Freedom to Wrestle

Financial FreedomNoelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

Many many years ago God told me I would be wealthy one day.  This blog is not a debate about how God speaks to us.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that it came out of nowhere and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was Him.  I was horribly poor at the time and when I heard it, my head immediately jerked up to look at the sky and I muttered, “Well don’t give it to me now, I can’t be trusted with it.”  Despite the fact that I had very little, whenever I did get something extra I spent it on clothes, books, movies…you get the idea.  Credit cards were my friend. Money was used to fund my emotional needs and compulsions.  In a nutshell, I knew I was not to be trusted with a lot of resources.

Despite my financial dysfunction, I did know that I was only to be a steward of whatever resources God gave me. Saying I would be wealthy was a fallacy of sorts because I knew that as a steward of a lot of money, it would be God’s and not mine.  Over the years I have never doubted what I heard and I was never anxious to see the fulfillment of the word because I had so much to learn in that area.  It has taken the almost 15 years to learn financial surrender and trust and recently those lessons have been refined by some fire! (The book I’m working on and workshop String of Pearls is planning are both based on these lessons.)  Much of our current circumstances are consequences of the years that I didn’t trust God for financial provision.  Even though I have not lived on credit for quite awhile now, we are still digging out of the debt hole that came because I wanted what I wanted and didn’t trust God to supply. And truly, the debt is insurmountable in our current circumstances.

Recently I realized that every financial lesson I’m aware of God putting in front of me, I have surrendered to and been faithful to.  I do not spend compulsively, I pray about purchases big and small before making them…Seriously, I ask permission before buying ice cream.  We don’t trust in debt or use credit cards.  If we can’t pay cash we don’t get it. The lessons continue and I’m not perfect by far, but I am surrendered. For the first time since hearing that word from God I have felt that I would be able to be a trustworthy steward.  I started looking to God for the fulfillment of His promise to me.

And then Marcel got laid off.  We lived on savings for almost 6 months always expecting that any day, God was going to show up with our miracle.

I was reading in Jeremiah 20:7-12 this morning and I feel like him right now.  God’s words to me burn in my belly, but right now they look absolutely foolish.  When I see my husband’s pain and questions I ache. When I realize that without any debt we would be just fine I struggle with intense shame for the moments when a meal at J. Alexanders was more important than trusting God.

So I will not make that mistake again.  This blog series is a defiant proclamation that I will trust even if the heavens fall.  I refuse to live a Christian walk that is not sold out in dependence on God’s promises and I demand and expect Him to fulfill them.  Even if I limp the rest of my life, I will not let go until God blesses me.  So keep reading this series and see how God handles that!

What are the ways you are desperate for God to show up right now?

What blessing is worth wrestling/limping for?

Surprise Gift On the Way!!!

Recording for our free gift!

There are many exciting things happening here at the String of Pearls blog and we wanted to give you just a taste of it. Hopefully, this will get you full of anticipation for what is around the corner!

Recently we have been booked to be guests on the radio show The Mind of the Matter. This particular show is on women entrepreneur’s and we are so excited to be able to share with a wider audience about the mission of our business.

When we booked this particular appearance, we continued some prayers that had started a few weeks ago, about wanting to offer the women who subscribe to our blog a gift of some sort. Most of you have probably noticed that websites will ask you to sign up for updates etc. and sometimes they will offer some sort of free gift. We wanted our gift to be something that would offer true value to the women on our blog and we decided the best time to launch this gift was in conjunction with the radio show.

Steve Hickman was amazing in helping me get comfortable and ready to record.
It was a gift getting to work with him

Steve Hickman was amazing in helping me get comfortable and ready to record.
It was a gift getting to work with him

There was a rub though; we had no idea what our free gift should be. In all honesty, I began to panic a bit and there’s nothing like a little panic to ruin a good idea! The day after my panic I remembered that we have dedicated this thing to God. Beyond that, He gave us the idea for the blog in the first place! I decided I would do some consulting with Him.

The first item on the agenda was to get quiet and still the panic. This was a tall order but after some journaling, talking with friends, prayer, etc. The peace came back. And a few moments after the peace came back, so did the idea.

We don’t plan to tell you exactly what it is today. That would ruin the surprise! But we will give you a few hints through the pictures and will let you know that the surprise will be available on June 7 and afterward, for those of you who subscribe to the blog. We feel God sent the idea for this, and actually, it is something my clients have been asking me to do for years, which makes it doubly exciting!

