Trice and I had an amazing vision retreat this year. We found this quaint little cabin in the middle of the woods. Literally. Like we had to park our car and drive a golf cart to get to the cabin. Imagine earthy green surroundings, the warm sun shining down, peace and quiet all around... and a crying baby. Haha yes. We brought the little chunk with us. She needs me, I can't get enough of her, so with us she came! Needless to say, our retreat wasn't as romantic or organized as previous retreats, but we enjoyed hanging with our peanut and really just dreaming together for our family.
In our dreaming phase, we actually felt the Lord telling us to let some dreams go.
In October of 2015, we launched a little fair trade boutique called The Bravery Boutique. It was such a step of faith, and God blessed it in that season. Shortly after the launch, we found out I was pregnant with #3. Around the same time, we decided to sell our house and move into a new one, and so everything with the Boutique just went on hold.
I was hoping that the Lord would just open the door for me to start working on the Boutique again after we got all settled, but for the last year, I have felt the Lord telling me to lay down the Boutique for good.
But being much like a child, I have refused to lay it down completely, grasping it with a tight fist, and saying, "No! This is mine mine mine. Don't take it from me." Kind of like that scene in The Polar Express where Billy is so scared to give his present to Santa, because he doesn't trust that he is going to get it back.
I have tried to force it to work. And unfortunately, in seasons where we have been busy with the Boutique, it has been at the expense of our marriage and our family.
I keep looking at what all of my friends are doing, and I see them launching businesses, writing books and starting ministries, all while lovingly parenting their multiple children. And so every time I start to draft this post, I think, "Surely this isn't God. Surely I can handle this. Surely I am just hearing wrong."
But no, I am not hearing wrong.
On our vision retreat, Trice didn't tell me I needed to die to the dream, but instead asked me to tuck it away until a time when the Lord is ready for us to do it with excellence. Until the time that it can be a blessing to the communities it serves, while simultaneously being a blessing to our own family. Trice asked me to let go, and just be.
I am sad, but confident, that the Lord is saying to let go for a season. I believe that he can do more in my decision to obey than I can do in disobedience. This doesn't mean it is easy. But I have finally come to the place where I say "Okay God. I trust you." I re-listened to Joanna Gaines's Magnolia testimony, and it was so refreshing to hear. To hear how God took a dream, allowed it to hide for a season, and then revealed it in even finer glory.
I don't know that the Lord will ever do anything with the Boutique again.
But here is what I do know.
I am tired. So tired. Tired of trying to make my life mean something. Tired of trying to save the world. Tired of a mile long to-do list that won't let my head rest against a pillow. Tired of not feeling like I have enough time to just be. To just linger in God's presence. To just be wooed and dated and loved by my husband. To play and get messy with my kids. What I have been living is not life. I don’t want to be in the rat race anymore.
In 2013, I received a prophetic word at Gateway that I am a human being, not a human doing. This has been something that has stayed at the back of my mind, but then Pastor Robert said the same exact phrase in a sermon this January. I cannot ignore it anymore. God wants me to just BE. To stop DOING. To stop Martha-ing and spend more time at the feet of Jesus.
We can so quickly treat life as a sprint, dreaming dreams and then immediately trying to force those dreams through. But life should be viewed more as a marathon. Taking each task in stride, pacing our selves, and calmly breathing as we run. Trained runners now how to control their breathing. And I have been out of breath.
I have actually told Trice the phrase again and again that I feel like I am drowning and I can’t get out of the water. Like I am reaching for the surface, and just can’t quite reach it. This is not healthy, my friends.
What good is it if I gain the whole world and yet have missed out on REAL life?
I want to be an excellent wife. I want to be a safe place for my husband. I want to be a precious ruby to him. I don’t want to be a dripping faucet. I want to see us dream dreams together, and I want to be there right beside him as we see those dreams come to fruition. I want to pursue him and date him and speak his love language. I want to study him and get to know him even more. I want to spend time praying for him and helping him. I want to say “yes” to playing Nerts and Yahtzee with him.
I want to be an excellent mother. I want to be a life-giving mom that has extra time on her hands. Extra time to kiss bo-bos. Extra time to build train tracks. Extra time to sleep with my baby at nap time. Extra time to learn how to do cute hair styles on my toddler girl. Extra time to read books with my oldest. I want “yes” to be in my vocabulary a lot more than “wait” or “not right now” or “hang on a second.” Yes, I understand that I am not my kids’ playmate, but I say “no” way too much. These moments are fleeting. These kids are growing inches overnight. Their passions and interests are changing each day. And I don’t want to miss a beat. I no longer want to be zombie mom who is constantly in another place mentally, distant and distracted.
I want to be an amazing friend and family member. I want to remember birthdays and send cards in the mail and take friends out to dinner. I want to host life groups and game nights and celebrate life with people.
I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. I want people to see God in the way I love others. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” At the end of my life, I want people to be able to say that they saw a tangible expression of God’s love when they hung out with me.
Trice and I have loved being a part of Sak Saum for the last 8 years. We love what God is doing through them in Cambodia. They will always have our prayers and support. We believe in their message of equipping and empowering the disadvantaged. Of bringing hope to the hopeless. Of restoring what was considered to be trash and making it into something that is treasured. Of empowering the consumer to use their purchasing power for GOOD instead of contributing to the cycle of trafficking and poverty. Thank you so much for standing beside us and believing in us with the Boutique. We will continue loving these ministries, supporting them and praying for them. But in this season, I want to be excellent at ALL things I put my hand to. And I can't be excellent to the boutique right now. And this calling to follow the Lord, serve my family and celebrate life... this calling is ENOUGH. This isn’t even really me saying goodbye to a dream. This is me saying hello to living life fully right where I am. To being present for my family. Instead of dreaming wild dreams, I'm going to live out the current dream that I am smack in the middle of. The amazing dream of raising fine young men and women who have a positive impact on society. Of having a strong, healthy marriage that is thriving when 50% of marriages are failing. Of not dreaming of vacations because I am so satisfied with my current life that I don't feel like I need to escape it. Of having a home that is warm and inviting, that welcomes the weary traveler, or provides a place of fellowship for other families to grow and do life together. This is about thriving right where I'm at.
Is the Lord asking you to let go of something today? Don't allow the fear to consume you that if you quit, you won't amount to anything. Or that someone else will take it from you. God can do so much more with your obedience than you can do on your own without Him. Let it go. And don't pick up something else in its place. Just let it go. God knows what He's doing :)
From now until the end of February, all current boutique inventory will be on clearance. Use code SHOPFORGOOD at www.thebraveryboutique.com to get 40% off all orders. I will also be hosting a flash sale on Facebook in time for Easter. As always, text or email me if you want specific pictures or if you want to request a product. Come March 1st, the Shopify website will no longer be available.