My word for 2015 is ENGAGED. I want to be fully engaded with my surroundings and live my life in the moment. I want to soak up my children, enjoy them, and disciple them while they are still little, and by my side. I want to be engaged in my marriage, ministry, and giving to others. Engaged with my business, but in balance--setting it in God's hands and leaving it there. I want to live fully awake. Fully, and dangerously awake.
And, lastly, I want to be much more engaged with writing and sharing my heart here. I want to speak from a well of honesty and transparency. The bible is a book of stories. What I have come to learn is that each and every one of our stories matters to God, and He wants to use them for His glory. We need to share. We need to connect.
I don't know about you, but I personally find so much comfort in hearing other people's struggles, because it makes me feel not so alone in my own weaknesses. Transparency is refreshing.
I am not perfect and I don't have it all together. But if God can make a message out of my mess, I will offer it up with humble hands.
Here's to living AWAKE.