We will also post a notice and send out emails to remind you on June 7, when the radio show will air. We hope that you will send the link to all your friends and spread the word about what String of Pearls is doing!

Fishers of Women

As promised everyone, here is Kathy’s first blog!  We are so excited to have her wisdom to add and more valuable content for our blog!  Please make sure to leave her a comment and welcome her to our writing circle. :)
I discovered I was an entrepreneur after working about one month in the hospital following my graduation from college with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Was this what I had to look forward to the rest of my life?  Getting up before daylight and running the floors of the hospital, dealing with the stress of demanding doctors and sick patients and LPN’s that were not nice to me.  I can remember the exhaustion I felt at the end of my shift knowing I was going to get up and do it all over the next day.  
I longed to be in charge of my own schedule, be my own boss, and to determine my working hours.  After twelve years of nursing my big break finally came when I became pregnant and then two and a half years later pregnant again.  This was my ticket to stay home and care for our two beautiful daughters. 
When my girls were school age I began contemplating heading back to the hospital. Fortunately God rescued me and led me to my entrepreneur niche.  That was 15 years ago and I continue to enjoy the autonomy, friendships, personal and spiritual growth that it has provided.
String of Pearls is about women entrepreneurs that are connected to each other and are developing friendships while loving, supporting and empowering each other to grow.  If you are like I was, and looking for your niche, I would like to encourage you to take a look at our business team. We are “fishers of women”, which I will also refer to as “fishers of pearls”.  Pearls are very rare and valuable and not easy to find because they are frequently found on the bottom of the ocean concealed in an oyster shell.  
We are fishing for beautiful pearls that are concealed in their own unique shell and are longing to be discovered and set free.  Some of you may have hit bottom and are aching for change, more autonomy and are weary of your j.o.b. (just over broke).  Others may want to stay at home with your children while some are seeking friendship, support and the desire to do something that truly makes a difference in the lives of others. 
Regardless of your stage in life, our team would like to challenge you to break free from your shell and become the beautiful pearl you were created to be.  Join our movement of woman who are discovering who they are, what they want and are committed to make it happen. 
As we take this journey together our mission is to teach and mentor women to become physically, spiritually, and emotionally healthy, to be fulfilled and prosperous in every area of their life, living a balanced, joyful life and to create a “String of Pearls” that extends around the world.
In the coming weeks we will be launching a more formal offer for those of you who have been reading our blog and are interested in this opportunity.  Stay tuned!  We are looking forward to sharing with you!
Kathy Hammond

The Name String of Pearls

The name for our team is String of Pearls and we wanted to tell you a little bit about how that name came about.  We feel as if God gave us the name and in that way it is extremely significant.
Our team started to come together on our way to Dallas for a conference for a business we are in.  Kathy and Gale had been in it for many years and I had just joined.  We decided to take a road trip and had 13 hours together in a car.  We laughed about how it must have been the first time in history where people were concerned 13 hours wouldn’t be enough to talk about everything they needed. 
We had a fantastic time at the conference.  In random moments throughout our time together pearls came up in some form or fashion.  Initially we didn’t pay much attention, but later it became too regular not to notice.
Months later we began to work on our first internet launch.  Those of you who follow our blog will likely hear more about this as we go.  It is a cornerstone of our team and our business.  We were praying about what name we should use for our team members and we decided to research pearls a little more.  We looked it up in the dictionary and were very excited about what we found… 
“A small bead composed of a mineral deposited in concentric layers as a protective coating around an irritating foreign object.  Valued as a gem when lustrous and finely colored.  Something precious or choice; the finest example of anything.”  

How many of us have had irritating foreign objects in our lives?  We think it would be safe to say all of us.  With a pearl though, this object has become the source of great beauty and value.  We know what some of you are thinking…”I’m not lustrous or finely colored.”  

Don’t worry, neither is an oyster.  It takes time to develop a pearl and really, when it comes down to it, that is what our team is about.  Developing pearls.  We all have the capacity.  It is our choices that grow us into pearls.  What are we going to do with our irritating foreign objects?  Will we stay victims?  Constantly scratching and complaining?  Will we try to ignore it and walk with limps?  Or will we do the work it takes to make that foreign object a thing of beauty and value in our lives and in the lives of others.  Will we take our innate value and preciousness as children of God and let it be molded into the finest example of anything?  If this is something you long for, this blog might just be for you.