I'm going to apologize right now because this post is a whole bunch of rambling and zero pictures but stick with me, it might be pretty good. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a great writer but here goes.
If you remember this post I talked about my pessimistic attitude and how it has hindered me from dreaming big dreams. This year has already been a dream-come-true kind of a year and I'm so excited to see God working in all of it.
About a year ago I wrote this post. It was hard for me. I was kind of scared to put it all out there but decided to trust God and say okay. It's kind of funny to me looking back on how fearful I was and yet a lot of those feelings crept on me again recently.
You probably know I have an etsy shop where I sell prints, cards and other things I design. I started that shop a little over two years ago after I quit my job as a senior designer to be a stay-at-home mom. While I love being home with my at-the-time one girl, I missed having a creative outlet. I worked on some contract and freelance work here and there but there was something missing.
I designed some prints for friends and decided to open my own online shop and see if I could sell some, having absolutely no goal or clear vision in mind. It was mainly my little creative outlet and if it helped my family out a bit financially - even better.
Once I opened my shop I remembered how much I enjoyed designing. It was fun because I could do what I wanted and didn't have clients telling me to make changes I didn't think needed to be made :)
I couldn't tell you how many sales I had that first year because I didn't really care. It was humbling and exciting that people liked my work and were buying it!
Last year I felt God calling me to do something and give back. I don't want to list specifics here but I will say that it had to do with 100% of certain profits being given back to Him. I said yes and didn't realize what God would have in store for me.
I wanted to add customizable Christmas cards to my shop but wanted them to somehow bring glory to God so I designed cards with Christmas hymns and Bible verses.
God was good, as He always is and blessed my little shop which in return, blessed my family as I was able to help us out a little financially. I never would have dreamed how much success my little shop had this past year and how many incredible friends I've met along the way through custom designs, stories and emails. God is good.
When it came time for me to follow through on that commitment I made to God, it was hard. I wouldn't say I struggled with it because I had already said yes but my flesh reared up and I was all, "man, I didn't know it was going to be like THIS!" And let's be clear, the success I've had has not been my own. I believe God blessed my shop in that time because I followed Him when I didn't know where He was taking me. However, I would be lying if I didn't feel a tinge of, "I worked so hard," "this would really, really help out my family," or worst of all, "I could really use a new..(insert any material item here)" Know what I mean? But like I said, my yes was already out there and I knew what I had to do - so I did.
A couple months went by and do you know what happened?!
We found our dream land and were able to buy it.
Coincidence? I'll let you be the judge but I believe God is faithful and He gives us what our heart desires. My heart's desire wasn't land. It has been to just have the courage to say yes when He calls. And I do believe God blesses in ways you and I can never even dream - even if it's getting something you know you don't deserve but really, really want.
If the story ended there, it would be pretty awesome, right?
But it doesn't. God is big. God is good.
Remember how I said those fears started creeping up on me again?
Well, I have a variety of prints in my shop, ranging from verses to quotes to lyrics to verses and anything in between. I add prints here and there when I have time but I started looking at my shop and thinking about some new prints I wanted to add when I started having those fears, "of offending someone, getting too personal,
automatically having a label on me, my life being put on a pedestal of
sorts because people can think you're supposed to be perfect and then
letting those people down because it's easy to see my many
imperfections, fear of saying or doing something that reflects poorly on
my faith and being judged accordingly, not having the answer to a
question ... the list goes on and on."
I wondered if maybe I had a little too much God in my shop for the world.
There. I said it. Hello ugly heart.
And just as soon as I thought it - I smiled, after asked for forgiveness and thanked Him for grace :)
I smiled because God is in my shop. Which is exactly what I wanted from the beginning - to some how bring glory to Him. The prints with His words that He let me design have been bought and hung in people's homes.
What an honor and a blessing. What a crazy thought for this little stay-at-home-mom in Oklahoma that is in NO WAY close to perfect and that in NO WAY deserves the grace He has given me. What a blessing.
After I realized that God can been glorified by a sinner like me through some little graphics I design in a little shop online, I added a new print that came from a quote from "Kisses from Katie." I thanked God for allowing me to spread his love in my shop and glorify Him doing what I love to do.
I just had my 500th shop sale.
And then I had my 600th sale.
I feel I need to be clear again, this is not a celebration about the numbers in those sales - although they have been a financial blessing, it's what those sales mean.
There are over 600 things from my shop that people have bought and even if it wasn't a Bible verse, or hymn or whatever they got - those people may have just seen a little bit of Jesus just from being in my shop.
And that my friends is the craziest thing of all and something worth celebrating.
I don't know what's next for my life or shop, maybe this is where this part of the story ends or maybe there's more to it, who knows. I just pray I'll say yes again. And again. Even when it's scary.
So thank you for sitting through this ridiculously long post and reading my rambles - I would give you a cookie if I could.
Since I don't have a cookie to give you, I want to give someone a copy of the book that has changed my life in so many ways, Kisses from Katie. Katie's words and honestly have taught me more about loving others, parenting, following God and so many other things than any devotional or Bible study I've ever read and I want her words to bless someone else.
If you want a chance at a free copy, leave me a comment and I'll randomly select a winner on Friday and announce the winner Monday. Oh, and please, only one comment per person.
Thanks friends and have a fantastic day!