Tag Archives: step of faith

No Longer Silenced

As you can see, this blog has laid dormant for a long time. I apologize for that! Almost 5 years ago, I walked away from all of my financial securities and everything I had known to follow God’s calling on my life. During that journey, as I searched fervently for God’s direction and would excitedly share those things that I knew God was saying to me with others, people I knew and people that I only had a brief interaction with would tell me that my story was inspirational. Having heard this over and over again, I knew this was God’s way of telling me that He wanted to use my story (His story really) to impact other people’s lives and hearts.

As I explained this to a coach I was working with 5 years ago, right after walking away from everything I knew, she said I needed to purchase the website and start a blog. So I did, even though I didn’t have clarity in my mind about how exactly I would use the blog since I hadn’t even written the actual Modern Day Noah book yet. I wasn’t sure if I should write the book out on the blog and then turn it into the book. I wasn’t sure if I should just start telling my story from day one of leaving my financial security, etc. The only thing that I knew for sure is that I wanted the blog to be REAL. I didn’t want people to feel like I was preaching at them. I wanted to be sure that people knew that just because you’re following God’s will for your life doesn’t mean you have it all together and you never have a problem. I wanted the readers to know that people who know and follow God don’t live in an alternate reality from the rest of the world. And I wanted people to really, really get that we are all put here for a very specific purpose – and when you live out that calling on your life, it’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever do!

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Because I didn’t feel like my story had that big ending that people would be looking for, other than walking away from all of my financial security and walking head on into my insecurities, I became somewhat paralyzed about where to begin writing. And although I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wanted me to tell my story, I began battling with my own fears and insecurities. Who cares about my life? Who am I to think my story is so darn important? Why would I think I could make such a big impact? And so on and so forth. Yet, I knew that telling my story and writing this book, was God’s direction for my life.

Early in my relationship with God and church, I learned that Satan battles hard against those that walk around making a big statement for God. Granted, he makes everybody’s lives miserable, but especially those that are trying to point people to the hope of Jesus Christ. Why? Because he wants to silence them before they share the hope and love of Christ with too many people. I remember so clearly watching people at the first church I attended succumb to this battle. They were always the ones everyone noticed, the high profile people. The ones that were making the biggest impact. They were the preachers and the parishioners that were making a dramatic positive impact on the church and those that were exuberant about serving God and the church.

I remember one couple that took over running the youth ministry. They had great ideas for growing the group and connecting the youth within the group – and they were making a huge impact on all of the kid’s lives and relationships with Christ. Little by little, I watched as their lives began to slowly unravel. She began struggling with depression. I remember watching her trying this medication or that medication. The drugs had an obvious impact on her and she slowly became less and less involved in the church. Within no time, this couple that had been married for at least 15-20 years were getting a divorce. The youth ministry fell apart as their lives fell apart. Satan’s attack on these 2 wonderful people had successfully silenced them and killed any hope of them continuing to impact other’s lives for God. I could tell you many, many stories like this where Satan attacks those who are making the most noise for God with a vengeance. And that is what he has done with me for the past 5 years.

As I mentioned, when it was officially time to start writing the book (when I quit my other “real” full time job), I immediately began struggling with confusion about where and how to start writing and so I just didn’t. Slowly but surely, every insecurity I had became bigger and bigger. I began struggling with social anxiety and little by little I withdrew from everyone and everything I was involved with. Within a year, I spent most of my days alone with no interaction at all with anyone but my clients. Social anxiety caused me to be paralyzed at the thought of interacting with others. My weight went through the roof and unfortunately still is. That furthered my desire to hide away from others. All the while, I knew exactly what was happening. I knew Satan was trying to silence me from sharing the amazing story of how knowing and following God has impacted my life. I hated that Satan was successfully silencing me. But yet, I just couldn’t shake it.

My organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, has been so successful that I am constantly busy with that. Although it’s a good problem to have, I know that it has been one of the biggest things that has kept me from writing this book and sharing my story. In August, I ended up flat on my back for about 3 weeks with a broken rib and strained back. I had to cancel every single client session I had for about 2 months. Although I hated letting down all of my clients, I secretly was thrilled to have everything come to a screeching halt. I also knew that while others might have seen this situation as a negative thing – money lost, letting clients down, etc – I saw this as a blessing and as God shaking the heck out of me and saying DO IT! I was thrilled that through this injury, He helped me take back control of my life in this way. I needed rest and I needed an opportunity to get myself refocused on Him. Thankfully, 2-1/2 months later, I am clearer on what matters most and have begun battling my social anxiety harder and moving back into relationships with people. So, today begins the official start of me making this book and blog my main priority. I hope you’ll follow along with me and that you’ll be inspired. And I hope that you’ll pray for me when you have a chance. I know my story is a strong, inspirational message of hope that many people need to hear. I just pray that enough people cover me in prayer so that Satan doesn’t succeed in silencing me again. Buckle your seat belt. Tray tables up. We’re taking off and I can’t wait!

