My husband and I had given up the "American Dream" of home ownership in pursuit of God's will: greater margin, better financial stewardship, and a future worth looking forward to; but it was so hard to do! Approaching my 40th Birthday while selling or giving away almost everything I owned and moving into an apartment felt like such a HUGE (and embarrassing) step backwards.
During that same season, I heard the hard news that my book sales just weren't what any of us had anticipated they would be. Although my latest book has been featured in well-read magazines, received very positive feedback from readers and reviewers alike, the truth is that it just didn't sell well enough to move forward with my publishing house on another book title.
So, not only was my personal world all shook up, so, too, was my career.
By the way, I can't count how many times I've been advised by "marketing" and "PR" gurus to only appear "together," "strong," "successful," etc. I've been told, "Women want to see someone they can try to be like, so you have to at least appear to be 'that' kind of woman or they won't want to follow you."
Sorry to disappoint anyone, but that just isn't the case. (And those who "appear" to fit that bill, don't. No one does.)
With all of this as my reality, I felt like I was in a snow globe with pieces of my life scattered all over the place. I felt alone inside of that place and wanted so badly to be able to sit still and regain my balance- imagining that 2014 might include some opportunities for that. When it seemed like that was about to happen, the snow globe got "all shook up" all over again.
My husband resigned in April of this year from his position of 15 years (and the only job he has had since we met one another and married). While we know that this was absolutely God's timing and had the full support of those who know and love us best (including the staff of the organization he co-founded), we had NO idea what God had for us around the bend.
- Would we remain in the field we have been in for so long?
- Did God want us to move forward in full-time ministry?
- Had God ended that season of our lives to take us into something completely different?
Without going into all the details (and taking up your whole day), I want to share just a few things that have helped Stephen and me remain steady while waiting for the scattered pieces to fall into place. (Truth be told, we're still in the season of waiting and watching.)
- We are rich with friendships and are grateful to have had some meaningful times of conversation and prayer with older, wiser, more mature men and women who have helped us both navigate the unknown steps of this current season.
- We have been honest with God, ourselves, and safe friends about the struggles to trust God and take steps forward when walking by faith and not by sight. Allowing ourselves the freedom of sharing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, has given others the freedom to know how to pray for us and how to encourage us in the midst of this challenging season.
- We have guarded ourselves from "unsafe" people by choosing to not overshare with those who don't have the skill set to be of any help anyway. Remember: just because someone is "saved," it doesn't mean that they are "safe." Scripture teaches us to be "cautious in friendship" (see Proverbs 12:26) for very good reason!
Seasons don't last forever. What you gain in an All Shook Up season will be treasured by you and by others who will benefit from your wisdom, compassion, grace and experience when their lives get All Shook Up!
Join me and Church 4 Chicks along with best-selling author and life coach, Valorie Burton; Rise and Stein Morning Show Hosts, David and Leanna Stein; Stephen Hendrix (my better half by far!); and more at this year's AWAKEN 1-Day Conference. Tickets are available at www.church4chicks.ticketbud.com through OCTOBER 31 only!! Don't delay! Bring a friend!