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a happy heart

There is an Apricot tree in the front of our house. I think I have talked about it before on another post, I think. 
Anyway, we moved into this house right before Springtime a couple years ago. Only a month or so after living here we were able to see an abundant amount of fruit produce from this tree. It was awesome and couldn't even keep up with how much fruit there was + the birds got to most of it before I could even pick them each morning because there was just so much!

That year, the year we moved in and the year I first saw an apricot tree blossom was THE most difficult year of my life, hands down. A lot of surrendering to God, a lot of reframing of thinking, more restoring of my soul and even more removal of my past as God smothered me in His Grace and Mercy each day that year.

When Springtime had rolled around that next year, so many changes of the heart and mind had taken place and could see the spiritual fruit that God was bringing forth in my family's lives. 
The apricot tree however, bore no fruit. Except from the branches we had trimmed back that were sticking out too far and scratching my car. It was disappointing, but seeing how we didn't know a lick about pruning fruit trees it came as no surprise. 
In the beginning of this year after Micah took down the Christmas lights, he moved the ladder towards the tree and began to prune it back. All of it. 
(This was just a small detail I wanted to point out as it resulted in something so profound today at bible study.
I'll get back to this in a minute)

You may or may not already know that I announced through an instagram photo that I will soon be closing my shop. It came as a shock to so many (including my mom) but it was something that I had actually been contemplating since the reopen in January. I never had a peace about it and could feel God stirring my heart about the whole thing. I disregarded what I knew I should do by justifying how my shop was full of scripture and how many of my pieces were created for encouraging others. There are many more silly justifications and the list goes on of the excuses of why I felt my shop was of the Lord and that it couldn't be something He was asking me to hand over.
"It's so successful Lord," I would say and "You have crazy blessed it and only see it growing bigger with huge and exciting opportunities that have come my way, and that could only mean that's a sign for me to keep it open, right God? It's all from you right?" 

"Besides Lord, I have given so much of myself these past two years, haven't I? I have changed so much and through this shop have grown so much closer to you."

"This shop is part of me..."

And that was just it. This shop has become part of me. Who I am. 
I have started finding myself in this shop. Being known for and being recognized for my shop. That is when I realized that it was time to close. 

Was it hard? 
Umm, is trying to take an ice cream cone away from a chubby toddler named Vernon hard? 

Were there tears? 
Well let's just say I needed to change my pillowcase out one morning after a pathetic sob-fest from the evening before. 
Too many tears.

I fought it for months until one day I woke up and realized that my identity should be one hundred percent in Christ and not in anything else. I don't need my shop to be somebody, I am already something in Him. He has made me and all my crazy quirks, my mess, my, beautiful in Him. That is enough.

God brought the start of my shop during a time of restoration. He showed me so much and opened so many amazing doors for me. It was a blessing to me and to so many and I understand that just because it is something good doesn't mean it's the right time. 
It was the right time this past year, and still can't believe the success and amount of love and support I received through it.

Right now though is NOT the right time. I know that. Excepting is harder than acknowledging the truth. 

As I've been studying God's word through my bible study and after attending my church's women's retreat last weekend I have felt God asking me to be more available.
More available with my time.
For Him.
For my family.
For life. 
The only way to make more room for Him was to close my shop. 

There are so many more emotions involved and details left out but that is the gist of it all. 

So back to today in bible study. We were talking about surrendering it all and how God prunes us back so we can bear more fruit and I was choking back tears the entire time. You know the feeling? Griping the edges of your notes tightly while clenching your teeth so hard that you feel you may grind out a cavity from the pressure all because you're trying to hold back the floodgates.

