Nearly five years ago, I launched my sign business, Little Branches. It was an outlet - something creative to do for myself every day. The fact that other people wanted to buy the signs was mind-blowing to me, it was special but it was extra. I never dreamed that God would grow it for the first two years beyond my wildest imagination. I never thought I would wholesale my products or do craft shows or have repeat customers.
But somewhere in the last two years, God has taken my little business and blurred it into ministry.
The lessons for me in this have been HARD, y’all. When God first asked me to use this outlet for ministry, it was very separate in my mind and in reality. It was business and then ministry. I sold signs and I wrote blog posts. I painted and I taught about Jesus occasionally. I never thought of it as a together thing.
When I went to SheSpeaks last summer, a publisher told me that she saw it all together - as one unit. Art, ministry, words, Jesus. It sounded great in theory - but how? I just could not see it that way in all of my small-mindedness.
But in just the past year, God has taken what I thought could never be joined and rocked my world with His orchestrating. He has taken His hand and dulled the activity over the business side and accelerated the activity on the ministry side.
Actually, He has brought business and ministry together for me so there are no longer even sides.
Now, the sign making supports my efforts in ministering to women. When you buy a sign, the money that used to be “extra” now goes to support our website, printables, inspirational art, recipe testing, photograph taking, collaborating and so on.
What I deemed as failure in business I now see as manna. It is just enough to do what He has called me to in ministry.
What I questioned as God’s abandonment I now understand as protection.
Trust is not something that comes to me naturally, but rather it is a choice I have to make day after day. (Sometimes, honestly, it's a choice I don't make).
For an entire year, I questioned everything that was “happening to me” in my little business. I wondered what I had done wrong, I tried to advertise different ways, I attempted to find more people to collaborate with and offer deals alongside. But none of it “worked”. I was spinning my wheels trying to fix it all and driving myself crazy.
But what I was trying to fix, God had already handled.
There was no fixing my business because it was never broken. It was just shifting. The purpose was now different, God’s intention with it was changing and I tired to hold on with dear life to what was instead of letting it all go into what it now is.
Why is it so hard for me to trust a God who has come through for me time and time again? Why is it such a battle for me to take my hands off of things (and people) I love in my life so dearly in order for God to work His way in everything?