My garden is in a really weird stage. There are some things growing, and some seeds never sprouted at all. Some things got way too big, and some things are oddly small. There are many little green shoots that I’m not sure are weeds or actual plants yet.

It’s awkward.

Messy.

Unbalanced.

My life has felt the exact same lately.

Unbalanced.

Unsettled.

Un-figured-out.

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There’s this thing called the “middle ground” that I don’t love so much. The middle ground is filled with in-betweens, undone conclusions, waiting, and tension. I prefer clear-cut direction. Firm yes’s and no’s. Plans with specifics and titles. I prefer flourishing and full bloom.

I’ve been in the middle ground for the last year. I’ve had no idea what to do with work and balancing motherhood. 

I prayed and prayed and PRAYED for certainty. But, instead uncertainty grew.

A year ago, I was about to have a baby and wondered how I was going to be a mom to two. I went into it blindly, trusting we would just figure it out. I was a year behind in writing Cultivate, and the direction of the book changed as many times as our lives did. Going from one child to two was rough for us. Grace’s emotions exploded. We felt helpless as parents and sleepless with a newborn. Somehow I felt like it was all my fault that Grace was having intense emotions. I blamed my work and I felt like it was too late. I felt like I had messed her up for life. This caused me great anguish. Since I work from home, this was all happening in my house, where my team works under the same roof. There was no hiding the tantrums and the hard days.

I felt like a horrible mother.

A useless leader.

I felt like a burden to everyone.

And I was tired.

There was so much good in this season too, but my heart was unsettled. Something had to change.

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Then, right before Christmas, in the middle of our busiest business season with PowerSheets and the magazine, Ari and I found out we matched for our adoption. Our adoption story is coming in a separate post soon. We were excited and grateful and terrified. There was so much unknown. I struggled through writing, preparing for a baby we might not even bring home with us, nursing Josh night and day, and Grace continuing to feel big feelings.

And I heard God telling me to quit.

Step away, Lara. 

Be small.

Nurture these children for Me.

Live a quiet life.

Over and over I heard these urgings, and every time I’d ask, How?

What does that look like exactly, God? What do I quit? Do you mean quit my business? How in the world would that work? What about all we’re doing to help people? What about my team? How do I do this??

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I had no answers. Just more questions.

So, I quit the Internet for several months, taking a hiatus from social media and email. I needed to hear from God and nothing else. And there was a lot of “else” swirling in my head as I tried to sort through it all, and write a book at the same time. I struggled with comparison and feeling isolated as a leader. I am so supported by my team, and yet they also know I’ve struggled with feeling like I’m on the “business owner island” at times. There are no fruity drinks on this island, just bills to pay and decisions to make that affect other people. I struggled feeling like I had to keep it all together all the time.

I stepped away from connectivity to get some clarity. Taking a break from social media is always good for my soul. It helps me remember Whose voice I should be listening to.

But, this time I didn’t want to come back.

I kept thinking God was telling me to quit my business, and I relished the thought. I felt elated at the idea of being able to make up for all the time I felt I had lost with Grace to a growing business. I was doing good work, but too much of a good thing is still too much.

I felt weary. Tired of telling my story. Tired of my attention being pulled from my kids. I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, even if I was encouraging people. These were my honest thoughts friends—thoughts from the thick of it. It’s not the fault of pixels on a screen that I felt this way, though. Despite my efforts to guard my it well, I have a sensitive sponge-like heart. It was easier to be offline.

But, God doesn’t call us to easy; He calls us to follow Him. I kept wrestling with these thoughts, and praying hard.

FullSizeRender_2Above: Josh this afternoon with Jess at her desk.

This fact remained and was important: our business is online. We make products that help people focus on what matters, in the mess, not despite it. We help people plant a garden right smack in the middle of the circus. I knew that was a good thing. A needed thing. With a business that lives on the internet, how in the world was I supposed to exist in that tension? How was I supposed to plant my own garden in the middle of the circus?

How was I supposed to balance the steadfast calm needed to shepherd my children’s hearts and love Ari and my community well, and the bombardment of the world I encountered when I tried to put encouragement or our products into the hands of people who might be changed by them?

How was I supposed to lead a business and a team of eight when I’ve been up all night feeding babies? How am I supposed to work on budgets and quarterly taxes when Grace really needs me to help her sort through her feelings… or show her how to draw a pterodactyl… or explain why ladybugs like to live on flowers. How do I schedule meetings when I’m pumping eight times a day and nursing every two hours to keep up with two babies? How does that all work, God??

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Then, our adoption happened in February. We stepped out on faith, saying yes to the unknown, which was beautiful and wonderful and intensely emotional. God broke us down to make us fully rely on Him, trusting Him in what felt completely uncertain.

And that’s the thing. God breaking me down over the last year was exactly what He wanted to happen. In the mess, many times, He is loving us more in what feels hard than in what feels easy.

I began making a lot of changes to spend more intentional time with our littles. I began to cultivate a new path, making little by little steps forward. The little by little started to add up. So much more to share in another post (and in my book). Consider this “Part 1.”

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I started a private blog the week of our adoption to share updates with our close friends and family, and to have a safe place to share all that we were experiencing. My team read my posts, so they knew. They knew the season we were in with our family. They knew how hard it had been emotionally. They knew the tension I felt between work and motherhood. They knew.

Two babies and two books in two years was too much. 

