“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:7-12
I have had the dream on my heart to open a bakery and have my cookbook published since February 2010. So much has happened and changed as time has passed and I've almost given up on my dreams several times. Each time I was about to just say, 'forget it! this is never going to happen. I've got no money, no one would publish my book, I don't know how to run a business, I've got no formal cooking training'...on and on the negativity would go and get me down. Each and every time, God would step in with encouragement from someone, from church, from facebook, my daily study, from music, from twitter...God can reach out to us from anywhere! It would be a verse from scripture, from a song, a message from a sermon...etc that God would remind me that He is bigger than my shortcomings, He is greater than the world, and I shouldn't measure my abilities by the world's standards but I should instead rely on His strengths, wisdom, knowledge, and provision. I've been learning to see my dreams from God's perspective, to look at the possibilities according to God's power, and to trust in God's promises because of His faithfulness that I have experienced by walking with Him.
It's amazing, I've been applying the messages preached by my pastors at church to my life – actually following their advice and I'm seeing God move in my life, just like they said He would. It all started with seeking Him first. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” Luke 12:29-31 has been my mantra over the last 6 years. I've really been working on making this true for my life, putting God first in everything. This year I've learned to put Him first in my finances and my marriage. This season that my husband and I are going through has really been life changing. See, we are going through it together, each of us dealing with different, individual issues and shared issues, as well. The awesome part is that in Christ, we have the strength to do life together, to support each other, love each other, and hold each other accountable with a spirit of love instead of condemnation.
Pastor Matthew Barnett from the LA Dream Center preached last weekend on Matthew 7:7,8, the way he explained this passage of scripture had a lasting impact on my prayer life. I've learned just to ask God for what I need – I don't need to have things perfect before I ask, I don't need to say the words in a perfect order or in a perfect, eloquent way. I just need to share what's on my heart and what's on my mind with God; “Ask and you shall receive”.
I've learned that looking towards God, keeping my eyes on Jesus, seeking after God's heart will help my heart's desires to line up with God's desires for me. I will hear God and be able to respond to Him when I am continually praying and talking to Him throughout the day and by reading His word to renew my mind and heart daily. “Seek and you will find(HIM)”. Instead of seeking out my own way to make my dreams come true, in seeking God, He will take my dreams beyond what I could ever do myself!
The doors that God has opened and closed during this time have been a blessing. I've learned to wait on Him instead of barging in or slamming doors, which I've been really good at in the past. I realize now that so many more things are possible with God than without Him. “Nothing is impossible with God.” I had to think - I can do xyz on my own and hope for the best or I can bring this to God, do this His way and have His resources and power involved to make my dreams so much more than I could ever ask or imagine. I've been waiting on God to show me the best way to get my bakery off of the ground. I don't have any financial resources for start-up cash, I have no access to a commercial kitchen, and in Florida it has been illegal to operate a home bakery business. I've been discussing this with God, searching for a solution, and networking with others to see what doors would open for me. The only commercial kitchen that I've found so far, is 40 minutes from my house and with 4 kids at home for the summer that would make it nearly impossible to make that commute worthwhile. I was ready to give up, again! I found out yesterday, that a new piece of legislation was passed on July 1st called the Cottage Food Legislation that now allows home based bakeries to operate in the State of Florida! This is huge for me! I can now do baked goods to sell at farmer's markets and for the general public! This is the start that I've been waiting for. God moved in an unexpected way. I never would have thought that the law would change, I assumed God would move in a different way and I see now that this is exactly the best way to start making money and getting my feet wet serving the public.
I wanted to share this answer to prayer with all of you because I believe that in order to bring God the glory He deserves, we should share our hardships and victories with others. I was ready to start putting in job applications at Publix or restaurants around town. We have been struggling financially this summer and as a stay-at-home mom I not bringing in any money to help with the bills. I felt like I was going to have to put everything on hold in order to make sure my kids have enough to eat but instead of panicking, I prayed. God gave me the strength to hold on to my dream and He has provided the way and the provision for us! God is so good, He is good ALL the time!
I'm also praying to get my cookbook published, it is a daunting task, writing a book proposal but by the grace of God I've been putting one together. Now I just have to find someone that wants to read it! Amen! That is a blog for another time...
Please check out my new blog, it's one for my cookbook at thecookingactivist.wordpress.com.
Stay tuned for more about my bakery and my book! Until next time...