Last evening, I was talking to my middle daughter Laryssa who is in Texas for the summer and she informed me that I haven’t written on my blog for awhile. Wow, someone actually noticed – thanks Laryssa! It is not that I haven’t tried to write … last night and several nights before I was writing some blog thoughts and both times, my broadband service went down. I played a couple of games of free cell and solitaire hoping the service would come back – but finally I gave up and went to bed. So now, all appears to be okay and I am ready to write!!
Last weekend, I cleaned out what is technically called my office (although now I only use it to store stuff, instead of a work space) to make room for an Ikea couch that was brought home from college. This room has been the place where I have stored all my scrapbooking products and business items since I started in the industry in 1997. I had years of magazines, books, business cards and files that I discarded. It was an interesting walk through 11+ years of my life – a part that God has now closed.
The first time I was presented with the scrapbooking concept in the 1990’s, I knew that God was calling me to be a major part of this industry. God opened many doors for me to rise to a position of leadership in the industry – there were TV appearances, articles to write, classes to teach and trends to watch. It was very exciting and wonderful for my personality that longs to be recognized. Then the call to encourage others to remember God’s faithfulness through Reminders of Faith came and once again the doors flew open and there was more recognition and fulfilment! God was at work in what seemed a mighty way – books were written and talks were given and an amazing team of God’s people came together to do His work. And this weekend, I sorted through all those memories as I cleaned and threw away – and I wondered what God’s plan is for my future.
Recently, I have had the privilege to spend time with 2 very precious friends, one from college and the other my mentor when I was a young mother (now she is a great friend). They allowed me to talk about the losses that I have experienced lately, to shed a few tears and express my sadness. They both reminded me that I am still in the middle of the fire — that I have not emerged yet and that it is okay to grieve the loss of my calling, our finances and the ability to use my gifts in a business that God had given and now taken.
As I have walked through this past year of loss, I have claimed that I hope I can be like Shadrach. Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3:16-30. When they refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gods and were threaten to be thrown into the fiery furnace – they stated that their God could save them from the furnace, but no matter if their God saved them or not, they would still serve Him (this is my version). Then of course, they were thrown into the the furnace heated 7 times hotter than usual because they would only worship the one true God. The soldiers who threw them in the furnace died just from the heat – yet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived and were joined by a 4th being (thought to be either Christ or an angel). Amazing enough, when they emerged from the furnace – they were not burnt and did not have a single hair singed, robe scorched or did not even smell of fire!
As I shared this scripture with my friends, I told them that I felt that I reeked of smoke right now – that the heat of the fire still pours off of me. And they both reminded me that I am still in the fire right now walking with my Christ. Someday, I hopefully will no longer smell of smoke – but right now the heat continues as God refines my calling for Him only.
So, as I packed up the past – I grieved. I recognized it for what it was – an amazing time of God’s calling on my life and a wonderful opportunity to do things God uniquely created me to do. I am thankful that God used me in His Kingdom work. And now, I will try to wait for new doors and opportunities to open in new ways to encourage others to recognize and remember the mighty works of God’s faithfulness.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”…