Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't quit.

Don’t quit. I think that might be the recipe for success. 

I know it sounds overly simplistic. And actually there are a lot of others things to add to it...

For instance there is actually wisdom is recognizing when it is time to end something and begin something new that better fulfills the vision that sparked the original idea to begin with. Like phonebooks. The idea to make phone numbers accessible to the public in one central location is brilliant. But it was wise for the phonebook company to realize that most people spend their days online now, so rather than producing those big yellow books and delivering them to everyone’s houses, they were better off exploring the world wide web and finding a way to fulfill their vision on there. Discontinuing the mass production of their phonebooks in that situation was actually successful, though it involved putting an end to something that had been a major part of their business for decades. 

But for the sake of my thoughts on this particular morning... I am going to land on this idea of not quitting. I think it’s huge and deserves some of my attention. Right now I am in the middle of some big decisions related to the ministries I direct. I am also approaching my 5th wedding anniversary. Beauty Arise is being launched in multiple locations around the world. As is Models For Christ. Our work at various fashion weeks is flourishing and catching the attention of some highly influential people. My family relationships are growing deeper. I am learning to be a loving friend and maintain healthy friendships in the midst of an extremely demanding schedule. Calling All Skaters (the ministry my husband started & directs) is popping off and we are getting ready to head over to Barcelona for the summer so we can develop his ministry to skaters in Europe. It’s all crazy and exciting and a gift to be a part of... 

But here’s the thing. 
It’s all still just the beginning. 
And I’m learning that beginnings aren’t all that impressive. 

Lots of people can start stuff. Marriages start. Families start. Businesses start. Careers start. Ministries start. Friendships starts. Diets start. Starting is the easy part. It’s exciting and new and fun and adventurous. People love new beginnings. If you want proof just hop over to Pinterest and soak up all the photos of engagements and weddings and new babies. We love it all. 

But then we look around at the real world and the evidence of our inability to finish well is everywhere. Divorces. Affairs. Fraud. Addictions. Lies. Eating disorders. Depression... 

And I don’t have a lot of answers. I have a lot of thoughts, but I am young and inexperienced so I recognize it would be arrogant to call them answers. So here is the main thought that has been on my mind for a couple days.

Success will be found in my perseverance. 
More simply. 

Don’t quit. 

Keep showing up. Keep showing up to life. Keep showing up to marriage. Keep showing up to friendships and family relationships and ministry endeavors. Even when I wake up in the morning feeling like I’d rather be somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else... don’t quit. Even when its late in the evening and I’m exhausted and feeling like too much red wine is more appealing than responding to the surplus of messages in my inbox. Don’t quit. When it seems hard and I feel unqualified; when I don’t have answers and my loneliness tries to convince me that eating a pint of ice cream would bring the comfort I need; when I’m tired of hearing about how I’ve let people down in my leadership; when I miss Colorado or long to live in a house of my own; when I’m a complaining mess and lose sight of the vision that drives me...
don’t quit. Keep showing up. Whispering a quiet “yes” to the call of God on my life is enough. My emotions will dance all around on any given day. My excitement for life will ebb and flow. My circumstances will always bring surprises and require more of me than I expected to give. But this one thing I can remember. No matter what...

Don’t quit. 
Over time learning to persevere will produce results. 
That’s how I got where I am today. 
That’s how I hope to continue on in this adventure. 
That’s how I hope to encourage you today. 

Don’t quit. 
That’s all. 

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photos by Sarah Grunder photography 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

fear not.

I heard a story yesterday of a Chinese Christian girl who was persecuted for her faith in Jesus. After torturing her, the authorities put her in a hole in the ground and sealed it shut. As they were sealing it they could hear her voice sing joyful songs of praise to Jesus from under the earth. The owner of the prison ended up coming back and releasing her. He said, "There is nothing more we can do with you. You aren't afraid of anything... So now I'm bringing you home with me to be a good influence on my wife and daughter, because they are constantly talking about how afraid they are of everything." 

"The Lord is my light and my salvation -- so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?"
Psalm 27:1

photo by Sarah Grunder photography

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Betsey Johnson & my sore throat.

This time last week I had Betsey Johnson on the brain. Not only was she on my brain... she was in my inbox, in my recent calls list, in my prayers, and I even had the garments for her fashion show in the backseat of my car as I was leaving her hotel. Never before have I had so much contact with someone of such fame and influence.

(I also never expected that someone so well-known would be so lovely, kind, and considerate of the people around her. Truly, she and her assistant Brandon were unbelievable to work with. No exaggeration at all... I felt like we could be real life friends.)

Through a series of miraculous, and slightly stressful, events last Wednesday- I found myself promoted to being the backstage director of dressers for Betsey Johnson's show. Not bad a gig for my first time doing such a large event. I oversaw the transportation of Betsey's line... the unpacking and organizing of her backstage area... I assisted in the model fitting... I worked closely with her assistant and other members of my MFC team to ensure that every detail of her show was set and ready to go. Not only did I find myself in this honored position with all of these incredible responsibilities, but I was also personally asked by Betsey herself to pray a blessing over everyone involved in the show before the girls hit the runway. She usually does a champagne toast with her models to celebrate before the show, but this time she stood on a chair, introduced MFC and asked me to pray before their toast! After we said "amen" she lifted her glass to the sky and (adorably) exclaimed, "Cheers God!" then they all sipped their drinks and filed onto the stage. She said afterwards that she wished our MFCers could work all of her shows because she felt like she was in heaven. What a compliment for a group of mostly uneducated and inexperienced young people!

Anyway I am not saying all of this to boast in myself, though I can acknowledge that it is starting to sound like that. I am saying it because I spent all day in bed sick yesterday. My throat is sore and I could hardly sleep last night because I felt so yucky. I still feel like there is pressure on my lungs that I'm not sure how to get rid of, and I should be starting my period soon which will be sure to add some extra zest to my fiesta.

So how is this information relevant?

Well... its important to me because it is a sweet reminder that even after an incredibly successful week.... I am still just a little person in the hands of an Almighty God. I'm no different from anyone else. I can't control my health, let alone most other things in my life. As I laid in bed yesterday feeling mostly helpless, I couldn't help but thank God for being so big. It is humbling to realize that at the end of the day, any sense of control that I have is just an illusion. Yes, what happened at Fashion Week LA was beyond anything I could have expected. Yes I tried my best, and so did my team. And the promotions we received and the favor we experienced were enough to leave me speechless at times... which is hard to believe considering all the words that float around in this head of mine!... but truthfully none of the glory goes to me or any of the other people that worked alongside me. The fact that we had strength in our bodies, health in our bones, joy in our hearts, and peace in our minds is a testimony of God's presence with us. Everything that happened backstage was not because I am awesome or my team is better than anyone else, it happened because the God we trust is real, and His faithfulness is beyond our comprehension.

Last week He gave me health, new opportunities, and favor with people like Betsey Johnson.
This week He is giving me rest, vitamin C, and the opportunity to reflect on all He has done.

His story. His glory.
My joy is to be a part of it all.

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