The post I’m sharing below was originally sent for consideration to be shared with a large platform of readers. It was my fifth attempt to respond to the opportunity to be chosen.
A week before I got the “no” though, I was selected by two others. The very same day, I thought the shop owner was gonna tell me she didn’t think my pieces were right for her shop anymore. Instead, she wrote a sweet note and said: “give me more”. I’ve set up my Etsy page “Angels and Other” and I rearranged my desk today, added a pretty paperweight and crossed off 5 of the 8 things on my “to do”. I pray for opportunities, remembering to do only my part and let God do the rest.
Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.
Pretty paperweight wisdom
I know that God is for me. I know that I am known.
As are you.
I remembered sharing what I call a “lisaism” in a recent post, the one I felt so proud of, one that I decided would be a difference maker for my children. “You can be miserable or you can be motivated.”
When I got the “no” email telling me how many others had tried and yet, again my submission was not chosen, I was kinda pitiful. But, not for as long as before. I remembered all of the good that’s been coming my way and I decided to carry on.
I remembered another “lisaism”:
You can be pitiful or you can be powerful. Me
I left work late yesterday, went to a grant presentation and hurried to make boot camp because I know physical health is good for my mental health and I’ve made up my mind in general, to press on like a runner towards whatever prizes God has for me.
(Oh, and there were some edits needed, I understand more clearly why my email said no. Live and learn. 🙂)
We were in the same spot that morning. I, for the grits that remind of my mama and her for coffee. The little café that is known for its breakfast, pimento cheese, casseroles and cheesecake, she was new in town and was waiting for her order. The cashier wished me good morning, and I listened as the new person talked about her shop next door. She and her husband had retired from corporate, he a carpenter and she a lover of junk pieces and art, she had opened a new place and was excited to begin displaying local pieces of art.
The words came, and I surprised myself to announce, “I paint.” She turned and smiled and said “Well, what types of painting do you do?” To which I replied, “I’ll show you, I have pictures on my phone.” This was over a year ago, and I still have my wall in her shop.
Shortly before my cafe’ encounter, I’d begun to pray the Jabez prayer again. I have a little in common with Jabez, always have. I find his story relatable in that not too many people; His mother included felt he’d amount to much or worse yet, he might have a life of pain. But, Jabez started young and prayed for the course of his life to be rerouted.
He prayed and asked God to bless him, to bless him indeed. He prayed his abilities and the places he’d be privy to would be expanded far wider than he could believe.
His request was granted.
“Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” I Chronicles 4:10, NLT
Like Jabez, I’ve been surprised by life and opportunity. I’ve been one held back by family dynamics that caused me as a child to be sure I caused no distress, made no mention of being in need, having needs unmet.
Oh, for the foresight to have prayed the prayer of a child born in pain named Jabez rather than become a young adult who sought conciliation in unhealthy ways and paths that bordered self-destruction.
Still, my road has led me to places scary but protected, my stumbles have met cushions upon my falling, and my failures have not been final. I have now what many call an “Angel Ministry” thanks to my friend Connie from the café. She, one of the many who has provided me opportunities that I might never have been shown had I not decided to ask God to enlarge my borders. I might have longed to simply paint in private.
I may have kept my pieces layered with hymns and expressionless angels to myself, maybe give a few away, leaned others against shelves in my home. Were it not for Connie and my prayers for opportunity; I’d have never used the word “commission” nor discussed prices for pieces of art. I would have never had the confidence to create a page on my blog called “The Art of Quiet Confidence”.
This morning, I happened upon another favorite scripture. It caused me to consider whether David, too may have been changed by the story of Jabez, whether all the opportunities and challenges he approached with the assurance of God were perhaps with a recollection of a boy named Jabez.
For I have surely been blessed indeed. The boundaries and borders have bent my way, led me to consider all the good I never expected to know.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 ESV
Prayerfully waiting and willing to walk in places God decides are mine.
Linking up with others at Tell His Story. Jennifer writes about the difference a day can make: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/whatever-youre-facing-now-give-24-hours-first/