Thursday, April 19, 2012

How The Intentional Home Grew {a God story}

Yesterday I shared part of the story of how The Intentional Home began. I shared how we were deep in debt and couponing became part of the way out.  I shared how friends started asking me to share my secrets and soon I had to hold my first class just to save time.  At the end of my very first class, a gal gave me $20 and told me the class was worth a lot more than the $5 I charged. This got me thinking that maybe I should teach more classes and really turn this into a little business. 

This was the first Drugstore Class I taught, September 2009.

I started teaching classes about once every month or two and word quickly spread. Many of my students started emailing and asking questions and I found myself repeating the same answers over and over. That is when I decided to start the blog.  What started out as a place to answer questions about couponing slowly became what it is today. 

While all this was happening with coupons and finances, something deeper and much more exciting was happening with me and God. To tell that piece of the story, we have to go way back in time.

Ever since I was young, I have had an entrepenurial spirit. I have always loved dreaming big and building businesses in my head.  I was constantly planning to rent some retail space and sell crafts or old junk or whatever. Of course my husband was always the voice and reason to shut me down. "9 out of 10 start up businesses fail within the first 5 years" he would tell me. 



Dreaming of business ideas was fun for me. In contrast, keeping house was not. I was not Suzy Homemaker. Far from it, more like Sanford and Son meets Van Gogh. The house was a wreck, my children had to hunt for something to wear each morning, and nobody knew what was for dinner (but it would probably be eaten out). Keeping house seemed so mundane especially compared to my big dreams of owning my own business, making and selling crafts, or writing a book. 


And so I had this constant battle inside me.  All the time, I wanted to do something big, build some special business (not really to make money, but just to see if I could), but inside was this nagging voice saying "Hello, you are so lazy; have you seen that pile of laundry in the basement?!"  And I would press into being a housewife again.  And then this other voice would say, "But God has given you these big dreams; how can you settle for dishes and vacuuming?" 

via Pinterest

After many, many years, I went to God to get His perspective (seems like I would have started there, but...).  In desperation, I asked God what He wanted me to do.  Was I supposed to stay in the house and be a homemaker or go out into the world to fulfill my wild dreams?  God was quick to answer and clear in what He said.  He told me to lay down the dreams, lay them down and focus on the home.  He also told me that I had to trust Him, that in laying down my life He would bless me.

via Pinterest

I remember sitting on the couch telling Rob what God had told me.  Rob was sweet; he sat and listened.  But I could tell, inside he was saying "Halelujah! Dinner, clothes, clean house, yeah, go on, go on!!"  There was a resolve in my vioce.  My words rang out with clarity.  I had been called to take care of my home and my family and I was going to focus in and learn how to do that. 

I went to the library and checked out books on cleaning, cooking, and organizing.  I met weekly with a girlfriend who was domestic and picked her brain.  And I started cleaning, and ironing, even scubbed the toilet.  An amazing thing started to happen. . . I didn't love cleaning, but I stopped hating it.  I stopped viewing it as something I had to do, but something I got to do.  I started to grasp that I created the atmosphere in my home. . .I got to be the hearbeat of my home and that was not just a responsibility, but an honor and privelege. (I share more of the truths that I came to grips with in my Meal Planning/Freezer Cooking Class and my Home Organization/Decor Class).



Now, don't get me wrong, I still wasn't Suzy Homemaker, but I had a plan. I was getting better, and most importantly my attitude was changing.  And I stopped looking to start my own business or plan some big church event. I really stopped dreaming. . . not in a defeated broken way, but in a purposeful way.  When the dreams would start rising, I wouldn't push them down, I would simply say, "Lord, I give these to You, help me focus on making my house a home."

So there I was, learning to be homemaker, and not dreaming of starting a business.  A couple of years later, I taught my first class, not to start a business, but to help my friends.  When the class was over, I started feeling like I should do another.  I was quick to take this to the Lord and lay it at His feet.  Only this time He said, "It's ok, teach another class, use it to make some money for your family."  I kept my focus on my house.  My first priorty was to make a home.  But I taught a second class and a third.  People kept asking me for more.



