"Just Another Piece of the Puzzle!"

God is so strategic with His plans for our life! His way of using different situations at different time periods, all to put them together to make one perfect fit simply amazes me! When I became unemployed it left me torn between happiness and fear. The happiness came from finally being free from the never ending stress of the corporate world. Because for a very long time, I had lost all joy at my job and was constantly praying and writing in my prayer journal for a breakthrough. I had been praying for so long, that when the breakthrough actually happened I wasn’t prepared for it, and that’s when fear came in. I was afraid that out of all those years of trying to prove who I was that I would find myself searching for something new and still feel overlooked, undervalued and not enough.

I had to understand that even when nothing is perfect in my life… it’s exactly where God needs it to be. You know how sometimes you can try to put a puzzle together and have the sides complete and the top left corner… but the middle is still a little tricky, where you have to keep looking back at the box cover to see what piece should go where. That’s how Life is! Sometimes we can have certain areas of our life that we feel like is all together but can’t figure out why other parts we are completely struggling with! That’s because God has it all scattered out and wants you to Trust Him to give you the next piece.

I was almost a year in, of being unemployed, and I was trying so hard to embrace the season of not working but something deep down inside of me knew that I couldn’t get too attached to this lifestyle that I wanted so bad. My husband and I often had random conversations talking and daydreaming about how we wish this could be permanent. We wished that it could be permanent of me being a stay-at-home mom and still working from home doing what I loved to do.

Have you ever prayed about something and when God actually gave it to you, you knew that receiving that blessing was the grand finale and it made everything seem complete? That’s how I felt, when God blessed me with a work-from-home job. I just knew that it was our answered prayer! It seemed simply perfect for me… but it wasn’t long until I realized that it was “just another piece of the puzzle.”

See, I had everything all set so I thought. I had a new job, had the ability to spend quality time with my children, and was able to take care of home and my husband the way I’ve always dreamed of. For me, this was the good life…I had everything I prayed for. Every day I woke up, I was so grateful for this new opportunity!

I had a paid training period for five weeks. So, for those five weeks, I was in super mommy mode and let me just tell you, I was killing it! My training hours were from 6:00am-2:30 pm, so I would wake up at 4:30am to spend time with God, Breastfeed Kayden, Set-up his bassinet near my computer, set up Karter’s highchair near the computer as well and then straighten up the house a little bit before I clocked in. I would have all of their toys and swings right next to me, so as I listened to the teacher during the day, I could just reach over and take care of their needs. Throughout the day, they gave us two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch (breakfast) and let me just tell ya’ll… I was zipping and zooming through the house on those breaks. In 15 minutes, I would change both babies’ diapers, warm up Karter food, set it up for him to eat and breastfeed Kayden again. Even while I was in training I would have Karter practice sitting on the potty! Somebody give me a cookie, hand clap or something! But, what I was most proud of was what I accomplished on my 30 minute lunches. I would get in the kitchen and cook a grand breakfast for my husband each and every morning…I’m talking about pancakes from scratch, eggs, bacon, hash browns and good ole southern salmon croquettes. I would be so proud of myself! For 5 weeks straight I was on time for work every morning (even though it was just in my living room). I took training seriously and did not abuse the fact that I was at home. I was disciplined to sit there and actually participate in the class and learn as much as I could. Every morning that I woke up, I thanked God for allowing me to be home and still make money! A complete win-win situation!

