So after a 3-month absence (excluding Christmas eve) we finally went back to church this morning. We did the early service and walked in late (I wish I could say that we only do that now after Olivia to avoid the onslaught of well meaning people who want to know how we are doing, but we are perpetually late-Cannon will definitely tell you it is because of me, but he doesn't know how long it takes to dry hair as thick as mine!) But I digress.
We went to church, which was a big step forward. And Randy's message was exactly what we needed to hear (thanks, God!). He talked about our fear and how God handles it and uses it to grow our faith. He used three words to describe fear: dark, distant, disturbed. Need I say more? I don't think there are three other words that could describe better how we have been feeling since Olivia went to live with Jesus. He went on to say that fear leads to despair. I am not one to shout in church, but I almost let out an "amen!" Despair is a feeling I've been dealing with throughout the day on and off since November 6th. So as you can imagine, I was ready to hear from Randy how our Savior deals with our fear. He said, "He prays for us, comes to us in our darkest moments, He awakens a desire within us, He invites us to step into our fears and He knows that failure is a part of the process." The one way that struck me the most was that He invites us to step into our fears. Randy used the example in John 6:16-21 of the disciples battling the storm in their boat for hours until Jesus walks to them on water and pointed out that Jesus KNEW that the storm was coming and He told them to get in the boat anyway. He uses storms in our lives to teach us and grow our faith. But I can't believe that our loving God causes them to happen. And that is where I find His peace in the midst of this dark and despairing time.
Randy went on to point out that Jesus cried out to God three times at Gethsemane asking Him to "take this cup away from me" (the msg) but God was not willing to take away the suffering Jesus would have to endure on the cross, but He WAS willing to take away Jesus' fear because when Jesus stood from his third prayer He was resolute to fulfill God's master plan. You see, having to live through this life without Olivia is torture and I am fearful of so many things, but I know that He is perfecting a new work in me and building my endurance, perseverance and character. Would I give it all back to hold my baby girl for just one more minute? You bet I would. But until I can hold her in heaven, I am going to be praying that God continue to turn my fear into faith.
As you can imagine, going from being the mom of two kids to the mom of only one still on earth has completely changed the amount of free time on my hands. With a 9 month old and a 3 year old, a part-time job, and household duties, I was busy 24/7 before Olivia passed. One of the hardest things to get used to has been the amount of time on my hands. This extra time doesn't feel right. And I feel guilty at times remembering how I used to wish for just a moment to myself. Now I have those moments and I don't want them. It leaves me too much time for sorrow and despair. Too much time to go over the what-ifs and should've, could've, would've list that constantly runs through my mind.
So, during our trip to the beach in January I was telling Cannon that I wanted to work again in some capacity that would still allow me to be there for Parrish and would allow for the possibility of another baby but would keep me busy and fulfilled in the meantime. The problem was that admittedly, everything I am interested in-decorating, fashion, etc-seems so superficial now. I wanted to do something that made me happy and kept me interested, but also something that I felt was giving back and furthering God's kingdom in some way. So we came up with the idea of me opening an antiques & interiors booth. I investigated opening it at a few different places but was intimidated to open one at Hanna downtown. It's one of the best antique stores in town and has been around forever. I am a novice and knew I would be doing a lot of learning through trial and error in this endeavor and I didn't want to be a fish out of water. But I decided I go in just to have a look around to get ideas and when I walked in there was a giant florescent sign that said, "Dealer Space Available." I have been to Hanna lots of times and never seen a sign saying that space was available. So I took a leap of faith and obeyed what I thought God was telling me to do by opening Olivia Charles Antiques & Interiors in a booth at Hanna. I am going to donate 100% of the profit from the sales of items that others have given me to sell and at least 20% profit from items I've purchased to sell. Thankfully, Cannon's mom CC has a background in antiques and is such a help hunting, restoring and pricing.
Parrish has been a great little helper at the booth. He takes pictures and sits in the little rocking chair and eats his lunch while commenting on what I'm doing.
Can you tell I love green? I love collecting all of the Jadite dinnerware and those old, large blue bell jars perfect for everything from displaying beach treasures to storing cotton balls and bath salts.
If you're downtown please stop by and shop. I have been so excited about the amount of sales and am enjoying "the hunt" for treasures to sell. I've found a man who uses antique lumber to restore old furniture and make benches (they're perfect for mud rooms and lake/beach cabins) and he makes beautiful frames as well. I am thrilled to be selling his stuff. The frames are beautiful-each one unique-and they are not nearly as pricey as similar frames I've seen in boutiques. I have one 10x10 frame already in my booth and am working with Karin Fecteau, a friend, artist and former co-worker from Southern Living, to get some of her prints to sell with the frames. She can do oil and water color paintings of anything-wedding flowers, your family silver or china, your kids, pets, etc and I am so excited to carry her original art. Check out this painting of her grandmother's silver, it's amazing and I'm hoping to have it in the booth soon (if I can ever find a 3x4' old frame to put it in-anyone have any ideas?):
Check out her other work at her blog-my favorite lately is the peacock-I told her I am going to own one of those one day and am dying to get her to paint Parrish and Olivia. She has been working on a logo for the booth as well, it's a work in progress, but here are the options so far:
My verse for the day:
My grace is sufficient. My power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10