The next thing I knew I was building a business.  Only it wasn't me building the business, it was God.  He started giving me vision for something big, something that would provide for the family, impact other women, and ultimately bring glory to Him.  He started giving me vision for The Intentional Home, a teaching ministry that would guide women to making purposeful decisions in the place that mattered most, the home.

God had been asking me for years to lay down my dreams and when I finally did, He gave them right back to me.  Not only did He give them right back, but He gave them back bigger and better than I could ever have imagined.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, "If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it."  I had seen this verse play out in a very real way.

Not only had God given me my dream back, but He was doing an amazing thing, He was using the stuff I stunk at to build the business.  He wasn't using my talents, but my weakness.  God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "my power is made perfect in weakness."  God wanted to use me to teach women about homemaking!  Only God could come up with something this crazy.  It was like asking a turtle to give classes on running or a fish to give classes on flying.  It did not make sense.  But isn't that exactly how God works?

24 comments:

  1. I loved reading this story again. Never gets old to see what God has done in and through you.

    It made me think of my big dreams of: doing music in a way that will bring in some income, doing life coaching, walking in freedom from bondage to food, and perhaps even taking others with me.

    I. Hate. Cleaning. My. Bathroom. And it's just for me. Well, and kitty, too.

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  2. I have attended Su's classes for Meal Planning and Home Decoration. What I learnt the most was your home needs to work for you. I am making slow and steady progress. Thanks Su

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  3. I took Su's class in 2010 to help me expand my coupon knowledge. SUCH a huge help! The best thing I learned is to not be discouraged if you don't get every deal. Even if that week I don't use one coupon, I still buy what I need on sale and manage to save!

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  4. I loved taking SU's couponing class and I;m exctied to implement my new deals into my meal planning!!

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  5. I feel at a crossroads with homemaking and outside career too. This post really hit home with me and was super encouraging!

    I have been struggling with getting dinner on the table over the past 6 months (after our move); however I just recently got back on the meal planning wagon and I am utilizing the tools that I learned in your Meal Planning class to slowly (but surely!) have more nutritious and budget-friendly meals on our table for dinner. We are expecting our second child in a few months...so this seems like good timing to get my act together :)

    Thanks for allowing God to use you in such an impactful way!

    -Brooke Cash

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  6. I took your class in 2009 (or maybe 2010?) and I'm so glad I did. It taught me so much about couponing and I love seeing those dollars fall off at the register. Things I'm struggling with now is how to feed my family more organically and still on a budget. A lot of the coupons in the paper are for processed stuff and I'm am gradually trying to reduce it out of our diets. I also struggle with keeping the house clean with a one and three year old. It always seems to get messy as soon as I clean it. :) _Shannon Cox

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  7. Only God could come up with something this crazy. So true! Love that line! Housekeeping and being intentional have always been a struggle for me. I try to remember to do all I do for the glory of the Lord - which makes it more manageable for me!
    Angi H.

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  8. I took your coupon class 2 years ago and it has made such a difference! I am enjoying reading these anniversary blogs!

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  9. I enjoyed reading this post. It was such an encouragement and reminder to allow God to use me in building my home. It also made me think of what weaknesses I may have that He wants to use through me.
    I have taken your Meal Planning class and learned to have a plan each week, stay organized and be prepared with having things on the table (like a pitcher of water!). It's the simple things that make meal time less of a chore and more of a joy!!

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  10. I definitely say meal planning, specifically dinner is my most challenging stressful parts of the work/life balance. I struggle with wanting a well balanced HEALTHY meal, but something that can be done in a short amount of time or crockpot style. I am not good about planning or making ahead, and instead it always comes down to each night trying to decide what to fix.

