"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
I have to say, those words are easy to state till you come faced with the situation you do not necessarily agree with God on. At least at the moment.
Monday morning, July 26, 2021, I wake up exhausted. Another night our almost 2-month-old son, Micah, still did not sleep a wink. So when I awoke from exhaustion to a text from my Social Media Manager, Kaleigh, saying she needed to talk to me after Tyson's football camp. And I realized I forgot all about it being July, let alone football camp; let's just say it was already not a good start to my morning. #MOMFAIL was what came to mind. However, I had an uncomfortable feeling about Kaleigh, and that was the first time I ever felt that with her. I did NOT like it one bit.
So long story short, Kaleigh comes inside and sits with me on the couch and says the awful words, "I think I am going to have to quit." As calm as I could, I asked her why, and she stated, "because I believe God is telling me to." I knew she was sincere, and I instantly went to the weird thought I got Saturday evening when I was in my studio working.
See, Saturday evening (7/24/21), when I was finishing editing, I was taken back by a weird thought about Kaleigh leaving me. And I was like, "Ummm, NO! She and I already talked, she's planning to be with me forever! Where in the world did that come from?" I did not want to hear one word about her leaving! Especially in a time when I just had a baby, and I am about to come upon one of the busiest seasons of my life! I mean, seriously, Ultimate Senior Model sessions, fall shoots, four weddings, did I mention I just had a baby? Seriously, NO WAY, no, how was she leaving me? I didn't want to hear it!
But that's the funny thing about being an obedient vessel to God; I don't "always" get a say when His Will is always better than mine. I mean, can we advocate to God? Of course, but that's not what this story is about, and boy can we go down a rabbit hole with that discussion. So in this particular case, I had no say, and if I "really loved" Kaleigh as I have always told her, then I knew I could not be selfish.
So back to the story, Kaleigh says the awful words about quitting, and I'm devasted. She honestly has no other job options and hadn't been looking for anything else, and is honestly just trying to be obedient to God's call to "go." She also heard the word, "school" which was totally weird (at least we thought). But what was loud and clear was she had to leave me. So we talked, and I told her to pray about when God would say her last day should be. I even asked her to pray about a specific request from me to God (you know, to see if I wouldn't have to have a stroke right before going back to work, lol).
So she leaves. I freak out. I'm bawling upstairs while my kids are playing happily downstairs. Micah's sleeping, and I actually get to come upstairs and just completely freak out! I call Jodi first because I always call Jodi first, and she is just as nervous for me as I am. She knows how much I love Kaleigh and Alexa, how I give a ton of credit for my business being alive still because of them two. How amazing they are to me. So then I get off the phone with her, and I'm alone, bawling, crying out to God.
I AM MAD!
I mean, MAD. I mean, come on, God, what am I? Chopped liver here? Couldn't you give me a heads up? Why did you tell her for months now, and I never heard anything? Well, I mean, You tried to say something two days ago, but come on, God, that was nothing! You let me brush you off, "YOU DID," "YOU DIDN'T," blah blah blah. To say I had a full-on toddler-temper-tantrum blame game is an understatement.
But, GOD! Amid my yelling, my heart finally softened, and I fell to my knees, and I just cried. I finally just said, "It's yours, God! I can't do this. I don't have time for this. I am too tired to do this. I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER FOOTBALL CAMP!" I mean, seriously? Who was I in that moment to hire anyone who could replace Kaleigh, who was my right-hand girl, who I never even once questioned while my son was in NICU? To never once worry about my business because I KNEW Kaleigh and Alexa had it and was solid while fighting for my son's life in NICU. Do you know the comfort I had in that? So instantly, gratefulness filled my heart; at least He didn't tell her to leave before all that went down. "But what now, God? I can't do this. It's yours! You will have to do this and make it obvious who YOU want me to pick, God, because I am tired! I am so tired! And I just can't do this!"
And in that moment of silence, I heard the whisper, "Shantel".
He also revealed two more things to me at that moment, but I feel like I can't share publicly with just anyone, so I will save that part for another day and another blog if He allows me to share one day.
