Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
- Psalm 127:3
Before my husband and I had children, I loved business and I felt like God was calling me to be a businesswoman. I did not think I could do both raising children and managing a career well—since I tend to do things all or nothing—so I asked the Lord to wait five years before we became pregnant. Four months after we married, we became pregnant, causing me to wrestle with the Lord: “It's not that I don't want to have a baby. But I don't know how to do both business and a baby.” But soon afterwards, we lost the baby due to a miscarriage. This had a deep impact on me. I felt very clearly that God said, “If I am going to trust you with my most precious gift, who are you to not be ready?”
We took this to heart, and 4 months later became pregnant with our daughter. After she was born, we realized that she had Down Syndrome. Along with our excitement for our beautiful new baby, we grieved over what we had thought our life would look like. It was in this moment that the Lord impressed on my heart to surround her with siblings.
Over the years, we were blessed with three more sons. During the birth of my second son, I was transferred to the hospital by ambulance. I remember asking the Lord during those moments, “If I live but you take this baby, help me learn how to glorify you and to trust you with that.” God spared both my son and I, and he was born a miracle baby. Our story with our children is that he was trusting us with these blessings, and I need to trust what he has in mind, even if it's different than my expectations.
Now that the kids are a little older, it's been really cool to see how God has brought business back to the forefront. As I try to learn how to do this thing I never thought I could do, I need to be constantly making sure that I am holding myself accountable and responsible for bringing up my own family, because being a good business person and also a great parent is not really that easy. I feel like that's very much where God has had me encamped at his feet, with me reminding him on a daily basis that I cannot do this without him.
For me right now, balancing parenting and business looks like bringing my children in to do life with us. I know that's a lot of how I learned as a child while my family served as missionaries to Mexico. One thing I loved is that my parents never considered sending us off to boarding school. They never considered not doing the hard stuff with us.
So that has been our approach—our kids do it with us. Even with the business ministry setting that God has me in at Beautiful Lives Boutique, it is a great opportunity to invite my children to do life with me. When I bring my seven year old son to work after school, he'll ask questions when we're walking through the store: “Mommy, what do you do here? What happens here?” He's our thinker. He loves to break it down and understand how it works. I'll explain to him, “You know, it's amazing that God allows these clothes to help women and to make them feel beautiful."
It's a sweet moment.
One time, he brought me a little drawing a few days after a visit to Beautiful Lives. It was a picture of the outside of the building to the detail of where the lights were hanging—just all the things that I don't even stop to take in most of the time. He said, “Mommy, this is where you work!” It just really impacted me that he knows that what we do at Beautiful Lives on a daily basis is making such an impact for the kingdom, and that he can serve and love the Lord in all the things that he does too. I think inviting our kids into our everyday life and letting them be a part of it shows them even though they're young, they get to be a part of it.
Jesus simply told his disciples, “Come watch me. Hang around me for a little while. You'll catch on.” This is true discipleship. I think we overcomplicate that sometimes, but we don’t have to. Our children are like sponges, so just being invited to be in that space and to even just overhear the conversations that we have—how we conduct ourselves, how we work through stressful things, how to have healthy confrontation with others—I think that speaks volumes. Even if our kids are not processing it verbally yet, they're soaking it in deep.
Though our lives are full with balancing business and parenting, my husband and I have found that dinner and bedtime are where our richest family time happens. At dinner, we love to use Chick-fil-A conversation cards to spark our interactions. At bedtime, we love just sit and have intentional time with our children, reading the Boxcar Children or other kid’s mystery stories. Most of all, we love to pray over them. That was something my mom did with me that impacted me deeply.
When my daughter prays, I don't always understand what she's saying. But I can hear her going through everybody's names, or I can hear her saying, “God, thank you for dogs!” Her prayers to God are an outpouring of her heart. By praying with her, she is learning that that’s so much of what our relationship with the Lord is: just coming to the Lord wherever we are, with whatever we have.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica grew up as an international missionary kid with her family and later traveled the world with YWAM. She and her husband, Eric, and four young children enjoy all NW Arkansas has to offer, from the vibrant community to hitting the trails. With her business experience and a heart for ministry and the non-profit sector, Jessica serves as the Executive Director of Beautiful Lives Boutique and feels deeply connected to the organization’s mission and its eternal impact being made both locally and globally.