I was reading some of the supportive comments to my blog yesterday, and the offer to pray for my business. I appreciate that help more than you might know. So, to help give a little better understanding of how I trust in that Power, I thought I would share a little more of my Faith-Growing story.
My hope for taking the time to write this morning, is that someone else will also be encouraged while they are waiting to be Miraculously Discovered. Which is a theme that is pretty consistent with many of our lumberjocks I’ve noticed over the months.
Blogging again will also keep me a little ahead of Ethan, ha (I’m tough to catch huh?).
I’ll keep it short, thanks to the Lord, I’ve got work to do….....(when is that word count competition coming Martin?)
Being told yesterday by a State College Professor, Attorney, and Small Business Counselor, that successful Artist-Run businesses that sell art all have one thing in common….they went from nothing to something in a big move after being “discovered” and that it was unpredictable, and inconsistent as to how this occurs for each artist.
This means that if it will happen for me, it will happen in an upredictable way. But, I need to make sure that I am doing the things that make being “discovered” occur. What “that” is, none of us know, but I will press ahead with my plans, trusting that the proper doors and stepping stones will open and fall in front of my steps.
This is not just sweet Christian-eese talk, it is how I think and work. But getting to this mindset hasn’t come quickly, or easily. This Faith Journey came with some Cold Sweat.If your read nothing else, here is the Summary:
- I have learned that getting food, and paying bills is all a matter of God’s provision.
- I also have learned not to presume upon the provision by borrowing money against the promised future provisions.
- We are all working in a “Mission” every day, some recognize it, others haven’t yet.
- I graduated from the big College in 1987 and starting working for the Man.
- I got married in 1992. Then I worked for the Woman and the Man both.
- I left my atheist days behind accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior in the summer of 1994.
- I started trying to get out of debt in 1995 and started tithing.
- Paid off everything but the house in 1996, and right after I quit my job to start my furniture building adventure and cashed out the 401(K), we paid off the house in 1997.
- We went into the “mission” years in the summer of 1998 to teach furniture building to inner city men with World Impact’s Morning Star Ranch (another story someday).
- Left the “mission” in 2001, started my furniture business up again while working a day job in the big City.
- Quit the day job 2 years ago this month.
And there, you have it.
Since, 1997 we have tried to live without borrowing against God’s promised future provisions. This has relieved a lot of stress on us as a family, but this does require me to wait more than I would like. The waiting works out things in my Character that need Healing and Work, so it is good for me in the end, although sometimes frustrating and painful at the time.
My non-Christian business buddies don’t understand how I think, and can’t understand why I won’t try to find an SBA backed loan and get after this business with some much needed Capital. I just don’t have peace unless I wait for the provision, and then I spend what’s left after the tithe.
The Cold Sweats:
This “Faith in the Provider” has been built with signficant “stone blocks” over time. Before the “mission years” I had the 1.5 years of self employed life as a furniture builder (story has been told in another blog). During the first 12 months of this self-employed life, I woke up in a Cold Sweat (literally) on Saturday night three different times. The reason for the sweats was justified, I didn’t have any paid work to start on Monday and weak Faith. I was nervous, and had reason to be in those years, and it affected my peace, and sleep time.
Part of the stress in my life was the realization that my wife was depending on God providing for us only through my work. She wanted to live out her own dreams and she needed to learn some lessons in her own “Let Go Trust God Journey.” God allowed her dream to be a stay-at-home wife and mom, and grew her faith in the process. She quit her job for the “Man” in the Fall of 1995.
My career life has done nothing but go down in income over the years, while my net worth has gone up. Go Figure!
Now, this all does not make a good Plan to sell on late night tv for people to follow and get rich with money. Sometimes the “wealth” is hard to count in our lives, eventhough the dollars bills don’t stack as high as they used to when I was a sales-engineer working for the Man and my wife worked as the Man’s Executive Secretary. But believe me, we are more “wealthy” in a lot of ways that are hard to count with accounting books.
Back to the Cold Sweats:
As it worked out, each time after one of those Cold Sweat Saturday nights, somebody at our church on Sunday morning would ask if I had time to work on something for them…...and so I would say, “hmmm, let me look at my schedule….ah, yes, yes I can be at your place Monday, how early can I show up?”
I think that God could have only put me through that one time had I been paying attention. But, for me, it took that lesson three times before I saw the connection, and then I was ready to have my Faith built in God’s promised provision.
One time before I received the “Third Saturday Night Cold Sweat Revelation,” I was sitting at the kitchen table looking out the window at the snow falling, and that gut churning burn and pain started again as I began to Worry. I did have a wood deck to build for somebody, but I don’t like working in the cold, so I was Sitting at the table. While sitting there, I started to get the Cold Sweats.
Note: in those days I didn’t “Act”, I just “Worried”. I have a condition that I term “Stress Induced Paralysis”. It means that when I get stressed out, about all I am good for is fitful sleeping, or complaining. God has been trying to draw this out of my Character, and He is getting it done. The Journey to do this Work in my life has been interesting for me. He is fixing me from the inside, while still continuing to feed my outsides, and if you have seen a photo of me, He’s doing it well.
The Harley Connection:
I had a 1984 Harley FLHT that I had restored and had been trying to sell for a couple of years without any “luck.” That day sitting at the table while watching the snow continue to fall, Cold Sweating, I said, “Lord, if you can hear me, I need the money from the motorcycle, I need your help, can you find a buyer for me?” I had already sold the 1974 Harley FLH, my 1972 Corvette, and my brand new GMC 4×4 as part of my debt-payoff plan, but I had been unable to sell this last Gem in my collection.
For some reason that motorcycle, the best of my collection of prized possessions just would not sell. Later that day, a guy called while I was still sitting in the same chair at the kitchen table trying to occupy my mind so that I wouldn’t worry, so I was sketching out furniture concept ideas in a sketch book.
When the phone rang, I didn’t even give a thought to it being an answer to my prayer that morning (sad huh?). The man on the phone said that he had clipped out of the newspaper an ad for a motorcycle that I had run about 9 months back, and he wanted to know if I still had the motorcycle (true story). A couple of days later, my wife and I stood side-by-side holding hands in our driveway with a wad of crisp $100 bills in my wife’s other hand as we watched that motorcycle disappear around the corner of our cul-de-sac on his trailer. My wife and I looked at each and wondered if he was a real person, or an Angel (a real angel).
You see, I learned that God had waited on me for all of those months until I was ready for the next lesson in my Character Growth, and then when the situation was primed, the motorcycle found it’s buyer, who was miraculously discovered.
So, when a guy like me feels that God has uniquely gifted him to do certain works in this world to glorify the Creator, and then sits down and writes a business plan because his buddies think it is neccesary, it just doesn’t seem to make much sense.
I understand it, and I already knew I was waiting for the miraculous “discovering”, and now my Professor-Counselor knows that also. His Faith journey might just include watching my Journey, and so I can’t hardly wait to be used in that way.
For those of you still reading:
What things are you waiting on?
What is God trying to work out in your Journey?
Somehow, your waiting and worrying might just all be tied together as it is in my life.
Now, get back to work!
In God’s speed (adapted from Frank)
(This writing is protected by copywrite 2-15-2007)
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com