We had our annual Team Retreat earlier this month. I’m usually the encourager, but Marissa, Kristin, Emily, Nicole, Lisa, and our three new women, Amber, Jess, and Laura, spent the majority of the retreat pouring into me. This was unexpected, and I felt God speaking to me. They made it clear that whatever path I needed to take, they would be fully on-board. They asked me over and over how I felt, and helped me sort through my thoughts. I was weary and fearful of being in the thick of motherhood, and feeling like I had it to have it all together to lead a team of women well.

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They helped me see that I was stuck in the past, and that I didn’t have to be perfect. I just needed to be right where I was—mess and all. Friend, this is exactly why I’m sharing this with you, because maybe you are stuck too. I was stuck feeling like I couldn’t be the person I had become after such rapid life change. How would people understand? How could I tell this new story? I’m not an expert on motherhood, so how could I talk about it? How does that fit with all we are doing in our work?

I was stuck in expectations of what motherhood and business are supposed to look like.

Stuck thinking I had to keep my mouth shut about LOVING BEING A MOM because I didn’t feel perfect at it. I haven’t read all the parenting books, and I’ve made many mistakes, but you guys, I love these kids fiercely. Fiercely and joyfully.

It started to become clear.

After over a decade running a business by myself, I felt like it was somehow okay to let my team in more to the struggles I faced. They saw me in my mess and it was okay. They covered me in grace. They handed me a one-way ticket off the business owner island.

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Last Wednesday night, I cried again to Ari about it and he said something that surprised me, because for a long time he wanted me to let work go so I wasn’t stressed by it. He loves me, but he loves God more. He said “It’s not time to give up. God has given you this for a reason. I don’t think He wants you to waste it.” I countered to him that I also don’t think He wants me to waste moments with our kids. This is my struggle. I want it to be one or the other, wrapped up in a bow. But I got on my knees just now on the dining room floor and GOD MADE IT CLEAR. I’m typing that in all caps because I am so crazy grateful. Months and months of praying. Months of agonizing. Months of wanting to give up my business completely. God told me these words that I immediately wrote down in my PowerSheets:

Help other people wrestle with it and sit in the tension and not feel like they have to GIVE UP.

Sometimes, when we feel like we want to quit, it means something DOES need to change. In this season I don’t have a perfect plan or all the answers. But I know I’m not giving up (I want to insert a thousand !!!! here). This is a season of sitting in the tension of motherhood and ministry and leading and listening and business and babies. I will not “do it all,” I’ll simply do what God wants me to do every day. I’ll get my hands dirty, and the way I live this out may not look like the way the rest of the world does it. I’m excited for that.

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“She believed she could so she did” is lovely and instills confidence, but that doesn’t last. I know a deeper truth. She believed she couldn’t, so He did. If you are struggling with doing it all–if comparison is making you feel inadequate, I am with you. If you are struggling as a boss, wife, mama, you don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to fix it. There’s no shame for all those imperfections, sister. There’s just grace.

I cannot do it all, but I can do a few things well. And only with grace. Grace upon grace.

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I did need to quit my job. 

I needed to quit doing it the way I had always done it, telling the old story and not recognizing the new path I am on.

It was time to quit feeling like I had to have it all together to tell the story of motherhood in my life and work. I needed to own my new story.

It’s time to let you in, and tell you the new story too.

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All those urgings I kept hearing from God?

Step away, Lara. 

Be small. 

Nurture these children for Me. 

Live a quiet life.

Yes. Just yes.

Step away from the noise.

Step away from the “should’s.”

Step forward from the old story and into what’s happening in my life now.

Be small. Low to the ground with my children. On my knees. Hands in the dirt. Less concerned with how to do life—needing a one-or-the-other plan and title–and fully focused on why I’m doing life.

Nurture these children, because the greatest contribution I make to the kingdom of God may not be something I do, but someone I raise (wisdom from Andy Stanley).

Living a quiet life, because all the loud out there isn’t going to last.

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Do you know how this motherhood/work/internet tension works?

Imperfectly.

Awkwardly.

And yet, intentionally.

My garden is in an awkward stage, but it’s still a garden. And, even when I can’t see it or feel it, it’s growing. It doesn’t have to be in full bloom all the time for it to be meaningful. The tension of the middle ground is the path to blooming.

The garden just this morning with Grace, who is a much more fulfilled Grace now that I have let go of the old and stepped into the new. She’s learning to love her messes too : )

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Maybe you are wrestling with something similar. Sister, let me tell you something I didn’t know before sitting in this tension: there is no formula. There is no one “right” way to do motherhood and business, or one or the other.

You do what God tells you to do.

And you know what? It may not be what you do for all of your life. We were created for seasons, and seasons don’t last forever for a reason. They prepare us for what’s next. Stay open, fellow-sojourner. Stay open. I thought for SURE God was telling me to close the doors of our company, or sell it, and I’m so glad I stayed in the tension. I’m so grateful I didn’t give up. The tension—the wait and the wrestling and the mess and the endless prayers–was all for a reason. Maybe yours is too.

So, this post doesn’t have a bow tied on it here at the end, just a “…” 

I am still listening and keeping my hands open. But, I know what I’m not doing: letting the lies of mom guilt speak louder than the truth of grace. And the truth that our paths don’t have to look like everyone else’s. We can do this motherhood and work thing differently. We can do it together, and do just enough well.

