Work as Overflow

Recently I read some truth about Work as Overflow. It was the perfect reminder that rather than feeling overwhelmed by the work and to dos, we can be overwhelmed with HIS LOVE. Rather than overworking, striving, hustling, we can let our work be an outpouring and overflow of HIS goodness and kindness. A reminder that HE equips us for what He calls us to. I'm going into it trying to stay focused on OVERFLOW rather than Overwork.

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Deepest Love - Good Friday

I am always so moved in the way Jesus shows up and changes hearts with the way He moves and works during the season of Lent, right into Holy Week. God paradoxically uses the events of Good Friday to become something so eternally beautiful. In the fullness of truth it was God’s will and plan for Jesus to go the cross in the greatest act of sacrifice so that we might have life. In the ‘Drama of Scripture’ it says that “Jesus chose the hard road into the kingdom: the road of humble service, self-giving love and sacrificial suffering. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross.” God thirsts for us to open our hearts and turn our faces towards him- not just during Holy Week or on Easter but always.

Why is Good Friday good anyways? Jesus died… how is that good? At first, it of course does not seem good, after all Jesus did die. But oh how glorious that event was because of what it means for us today! Only God could use Good Friday and Christ’s crucifixion, something so tragic and seemingly terrible to be something so eternally beautiful. The good news of Good Friday is that it is finished. We are so radically loved by God, the deepest sort of love that while we were still sinners, God gave us His son to die for us. God’s light shines through all darkness, Jesus conquered death by His work on the cross. We may try to get to Him, but instead he comes to us, He wishes to be with us. He entered into death and darkness so that we won’t have to. This indeed is the deepest love, bringing Victory and Salvation.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

“He made Him to be sin who knew no sin” -1 Corinthians 5:21. He hung on a cross, bled for you and me, took on our sins into himself and  in the darkest hour He breathed His last breath saying: “It is finished”-John 19:30. But, that is the Good News of Good Friday… There is nothing more we have to do, all the work has been done by Christ on the  cross. He paid the price for our sins and died in our place. If we follow Jesus and accept Him in our hearts there is a very beautiful ending.

Jesus is the living water that is the spring to eternal life. Thirst for Jesus because he thirsts for you. Keep on entering with confidence and boldness into the presence of God- draw from him the endless resources available to us in Jesus Christ. If God is inviting us to participate in his life through Jesus as our High Priest and Mediator why would we not take him up on his offer?- He is God enough to save and man enough to understand us. Who do you say that Jesus is?

God does indeed work all things together for good (Romans 8:28) all for his Glory (Philippians 2:13). Even something seemingly bad, Christ’s crucifixion, was actually for good and it is eternally beautiful. We can rejoice because we know the best part of the story is coming… Sunday is coming… when Jesus is resurrected and conquers death on Easter!

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Friday Introduction to Refined Heart Living

Happy Friday Introductions! It's been a while since I've shared more about my business or even wrote a blog post for that matter. I thought I would share more of the story behind Refined Heart Living and what I do. Personally, I am a creative, business minded gal that went from the corporate world craziness, to entrepreneur, starting my own business with the guidance of God’s hand. I am the owner and creator of Refined Heart Living, LLC where I am an Independent Brand Rep. I loves Jesus and encouraging women about how God works to refine our hearts and lives to be more like Him. I have been writing and blogging for a few years but just started the Refined Hear Blog last August. Now grab a cup of coffee and listen in to more of my story behind my business and what I do!

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It was April of 2014 and I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time. I was walking through beautiful, endless tulip fields in Woodburn, Oregon.  I had decided to take a day trip adventure on my own and was fascinated by the colors and sheer beauty of God’s creation. I spent time wandering, praying, & reflecting. It was a week after Easter and Luke 24:32 kept running through my mind “They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” I thought about Jesus coming to these men after the resurrection and the way their hearts were burning, He had opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and had left them with a fervency for the word. I can recall reading a passage from She Reads Truth saying “Do we continue down the road as a different person because we walk with Jesus?” I kept thinking about how God uses challenges to help us grow- through our weakness we are made strong through Christ’s power and grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). How the fervency of God can burn in our hearts, this burning that brings about refining of our hearts into His image. We can come boldly to Jesus with our challenges, prayers, dreams, desires knowing that He walks with us and knows our prayers before we even ask.

