Sometimes when you really, earnestly pray about something – you aren’t sure if you’re ready to hear the answer. Ever been there? You wish and hope and dream about opportunities in life and pray that God will hear you and open a door – and then He does – what do you do then? Well it seems that God has our family on a major journey this year. 4 years ago this July, we made the huge cross-country move from Chicago to Texas. It has been the most challenging piece of our marriage and family life so far. The first four years of our marriage were very safe. We had our charming apartment in the city, one precious baby, an amazing church and the best group of friends we could ever ask for. They were our family, for our family was far away. Charlie was raised with and by those other mamas, and those years still remain some of my very favorites. But in a way, I feel like we were asleep. Life was relatively easy and we had figured out how to “do life” in the city well. Of course there were bad days but honestly, our existence was pretty charmed. We lived in a before-its-time extremely family-friendly German neighborhood called Lincoln Square, a few blocks from the most delightful bakery that served hot blueberry danishes on Saturdays. (I’m surprised Charlie isn’t made of blueberries, as I practically existed on those the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy with her!) Life was good.
Fast forward to the fall of 2009, and our spicy Ella was born three weeks early and as is her usual, in very dramatic form. That winter was the hardest winter I have ever experienced. I had a horrible case of post-partum and as each day grew shorter and the temperatures dropped I became more and more hopeless. There was darkness in our married life for the first time. In the midst of the transition from one child to two (which for me, was still harder than two to three) my despair grew and I missed my family desperately. I wanted to be a short drive from my Mom, I wanted to have the option of seeing her, my Dad and my siblings more than just once or twice a year. A door opened for Vann in Dallas and we whole-heartedly went for it. Somehow, I survived that winter and we emerged that spring in full moving mode and then all of a sudden it was time to leave. This city that I had fallen in love with would now be a vacation destination instead of a home. 10 years of friendships, 10 years of history.
It took a long time for me to feel that community here in Texas. For the first year of our lives here I mourned leaving all of my friends behind. We finally got what we wanted and I was still unhappy and lonely a lot of the time. It wasn’t until I joined my local MOPS group and we started investing in friendships at our church that I started to feel more at home. But the Devil was always at work, because here in the Dallas suburbs it is so much about what you own, how big your house is and how beautifully decorated it is, what your husband does for a living, what activities your children are involved in and sometimes most importantly, what brand of workout clothes do you buy and what kind of bag do you carry? And listen, I am the worst offender. My flesh is weak. I love stuff just as much as the next person. I am easily distracted by “new” and “shiny” and God has slowly revealed to me over the last 4 years that this epidemic of “stuff” has become my idol. It has become more important to me than anything else. Needless to say, buying a house, buying a second car, buying furniture to fill that house, buying all the things you need to set up a new life adds up. We began praying for some kind of supplemental income to help with those things – but for a long time nothing seemed like the right fit. Then we got pregnant for the final time and a job for me just wasn’t an option. How in the world was I going to make something work with three kids under the age of 6? And really, what in the heck was this former actress and wannabe writer going to do to make any income?
Above all else, our family life was suffering under the weight of financial stress. Because even though my husband makes an amazing living and we are so blessed by his hard work, there just wasn’t a lot extra for other things. What if this is the year that our 12 year old air conditioners die on us and we have to replace them? What if the car we bought from my grandfather that Vann so graciously drives to work breathes its final breath? What then? What do we do about those things in life that just happen? But the Lord was always at work, because He always knows the best plan for us. Deuteronomy 31:8 says: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
On Good Friday evening this last April, we took our kids over to our dear friend’s house to hang out and spend time together as families. It was such a good night – proof positive that the Lord does provide these friendships exactly when we need them. I noticed that my girlfriend’s skin was glowing and of course I asked her what she was doing differently. She went on to tell me she was using Rodan + Fields products, which I had heard of before but really knew nothing about – and as it turned out she had been selling for them as well the last year. In my newborn baby fog of course that slipped past me – but as she talked more about the company and what a blessing it had been for their family – I felt this stirring in my heart. Vann and I went home with a fun sample, tried it that evening and loved it. I went to sleep that night wondering – Ok, God – what are you trying to tell me? After 6 months of nursing and sleep training and juggling three kids my tank was on empty. I brushed off that stirring and moved on with my week.
One of the amazing things about God is that He is persistent, in only the gentle way that He can be. As a former Oprah fanatic, I always remember this quote: “Whispers are always messages, and if you don’t hear the messages, the message turns into a problem. And if you don’t handle the problem, the problem turns into a crisis. And if you don’t handle the crisis, disaster. Your life is speaking to you. What is it saying?” That next week, as I prayed about this opportunity, it seemed everywhere I looked God was speaking to me. Only recently having picked back up the discipline of a quiet time and active prayer, after a looooong hiatus, EVERY SINGLE TIME I picked up the Bible or read a devotional from Jesus Calling – it was crystal clear. Each morning the message went back to trusting in the midst of fear. So as the stirring in my heart grew louder, I started doing some digging on my own and researching R + F and the women who were finding success with it. And at each little google search or each little review of the amazing products my heart started jumping at the possibility. These women are girls just like me. Mothers, teachers, professionals – working in and outside of the home while caring for their families – and making substantial income all in part-time hours. And as I began to really dream about what that could mean for our family, and for others – I knew I needed to start listening. Because if there is one thing I know, God doesn’t want us running this hamster wheel of turmoil. John 10:10 says, “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Abundantly! The desires of God’s heart do not include things like debt and financial strife! For too long I have lived with this kernel of discontent, of entitlement, this feeling that I deserved these nice things just because they existed and I could have them. But as is always the case with this fallen world, seeking ANYTHING besides Jesus to fill that hole in your heart will only leave you wanting more. It will never be enough. Do you hear that? Because it’s not about trips and home improvements – and even bags and shoes – because all of those things are great and wonderful and to be enjoyed. It’s about living in financial freedom, having a safe place to fall when life can and will change on a dime. It’s about being able to give generously, make bigger plans for how you can support and pour into God’s Kingdom. These are the things that I truly believe God has for us.
That following weekend, after prayer and counsel and more affirmations, my precious husband turned to me in bed and said, without skipping a beat, “I think you need to do this. I know you struggle with faith, and I’m telling you that I don’t and you need to do this.” I looked at him with tears in my eyes – because what if I fail? What if, what if, what if? Jeremiah 29:11 went ringing through my head, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Yes, Lord – a hope and a future. A way of earning money that not only brings our family security, but could bless the lives of others as well. So I jumped in, and as of today I have been “working” for Rodan + Fields Dermatologists for a month. And can I say, it has blessed me in ways that I never imagined. God is doing a great work in my heart and the heart of my family. He is showing me that He knows what’s best – with every little affirmation and encouragement I can see what’s possible in this business and I am so excited. If you have the slightest inkling of a whisper in your heart about what this kind of income could do for your family, I would LOVE to share more about this amazing company. And if you are interested in the award-winning products I am so thrilled to represent, make sure you loop back with me to get 10% off and free shipping! Isaiah 46: 3-4 says “Listen to me…I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”