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Join me this Friday live on my Facebook page at noon EST. I’m going to be talking about motherhood and work, my summer goals, what’s changing in our company soon (a lot), how we’re starting a new magazine about community, and I also believe it’s time to tell you how our company works. I want you to know our hearts and our daily story here in my home-office. What does it look like to work from home? How do we do what we do? What’s it like with three kids and lots of ladies in our house all day? How do we design and decide on our products? You’ll be seeing a lot more starting tomorrow on our Instagram and Snapchat (LaraCaseyShop).

Your turn. How are you feeling? What’s the tension you are wrestling with? Let’s talk about it, and give each-other a one-way ticket off the isolation island.

Love,

Lara the business owner who is also a great imperfect joyful mom!

P.S. If you need a new start this summer, join me Friday, and I’m giving you and your friends 40% off PowerSheets. Use code SUMMERGOALS here. Some people might say this is unwise to give this big discount, but I really don’t care. I just want you and all your friends to have them and, Lord willing, be changed by them. They are undated, six-month sets, so this is the ideal time to start fresh and finish the year well (our new designs come out in November). I am starting over with my goals this week too–a fresh new focus. Spread the word and feel free to share this code with your friends! Code ends one week from today, or until we sell out again.

P.P.S. I love you, friends. Sincerely. I know many of you have read this blog and followed my journey for years, and some of you have just stumbled on it today, and I want to tell you thank you for listening and sitting with me in this tension. I am grateful to do life with you.

102 Show Comments
  1. Stephanie

    Amen, Lara! Preach it, share it, make it happen! You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing what so many face, but either keep hiding it or just quit. I pray God shows you what seeds to plant in this season of your life – seeds that will flourish. You are the mother God chose for those precious littles and he will equip you. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

  2. Bethany Davidson

    Lara, you must be reading my journal. I’m struggling with some similar things–caring for my 8 month old son night and day (so tired!), working part-time from home (but as you might guess, working part-time with a baby requires full-time hours!), involved in ministry, trying to nurture my marriage, and trying to somehow maintain friendships, and not faint from exhaustion. I have so often felt this tension, and trying to make everything happen just stretches me to my limits. I have cried so many tears over this. I don’t know what the solution is–isolated is totally the right word for it! My powersheets from the last 2 months have been largely un-checked-off, and I’ve had to give up on one of my big goals for the year because I’m realizing it’s just not the season. That doesn’t mean it won’t be someday. And really, what I’m learning that this mess I am in is the training that will fuel my goal later on, when the doors do open. This season is what will be the fuel and the meaning behind that goal. It’s not useless, it’s not the obstacle to bigger and better things. It is the better thing.

  3. Kate Marshall

    I am a working mom and wife and so overwhelmed with the tension between mom and boss. I struggle constantly with whether or not I am where God wants me, whether I am living a life with the right purpose, and all the while feeling like I am completely missing out with my children. My children are 6 and 2 and I adore them. Quitting isn’t an option (I am the breadwinner in our house) but how do I find peace? I feel as if God is moving right now but I am so unsure of where and how. I so appreciate your words. There is such comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone. And grace. Such comfort in grace.

  4. April Emery

    We will probably never ever meet this side of Heaven but gosh, I just want to sit down over a cup of whatever and talk about this with you. I so relate and connect with what you are saying. I have been in a particularly hard season of life with some family health struggles, intense INTENSE financial strain, etc. Over time I gave up my blog, my home business, and some other things because I was just losing my stamina to handle them. I even seriously contemplated stopping homeschooling (even though I knew it was not what I really wanted to do … I was just wiped out and needed a respite). Long story short, the Lord lead me to get some bloodwork done which revealed some stress/adrenal issues and now I am understanding (from a physiological standpoint) WHY I’ve felt and thought and acted certain ways through this trying season. If you haven’t heard of the book Tired and Wired yet, I highly encourage you to give it a read. It’s really opening my eyes to being gentle with myself and taking better care of my self so that I don’t flatline, burnout and end up really really sick. Here’s the link to it http://amzn.to/1UfRq8T

    I so appreciate what your heart. I look forward to hearing the changed (just crossing my fingers that your PowerSheets aren’t going away :)

  5. Ashley

    So much truth and grace in this. You have no idea how much you just ministered to my heart. I have three beautiful children and a growing business and it hit home!

  6. Kelly

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing! Oh my heart is currently sitting in its own tension. And your words pour grace into my heart. Sending many prayers and much love your way. And I’m so grateful for you company. It’s constantly changing me and helping me to see myself clearer.

  7. Lindsay

    Lara, it’s amazing how your words tend to echo thoughts that have just passed through my mind. I’ll be honest, I am not a loyal blog reader of anyone. I come back every few months. But I literally was going through my journey of letting go 15 minutes ago and then happened up your Facebook post. I struggled with thoughts of giving up my small business a few years ago. When I finally started announcing that I would not be taking more clients, the Lord stopped me. Then he took me to Abraham… He had called me to sacrifice it. I believe He was calling me to trust in him and not myself and I had to lay my business on the alter. There have been other times I felt him calling me to leave or let go of things and I did. One thing in particular that I was very passionate about and was literally saving lives… but it would go on without me and I had to live with that. Leaving those things and letting go of the idea that I had to do it all, have opened so many opportunities for me to be more in my community. Have have deeper relationships. I pray for you friend. In fact, the Lord brought you to mind on Monday when I was reading Psalm 127:2. The Lord gives his beloved sleep… and then right after that – children are a gift from the Lord. Is that not to us weary mamas?! I hope to look in on Friday and can’t wait to hear about this magazine!

