Letting Go and Moving Forward

This is one of those posts I never in a million years thought I would be writing, but here I sit….putting words on a blank page that will be my last.  At least for now.  Maybe forever.

Please allow me a moment to share a story with you.

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It should be no surprise to any of my regular readers that I am a Christian, and stand firmly in my faith.  My relationship with the Lord has grown stronger over the past several years, and I am in a very good place in my life spiritually.  Several months ago, I read a book called “Anything” by Jennie Allen.  This book, this Bible study, made a huge impact on my life, and made me realize that, while I consider myself to be a Christian, I have not fully allowed God to be the spiritual leader of my life.  I haven’t surrendered my “anything” to Him.

What am I willing to give up?  Will I truly allow God to take anything from me, in order to have that deeper and closer walk with Him?  Think about that for a moment, won’t you?  Can you completely let go of the control you have on every facet of your life, and be open to God removing you from it?

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I prayed the “Anything” prayer – I gave it up.  I desperately pleaded with God to use me for kingdom glory, and I gave Him anything and everything.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Nothing happened.  Days and weeks go by, and I hadn’t heard from God.  I kept trucking right along with my life, working my job that keeps me from home twelve hours each day, spending countless hours working on my blog – planning, crafting, photographing, editing, linking, sharing, networking, writing.  I ran my errands, I cooked dinners for my family, I did laundry, I washed dishes….

Still, nothing.

Honestly enough time had passed that I had put the thoughts of that Bible study in the back of my mind.  I had quit praying the “Anything” prayer and just gone about my business.

Monday morning, December 16th, my alarm goes off at the usual 5:00am.  After rolling around for a few minutes until I gain consciousness, I wearily climb out of bed, step over the dog that sleeps on the floor next to me, and head into the bathroom to take a shower and start my day.  But today was different.  Today, I woke up with a heaviness on my heart, almost a physical pain in my chest.  It was hard to breathe.  As I went through the motions that have now become my morning ritual – shampoo, conditioner, shave, rinse, wash face – I prayed.  That heaviness, that burden, was the Lord urging me to give it up.  Walk away from this blog.  Do it today.

“But Lord,” I argued, “I just signed on six awesome monthly contributors who have all made six-month commitments.  I just moved to WordPress and redesigned the blog, and my Facebook numbers are stronger than they’ve ever been!  I’m making some money from the blog now, and 2014 promises to be a banner year!  Let me wait six months, give me til June, then we’ll see.”

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I swear to you, at that moment, as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, verbally arguing with God, it felt like He reached out and punched me in the chest.  I couldn’t breathe.  My mind was immediately flooded with visions of my life as I currently live it.  I saw a typical evening in our living room – Marley and Mark on the couch, me with my nose buried in my laptop.  I saw Marley playing games while I lock myself in my craft room stressing about finishing a project to post.  On and on, these little blips of my life kept popping up in my head.  On and on the Lord continued to show me places in my life where I was physically present, but not participating.  It was terrifying.

When I couldn’t take it anymore, I got loud, right there in my bathroom, and surrendered.  “Ok, ok!” I said breathlessly.  “Ok, I’ll do it.  I’ll do it today.  I’ll let it go.”

Let me just tell you, I cried hard.  I sobbed.  It was a mix of tears over walking away from something I’ve spent four years of my life building, and finally seeing a payoff, combined with the sadness of missing out on so much of my life while building this blog.  I completely broke down.  I realized that the Lord was asking me to give up “anything” for Him.

The heaviness on my heart immediately went away, and I was left with a feeling of peace.  Surrender.

I cried a lot that day, and the next.  But I was faithful.  That morning, Monday, December 16th, as soon as I got to my office, I emailed first my best friend Amy (One Artsy Mama) and told her exactly what happened, because I knew she would completely understand.  (And she totally did, which is one of the reasons why I love her so much.)  Then I emailed all of my contributors, apologizing for ending our run even before it began, and briefly explaining why I was walking away.  I then had to email a couple of campaign leaders letting them know I had to back out of posts that were scheduled for January.

It was so hard.  It’s still hard.

For those of you who do not blog, you may not understand the sacrifice of walking away, at this moment.  This time last year, I had less than 300 Facebook fans.  Today, I have almost 3000.  This time last year I was not making a dime.  Today, I regularly get paid blog campaigns and make a few hundred bucks a month.  This isn’t just a life change, it’s a financial hit, since my family and I have really adjusted to the extra income the blog has created.  Everything I do, whether it’s organizing a space in my home, decorating a room, making a handmade gift, putting together a new outfit, planning an event…I share it here.  It’s a major adjustment.

I’ve come to love my readers and a lot of you have become friends.  I love the relationships I’ve built with other bloggers.  I love my blog.  Every bit of it.  I’m at my peak.  And I’m walking away.

Some people might think I’m crazy, and that’s OK.  I’m being faithful with what the Lord has asked of me, and to be completely honest, I can’t wait to see what happens next.  I know He has plans for me that I can’t even comprehend at this moment.  Yes, I can still create, and decorate, and organize, but I won’t be blogging about it.  Yes, I can still stay in touch with the friends I’ve made, I just won’t be working on awesome blog collaborations with them.

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There is not another time in my life that I can remember the Lord physically reaching out to me, and so audibly speaking to me.  I cannot ignore it.  I’m so thankful that my walk with Him is close enough that I was able to hear Him, and the maturity of my faith is enough that I’m able to obey.  These four years have been a tremendous blessing, a wild ride, and an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime.  I’m not sure if the Lord will bring me back to One Tough Mother, so for now, this is the end.

My Nana used to tell me, “I don’t like good-bye, so I’ll say ‘so long’!” So, friends, thank you so much for the past four years, for your support and love, comments, emails, “likes”, and laughs.  Feel free to stay in touch – email me, follow on Instagram, and of course, I’ll always be a Pinterest-addict.  🙂

So long, friends.  God bless.

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The archives are always available for your viewing pleasure.  Simply use the categories at the top of the page to be inspired.

For continuing inspiration, visit my friends:

One Artsy Mama
Pitter and Glink
Happy Go Lucky
My Favorite Finds
Suburble
The Thinking Closet
Happy Hour Projects
Repeat Crafter Me
Artsy Fartsy Mama
Petals to Picots
Wait Til Your Father Gets Home
4 You With Love
Seven Alive
Small Things With Love
It Happens In A Blink

MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace provides a space for women to enjoy encouragement and practical tips for living a more intentional and fulfilling life through Bible study, efficient use of time and space in their home, and finding joy in the simple things in life. Enjoy your time here & be blessed!

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