I love getting feedback from happy customers. I've been shipping all over the place but I haven't slowed down to really pay attention. I had feedback from a customer today and realized that LCB Revival Tonic had made its way all the way to Arkansas! I shipped it but I guess it really didn't sink in, until today. I was so excited to see that this customer randomly saw my product and decided to try it and loved it!
It prompted me to start writing. I want to share a long story that was fueled by my devotions last night and this morning.
Hear Him Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left. (NLT) ( Isaiah 30:21 )
God does speak to us all if we just listen. Sometimes in a still, small, quiet voice and sometimes it is like he is screaming, but do you have the faith to listen or do you question his answers that you seek?
I for one far to often question him. I pray for direction and when I get an answer, I don't always have enough faith to do what he asks.
A year ago this week, I started Little Cotton Bend. I started this company in hopes of walking away from property management and spending more quality time with my family. Along with ridding my life of unnecessary stress and constant traveling.
As most of you know, In June of 2016 we had a house fire. I lost most of the business equipment and inventory to smoke and water damage. I had no insurance and I was at a turning point in my life. I had no choice but to go back to property management. This choice haunted me. Property Management provided me with a great salary and benefits, but it also came with great costs. It costs me relationships with family and friends. It stole my time from my children. It took my health and turned it upside down because of the traveling and stress.
I kept LCB going for a few months after going back. Then reality set in. How do I keep this up? I have to make a choice. My choice was to cancel all my subscriptions that I worked so hard for and to reduce my inventory and change the direction of my business. I kept just enough on my website to keep it going and I put my all into someone else's dreams. I worked long grueling hours helping a company build a strong foundation and I put everything I had into it. It was not mine but I have always worked as if it were my own because I feel like that's the only way to succeed.
Months later I found myself once again in a deep dark state of stress. My family life was non existent. My relationship was suffering. MY FAMILY needed me! I started praying very hard to hear God's voice. I asked him to lead me in the direction he wanted me to go. Instantly I heard, "take the chance, put your all into me and have faith"... but I didn't listen. I questioned God. How will I survive?? I have kids to support. I may work long hours but I make good money.
I kept praying! I begged God to scream at me! Show me the way! He did just that in so many ways, but still I wouldn't listen. I was AFRAID and I had little faith. Money was out weighing his still small voice.
Abundant Harvests You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. (NLT) (Psalm 4:7 )
Have you ever thought about having an abundance of money? We seem to think it solves all problems, but in reality it doesn't bring lasting joy. Your problems only change. It is possible to have a greater joy which leads to a changing of your mind. A relationship with God is a greater blessing than any amount of money.
Finally after endless talks pleading with God to show me the way. After hearing his voice loud and clear. I decided to take a leap of faith, but I still wouldn't leave property management. I had to see if I could make it. Boy did I make it! I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't keep up! My business was wide open but I still wouldn't walk away from the job that provided me security.
I kept praying the same prayers and getting the same answers. "Walk away from the stress and trust me" I didn't listen.
My life then took a turn for the worst. God changed MY plans. He took my relationship. The path, "MY path" I was on that seemed so promising was crumbling right in front of me. I was mad. I questioned him. How could you do this to me?? I work so hard!! I've done everything right!! Why God? Why? When will it be my turn?? I was ready to give up. My business wasn't doing well because I couldn't focus. My family life was upside down. I wanted to lie in self pity. I was done! Why would I pray if he didn't come through? Why have faith if he wouldn't support me??
I found myself begging God to show me what my purpose was! Demanding he give me explanations! Well he did just that. I clearly heard, "you don't listen, you have no faith, you are right where I want you to be"
This was not what I wanted to hear!! Right where he wanted me? In this storm? But I decided to do something different for a change. I decided to give up MY PLAN and let him have his way. I prayed differently this time. I prayed for God to show me the way. Lead me where you want me. Give me faith to trust that where I'm headed and where I end up is where you want me. I listened.
I walked away from property management. Like he told me too. The stress relief wasn't immediate but it was getting better. I started dealing with my problems instead of running from them and he restored relationships I thought were lost. I put my faith in him to lead me where I should be with my business and after countless dead ends, he led me to the perfect place to work from. A precious old home that I now have my workshop in, LCB Market and Design Studio.
My Life finally seems to be turning around now that I am listening to his word and following God's direction in my life and not my own. I will not deceive anyone and say that things are perfect, because they are not. I deal with that now by having FAITH and trusting that God has me right where he wants me.
No amount of money in this world can fix your problems. You would be amazed at how God provides when you trust in him. I do not make the salary I once did, but I have things now that money can't buy. Peace, a dysfunctional but healthy and most of time happy family, time, a restored relationship, and most of all a relationship with God like I've never dreamed possible. I have a long way to go, but I strive each day to make him a priority.
Is there something in your life that you have asked God for? Did you truly listen to his answers? Did you have FAITH in what he told you? Keep the faith and follow your dreams but always remember to pray for God's guidance and not your own. Let him work in your life. I can't wait to see where he is leading me!!
Just because you aren't where YOU think you are supposed to be, doesn't mean you aren't EXACTLY where God wants you!!