There’s been many incredible things I’ve gotten to do in my lifetime. Raising 5 beautiful children, being married to a godly man for over 30 years, planting a church, and helping women out of poverty. In each new season, God seems to call me to something completely different that stretches me. He wants us to always be growing into the new, no matter how big or small it may seem.
Over the last few years, God has made a shift in my life and asked me to focus on my community and family. I’ve spent the last decade working in global business and because of the width of that reach, I thought I’d always be called to that space. But as I built up a team to carry that business forward, God began showing me the next.
He began to show me what was going on in the community around me. He began to show me that my neighbors needed love. He began to reveal the tragedies of sex trafficking and heartbreak right down my street. He began to call me to use my skills in business to create change right where I live in Flagler County.
And it could be easy for me to say, ‘well, that’s not making global change, God. It’s not BIG change.’ I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled with that thinking at the beginning. But every time we use our gifts to make the world a better place, we are making BIG change.
So this last year, I’ve begun to flex my community impact muscles. I believe that world change begins with strong communities. It’s why I believe sustainable business is so important. It’s why I planted a church. It’s why I started Trades of Hope. My next big adventures will be local ministries and businesses that directly (or even indirectly) bring together communities in a way I know WILL change the world.
Here’s a few of the ways I’ve been doing that:
Ice cream has a magical way of bringing together all kinds of people. And getting to oversee an environment where we can bring more magic, laughter, and the love of Jesus to our community is a dream come true.
So, if you see me out and about in Flagler County, I might be running to a business meeting, stopping by our Trades of Hope offices to root on our poverty ending team, attending Movies in the Park with my granddaughter Amelia, preaching on a Sunday morning, OR even scooping some ice cream. Just remember that world change WILL always happen when you choose to make a difference and invest in those around you.
Do you feel like you and your spouse are never connecting during the week and you're living in two separate worlds? You're just so busy that by the time you DO see each other, you're exhausted, and just want to watch T.V.?
Here's one tip you can try this week that might help you make that connection.
This picture from Christmas morning makes me so happy. If I feel down I just look at this. The kids all sleep over and wait in my room until Mike and I call them down to open presents.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect family. All our families look different. We have gone through hard times like everyone, but God has blessed us so much and redeemed the hard stuff.
Get a picture of the people you love and put it up on your mirror or in your wallet. When you are down look at it and be reminded about what is important in life and who God has blessed you to do life with.
If you think you're not a "home party" person, ask yourself if you're a "help-a-little-girl-out-of-a- brothel-person."
I need to do a whole post one day on why we struggled with God over starting a "home" party, direct sales business. I really thought all of those were pyramid schemes, so surely God would not ask us to use this model. Boy, have I been humbled! God knew this was the best business model to create an "army of marketers" to make the biggest impact in helping women out of slums, sweatshops, the sex industry, and extreme poverty.
But people ask, "Why not make it a ministry that people just volunteer their time and not get paid or just give money to?"
Volunteers are great, but they need to put food on their table and make a living too. And their time is so limited.
So we decided to combine the two to make a win-win situation. Women helping women! A woman in the USA makes a living while helping a woman around the world make a living too. You should see these women we empower light up with pride when I thank them on behalf of a woman in the America for helping them put food on their table too!
It truly is a dignified partnership, which is all these women dream of. They don't want charity, they want an opportunity. They don't want to stand in line and beg for help from the next church or charity so their child can go to school or to the doctor, or even eat!
They want a job so they can be the hero to their child and have pride and dignity in meeting their families needs. Job creation, not charity, is the best way to end poverty.
So Trades of Hope is creating sustainable jobs for both women in the USA and around the world through a business model that took me a while to believe in. :) But now I see God is always right! It's the perfect business model for Trades of Hope to help change the world! (And I support other direct sales companies now that I see how they have paved the way for women everywhere. Direct sales is the new corner store of years past. We can directly help those we love by shopping local. )
OVERWHELMED is my word for this year. Not the normal overwhelmed, but overwhelmed by God's blessings. Here is a throwback picture of our family and others showing how God has added an amazing son and daughter to our growing family.