    • Lara

      This is exactly how I felt, and your words are speaking to my soul. I felt like I had to do it all and keep the ship moving to fully surrendering it to God. And now I feel more freedom. Less fear of what others think and more excited to do what God wants. Thanks for sharing! I needed to be reminded of Abraham.

    • Lindsay

      And thank you for sharing in this community! I want to echo Kristin’s words. This means so much coming from you. I will be the first to say that your story and your life have wowed me! Then, at MTH in 2013, I got to meet you and you were a real person. I’ve always been guarded at not putting people on pedestals and I usually have to mentally put people back on level ground or they fall… but you, you stepped off that pedestal. You do that every time you write. That is carrying your cross. God is using you to show us how to use the worldwide community on social media as a tool for the Gospel. You are a leader, but God is holding you up, sister. Keep those arms up!

    • Lara

      Love you sister. Thank you for this encouragement. So grateful for you.

  8. Kristin

    Oh Lara. I can not tell you HOW MUCH it means to read this coming from you. I have been in the same back and forth battle as you so many times over the last few months – I too am a mom who is running a business from home and a mom to little kiddos … and at times I’ve thought it’s all too much, thought about stepping away to cherish this time with them to clean up my mess instead of trying to do it all, but every time I do, I hear God telling me that I just need to keep going. He is what brings me back every day, He is always the answer. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so open and honest with your words and being so encouraging as you do it, to know we aren’t alone with these thoughts. I am so grateful for you, so appreciative of your heart, and comforted to see that there is another joyful imperfect mom who is sharing that life is imperfectly messy, and that’s perfectly okay.

  9. Diana

    Lara, this post is a huge blessing to me and is going to bless and speak truth to so many women! Oh my. Thank you for taking the time and energy to share your heart so honestly. What you talked about here is what I struggled with at Making Things Happen as I pondered how to run my business, take care of myself with rheumatoid arthritis, and have the kind of family life I envision. God made me realize through MTH that I want my children to see me choosing obedience rather than the comfortable life I selfishly want. Obedience to God in MY life, I believe, looks like a family AND a business. You’re so right that this looks different for everyone, and I believe obedience is definitely sometimes quitting a business for some women and in some circumstances. It sounds like we have similar thoughts! Lara, I’m beyond thankful God put you in my life, and I would be a very different woman if you had not followed his calling and put yourself out there outline. Thanks for deciding to continue, at least for now! Sending you giant hugs!

  10. Maghon Taylor

    You are so brave Lara! Thanks so much for letting us in. You inspire so many, especially in the mess. Grateful to call you a friend!

  11. Erika

    Again and again, friend, God uses you where you are. I love you and the light you bravely shine for Him and

  12. Renee Swope

    Love this, Lara. And oh how I Love you .So thankful for ansswered prayers and grace to be exactly where you are, just as you are in the middle of not-knowing how but knowing WHO will lead you each step of the way.

    Living in this tension with you friend and so glad you’re not perfect. Love watching you walk in the messy beautiful calling of motherhood, ministry, marriage, and leading women closer to JESUS through a multi-faceted home business. YOU give me courage and hope as I figure this out friend.

    Remember, You have so much to offer Lara. You are a great leader in more ways than you know and God is going to use what you are already doing to encourage others right where you are – and now even MORE through your big beautiful heart and love for your children!!! It’s all part of HIs plans. Praying for you every day GardenGirl. xoxoxo

    • Lara

      I love you so much. Thank you for praying me through this time sister. God used you mightily in my heart.

  13. Karen Stott

    Oh Lara.. you have been on my heart so much, and I am so proud of you for sticking through the tension.

    We literally walked through this same thing from December – now, and I, like Lindsay commented above was led to Abraham. I thought we were supposed to quit the conference, all the way up through actually being at the conference. And at the last minute God stepped in and stopped me from shutting it down by bringing in a literal miracle helper to bear much of the load.

    I am so thankful for you sharing your story, and will be praying for you even more. Love you so much sweet friend. I am just being proud of you, and so excited for all that God is doing through you, and in you. Your babies see it. I promise. Now that our kids are older, when I have a hard time, and want to give up, THEY are the ones that speak life into me. THEY are the ones that lift me up and encourage me not to give up because showing people Jesus matters.

    You and Ari walking out the gospel, and showing these 3 amazing kiddos how to love people at the cost of your wants is the greatest gift you could ever give them. Even them seeing you struggle in it is growing in them a deeply rooted faith that tells them God isn’t scared of our mess, but can do SO much when we submit it all to Him. You are such a light to them and to us. So thankful you kept the switch on :)

    Love you sweet friend.

    • Lara

      When you sent that email about your warehouse and all the change happening, it spoke right to me. I was in the thick of it, and grateful for you sharing too, sister!

  14. Jen

    Rejoicing with you over this revelation and wisdom. Thank you for sharing. Way to push through and stay faithful to the call. Don’t stop, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep Him FIRST and honor His name. Praying for you and your team.

