As I sit here writing this post, the first "real" post on this brand new website, I'm not really sure yet what the end of it will look like. Complete 100% truth. I am about to start out with something completely new, something I've barely touched upon in posts in the past, but today is different. It is a quiet Sunday afternoon, my kids are napping, and there is nothing but the sound of the washer and dryer running in the background. This is my favorite time of the week, time that I've always spent in the past planning for the week ahead. But - I have felt pulled and pulled and pulled to write this post, and so today, I'm finally saying okay. Okay. OK. I can walk this path. I can do this new thing.
Because You make me brave.
And I'll warn you now, this is going to be a long post.
I have been a wedding planner for the last six years. Last fall, my husband and I decided that my last year planning weddings would be this year, because of many reasons, but most importantly, when I started planning, we were newly married - my idea to start this business actually started when we were on our flight for our honeymoon (yes, true story.). And now? Life is really different, especially now that we have three kids. I am not the person I was six years ago, and think that the person I am turning into is even better than who I was when I started this business, even though it is someone completely different than I ever thought I would be. I have also always felt that this wasn't something I would do for the rest of my life. As much as I have truly enjoyed working with every bride and groom I've had, I couldn't see myself in my 40s or even my 50s planning weddings - I have always felt that there was something else out there for me, still in the world of weddings and couples and people where I owned my own business, but not quite the planning aspect of it. I just wasn't sure what that was.
In the last few years, I've started designing wedding invitations, and it has been something I have grown to love, where I feel I can use the gifts that God has given me to give happiness to others on one of the happiest days of their lives in a way other than planning weddings. I love to design wedding invitations, which symbolizes the joining of two lives as one - that one piece of paper, every time my couples see it with their names, their wedding date, and the official time they'll be walking down the aisle towards their forever with each other, is something I am so blessed to be a part of. But a few months ago, in October, to be exact, I completed a suite design, happily emailed the proofs to a bride, and suddenly heard these words, more clearly than I've ever heard anything in my life:
I made you for something more.
I sat there, quiet for a few moments, when I heard it again. I made you for something more. And I suddenly had the feeling that this path that I thought I was meant to walk would of course not be the straight and narrow path that I thought I would be walking ... but then, with God, when is the path ever straight? It is filled with twists and turns, change and enlightenment. The last few months, I have prayed and prayed, asking for a sign as to what it is that He wanted me to do. You see, because of my six years as a planner, and my seven years of teaching elementary school before that, I don't like to fly by the seat of my pants. I like everything planned to a T. I don't like surprises, I don't like stepping out into the unknown. I like being comfortable. Comfortable with knowing what tomorrow will bring. And suddenly, I felt like everything I knew was about to be turned upside down, and suddenly it both is and isn't, which is why I'm sharing this with you today.
I have been a Christian my entire life. I was raised in a Lutheran church, was active in my church youth group, went on mission trips, but honestly was more involved because of the social aspect from it. Some of my best friends went to my church, some of my favorite memories from growing up were with them. But I never really felt a strong relationship with God. Yes, I knew what others said of him and I knew what you should do, who you should try to be as a Christian. But me personally? I couldn't tell you if I ever opened a bible outside of my church walls. I called myself a Christian, but didn't know what it meant on my own to try to be Christ-like, even though I went to an amazing church with amazing pastors and an amazing program. I just didn't want to open myself up to the unknown, or having what I now would call a relationship with Christ.
I am telling you this now because a lot of time has passed since my days growing up, and there was about a decade where I didn't go to church, I didn't read the bible, and I thought I was doing okay. I got married to my now husband, and then we had a beautiful little girl. And suddenly, I wanted to be back in church and I suddenly wanted that relationship I had pushed aside for all those years. I wanted to raise a little girl who knew about God, who knew the bible, who I could pray at her bedside with at night. So we started going back to church, a small one that I have since grown to love. But even though we went, I still didn't know what to think of it all again. I heard myself praying with my daughter at night, reading her bible stories and wanting to learn more, but didn't know how to go about learning more about it myself as an adult.
Then, in the fall of 2013, a very dear friend of mine mentioned the Pursuit Conference in a casual conversation after I told her that I wanted to grow in my faith. I went on the website, saw something that I wanted to be a part of - there was something that pulled me there, something that made me think, "I need to be here. There's something there, waiting there, just for me." Little did I know what God really had planned. I made it to that conference in the fall of 2013, and we had just learned before my trip that I was expecting our second child. Going, I didn't know a single person. It forced me to open up to women I didn't know, to pray more and rejoice more and question more and read more than I could remember doing for years prior. God worked on my heart in more ways than I could ever comprehend or fully share here. And then I came home, and the day after we got home, we had a doctors appointment where I learned that I had suffered a miscarriage, and lost our second baby. It may have happened the week I was at the conference, it may have happened before then, but I'll never know. To read that entire story, please see this post.
I share that with you because my relationship with God changed completely after that time in my life. I have now grown into someone who can confidently say I fully trust in the Lord and what He has planned. I rely on Him fully to get me through the days of the unknown, to become a better person because of Him. To be a reflection of Christ, to serve others in a way that He would love them. I am now someone who reads her bible daily and craves that time to read and learn more about Jesus and the stories that fill the pages of the bible. But - I don't know it all yet. Not even close. I am learning about the chapters, the words, the verses that are written in the bible, and how God uses people to do His work. And so, within the pages of this blog, that is something that I want to bring more of to it.
This is where my business gets brave, because instead of solely being a wedding business, or faith-based business, it will be two parts as one - grace will encompass the learning of the bible and encouragement I feel He compels me to write to others through the Note of Grace, and serendipity will be where I continue designing for weddings. And the funny thing is, that it feels like it has been meant to be like this all along.
Sharing my faith and sharing this new-ness of not knowing where this will lead me with you makes me uncomfortable as I don't openly share my feelings on my blog often. I've sprinkled tidbits of this within the pages of my Instagram the last few weeks, but have never felt stronger that it was time to build this into something more.
As our youth minister said at our church service just this morning, God doesn't call the equipped. He equips the called. I have felt called to do this, and so can only hope that God will equip me with what He desires this to turn into. I certainly hope that you'll join me in this journey. For there is joy that is certain to be discovered within in it.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
If you feel compelled, please share this post with others, or leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you, especially if you'll be joining me as we learn within this journey together.