I didn’t truly realize what it would become at the time, but this tulip field adventure was the start of God doing something in my heart. After this adventure, I started using the phrase “Refined Heart” to talk about refining of my own heart that God was doing through the word and my circumstances. The way that God has continued to move over the last several years, bringing callings, dreams, visions, to fruition has left me in awe. This was just the small beginning to using the phrase “Refined Heart” that has now transformed into the name of my Website, Blog and Business, Refined Heart Living.

Fast forward three years, and I found myself burnt out and struggling for a way out of the corporate world, after nearly six years. The very job that moved me to Oregon, and back again to Ohio, helped to grow my faith, my skills, my experiences, and ultimately my trust in God’s plan, timing and fulfillment to His promises, had left me dried up and dreaming of new beginnings. I left my corporate job in February of 2017, married the love of my life a month later in March (yay for one year of marriage!) and that same month, moved across the state to what I will call a “smaller” town.  There was so much excitement, so many new beginnings, my heart, mind, body and soul found rest, freedom, joy and so much peace. But then, I was left asking the Lord, “now what?”

God started to put a new vision and dream on my heart, and so I decided to slowly start building my own business. Refined Heart Living started as just the name of my website, blog & social media platform, a space for me to share my heart and encourage others. Then, I felt God leading me to have it be the name of my business as well, knowing that for me, my faith and work are so intertwined. You see, I work for the Lord first, to bring Him glory and work to serve my customers second. In my business, I independently represent a portfolio of brands such as candles, books, cards, jewelry and other gift items where I wholesale the lines to retail locations across the state of Ohio such as boutiques, gift shops. bakeries, flower shops, hospital gift shops, among others. [you can take a look at the newly updated "Work With Me" tab to learn more about the brands I represent, and to see their websites and catalogs!] I work from home some days and other days I am on the road traveling to see customers. I carry samples and catalogs with me, meet with customers and ultimately work to serve my stores, customers, and brands well, helping to share the love and light of Jesus in my interactions and service.

Refined Heart Living means to live in such a way to continually be refined in heart and refine others, in order to live better and more boldly for the Lord, our families, friends & customers- those we live with, work with and those we get to love & serve daily. I want the Refined Heart Blog to be a place where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee. To read the blog and be encouraged either in spirit, in heart or in truth, in life, business or in faith. I want to share my heart, my stories and create a safe space of community while encouraging women and refining hearts to live well – right where they are – for not just the kingdom of God, but for those we get to serve and interact with on a daily basis. It’s about offering grace to ourselves & each other, but most importantly, it’s about HIS grace poured out, refining us more into His image daily.

While the writing on my blog and social media to date is often spiritual and my original intent in “Refined Heart” was spiritual, I do feel that Refined Heart Living, can be also secular. To be refined means to remove impurities or unwanted elements from a substance or process- this is often seen in gold, oil, or can even be in our own hearts by God’s word, or simply by the encouragement of friends, feedback from a boss, or even from challenging experiences we go through.

“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].” -JOB 23:10 AMP We often hear the phrase “refine by fire.” Gold goes through a refining process by fire that removes impurities. So when someone says, “you have a heart of gold” I can’t help but think of the refining process that someone’s heart has been through. The Lord knows the way we take, He sees every step, He pays attention and loves is so much. There are things in our lives- circumstances, challenges, relationships that “try” us, and even still God uses it all for good. We will come forth as refined gold, our heart more refined into His image. This is another verse that has brought me inspiration to the name Refined Heart Living.

From a business standpoint Refine means to develop or improve so as to be precise or subtle “building up a more refined profile of the customer’s needs.” Refined can also mean to improve something by making small changes in particular to make an idea, theory, perfect, polish up, hone, fine tune. It also means to be elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, taste.  Some synonyms include cultivated, cultured, polished, styled, elegant, sophisticated, well mannered, gracious, polite, discerning, fine.

