God sure does have a plan that's greater than anything we could ever fathom, I can tell you that much. I grew up in a home where we didn't miss church - it was a non-negotiable. It was our Sunday morning routine and to me, it was only that. I didn't necessarily care to go, I just did.. because that's what we did. My mom, bless her heart, never gave up on me. She never turned me over to the world and while I hated it at the time, I can't even find words to thank her for it now. We'd argue, as mom and teenage daughter do, and I remember that *every single time* she'd quote Scripture at me and that was the secret - I couldn't argue with God's Word and she knew it. I remember how infuriating it was, but now that I'm a mom myself, I see that there's just no better tactic.
Over the years, I talked the talk. I lived the vicious cycle of what I thought was true salvation. You know, where you live your life however you want and then when something goes wrong, you go running to God, begging Him to fix it - only to foolishly make yourself believe that God doesn't know what you're doing - and then when everything is fine again, you quickly forget about Him. I lived that for so many years that my heart literally breaks now when I see people doing that. Not because I'm judging them, but because I was there. My heart breaks for what they're missing out on if they were to truly submit to Him. My heart breaks for His heart because of what I did to Him and what so many are doing to Him. I lived the life where I thought of Him zero times a day, but still shared memes and posts on social media that made everyone think I was living for Him. I rarely had conversations with Him, if I did, it's because I needed Him to do something for me or I had just started feeling guilty that I hadn't in a while.
And to think that even after years of only calling His name when I felt like I needed Him and then running the opposite way as soon as my selfish heart was content again... He never gave up on me.
My husband and I got married in May of 2017 and Kohen was born in September of 2018, Oakley in January of 2021. I’ll go into this more in another post, but Kohen was the main vessel that God used in my life to form this little business. When K was born, my life changed drastically. I know that's cliché, but it's much more than that. Sure, life wasn't about me anymore, sleep was rare (he's almost three now and he still isn't a good sleeper, so there's that) and motherhood was hard. But God wrecked my heart in the best way possible. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to the fact that God had trusted me with this precious life - for His glory. Quickly I became more and more aware of the Holy Spirit's nudges, whether it was convicting me of a show that wasn't honoring God or a characteristic within myself that wasn't setting a Godly example for my son.
*Disclaimer - I still struggle with that last part. Every day God teaches me something about myself through my own words to Kohen. Even something as simple as me telling him to be kind to his sister when I was most definitely not kind in the way I reacted to him 10 seconds before that when he was bugging her. He has a way of smacking ya straight in the feeler by making you examine your own actions while correcting someone else's!*
I struggled with some postpartum depression for a little while after Kohen was born and that was when God truly shook me. I found myself crying multiple times an hour but I didn't even know why! I had this darkness hovering over me that I couldn't pinpoint, but it was terrible. I had a brand new precious baby boy that God had given us laying in my arms, but I still felt sad, miserable, upset.. completely lacking the joy that I had expected to feel when I had a newborn. I remember sitting on our couch one day after my husband had gone back to work, tears streaming down my face. Suddenly, I felt this gentle whisper in my heart and mind that said something along these lines, "The enemy is trying to steal every ounce of the joy that I've just blessed you with. Satan knows that as long as you allow him to make you feel this way, that you won't enjoy my blessings to the fullness that I've intended. How long will you let him do that?"
At that very moment, my life changed in the best way possible, in a way that I hadn't ever imagined. Instantly I cried even harder (obviously), but it was a different kind of cry. It was a, "I'm so sorry, God," type of cry. It turned into a, "Thank You for Your goodness and blessings and purpose for my life and my son's," type of cry. From that moment forward, I've honestly, truly submitted my every single day to Christ. I fail a lot and slip up a whole lot more than I like to admit, but praise GOD that we serve a forgiving God! If He expected perfection out of us, He wouldn't have died for us. What a promise to rest in, am I right?!
Fast forward about two years. I had been running Urban Rose Designs and God blessed it every step of the way, don't get me wrong. He blessed us and I was able to quit my full-time job but still run a business from home so I could stay home with Kohen. He provided for us financially because we decided to take a leap of faith and trust Him with our finances so I could stay home with our son. I knew God had blessed me with the talent of calligraphy, but I wasn't sure how to glorify Him through it. I was all over the place, from random custom orders to wedding and event signage to goods in the baby market.. just everywhere. I did enjoy it, but over time, I realized that two things were wrong:
1. I wasn't consistently glorifying Him with the talent He gave me and
2. I was starting to get so stressed out with orders and quick turnaround times that I was taking it out on my family and spending much less time with Kohen than I wanted to because I had a few days to make things on the spot, with more and more orders stacking up in my cue. (A blessing and nothing short of it, but it just wasn't filling my cup.)
So when Oakley was born at the beginning of 2021, I had shut down my Etsy shop for "maternity leave" or whatever, haha. By the time she was two months old, my mind had been made up. I wasn't going to try and do that again with two kids. I could barely find time to spend time with one, much less trying to be home alone with a twonager and a newborn and find time to work. Nope, just wasn't happening. My children mean more to me than that and ultimately, that's my personal stance for my family so that's what was going to happen.
Of course there were the conversations of, "Okay so what about money...lol?" But again.. God. I had no idea what was coming my way, but Isaac + Elizabeth was a 3am wake up call from Christ Himself. I had been praying about a way to honor Him with my abilities and talents but also a way to help provide for my family.. and ALSO a way to run a business without taking so much time from my children. He had a plan and little did I know, He was getting ready to slowly reveal it to me.
Kohen's always been a learner, not so much an adventurer. He's never been one to entertain himself, he wants to be challenged and interacted with. He craves learning new things, always has. If he's not learning, he's actually more likely to get in trouble. So as I'd work with him, I'd notice his love for learning evolve. We went through this CRAZY puzzle stage. Like truly, it was so short lived that I wholeheartedly believe that it was 100% the hand of God using that to show me what He wanted from me.
We bought him new puzzles all the time, I mean he's two and doing 72 piece puzzles by himself. But once he's got it memorized, he's done with it. So, it took about two weeks and 37 different puzzles and 2308121 hours of doing puzzles before he was like, "Eh, I'm done with that."
But slowly, God started showing me how to incorporate His Word and principles into toys and learning tools like puzzles. He fired idea after idea at me so quickly that I had napkins and paper towels all over the office with scribbles (I can't find my phone half of the day anyways, so it's all I had to work with, lol) and pictures.
So over time, I began making these puzzles and things for Kohen to play with and test out. He absolutely loved them. I think he asks to do the ABC's of the Bible at least once a day, even though he knows it like the back of his hand. But I noticed this strong correlation between how God was making everything make sense: I knew the business, whatever it was, needed to be geared toward children and parents that are seeking to raise their children in Christ and how God used what HE used to change MY life to show me what He wanted from me.
The name is so special because Kohen Isaac and Oakley Elizabeth are our precious little gifts straight from the hand of God and believe it or not, they're who He has used to get us to where we are today.