Well, all that came to an abrupt end on the very 1st day of me actually working that was not training. It quickly turned from excitement to a total dislike of the virtual setting. It was different being by myself learning how to help a customer but when it was time to actually help customers I didn’t know I would always have to go through a supervisor to get things approved that I was trying to do. So, it wasn’t like me just working and solving issues. On two separate occasions, but all on the same day, I ran into an issue where the supervisor who was supposed to approve my request for what I was doing completely left me high and dry and the customer was left with the issue unresolved, dissatisfied and extremely upset all because the supervisor made the decision to not help me. So it had me thinking to myself like “Wait a minute, so in order for me to help others it all depended on how another human was feeling on that day." So if they were having a bad day, it would be taken out on the customer. Then, I am supposed to be okay with that and just say “oh well, not my problem”… Yeah, sorry that was not me, that’s not the kind of person I am. I actually care about the customer even if the supervisor doesn’t, so that job was not a good fit for me. There was no way that I could sit behind a desk for 8 hours faking it like I was helping people when everything in my heart was to be of service and see results.

So, I was torn between happiness and fear yet again. Happiness was finally getting what I wanted of staying home and working but the fear was quitting this job and being back at square one. I spent that whole night writing in my prayer journal asking God to show me what to do! I wrote:

“Dear God, I am so sorry! Please forgive me if it seems as though I am being ungrateful for the job you have blessed me with! Please tell me what to do, because I honestly don’t like this job anymore…make it so that I can actually help people and make a difference in their life even if it’s just in a small way. Deep down in my heart, I want to be of service to people! This job is not it.”

Two days later, I had a talk with my husband and he gave me the okay to quit that job whenever I felt like it, which was a relief because I didn’t want him to think that I couldn’t handle pressure just because it wasn’t what I expected. But with my husband understanding how I felt and wanted me to be happy made it better! So, I prayed about it with a sincere heart and resigned. Minutes later, I felt an extreme amount of excitement. Like something was on Fire on the inside of me! At the same moment I was quitting my job, God gave me complete clarity and an unbelievable burst of drive and motivation to officially start my coaching business that I had been hesitate and sitting on for years. God’s business plan & exit strategy is far greater than anything we could ever try to do on our own.

It was at that moment that God gave me a complete game plan of how I could work for myself and guess what… still stay at home. God was showing me how his word is true that says “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16). I didn’t even know that a piece of the puzzle, included what I was doing in 2017. I was spending countless hours reading books, taking online courses, listening to webinars, watching videos and vigorously working on areas that I knew needed to be improved if I wanted God to use me for His Glory. Still working my corporate job, I was preparing for my gift to make room! I was preparing to birth something that I had no idea would evolve into a business. I was so focused on writing a book and becoming an author that I didn’t see what God was doing all along. I didn’t understand until now that all of that hard work, dedication and determination to perfect my craft was “Just another piece of the puzzle.”

See, what I learned is that we shouldn’t rush what God is doing or rush a change in our lives because God has us exactly where we need to be. I literally felt God speak to my spirit and say:

"Shantia, I needed you to experience having a work-from- home job so that I could see how disciplined and obedient you would be in balancing out all of your roles as a woman of God, wife and mother!"

See, God can trust me with a business because I have the "stomach" for it and not just an "appetite." I don’t mind the hard work, stress, and early morning or late nights that come with being an entrepreneur. But, the one thing that I believe God saw as the icing on the cake, was seeing how I still was waking up putting Him 1st, making His time priority over everything else. With everything I was doing no matter if it was waking up at the wee morning hours to clock in to a job, or if it was staying up late taking classes and learning I was keeping God as the center of my purpose and made sure God got His time before I did anything else! That was the Key!

So as you wait for change to come in your life, know that the things you are going through now may very well be “just another piece of the puzzle” to what is greater to come. As you write in your prayer journal, ask God to help you trust His will and His way! Ask Him not to allow you to put your hand in and mess up what He is doing. I truly thank God for how He tests me with trials and tribulations and for how He aligns things up in my life. Just like the word says “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71) For everything that I thought was a setback… God used it as a setup!

So as you experience defeat, hurt, pain and loss in life, don’t just "go" through them… "grow" through them! How you treat one blessing could very well be “just another piece” you need for a bigger blessing God has in store for you. So, even while you don’t understand it… God is using your tears, your brokenness and your fears all to complete the puzzle of your life. Trust God with it wholeheartedly!

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