I share my story because starting this business has been filled with a lot of small beginnings, big dreams, trusting God, and staying encouraged along the way. Any goal, dream, vision, or desire that God has placed on our hearts takes devotion, discipline and commitment to cultivate seeds that lead to a harvest, bearing fruit. It takes time, there are many challenges along the way, but the harvest is always worth it. It’s in the small beginnings that we learn so much, we grow, and God is glorified, pleased and rejoices. I am continually humbled and encouraged in my business, seeing relationships being built, growth and even some unexpected fruit along the way. Being only 6 months in, I am reminded to not despise the small beginnings, but rather rejoice in each little step, each interaction, relationship built and opportunity to serve. Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin – Zechariah 4:10

-Image by  Laura Dudek

-Image by Laura Dudek

These dreams have been written on my heart from long ago, and have been moved forward by God’s hand. He has continued to define my callings, and has led me each step to pursue these dreams. I have been motivated by the Lord to bring Him glory, walking in obedience to His call. Daily I keep asking the Lord, give me the words! Looking to this verse, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” -Psalm 19:14. I work for the Lord and He has been first place in my mind and my heart. All of this work on my website, blog and business is Kingdom work, in my mind, all to please Him and bring Him Glory! It has all been challenging and refining. But honestly things just keep coming to me, my vision and dreams have become clear because I have been walking in step with Him. So, I encourage you to seek the Lord while He may be found, see where He is calling you, what are the dreams and visions on your heart, and where do you see His hand leading you? I pray that the Lord has spoken through me to encourage your heart and that He might bless you in the process!

BUILD in 2017 - Best 9 + Recap

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:10-11‬ ‭

This is a little overdue but wanted to share my #bestnine2017 (from my personal & blog/business page) along with a little blog post. 2017 was so, so good! I’m praising God and slowly transitioning into 2018, trying to savor every bit of it. Our word for 2017 was BUILD, and  build we did... a marriage, our home, our businesses, our community, and our life on Jesus. Here are some highlights from my: 

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  • On March 4, 2017, I got Married to my love & best friend! We have loved celebrating our first few months (almost year!) of marriage. After 6 months we were engaged and 4 months later we were married. We had a beautiful wedding with 300 of our friends and family in Downtown Cleveland at the Old Courthouse. God was at the center from the beginning and was so present during our wedding day, to him be all the Praise & Glory. We love because He first loved us.
  • I launched my new website, blog & business, Refined Heart Living. I have *slowly* watched it grow beyond my expectation, God always knows best and has a plan greater than we do.
  • I spent a lot of time in the Word, reading the Bible, letting God speak, drawing near. Knowing that His word does not return void, it has eternal value & no word from God will ever fail.
  • Sharing truth, encouragement & the refining of my own heart through writing both on my blog and through social media. Including the merging of my life & business and the story behind it.
  • Sipping coffee with sweet friends, some new and some old, sharing hearts
  • I loved getting to share engagement photos, scripture and truth about marriage the 10 days leading up to our wedding (many pictured above).
  • A photo that is one of my favorites from our charming honeymoon in lovely Charleston, SC (a post where I shared about the highs and lows of our first 2 weeks of marriage, including losing my sweet Grandma a week after my wedding, praise God she was able to be there smiling & even walking down the aisle) 
  • Building our home, making our little 1920s house more of a home in Lima. We remodeled our bathroom & many other remodels/updates with more to come in 2018.

Not pictured are the beautiful in between moments of building our first year of marriage. Sweet moments with family and friends, including a whole lot of celebrating of "firsts" such as our birthdays, the holidays, and so on as newlyweds. Leaving the corporate world, finding freedom and grace in that beyond what I could've imagined. A short few weeks of nannying for a sweet little boy and family that is so dear to our hearts. Seeing God slowly lead me to building a blog and a business- all the conversations, leaps of faith, prayers, tears, excitement and everything in between. Greater healing in my body and my mind with "slowing down" in Lima, love in my heart, rest in my body, self care in nourishing food and moving my body, didn't realize the toll stress and the corporate world had on me.  Planting my first garden and realizing that I was not that great at it but the Lord taught me a lot through it and I'm determined to try again this year! Watching two of my sweet friends (one was my cousin) get married as I got to stand next to them as a bridesmaid on their special day. All the joy and laughter, tears, prayers, long talks, snuggles, netflix watching, cooking, reading and  even just emotions of marriage, moving, at times loneliness (as we build community) and what felt like starting to build my life in a lot of new ways, together with my sweet husband and with Jesus our cornerstone at the center & our foundation.

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