We talked about how even if a branch is bearing fruit, after its season has passed it is still pruned so that it may bear MUCH more fruit in the next season.
That is when I lost it, annnd... of course that is when I chimed in and was a blubbering mess as I shared how just last week I walked out to the car to see our apricot tree full of tiny apricot buds, maybe even more than the first year. 
Seeing the start of much more fruit on our little tree blessed me more than anyone can imagine as my family and I are transitioning into a new home (much smaller), learning to live with less and closing my shop during this time as well. 
It was just the sweet visual I needed to be reminded of God's goodness and to understand that this too is just another season. The closing of my shop may be just for a time or it may be final as I wait to see where He will use me next. 
Wanting to be ready and available for His will are the new prayers I'm crying out versus the sob fest "woe is me" prayers I had been doing the last month or so. 
Although we're making hard decisions, we are at such peace and though many changes are on the horizon I do not feel anxious for the unknown, and that my friends is a new thing for me. 
I'm thankful I have a God who knows the plan he has for me and that He will be in the end result whether I envisioned it that way or not.

I can confidently say this is the right decision and that I am happy because we are loved so well by God who is so so good.
Thankful for all your kind words, emails, texts, messages and phone calls about the closing of my shop. Yes, I will still continue to stitch for gifts and for raising funds for organizations, only if time permits. I may even stitch one hoop that I want to giveaway to encourage someone each month. Again this is all if I have time to do so. But for now the remainder of the hoops I am finishing up will be added to the shop in the next week or so and I will be closing up after that.

Thanks again for all your prayers, love and support.

I look forward to growing and learning in this next season of life and hope to continue to share tidbits of it with all of you.

Happy Crochet Banner c/o My Charming Colors
Chalkboard Sign by Grace for Grace


kaylee@life chasers said...

Wow. This kind of surrender and humility is so, so beautiful. I admire and respect you so very much. Praying increased blessing over you my friend! Xoxo

andi {the hollie rogue} said...

LOVE your heart and passion for following what the Lord wants from you. you are brave and such an inspiration to us all. love you!

Four Flights said...

You're courageous for taking such a bold move and listening to what God was calling you to do. Perhaps though you could still share your talents with a small slice of ladies and one day teach us how to do what you do at the Craft Cabinet :) xo

kk @ the mom diggity said...

Love your heart and seeing what God is doing in it. Praying for you through this season of change, and that God would explode your heart with joy. Love you dear friend.

Kacia Hosmer said...

crying a bit as I read this. I am so proud of you.

AlyciaMealy said...

I love that you shared so much of your heart! This post is so encouraging and you will be so blessed doing what the Lord calls you to do! Thanks for the encouragement =)

Jami Nato said...

praise Jesus that you hear him and follow his voice

Kristen said...

You are one of my favorite bloggers because it is so evident that you desire to live whole heartily for the Lord. This post just echos what I've seen since I've been following you, a woman who wants to surrender everything to the Lord. You are so encouraging and this makes me even more excited for what the Lord has in store for you and why He wants more of your time! You're a blessing!

Candice Williams said...

Beautifully written. I always hoped for one of your pieces but I really respect and admire why you are closing your shop and I know how hard that must be on you. I think it's amazing that you are doing this to free yourself for your family and god and I wish you all the best!

Jammie said...

so proud of you Nat

Brittany GraceAnn said...

I am giving you a virtual standing ovation, dear Nat! You seem to have such a sweet, tender soul and it is awesome to see God whispering to you... And you moving in response. So hard sometimes. But God will never be outdone in generosity. If this is indeed His will- like you already said- there will be even greater fruit!!! Excited to continue watching your journey unfold. God never fails. You are have a lovely soul :-)

heartgirl said...

Hi Nat,
Your words are so good for all of us to hear. Surrendering is always hard, but always worth it. You know I have LOVED the pieces I have received from you and so has my daughter. At Christmas she was so excited about the "I make pretty things." I hope I will be blessed enough to get another if you put a few more in your shop!
Many beautiful blessings to you as you walk in faith.
Tammy W.

a blog full of weldons. said...

just found you on IG and found myself reading your blog :) I LOVE this post and found such a similar truth in the journey God has taken me over the past few years (which also included closing a successful etsy shop). what a blessing is found to come through a season of painful pruning to see the abundance God has been preparing. lovely analogy and such a powerful testimony. thank you for sharing!!