  15. Jenny Vowell

    Dearest friend Lara,

    Today I started my dream job because of the work you did at the November Make It Happen Conference. During that intensive conference, God spoke directly to myself and my husband (he attended the conference as well). I went back to my School Superintendent and let them know that I that 2015-2016 school year would be the end my career as a school counselor. They were shocked but understanding.
    I quit my job as a school counselor without having another job. It was a full-dive-in-the- deep- end- faith- leap that can only come from God. Both my husband and I knew it was exactly what God was telling us to do. So we did. I didn’t know what the outcome would be but trusting God was all we could do.

    I did immediately start looking for jobs and after about five months of intensive job searching and praying for clear direction about where God would have me working – He graciously blessed me with my dream job of Instructional Technologist, and He also blessed me by placing me in the Instructional Technology Doctoral Program at Kennesaw State University. Without the Make It Happen Conference, I NEVER would have taken the huge leap faith. I would have fallen into the trap of lies of not good enough, not smart enough and all those terrible lies that the devil uses to keep us from accomplishing God’s work.

    I will tell you that there were times I thought that my family and I were going to be living on the side of the road, (crisis of belief). But God gently placed His arms around me and brought. comfort. My family and friends prayed, and we all watched as God blessed!

    The conference was a life changer for myself and my husband. I want to thank you and your team for putting on such a wonderfully intensive conference. I want to thank you for working through all the tough, awkward and messy seasons of life. I am better because of your work! My family is better because of your work! My future is better because of your work.! My ministry is better because of your work!

    Thank you from the depths of my heart.
    Jenny Vowell

    • Lara

      I’m so encouraged by this, Jenny! Love you so much! Wow, Lord!

  16. Shalon Ironroad

    Thank you so much. I needed this.

  17. Bailey

    Lara, you seriously inspire me. I’m new to the faith thing, the Jesus thing, the prayer thing… So I’m wondering – how do you know the difference between your instincts saying to quit and Gods instruction? How did you know your wants weren’t His too? I definitely struggle with this. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Lara

      Such a great question! You know for sure when those urgings and feelings connect directly with scripture. It was reading a portion of 2nd Timothy that made it all clear for me. Keep praying and reading the Word–even if it feels overwhelming or unclear. God will make it clear as you keep seeking Him. I’m excited for you!

  18. Kathy

    So much changing at one time, even when it is all good is difficult to manage. Within 2 yrs, I met my husband, bought a house, got married, moved from 2 homes into 1, and had a baby. Honestly, 14 yrs later and my head is still swirling. I feel like I am never caught up trying to run a home, raise a family and work full time outside the home.

  19. Amy Stoks

    You are amazing!!!! I can’t wait to hear the story continue to unfold. Motherhood.the best, hardest thing ever! XOXOXO!

  20. Hannah

    Lara,

    I’ve been here, too. Scratch that, I’m still here. I’ve been here for years. Praying, trusting, asking, crying, seeking a purpose larger than myself. I’ve struggled with self-doubt and have endlessly searched for a career that aligns with God’s purpose for me.

    Now, as my husband and I are about to welcome our first baby into this world, I already struggle with not being enough. To be a mom, and feel like I’m not living up to the worldly expectations of a solid role model, a strong Godly woman, it’s tough. The chase between balancing a job (just that, a job), and new motherhood is daunting. Longing for a career that I’m passionate about and also allows me to raise my children consumes my prayers, thoughts, and inevitably controls my life. This middle ground feels like I’m teetering on a balance beam high in the air; the threat of failure looming with any misplaced step.

    I’m here too. Praying for you in the midst of your middle ground.

  21. Jessica Thornton

    I love you so much and am forever thankful that God used a beautiful wedding magazine to introduce me to you and your team. I needed this post. Also, my heart leapt out of my chest when I read “a new magazine about community” as that is basically my heart song.

  22. Elyse

    This is exactly where I am. My newest baby is 3 months and my almost 3 year old have been getting all my attention and I’ve loved it. It has been freeing to just be immersed into their childhood. But I also feel a huge tug to be working my (direct sales) business. In the past when I would be doing my work from home thing I would be frustrated when my little boy needed me and I couldn’t get the simplest things accomplished. I would begin resenting him and my business because one was always taking away from the other. But I can’t shake this feeling of wanting to get back into it, now with 2 kids. I’ve also been wanting to lead a small group for a very long time and finally just made time for it. So I’m praying God gives me the capacity to lead well and also to be flexible with His promptings. My word this year was “grace” because with bringing a new baby in, moving to a new house and full blown toddlerhood is happening– I knew I was going to need grace. I’m like you in wanting clarity and wanting to be certain of which path to choose. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what we want and what God wants. I think I, like you, need to put down the noise and listen for His whisper. Thank you- I look to you for so much business and motherhood sense and it’s so comforting to know I’m not alone.
    Lord please help us to hear Your voice, Your promptings, and Your desires. Quiet our souls so we are aligned with You. Prepare our days so that we are intentional with our influence. Free us from guilt Lord, we accept Your grace. Thank you Lord for Your Son and His purpose here and His even greater purpose with You. May Your Holy Spirit guide us and stir us to glorifying all that You are. Amen

  23. Heidi

    Lara, you always have been and continue to be a huge source of inspiration for me as a mother and business owner. This blog post hit home for me as I am struggling with some of the same feelings currently! Thank you for all you do and your inspiration in staying close to the Lord and trying to do what He wants! xx

  24. Susanne

    Stumbled upon this by His plan, I believe. Thank you so much for your words and insight today. I needed to hear this today and feel hope for the days ahead, even in the tension of being a mom, wife and business owner.

