This blog entry may be more for my own heart as a I process how I feel the Lord leading me, but I want to share my thoughts openly as so many of you (family, team and clients) have been an integral part of Gathered for years.
Starting in October 2019, I began feeling a little nudge from the Lord that I needed to slow down. The timing was at best comical and at worst confusing, because we were in the middle of our busiest fall wedding season ever. With every weekend booked until Thanksgiving, I pushed the nudges to the side.
The "nudges" got a little louder. In November, I had excruciating back pain for a few days. I honestly thought I had kidney stones it was so sharp and sudden. I went to the doctor and he said, "No, you're just overworking your back." Again, not what I wanted to hear (better than having kidney stones, but still...) I didn't have time to take a break. Around that time, I remember Campbell (my oldest) ask me one night why I was always in a hurry. No joke. She was asking me why I was always rushing them to take a bath, brush their teeth, etc. My sense of stress and hurry was leaking out onto her and I was sad and embarrassed by her assessment of me.
After Thanksgiving, I started reading a book that I got in a swag bag from the IF: Gathering on a whim. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. Honestly, it was just laying on my nightstand. But I think God -in His kindness- divinely had me pick up that book at that time. The book has rocked my world, convicted me and given words to the deep longings of my soul that I've been suppressing.
Comer writes how "hurry" is a violence against the soul and to fight back we must implement the tools that Christ used himself-- silence, solitude, Sabbath and the idea of "slowing." None of these disciplines are easy or come naturally to me. But I could feel the Lord ministering to my tired, weary heart and I knew He was asking me to lay down my hurry. There was a podcast, a sermon and a few other not-so-random things that I couldn't deny the Lord speaking to me. So, if you couldn't tell already, I'm pushing pause on Gathered.
Now, I don't think Gathered or flowers or weddings + events are the cause of hurry. Really, I think its me. It's how I was handling the stress, the physical labor and the mental load (of being mom and business owner) that created the issue. I so want to be the girl who can "handle it all," but I am not. And there is freedom in owning my limitations.
God birthed the idea for Gathered (hey, even the name itself!) when I needed something to call my own, to give me purpose. It has been much more than a creative outlet or small business. Gathered has brought JOY. With Evan's support and my parents cheering me on, this dream took off. It brought me the Gathered Team (which I can't type about without crying). We've done more than I ever envisioned when this dream was being fleshed out in the drafty sunroom of our Denton house. I have learned so much about myself, grown in confidence, tried new things, figured out taxes and invoicing and all the excel sheets, challenged my skills, and built something that I am proud of. I am so glad I pushed myself and dreamed enough to do what felt scary at the time--it has been more than worth it.
My prayer is that God will give me a new vision. I'm calling it a "pause" or a "break" because I don't see myself not working with flowers in the future--I just think it will look different. Slower. But I'm not about to try and guess what that might be. The Lord got my attention and I'm looking to Him for the next steps. A wise friend told me a few months ago that maybe the Lord was asking me to lay Gathered on the altar much like Abraham placed Isaac on one and that maybe He would provide a ram or maybe he wouldn't -- but ultimately God wants my heart...my obedience...my faith.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 says to "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life." Not important. Not impressive. Just quiet. And that's where I want to be. To live deliberately and to make space to hear from Him.
If you've read all of this - thank you.
If you're a past client-- words cannot express how grateful I am to have been a part of your event. Gathered was able to design beautiful things because of you!
To my friends who have been loyal and loving since the beginning-- thanks for going on this wild ride with me and not thinking I was crazy. Your encouragement has sustained me.
Mom- thanks for being my #1. I'll miss our midnight "clean up crew" rides most. You're the friend every girl needs.
Evan- Gathered wouldn't be anything without you. Seriously. You pushed me past my fear and made me feel capable. You sacrificed more than anyone for my dream to come true and I'm forever grateful. Thank you for giving up your weekends and sharing business advice. I am lucky to have you.