I praise God that each month there are always ladies who reach out and let me know that their box of encouragement arrived ‘right on time.’ It reminds me that God is in control. I’m a planner. I have a long list of theme ideas for future boxes and I regularly look at the list to determine which theme will be next….but inevitably when you are designing something from scratch, there are obstacles that get in the way. A manufacturer can’t meet our timeline, a shipment is late or sometimes, I just don’t feel settled in my soul that each item in the box is just right. There have been many times when I think I have the next box all figured out and the Lord will literally give me a completely different idea during my prayer or Bible study time. I always try to be obedient and switch gears, putting aside my idea for His.
There have been a few boxes that I was really nervous about because it wasn’t the theme I had originally wanted to ship that month, but God. God had a different plan and those boxes touched and in some cases changed the lives of the women who received them. It’s in those moments that I sit back and marvel at how God orchestrates it all.
I started this business from a desk in the corner of our living room. It’s a space I share with my husband when he’s watching TV, with our dog who has decided that the comfy rug under my desk is his bed and with piles of laundry every other week. It’s actually a pretty chaotic place to try to concentrate, especially when I frequently stop what I’m working on to read a prayer request, pray or try to listen for God’s leading on if the ideas that are flowing are in line with His Word.
But I love my little corner of our house. There is a benefit to sitting there too. I can get hyper focused on my work and loose track of time, often even forgetting to eat. Sitting in the midst of the hustle and bustle of my house, allows for interruptions to pull me out of my head and take a break to hug my husband or laugh at whatever craziness our furry son is getting himself into. I’ve gotten very comfortable sitting there, so it was hard for me to hear my husband suggest that I need to “move my desk into the guest room.”
A little background before I continue this story…
The “guest room” was originally supposed to be our nursery. Over the years, as we’ve battled infertility, we added a pull-out couch and it became our guest room. But for me, it is a room that still symbolizes my hope of one day becoming a mother. It’s the room that became my ‘warroom’ where I retreat for Bible study and prayer. I long ago laid my desire to be a mother at God’s feet and told Him that I wanted His Will, even if that means He never gives us a child. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still hope that like Sarah, in my ‘old age’ He might still bless us.
And although that room rarely gets used as a guest room, I have never considered making that my office. Instead it has become my sanctuary. It’s my place of refuge, where I can block everything else out and just be with the Lord. When friends visit, I’m sure they just see a room full of random furniture and stuff that we stuck in there because we didn’t have anywhere else to put it. They see the clutter in the corner where there's a TV tray table and chair, surrounded by bits of paper taped all over the wall. But for me, it’s a room full of hope and love, where the walls are covered with prayer.
Now that’s the emotional side of me speaking. The rational side of me knows that my husband is right. I’m running a highly creative business that requires I have a lot of “stuff” at my fingertips. Surrounding my desk in our living room are zillions of little pink boxes, multiple Bibles, development samples and ideas for future products, cardboard cartons of posters and scripture cards for upcoming boxes and scraps of paper with to-do lists scrawled all over them. When I look at it, I see a beautiful mess. But to anyone else, it probably looks like a pink bomb exploded in our orange and brown living room.
He's right; it's time; I do need more space.
But my initial reaction to his comment isn’t something I’m proud of. I fought the idea, because the thought of moving into the guest room hurts. Putting office furniture in there makes it feel like I’m officially accepting that it won’t ever be a nursery. As illogical as it sounds, I guess I’ve always thought we could just move the couch out and a crib in. When he first suggested it, part of me felt like my refuge was being taken away.
But then a funny thing happened, even though I had fully planned for the theme of our June box to be something completely different, I knew it wasn’t time for that theme. God wanted the theme to be Sanctuary. He knew that right now, I needed the encouragement I would get through preparing this box for you. As I started working on ideas for the box, He reminded me that when I finally laid my desire for motherhood at His feet and said “Your Will, not mine,” He gave me the idea for loved+blessed. And for now, although this room won’t be a nursery for a baby, it can be a place to nurture this business, the “baby” He gave me.
I still hope, if it’s His Will, that one day there will be a nursery in our home, but for now I am content. I’m thankful that He used my husband to push me out of my comfort zone. And I can see now that moving my desk, my ministry, into the area of our house that I consider my sanctuary makes perfect sense. It will continue to be a room filled with prayer and Bible study and the place where God encourages me so that I can hopefully encourage you.
Where is your sanctuary?
Jamila is a speaker, writer and the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.