  25. Leonetta Elaiho

    I.needed.this.today! This ‘liminal’ space you so beautifully described is where I have been trying to discern if God was saying ‘left’ or ‘right’. It’s becoming clearer that sometimes these false dichotomies we create are really about control and not trusting the Lord. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, your vulnerability, and sharing your perfectly imperfect journey. May I be so bold in the ministry God is calling me to..

  26. Lisa

    Thank you for this. It spoke to my heart…. There have been so so so many times I have wanted to quit but God won’t let me… and He asks me if I am willing to pay the price to do the things He has called me to… and I must say YES. (Even when I want to say no and run far away!) Although I am in a different season with my family…. with 4 kids…19,17,15 an 11… and yet I so relate to what you shared… we are all in this together my sister! I am ever clinging to Him for direction and help in the messiness and imperfection and I think that’s exactly where He wants us to be. May HE accomplish EVERYTHING He has in mind to do through us! Cheering you on!

  27. Amy

    This spoke to me exactly where I am. Thank you for sharing your heart! I’ve been struggling with a growing business (5 employees) and parenting three teenagers. It’s tough to know what God has called you to do, but to feel completely inadequate in fulfilling the mission. You have encouraged me to continue to seek God and embrace the tension.

  28. Lorie

    This past Sunday was the 8th anniversary of my husband’s sudden death, and on Monday my Grandma died. She was 97 years old. So it’s been a horrible few days.

    But the thing I have learned from being a young-ish widow is that there’s no getting around the mess and the uncertainty. There is only going straight through it by taking His hand and letting Him lead you through.

    “Yea, though I walk hrough the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…” Psalms 23 has the most beautiful expression of faith and comfort. We hang on to that because we know we can do ALL things with His help. Lots of love to you, your family, and your sweet team – and to everyone who is touched by your words. ❤️

  29. Ashley McGee

    You are not alone. I’m desperately struggling with working full-time, having a side hustle which I absolutely love, and being a present mom. The mom guilt is so real and I so needed this blog post today. Thank you for sharing your mess and having the courage to be vulnerable with so many of us that you might not ever meet in person. You are such a blessing.

  30. Heidi

    Oh gosh – YES! Thank you for sharing this. Having my third child sent me into a tailspin that was completely unexpected. Life didn’t just grow by one more when we had him. It grew exponentially! It has been 2.5 years and I’m just barely coming out of the fog and surveying what is left. I hardly know who I am anymore. It’s not that I don’t remember what I used to love – it’s that I’ve changed and grown and need to get acquainted with this self I wasn’t expecting to meet. It has been very unsettling. You’re someone I’ve admired from afar since I saw you at the Influence Conference, and knowing that you feel some of these same emotions reassures me that I’m not necessarily getting everything wrong and that God can still work in and through the chaos in my heart and life. I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  31. jane

    It’s interesting to hear your perspective since I had no religious upbringing and I love the comparison to a garden. I became a mom of one at 39 and had a second child at 42. Motherhood has given me a chance to see the world again through a different set of eyes. I will forever be grateful for the birth of my sons. It changed me forever and made me a better person. Life is not perfect but neither am I. Each day as the sun rises, we have a chance to start all over again. I still have to work a full time job but every moment spent with them is worth it, no matter how long or short.

  32. Meg

    Our son, Austin was married last Saturday.
    Seeing his love & his life for God, how he takes care of other people, how much he loves and protects his bride made living on the ‘austerity spending plan’ (so I had more time at home with him) WORTH EVERY SACRIFICE! I still worked, just much less than my previous 50 hrs/wk .
    You’ve already made giant sacrifices for faith & family. You WILL reap a good harvest if you don’t give up. Thanks for sharing… So I know what to pray for you & yours. Love you!

  33. Michelle Bills

    Thank you for being so real, so open, and so honest! I had to step away for a moment as I was reading and I said to myself, “I hope she doesn’t give up the business, I hope she doesn’t quit, because if she does then it means I can’t do it all either, I should just quit, too.” And then I came back, and finished reading, and saw basically the exact words I was thinking! Motherhood is HARD, being a working mother is very very hard. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times a week I just sit down and cry. Cry because I feel like I can’t do it all, it’s too much. Cry because I feel like I am missing out on so much with my babies. Cry because I feel like I am completely messing them up. Cry because I am not getting it all done at work. Cry because some days I’m so exhausted that I can’t think and I just don’t know what to do. It’s messy, but it’s the season that I am in. It do know that it has brought me closer to God. This season has brought me on my knees more and has ben in prayer more than any other time of my life. And that is a good thing, maybe the reason for it all. I, too. do not know the answers, there are so many questions, and I don’t see the tears stopping any time soon; but I’m showing up each day. I’m doing my very best at work and at home. I’m loving my babies like crazy and praying that I am not the mother I want to me, but the mother that they need. I’m sorry you are also in this messy season and that you have been struggling so much. You took on so much at once, it’s absolutely understandable! And yet, you have still been touching our hearts through it and helping us (even if you didn’t feel like it or want to). THANK YOU for that! Thank you for sticking in it and for helping us to keep pushing forward. You and your sweet family has been in my prayers; I will continue to pray hard for you and all that is on your plate.

