I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I sat across the table from the hiring manager of what seemed like the perfect opportunity. It seemed as though God had been providing opportunity after opportunity to reflect His glory through art. A talent I had chosen to lay down five years prior, for the sake of my family.
Earlier in the year I was compelled to respond to a newspaper article in my community, related to highlighting the arts. The response inspired an in-person conversation with key folks in our community, which led to sharing my story as an artist over the past twenty years. The conversation inspired the request for me to share art for a first ever Chamber of Commerce exhibition in my community.
Initially, it didn’t seem to fit, but then it did. Time was arranged enough to allow the creation of several new pieces, while also tending the souls in my home, working, creating new devotional content, and continuing to support and encourage others. When opening exhibition day arrived, I was elated at the pieces God had inspired me to create: Jesus as the center piece, my daughters and marriage secondary and tertiary, my community fourth. The exhibit, along with pieces from twenty years before and in between, captured the evolution, or transformation of my heart and perspective over the years.
From this newly inspired art collection, followed the selection of one piece. The piece was chosen for the cover of a women’s magazine in a surrounding area. Again, I was elated at the opportunity to share my love for God and the fact that all my inspiration comes from Him! The passion spark for art that was flamed from both these events inspired the creation of this website, with a thought I might be one day providing creative services for others, in a new capacity. The intent of the site was to showcase creative capability and function as a portfolio of sorts.
And then some interesting events took shape…
On October 18th 2017, God shared the Rise Up Commitment idea with me (in my mind somewhat flippantly so), and I shared the same day (which I rarely ever do) with a gal I love very much. She pretty much said, “DO IT!”
October 20th 2017, Glo Magazine released the November copy featuring the chosen piece to newsstands. My heart was happy!
October 25th 2017 (seven days after the Lord planted the Rise Up Commitment seed), I discovered a job opportunity as a Graphic Designer. Following the inquiry and discussion with the hiring manager, an initial interview was set up.
October 26th 2017, I emailed about a space to host the Rise Up Commitment. I sensed God needed this commitment to be VERY different from challenges past. A very distinct curriculum was formulating, details of the flow and location. All coming together in a clear vision, but I needed to know it was from Him, rather than my over creative mind.
November 1st 2017, I had an interview with the hiring manager. He had sent me the details of the position and the expectations. Was it God’s hand? Everything I had taken upon myself to learn throughout the development and creation of this new ministry, was exactly what he was looking for. Had God been preparing me for THIS?
The punch came just as swift as the opportunity and interview had. My stomach felt hot, my heart began to race, I felt a bit woozy and my entire demeanor morphed three quarters of the way through the initial interview, from poised and confident, to not so much. I could tell the hiring manager picked up on the shift as well. In an instant, I realized that if I took on this position (which was seemingly a guarantee based on the way the conversation had gone to this point) all other areas, including my home, family and the ministry God had entrusted me with, may fall to the way side or I would burn out trying to make everything "work".
You see, I have a tendency to operate with tunnel vision when learning something new and trying to do my very best. I knew God didn’t want me operating in a tunnel for someone else’s vision with a talent I held dear to my heart. I knew He was calling me to operate out and about with the spiritual gifts He had been making known and blessing me with.
I left the meeting knowing THIS was not what God was preparing me for. The next day, the entire curriculum for the Rise Up Commitment was formulated and captured via Word. The space I had inquired about, was also approved for use throughout the ten week program (I'm told this is somewhat rare). God was confirming. Five days passed. I prayed. I spoke with my husband. On the fourth day I shared with my husband I believed if I pursued the opportunity, I knew it would only be self-serving. Yes, it was perfect for me. Yes, it would help me feel like my talent was being put to use. Yes, I might get a new office. Yes, I might get a new salary. Do you see the theme there? Me – I – myself. I knew it would fulfill a hope I had, but it would essentially cause me to lose or diminish focus on others and ultimately God’s heart.
I had been given a mission right here in my community. This new role, I believed, would not help but hinder this mission. All this I shared with the hiring manager who called me the fifth day to gauge where I was regarding the position and next steps. He had in fact noticed the shift in my body language. He also arrived at the same conclusion, but for different reasons, once I shared my heart. This opportunity was not for me, and it was confirmed.
And I have to say, praise God! He in fact provided everything needed, regardless of my concerns and insecurities regarding capabilities, for the Rise Up Commitment. He added sustenance and cohesiveness to the curriculum. He provided me with the ability to create everything needed before and during the commitment, when the support I once had was no longer there. He showed up week after week in the space He laid on my heart to pursue - for every gal participating. He transformed hearts and minds in a very short period of time, and created a Sisterhood. He brought clarity and certainty to my mind as a result of my participation in the commitment, as to what my spiritual gifts are, and how to serve others with them. He provided vision as to what is next. He continues to move.
Be encouraged today, wherever you are, to always seek God when standing at a crossroads. Seek HIM FIRST and all will be added to you. You may be a fairly new wife wondering how on earth you can nurture a marriage, when you might feel your needs/wants aren’t being met. Seek God. You may be a stay at home mom questioning how on earth you are going to love the children God has blessed you with, while also maintaining your personal identity and sanity. Seek God in the little moments and downtime. You may be a successful female professional or working mother wondering how you are going to do everything you are called to do or even how to figure out your calling, when there is never enough time for you. Seek God in the day to day tasks of life and consider praying for a way to rearrange the day for more deliberate time with Him. You may be a mamma whose not-so-little birds have left the nest way sooner than you ever thought possible, leaving you feeling a sorrow and sadness for days gone, but also yearning for a stirring in the heart to serve God in a new way. Seek God.
He will provide the vision for what is next. He will equip, empower and enable the vision to become reality in His time and way. He will provide support through others. He will, if we are willing to seek Him first and press in. Be encouraged to do both.
In Christ WE Rise,