However, to make a long story short (this is really not a short story), I had Shantel's sweet baby girl's newborn session that evening. I told her what happened that I would be looking for a super quick replacement. Praying she would bite. She didn't, lol. Worried me for a bit that I heard wrong, but I knew I could trust God, so I knew she was involved with this transition, somehow, someway. So Kaleigh and I collaborated super quickly to get the job application up and running. I GOT OVER 20 APPLICATIONS!!! Which was incredible in itself! All from excellent possibilities. I was excited, and I couldn't believe it because that was an honor in itself.
And then Shantel messaged me that beautiful text stating she knows she would be fantastic for the job. She had the experience needed but wanted to talk to her husband first (I respect that). How it had been nagging her all day to say something to me (Holy Spirit), and when she saw my job post, she knew she had to apply! I said, "APPLY NOW!!" lol.
Sure enough, she did, and between her and a couple of others that were super qualified too, Kaleigh and I had our top 3 picks. But when Kaleigh said she was thinking Shantel, I knew too, and I instantly screamed, "THANK YOU SO MUCH, GOD!" Because did I mention this was just Wednesday? Two days post Kaleigh telling me she was leaving me? Well, if I didn't, I am stating it now, "GOD MOVED!"
By Thursday (7/29/21), we interviewed Shantel and knew she was perfect! We both knew she could take over this position immediately and have no real issues. She knew how to do the bulk of what was needed (for me not to have a stroke, lol). And with Kaleigh's 20-page training document (not even kidding, lol), we knew Shantel would do great! Therefore, I hired Shantel on the spot, and she accepted! Having no idea at that moment, my whole body filled with chills because I got to witness a miracle and an answered prayer in HER! My new right-hand girl, who I cannot wait to get to know more and more as we journey through this new work partnership together.
Friday evening (7/30/21), Kaleigh and I celebrated at Tequilas in town, having great food and fried ice cream, rememincing on some of the fun, and talking about all the things in life! But mostly, HOW INCREDIBLE OUR GOD IS!!! Because what I left out was, when Kaleigh left me on Monday, she was just as freaked out and confused as I was. She didn't want to leave me and had planned to be with me for life too. She had no idea why God called her to go, but she knew she had to be obedient. But again, no job offers, no job applications even out. She was scared too. But remember what I said about hearing the word "school". Wednesday, July 28, 2021, someone asked her fiance if she was looking for a job. He said, "yeah, now she is!" He gave him her number, the guy contacted her and asked her to interview for the position on Monday. Monday, August 2, 2021, Kaleigh was hired on the spot as a new employee to our local elementary school. Kaleigh and Shantel had their first days at their new jobs on Monday, August 9, 2021!!
Do you have chills?!! I have chills right now! I mean, seriously, why do I even shave my legs anymore with all these fantastic "God things" happening?! lol It's so incredible, and I just had to share!
Calm yourself in the storm, cry out to God, and He will never fail at the opportunity to show you His mighty Right Hand! Trust Him in that storm, and like the story of Elijah in the Bible, hear God's whisper in the silence, but if you do, you have to listen!
It's like I told Kaleigh, "I don't want God to say two weeks, but EVEN IF He does, I love you way too much not to kick you out the door the moment He says "when"!" Because you see, when you really love someone and truly respect their walk with God, you will NEVER allow yourself to be a hindrance to their calling. I was not about to let my selfish fear cause Kaleigh not to be obedient even when I knew it could be devastating for me and my business. I was willing to lose clients for her to be obedient to God's call.
However, like I told Kaleigh, she gave me an incredible gift, too, in her obedience. She showed me God doesn't even have to fill me in on His plan for me continually. Although he was kind enough to give me a tiny hint, I had to lose all control and just trust in Him at the end of the day. Once again, I had to surrender my business into His hands and trust if I was meant to keep it running, God would take care of me. AND HE DID!
He sent me a "helper", and her name is "Shantel."
"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lordwas not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lordwas not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lordwas not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19: 11b-12
P.S. Ask me about Tuesday, July 27, 2021, when God zapped my butt with the Holy Spirit! I could not stop dancing and singing worship music! It was incredible! Don't believe me? Just ask my husband. Lol. I was "zapped" so hard, I am not sure if I have ever danced that hard and had that much fun and laughter in one of the "most stressful times of my life" EVER! It was an incredible gift from God to help me just breathe, heal and relax. Praise Him!