I have heard it said the end of a journey cannot be the goal. The saying seemed logical but, I didn’t understand it in its practical application. Knowing a fact is different than first-hand experience understanding the mental, emotional, and spiritual toll a goal will take. Even our family and friends thought the path we stumbled through was a little ridiculous. Many wanted to rescue us from it but, they could not. It was our journey to walk.
In the last two years, I have had three huge goals. To get Mark back to working full time (Lyme disease has taken over his body), purchase our house, and go back to being a full-time, homeschooling mom. Which, in and of themselves, were
Similar to when John Wayne yelled, “circle the wagons” in his famous old west movies, so our family and friends encircled our family. They fed/texted me scriptures. They knew I was exhausted, angry, bitter, and I was tempted to change my name to Mara as Naomi did f
All I could see was my life falling apart before my eyes. I could not heal Mark’s body in and of myself. I was not very successful at balancing being a full-time working, homeschool mom. I was still trying to function in our home as if I was a stay-at-home mom. This expectation for myself is crazy. I had to have a realistic conversation with myself because the more I saw myself fail, the more I withdrew from myself and those around me. My life was broken beyond what I thought could bear. Everything was out of control. Many times physical death was a welcome thought because it would end my earthly turmoil. The only thing I could do was continue to take one baby step at a time.
Oh, it was painful. I wanted so badly to find a willow tree branch and pull myself and my family up and out of the pit we found ourselves. The harder I tried, the further back it seemed we fell. When we didn’t think we could sink any lower, sure enough, there was indeed another layer we could dropdown. Our friends and family would watch in horror as we took one blow after another.
Two scriptures inspired me to keep taking one small step at a time. The first was the scene with the three Israelites and King Nebuchadnezzar. He threatened to throw them in the fiery furnace if they did not bow down to him. The three men said, “Our God will save us, but even if he does not. We will say blessed be the name of the Lord.” The second verse is “I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of God.”
It was literally soul painful to be around my friends and family when they were so happy. It was painful to watch their dreams take flight when I sat in my ashes. On top of it I often felt forgotten, but I figured it was part of being a working full-time mom.
Thankfully while in despair I had not lost all hope. I was desperate to seek the direction God wanted us to go. So I continued to reach out to those around us. Not taking closed doors or windows as the final word. I would beat them, break them open, and squeeze my way into them. The saying is when a door closes walk away. Yay, um, I’m sure that applies somewhere and has perfect timing. I just wasn’t going to settle until I had burned the whole place down if need be. If I needed to rebuild that was fine, but I was going to accomplish my goals. God in his faithfulness and my tenacity threw lifelines out to our family, friends, and co-workers. My family stepped up to love on my kids while I was at work. Our friends checked in with us to continue to invite us over for meals, they sent us gift cards, and told us they loved us, wanted to be our friends, and to remember God did indeed see us. We were not forgotten.
He used like-minded business professionals to mentor us and help us take our dreams and visions to make them a reality. Not only did this breathe life into confident knowledge in the direction we wanted to take our business, it also brought life to our personal life, too.
One of the business professionals he brought into our
I stepped into the business world because I had to. It was not something I went into happily. I sobbed my eyes out for months because it was not where I wanted to be. I stomped my size 7 shoe. My language has grown colorful throughout the last couple of years. I am no longer the life virgin I had been. God ripped those sunglasses right off my face and gave me a crash course in “here is what the world really looks and feels like”. Oh, I felt sucker punched.
When I was done pouting and crying I was ready to wash my face and do what needed to be done. There was no more sense in making myself and everyone around me miserable.
Through Julie’s mentoring I became well aware of what I embrace in myself, my business, and my relationships. It also became apparent what I would absolutely not tolerate. These new boundaries were new to me and to those around me. It took time for me to stick to them and for those around me to figure out if the “new” me was worth sticking around.
Every time I took a step further into the business world I would freak out. So many times I just about launched, and yet, I held back. While it was fun, it seemed as if it was only a distraction from my real goal. Each step towards the business world took me several steps away from my core goals.
Along the journey, I would stop, sit down, and cry. I was lost. When my dad taught me to drive he always said, “go the direction you want to go and you’ll eventually get there.” When I sat down and cried it was because I couldn’t even see the damn road. In the middle of awesomeness happening. When my “career” was taking off, I was still lost.
Yet, in the moments I felt lost. God in his faithfulness would remind me, I was not lost. He could see me and would guide me. He would, however, sometimes wait until I had cried uncle and admitted that I did indeed need him. Once I got tired of attempting life on my own I would sit down with myself and reevaluate my life map. I would look at my goals and then look at my current steps to determine if the path I had taken was in the direction I needed to go. If not, then I was ready to cut any tie that was in my way to get there.
Unfortunately, some of the strings I cut while, freeing, and lifting weights off of my shoulder, often left a hole where a business friendship had formed. Business is never just business to me. It is a human being God created with gifts and talents. I hate thinking I let someone down, didn’t do my best, or didn’t hold up my end of the bargain.
Some say “it’s business, it’s not personal”. It will always be personal for me. I take wasting someone’s time, energy, and money very seriously. If we don’t both come out winners on the other side. It churns me up something fierce.
Chalk it up to lessons learned? You bet, but, I still feel the sting.
I look at all of the things I did in the last two years and it’s crazy! I started a social media breakfast for businesses in my community to have free training to help market their businesses. I successfully ran a social media marketing business. I continued to homeschool my kids and I worked first part-time, then full-time at the hotel. No wonder my body is hyperventilated! Phew!
I am excited to tell you I have accomplished 3/4th of my goal. First, Mark is working full-time for Ken Hood Services. He is able to work at home which allows his body to continue healing. It also allows us to continue with our goal of homeschooling. Second, On Friday, January 25th we closed on our house. We are now officially owners of a furnace, water heater, and everything scary that goes along with homeownership. Third, I have successfully gone down to working four days a week rather than five. I do not think I will ever stop working completely. I love the business world. I love championing those around me. I have a passion, especially for families who start businesses together. It’s truly thrilling!
Some would say I have finished my goals. While they don’t look exactly like I had hoped and dreamed, life rarely happens this way. Early on in our mentoring with Julie Wright she had us write out our purpose. Mine was to love, honor, and glorify God, Mark’s was something similar. The beauty of this purpose is that it requires nothing of me. I cannot earn it. I cannot be good enough or love deep enough. I have only to accept Jesus’ love for me. To accept him as my Lord and savior of my life. So, even literal death is not death at all. I wake up and accomplish my purpose. I glorify God by simply being his creation. My purpose would be the starting reason and my ending reason for my goals.
As my favorite book, ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’ would say I have developed hinds feet. I can truly do all things through Christ who gives me strength. The high places are no longer places I mentally, emotionally or spiritually stumble across. I may not want to go to some of the high places, that does not mean I cannot do them. It means I need to go through the tears and anger to get to a place I am ready to wash my face, take a deep breath, and keep going. One baby step at a time if needed.
I am not who I was when I started this journey. Much to Mark’s chagrin, I curse too much, my mouth is more blunt and straight to the point, it has also made me shake off Christianese (I’d be happy to sit down with you to discuss Christianese) . The compassion I have now is so much deeper than my prior conceded, one-way Christian mind had begun with. It is my goal as we rise to a new place, that we would grasp a hand below us and pull them up along with us.
We were never alone in our fiery furnace. I know confidently that in hard times we will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”