  34. Carolyn

    I love being able to read this and truly hear it in your voice. Your weekly periscopes gave me strength through my own mess and uncertainty of a new job and you have continued to truly guide me as I work on my relationship with God. My parents worked full time my entire young life and I never doubted their love, even through the difficult parts. They loved me so much that they sacrificed time with me to provide for me and make the world I lived in a bit better. Thank you for always being real and honest, through the hard stuff and the doubts. Best always to you, Ari, and your lovely littles!

  35. Jessica

    I’m not sure how to describe the puddle of tears on my keyboard at this moment. This resonates on such a deeper level than imaginable. Thank-you for sharing.

  36. Monica T Smith

    I was okay reading your post until I came across these words: Help other people wrestle with it and sit in the tension and not eel like they have to GIVE UP.” I cried. Somebody’s going through struggle, wrestling with the past and trying to figure out the new life God is bringing them into. It’s exhausting, daunting, painful, confusing, at times funny, but in all HARD! If I didn’t have God there would be no way to survive every day in this new life. I am learning to lean on and in to Him, putting everything I have, need and desire into His hands. I know I am called to be a spiritual midwife to His daughters, but have no idea how, especially when I am in the midst of my own. There are days when I am so empty or feel as if I’m caught in a net and can’t find my way out. I keep holding on, though, and I pray, Lara, that you will, too. God is faithful, that I know for sure, and I believe He brings us through so that we may turn around and help others along their way. Be encouraged, my friend and know that I am praying for your journey. Pursue Him above all and trust that He will lead, comfort and bless. Take good care!

  37. Mandi

    I have been sitting with the decision for over a year and a half on whether or not to close down my business. I’ve always known that my business was not ultimately God’s plan for my life but the open doors, opportunities and relationships built because of my business have forever changed me. For the past year and a half, I’ve felt the drawing away from being the team leader – boss lady – business owner and just yesterday, after much prayer, I felt the Lord leading me to lay my business down. My heart has forever wanted to bring God’s love to others. To be the hands and feet of Jesus. To share life, love and encouragement to weary hearts. But my business was not even close to being something that allowed that to happen and while I could speak life into the individual relationships of my team members, it wasn’t my works focus. And over the course of four and a half years, it’s slowly been killing me. Yesterday I decided that I wasn’t going to press myself to meet my monthly quota. While it will significantly impact my pay, there was immense freedom in it. Truly – I hadn’t felt that free in years. After much prayer, I am taking a leap into something new. I’m finally gathering myself up to follow my calling. It’s scary, and big and something I wonder if I’m ready for. But the drawing I feel is inescapable. I’ve avoided it for the past year and a half. To shut down my business affects more than 75 other women so it’s not a task I take lightly. Thankfully, their individual work can continue to grow and flourish without my involvement. For the first time in so long, I feel as if I’ve jumped off a cliff and instead of feeling fear, I feel alive – and as though I have jumped into my Creator’s arms as he lets my gracefully soar. Reading your post today, I found myself in every single one of your words. I had wrestled so long with marrying motherhood with my business. At times I even resented my business because of how it took me from my children. All I wanted to do was love them and love them well. And it always felt like a battle to shepherd them or serve my business. It was a constant dance. But I’m in a new place today. I’m anxious to see what the future holds – trusting the one who has been drawing my heart for so long. To let go into the unknown. To finally feel this sweet freedom working out his calling on my life. Thank you for this post today. It’s giving me so much to think on and pray through further as I want to make sure I’m not missing the Lord’s voice – and just listening to my own. Thank you for your ministry. I’ve been following you for years now and am so grateful for all you share. It’s truly changed my life.

  38. Caroline Baron

    Lara, There are 2 people I would consider my business heros, and you’re one of them. As a young woman anticipating children, I want to do everything I can to build a solid foundation before we grow our family. That includes our family habits, our faith walk, and my own business structure. That said, I’m SO THANKFUL that you’re going to be sharing about your business and what the day to day looks like. I’ve learned so so much from you about nurturing family relationships and growing in faith, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll share about your day to day as a business owner who values purpose over profit. You are such a blessing. I’m praising God for giving you the energy to lead your team & your tribe well!

  39. Jessi

    This really touched my heart. Your vulnerability and honesty is SO appreciated. It encourages me to know that I am not alone, that none of us women doing all the things are alone. Each and every one of us needs to hear that… and to hear that it is okay to feel tension and imperfect and to just sit in it. I LOVE the edited quote you came up with: she felt like she couldn’t so He did. A to the MEN, sister. I’m looking forward to joining you Friday. Hugs!!