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And So It Begins

4 years ago this week I walked away from every single ounce of financial security I had, to follow what I believed God was telling me to do. (Read more of the story here.) I didn’t have a safety net. I didn’t have a wealthy family to fall back on. Since I wasn’t married, there wasn’t another source of income to fall back on. I totally and completely left every single bit of security in the wind when I followed His direction. And I can tell you that I’ve never looked back and wondered if I made the right decision. I’ve had constant peace about my decision. Surprisingly, I’ve not had any financial struggles either!

Modern Day Noah captures my journey of taking a leap of faith when it made absolutely no earthly sense. By sharing my story, I hope to help others find the same connection with God so that they can live a more exciting, peaceful and purpose-driven life. A faith-centered life doesn’t mean you never have struggles, insecurities or doubts. It means that you know that you are safe in His arms. You realize that we are all here for a much bigger purpose than just an existence that is spent focusing on ourselves and getting through our daily struggles.

first-dayThis is a picture that my daughter took 4 years ago. It captures my first official day in my home office after leaving my full-time job after 27 years of service and just 3-1/2 years away from a robust early retirement – something I ended up giving up in order to follow God’s direction for my life. The reason I share this not-so-flattering picture with you is because I knew at that time (4 years ago) that God wanted me to share my story to inspire others (which of course is really His story lived out in my life), but I’ve let doubt, insecurities and overwhelm stifle me in that area – shockingly for 4 years!

Part of what has stopped me from doing this is that it is a bit awkward to feel like I’m bragging about what I did. I’ve struggled with how I can make sure that people understand even though the story is my story, it really isn’t about me at all. But rather it’s how God used me because I allowed Him too. The other thing that has stopped me from blogging is that I’ve never gotten around to writing the original Modern Day Noah book that was to chronicle my relationship with God and my big leap of faith in more detail.

This website was supposed to be the follow-up journey of a regular, everyday person that God used who still has daily struggles even after doing something so momentous for God. Because I didn’t write the book, I wasn’t clear about how I was supposed to use this blog. But then it occurred to me that I am living the everyday life with struggles after taking a huge leap of faith as I mentioned. There’s some value in sharing that. And since I’m struggling with how to use this blog, God wants me to just trust Him and start blogging. He will guide my words. I believe He has big plans to use my story to inspire others, give them hope and to bring them into a relationship with Him so he can bless their socks off too!

What I have known for quite some time, and what I always tell others, is that you’ve  just got to lean into the direction that you feel God is pulling you,  even when you don’t totally understand all of the details, the plan or what the desired outcome is. If I take small steps in the direction He is leading me, He will continue to show me the next steps. And so I begin today despite my hesitation, insecurities or lack of direction – because He has instructed me to do so. This is what actionable faith looks like. I hope you’ll make the decision to follow along with my journey so that you can see all of the amazing ways God will use you (and blow your mind as He does!) if you are open enough to let Him in and believe!

Tears of Joy!

Last week I traveled 4 hours away to help a client of mine that had moved out of the area a few years ago. Although she tried to find a professional organizer in her area to help her, the one she found was new and was just as overwhelmed with the situation as she was. So much so that she has since gone out of business. Unfortunately, there are no other professional organizers in her area, so she reached out to me for help. Her initial email to me said “I know it would be a lot to ask you to come and help me, but I’m fairly desperate and have lost all pride”. How do you say no to helping someone when they say something like that, no matter how far away they are?

Since she had only unpacked the essentials, and left everything else out in the garage when she moved in 3 years earlier, I knew we had to start in the garage. As with any organizing job, finding the place that “clogs” up the rest of the home and unclogging it is crucial. The garage took the longest amount of time to complete, but it was also one of the most rewarding spaces because of that. Now all of the stuff that was in her house that really should be in the garage was able to be filtered out into the garage zones once we had them established.

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Garage – Before & After

Next we moved on to the kitchen space, then the closets, the living room, the master bedroom/bath, the laundry room, the guest room and the home office. We worked for 6 straight days, all day long and got through the larger part of her home. Letting go of things you love or thought you might use someday is always difficult and that was no different for this client. But with each passing day, she gave up more and more. She even went back and let go of things she had decided to keep only the day before. I was so proud of her and all of the hard work she invested in this process.

Kitchen-Before-After

Kitchen – Before & After

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Home Office – Before & After

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Home Office – Before & After

She had shared with me before I came that her master bedroom and bathroom were the areas that were bothering her the most. She couldn’t find peace anywhere in her home. She felt overwhelmed, stressed out and beat down – something I commonly hear from our clients. I knew the sense of relief she would feel when her master bedroom and bathroom were clutter-free and organized and so I didn’t let her see things changing as I was working. I wanted her to see it ONLY when those spaces were completed.

Once I had the areas organized, I let her look. Her mouth immediately fell open as she blurted out the words “I think I could cry”. With that, she threw the entire upper part of her body down onto her outstretched arms on the bathroom counter and began crying uncontrollably. I began crying. I knew how much relief I had brought to her life. I knew how long she had wanted that space back in control and peaceful. But her reaction was priceless and beautiful!