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  11. Su, thank you for sharing your story! I have struggled for years with the GUILT of not running my home the way God wants me to. My husband supported me through Grad school so that I could fulfill my goals of becoming a therapist. Now, God has given me a flexible work schedule that I get to set myself--which leaves me with more time to be the best mother and wife I can be. I am so thankful for that!

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  12. Always so refreshing to read your posts and this one is no different! I think I always thought you were born a homemaker - that this was one of your talents (sorry, cleaning toilets is not much of a talent, huh?) - but you know what I mean, I hope! Nice to hear that this is one of your weaknesses, same as it is for many of us! Who keep taking your classes, hoping to get it together so that our home runs smoothly and is a place our families want to come home to! You always inspire me!
    Shannon E.

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  13. Su, you are wonderful. God has used you more than you know and can even imagine. Thank you for giving your dreams and life to him so you could help so many women. I was one of them. "Being intentional" really changed my life,especially after two kids , and the mundane staying home and doing the SAME THING EVERY DAY bit. I finally got it. So thank you. BTW, I am going to put up in our house the Harold Lee quote b.c it just sums it all up! Much love

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  14. So good to read your story Su.. love hearing how God has used you in so many people's lives! And how God has ushered you into your dreams by you laying it all down at Christ's feet. Such a great reminder for us all tonight!

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  15. This post makes me think of the BEAUTY of you laying down your dreams for His, and then Him giving them back to you. A great reminder for me, as I pursue some of the big dreams from my own entrpreneurial spirit! What I struggle with most is finding and sticking to a routine. I feel I work everywhere, all the time...doing the same chores that are never all the way done. But my house does not reflect the effort I feel I put into it. Always a fire to put out somewhere, a project that must be left incomplete in order to raise those small children...always a mess to hide somewhere!!
    Happy Anniversary!

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  16. What a great HIStory! Many times I have found in my life and see it in the people around me, when we try to go full steam ahead in our own strength with what God told us or showed us we are sorely disappointed. It is only when we die to ourselves, truly, understanding it is His way, His kingdom and His purpose that we can see His dream unfold in our lives. Photography is that for me, and I've got it on the altar :o)
    Looking forward to class, Happy Anniversary!

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  17. I came to your couponing class. Now that I get this "stock" I need ideas what do to with it. You meal planning class would really help me with the next step. I have been following you for the past 2.5 yrs since you spoke at our church-Bay Leaf. I am always amazed at what you have done. Thanks.

    LE

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  18. I'm thankful for the way God has directed your life. You are an inspiration to me. This blog has helped me be more intentional in not only my home but also in the way I teach (high school math). Basically to have a vision of what a home or classroom environment should be and then be intentional (in actions, words, prayers, etc) about making it that way. I really appreciate that.
    ~Jeannette C.

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  19. I feel the same way...and when I begin to have bigger dreams I look at my home and think...WHAT A MESS. The Matthew quote your shared really speaks to me. What an amazing testimony!

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  20. Thanks for sharing this story! It was a real blessing to me! I really struggle with keeping the house clean and keeping up with laundry.
    Laura Thomas

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  21. My struggle is...keeping up with the laundry. It seems to multiply during the night.

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  22. I struggle with all the domestic tasks, but especially laundry.
    Amy Harris

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  23. Thank you! I feel like I have an entrepreneur calling too and struggle with it and my family life.

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  24. I related to this post because I too was always thinking that keeping my house running was just one big chore. I had a baby last year, and up until then I worked full time outside of the home. Now that I am a SAHM, I know that I need to do a better job keeping up our home and I am trying to change my frame of mind. The financial strain of quitting my full time job has started to affect us and I know I need to do my part to help. I took both your couponing class and your meal planning class via a SAHM group that I am a part of. Cooking is definitely the thing I struggle most with, but I am about to make my fourth meal this week (a record I think!) and I started my couponing this week too. I too strive to build an intentional home!! Thank you for all of your help!

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