People would probably not guess, but I have never been very maternal. The kids go to Dad to iron and get stains out and when they are hurt. People ask, "Then how did we get so many kids?" ....and my answer is, "have you seen Mike?! " :)
But the truth is, even though I didn't get that "maternal gene" our kids are my greatest joy and the reason I just cry from the gift we've been given in each of them. I have no idea how we got so many blessings. I wish it for everyone. My heart aches for couples who weren't able to have children or lost children or are estranged from their children, almost so much I won't post about my family of fear of bringing pain.
But I am reminded that it's all perspective and how you choose to look at your life. I have seen people love their animals in a way I never understand until I look at my kids. My goal is to wake up with praise on my lips for all that God has done. So today I praise him for my son- in-law, Ryan Antos and my duaghter-in-law Savannah Wehde. You have added blessing on blessing by becoming our "kids."
What blessing overwhelms you today and puts praise on your lips?
Leave a comment below.
What God's teaching me: Sometimes blessings are hidden in painful places. Apostle Paul thought his ministry was over when he was thrown into prison, but the truth was there was a new ministry in an unlikely place that looked nothing like a "blessing." Yet while in prison, Paul was able to reach the jailer and his whole family for God. Am I willing to endure what doesn't feel like a "blessing" to be used by God in the most unlikely circumstances and places?
Please God, let me be willing to go and endure whatever will further your kingdom even if it doesn't look like the blessings I pray for and seek after. What is God teaching you?
SEX: So to have a healthy marriage and keep the sizzle you have to know that sex doesn't start in the bedroom. It starts when he takes out the trash, when she thanks him for working so hard for their family, when she wears his favorite color and brushes her hair before he comes home.
It's when he rubs her feet after a long work day, when he listens to the story she already told him yesterday, when he changes the babies diaper, when he cleans up the dog vomit, when she tells him how much she respects something he did, when she forgives him for not calling when he was late, when he eats the burnt dinner, when he makes dinner, when a surprise date night is planned, when she doesn't nag but she could, when he doesn't hold a grudge.
It's when he compliments the body that bore him a bunch of kids, when you say every nice thing you think to each other, when you notice the good stuff and forgive the bad stuff, when he gets that passionate text while standing in line at the grocery store that leads him back to the dairy aisle for whip cream, when he prays over her every morning, when she gives him that "look" from across the crowded room, when they always say "I love you" even when it is a choice and less of a feeling. That is where sex begins.
Are you mature? (I do not mean in age.) Part of our maturity is to be able to take criticism and even ask others, "What weaknesses do you see in me that could hinder me in life?" Not many of us want to ask this question but if you can, without making excuses, you will mature. Don't fool yourself, we all have blind spots in our personalities.
Are you willing to ask someone you trust today? I asked and this is one that I got. "You seem to have to say the same thing 5 different ways and it wastes people's time so people don't want to engage in a conversation with you because it lasts too long. "
That may seem easy and not harsh, but trust me when you hear yours it will sting and you will want to make excuses. But don't, thank the person for being brave and loving you enough to tell you and take the meat and spit out the bones. And if someone has said hard stuff to you recently, know how hard it was and believe they must love you because it is so much easier to avoid confrontation and run! If you are brave, ask someone today!
Is your greatest desire in life to be comfortable? Or impactful?
God rarely uses anyone who desires comfort, but instead loves to call us out of our comfort zones to do great things for HIM. But you have to be willing, because the next thing He calls you to might not be the most comfortable, but it WILL be good. Are you ready to get out of your box for Jesus? Listen to Holly Wehde share about being out of the box.
Today Pastor Mike & Holly share some of the main ingredients that have given them an Uncommon Marriage that has brought glory to God for over 28 years.