Bedroom-Before-After

Bedroom – Before & After

Once my client stopped crying, she stepped back and stared at me in disbelief and exclaimed “this is definitely your ministry, a life-changing ministry at that!”. I know it seems funny to most (and even to myself sometimes) to leave all of your financial security behind to follow what you believe God created you to do. But knowing you have the ability to use what you love doing to change people’s lives in such a dramatically positive way and choosing not to go for it makes absolutely less sense! 

We’re Not Promised A Tomorrow

One of the biggest battles I had when it came to quitting my job was that I had already invested 26 year there and only had 3 1/2 years to go until I could retire with a great pension check coming in every month for the rest of my life. It seemed so foolish not to wait it out after sticking it out there as long as I already had. Nobody does that!

On top of that, I’ve always been a very responsible person that does what I need to do and what I am supposed to do without any regard to how I feel about it. I had two children that I had to support solely on my own and so there was no room for questioning whether to continue working there or not regardless of how miserable it made me. I considered myself a “lifer”, like a prison sentence.

But once I realized about 15 years ago that we were all put here for a reason, for a purpose that is much bigger than ourselves, I’ve had a different perception of life and what it is supposed to look like. And it’s made just doing life status quo much harder for me. For the first 25-30 years of my life I focused all of my energy on just merely surviving this thing they called life. I was so consumed by the hurt, pain and confusion from all of the injustices bestowed upon me in my early life that I couldn’t see or feel anything past that. I was doing life from a reactive place not a proactive place, from a victim mentality. I didn’t realize that we could create our own lives!

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As soon as I understood that we have the power to create the life we want to live, it was much harder to sit in a job that I detested. From the minute I opened the doors to my organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, and the phone started ringing off the hook, I’ve battled with staying where I was. Every time I would remind myself how lucky I was to have such a great job with wonderful benefits and I only had 3 1/2 more years to go, those thoughts were quickly met with thoughts of how I want to live my life now, not later. What if I didn’t live long enough to do it after I retired? We’re not promised a tomorrow. I knew with such a strong gut feeling that I didn’t want to leave this life without feeling like I had lived it to its fullest. I didn’t want to take a chance that tomorrow may never come.

I don’t mind working at all, I actually like it. So I knew that if I had to, I could always go back to working a “real job”. But I knew I had to take this leap of faith because I loved the feelings that helping others get organized gave me (in addition to what it gave them). I loved the satisfaction of knowing that I had made a positive difference in someone’s life and I loved encouraging people and reminding them of their greatness. I loved knowing that I was making a positive difference in the world in which I live, rather than merely surviving it. Life wasn’t meant to just survive, we are meant to thrive in it! That’s what I’d like to help more people understand earlier in life than I did so they can get to work living their life to the fullest!

Make Someone Happy

Top 5 Things I Did Before Taking the Leap

As you’ve learned through this blog, it took me a long, long time to follow God’s lead and quit my full time job. By quitting I gave up awesome medical, dental, vision and mental health insurance, my pension that I would have been able to draw in 3 1/2 years and a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck. Needless to say, I didn’t just run and take that leap of faith without some planning. Here are the top 5 things that I did to prepare:

Top 5 Things to Do

Prayer: I prayed the same prayer over and over for years. Through those prayers I believe that God slowly changed MY attitude and beliefs until I was finally convinced that this was His will and that I could do it. In my opinion, prayer doesn’t have to be perfectly scripted or said in a certain order or way. Prayer for me is just like having a conversation with God, a continual conversation regardless of where I am or what I am doing – driving, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, whatever.

Listen: Of equal importance to prayer is creating a quiet or still time so that you can hear what He has to say. For the greater part of my life, whenever I was in the car, the radio would be blasting the entire time. I had to have it on from the minute I got in the car, until the minute I got out. Not anymore. At least 50% of the time I’m driving, I drive without the radio on. It’s amazing what that quiet time will do for you. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your gut. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to what others say to you. So many times God speaks to us through others. Mostly I listened to the peace within me about the decision to leave.

Save: I saved enough money to pay an entire year’s worth of both my car and house payments. Those are the most important things and those are the things that would affect my credit if they weren’t paid. I realize the importance of impeccable credit and so I do my best to keep my financial affairs in order.

Got my finances in order:  I met with a financial adviser several times. It’s funny, she immediately said I should never leave my job. Five minutes into sharing my story with her of how God had been speaking to me, even she changed her tune. I refinanced my house with a lower interest rate, looked at all of my expenses and “cut the fat” as they say (turned off house phone, changed cable providers in order to drastically cut prices, etc). I made sure all of my debt was paid off other than my car and house.

Be proactive: Not only did I have anything and everything to do with my house and car checked over to be sure nothing was wrong with them, I did the same with me. I refilled as many prescriptions as many times as I could under my great insurance benefits before I left. I had a sleep study done. Had any dental work done that I needed. Went to each of my specialists and my regular doctor to make sure everything was going well with me physically.

By taking care of all of these details so carefully, I think I warded off a lot of problems and was well prepared for whatever or wherever this leap of faith would take me. So far, so good!