It all started with a simple enough prayer: “God, bring us to the place where you want us to be.”
This prayer began with our realization that we were in a church that was not a good fit for us. But leaving the church meant paying more for our son’s school, since he was attending the church’s Christian education program.
But we prayed despite our fears of finances, and the answer was to leave. So, after an amicable meeting with the pastor, we obeyed.
Then, after extensive remodeling on our 1898 Victorian house, we were stressed out and saw no end in sight. Miraculously, a home I had always admired came up for sale. My parents offered to help us.
We prayed, “Where do you want us, God?”
He said move, so we did. And we finished remodeling our old house, turning it into a vacation rental.
Then it was evident that our son, Sam, was not fitting into the school. He was like a square peg in a round hole. Day after day I would pick him up and I would hear one negative report after another. I realized that it wasn’t his behavior, but that traditional school methods were not working for him.
So we asked the prayer again, “Where do you want Sam, O God?” And the answer was to homeschool, which now that we were free from remodeling stress, we could do. Our new house was perfect for it.
Then the recession of 2008 hit. Our vacation rental business dried up. For over a year we paid two mortgages and suffered with overwhelming, mounting debt. My husband’s hours were cut back and there were times when his paychecks were delayed.
I asked, “Why, God?” I felt let down, because we obeyed Him every step of the way.
Then He answered. It was because if we had stayed in the old house, we would have lost everything and we would be stuck. It turned out that our son (as well as my husband) has Aspergers Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. Our neighbors, on either side of the old house, had already bullied us to a great degree. If we had stayed, they probably would have been calling Social Services.
God delivered us, like He delivered the Israelites from Egypt.
But our stress continued and our financial situation became hopeless. The rental property foreclosed. Instead of focusing on the bad news, I decided to write a Bible study on transforming stress into blessings.
That Bible study is what helped me cope. I published it online and then through the Bible study, I was led to the next step of my faith journey. And then I published it into a devotional that is now available on Amazon. I later published a companion journal to it. They are now both available on our Website.
I remember that Fourth of July very clearly. I decided that what I wanted was to declare my independence. Independence from the financial woes we were experiencing and instead, complete dependence on God.
So I made a plan. To become a wildly successful entrepreneur. It was the first time I acknowledged openly and with confidence that that’s what I wanted to be.
One day, I stepped onto the front porch and saw it’s rotting rails. I had to do something. Getting a job was not an option. As the only caretaker for my son, I knew that it would devastate him if I put him in public school. I knew that he would not survive. And besides, I had been out of the workforce a long time and hadn’t kept up with my career field. Who would hire me, a graphic designer, in these times of high unemployment?
So it was the fear of loss that compelled me to action.
I began learning everything I could about Internet marketing. It became my school. I created a program on branding that I felt could help a lot of people who also wanted to experience economic freedom.
Creating the program took a lot more work than I ever could imagine. Test and test again. Develop and develop. There was much to learn. But the hard part was getting the word out about it.
The hard part, I realized,was really that I was like Gideon. I was hiding. I was not confident. I did not believe in the path, the vision, God had given me. I was sabotaging myself.
Reading Gideon’s story that Fall had a profound affect on me. God called Gideon out. Gideon was just a wine presser. He was hiding from the oppression being experienced in that time. God commanded Gideon to be in charge of an army and then systematically siphoned the soldiers down to a mere 300.
I saw this as a prophetic word. God was going to take our money down to next to nothing.
Nothing changed for months. I would have little glimpses of hope, like podcast interviews and article opportunities and sales here and there, but I felt like the disciples after a futile night of fishing. I wanted to give up again and again but God wouldn’t let me.
Amazing things would happen along the way. I had a profound dream early on that inspired me, kept me going. Then I have had dreams since, God showing up and telling me He was going to take care of me.
(By the way, I made a free Blessings devotional plan. Download it below:)
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Because at the bottom of this struggle was a fear of abandonment. Fear that I didn’t matter. That I didn’t count. God confronted me. I realized that He cared more about what was going on in my heart than what was in my pocketbook. I knew that I needed to believe God for great things, to trust Him as my Father.
When I was confronted with this truth, I realized that I had to invest in myself. How could I ever expect others to invest in me if I didn’t invest in myself? How could I expect anyone to believe in me if I didn’t believe in myself?
God became more and more my CEO. I would say over and over to myself, “I am nothing and nobody without Jesus.” Or, “I can’t, but God can.”
Then I read Psalm 126, The Message version. Reading the Psalms has been my lifeline. I knew from my reading and prayer that I had to plant my crop, my seed, and trust God for the harvest. I prayed, “What is the crop?” and He showed me that it was my branding course and gave me 13 steps to follow so I could reap this harvest that God would initiate.
I need to get the seed out of the barn, which I am working on. God does the harvesting. It’s a learning process but will be well worth it!
And I keep stepping out in faith. Years ago, I completed an intense program called Digital Marketing Mastery. I received eight separate certificates and after my final project was completed, I became a Certified Digital Marketing Professional.
It’s like I am now in the middle of the Jordan River. He led me to get uncomfortable, to get my feet wet, to risk. I want to cross and take down my Jericho. For the walls, the walls of ineffectiveness and deafening silence, to come down.
My husband got his architectural license and I helped him start his own business. He is making more working part-time for one client than he did working full time for an employer. My husband’s business has expanded and he’s completely self-employed now.
I stepped out in faith. God gave my nephew and I a vision to start a homeschooling enrichment program and camp. It has been a great experience and though we’ve had setbacks due to COVID, we are excited to resume our business as ministry soon.
My journey isn’t over, I’m not to the wide open spaces yet, my Promised Land of freedom. He did, as I thought, take all of our reserve money away. We’ve had our ups and downs and there have been times where I have literally sowed my crop in despair (Psalm 126, The Message). This is what He told me would happen. But He also told me through my latest dreams that this is the beginning of the end of my trial. However with COVID came many more setbacks.
So we have our plan and we are moving ahead, one step at a time. While we are not where we want to be yet, God will take care of us and we will be a display of His glory.
And last week we had a continuation of the story. God provided a long standing dream over the last few years of purchasing a vintage camper. We were on one of our camping trips when we had a whole slew of car trouble, including the transmission going out on top of a big hill. There we were stranded, but God. First He sent a couple of cars from Texas who checked on us. One was a couple from Amarillo. They all suggested we not drive the car down the mountain. Thankfully we had cell phone coverage. I called our insurance and had the car towed. I called my Dad and he agreed to come get us and the camper.
So we sat outside in our camp chairs waiting. The “why me” questions were going through my mind. I felt like I didn’t matter to God. In fact, I really had felt that for weeks.
Then the couple from Amarillo came back to check on us. Was there anything we needed? They asked. Well, we actually had everything needed in the camper, so I said, we just need prayer! I started to explain how finances are tight… It was obvious they were Christians.
So to my surprise he gave me money! I wasn’t asking for that at all! I teared up because it was at that moment that I knew that God had NOT abandoned me. That He is on my side. He had not forgotten me!
So now we are home and we have heard the news from the mechanic—our car’s transmission is shot and because it’s an older car it’s not worth it to fix it. I don’t know how God will provide a new car and everything else we so desperately need.
This is all I know. I need to “get that seed out of the barn” and not only that, put it in the right soil and water and nurture it. I have to proceed with the callings He has given me.
Because we will have victory. We will have success. He will bring that harvest from the seed we produce.
This is our journey of faith.
Because here is our ultimate desire: that wherever we are, we shine for Him and bring others to His name.