  40. Sarah Chancey

    THANK YOU so much for sharing your heart here over this topic / your life! I had a similar slow, painful, stressful melt down last summer and through my vision statement from God (which I prayed over after reading Make It Happen), reading The Best Yes and a series of open doors (or rather releases in my business), I finally made the decisions that were right for me and my family, as you said, in this season. It felt like I was diving off a cliff, but I sit here today feeling more joy than I ever imagined in my personal life AND business. I know I’m where God wants me to be, doing what he’s called me to do. It’s still hard some moments to walk away from the glitz and glam of this industry for the quiet life. I get the strangest comments and sometimes feel judged for my decisions by other business owners. But, I know I’ve made the right choice for me, for my family and I’m honoring God in it. Prayers as you continue this journey, as we continue this journey in the mess. Hugs and Love! Sarah

  41. Joi Johnson

    All I can say is WOW! Today I am actually on a media fast, but I am so happy, blessed and grateful I stumbled upon this email and read this post. Lara thank you so much for your transparency and honesty. Lord knows I can relate to quite a few of the things you mentioned in your post. I too am a new mother to a 3 month old and I have 3 other children. I am sitting right in the middle of a storm, chaos and literally one of the hardest times in my life, but I have been called to inspire and encourage others! In January a launched a subscription box business JOi Sunshine and I promise since the time I opened my mouth about it, my life hasn’t been the same. But today, I have a new Joy and new hope. Today you made me realize I am definitely not alone in this journey of uncertainty. Lara, eventhough I have never met you, you are a blessing to me. You have inspired and motivated me on several occasions! I am so happy you fought and believed God through your tension. I am so happy you are back stronger than ever! I look forward to getting my JOY back too!! Thank you Laura for definitely being a blessing to me today!

  42. Tiffany

    This was so wonderful to read today. I feel like my boyfriend and I are at a cross road as well. We started a ceramic and painting studio downtown Florence, SC. It’s a beautiful, modern studio and we will create ceramic and paintings and also teach pottery lessons.

    I’ve been wanting to get married for awhile, but my boyfriend wants to focus on building finances first. We just feel so old to but stepping out on faith with this business. (He’s 36; I’m 31) I house sit and he stays with an older lady because rent is cheap. Our lives are so far from perfect. My mother constantly asks when are we getting married and I’m patiently waiting for a ring that he can’t afford.

    It’s just nice to read that we aren’t alone. I feel like everyone has a house to stay in with their significant other and they make enough money to afford to. But, just reading comments is helping me feel okay about our plan.

  43. Maya

    This is a beautiful and honest post! Thank you. I am also dying to know where those apple jammies came from!!??

  44. Shalyce of Sensational Soirees

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and being so transparent! I can’t begin to tell you how this post has blessed and encouraged me! I too am a mom, wife and business owner, in addition to working full-time, so I’m there with you sister balancing it “all”. As you said, God takes us through different seasons in our lives, and your post really helped reaffirm that He is right there with me, “in the mess”, and that my faith and trust in him can’t wait waiver. His plans and ways are truly better than our own. Thank you so much for sharing your heart; your words touched and encouraged me. I look forward to hearing more about your new story and all the great things God has in store for you, your family and business!

  45. Krystal

    I loved reading this. I wish my “struggle” had ended this way but it was the opposite. I didn’t “quit” my business I decided to “choose” what was best for this season of our lives. The tug and pull of business and babies was not worth it for my sanity. I sell artwork (mostly at festivals and fairs) and a super successful mentor/artist friend of mine would always tell me how unbelievable it was when she would see me at events pregnant or with a nursing baby in tow. She’d then say, “I didn’t start this business until my kids were grown and gone.” I have yet to meet another artist as successful as she is. I realized I had to stop looking at the 30somethings momma’s like me who were managing through the tug and pull of business and babies, and start being inspired by momma’s like her. My business was nowhere near as established as yours was when you had kids so I can’t imagine how hard that would have been to give up. So many of us need what you do and appreciate that you’re hanging in there for us and for them. I’m glad I finally listened to the voice of God and chose to pack up my supplies and cancel my events until the time is right. I cried as we packed it all away. I felt like I failed, then God whispered in my heart, “You have chosen what is best, don’t let Satan tell you to doubt.” With this choice there is peace, there is stopping to smell the flowers and blow bubbles, there is slowing down for more snuggles and storieswith. Here there is no overhanging pressure of emails, orders and deadlines. I can always rebuild my business but I cannot go back and rebuild my children or their childhood. For those of you who chose to pack it up like me, you didn’t quit, you chose what was best for you at this season and prayerfully the season for your business will return. Even if it doesn’t, know you still made a beautiful and eternal choice. For all you momma’s who have found balance in business and babies, you have made a beautiful choice as well. Praise God that you can handle it with all the strength and grace He provides.

  46. Jennifer

    This was DIRECTLY a word from the Lord for me today! Thank you for your courage to stand in the middle ground! I am right there right now too, and I am trusting the almighty ONE HUNDRED percent! Thank you again!

  47. Claire Cook

    Amen, amen, amen. Lara, I feel like this season I’m in has been perfectly timed for what you’ve been sharing lately. SUCH a Godly, life-giving encouragement to me. Thank you for your real-ness to let us all in and see the mess, and be reminded that HE is enough and He will do it, whatever “it” is He has called us to.

  48. Vanessa

    Sweet Lara,

    Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for letting me know that it’s okay to feel this way. That it’s okay to be confused about by the need to , “quit,” and not necessarily knowing what that means and how you’re suppose to do that and make it work for your family.

    As a Mama of two littles under two I have felt this feeling for quite some time – that feeling that tells you that you’re not doing enough as a mother, that work is less important then being there for their little hearts.

    I’m still not sure what this means for me but I’ve committed to making more space for myself this month to figure that out. To take the time to listen and pray and dream and write and cry if I need to.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and helping us Mama’s and women the way you do. Thank you for making me feel like you’re talking directly to me. Thank you for continuing to let us in on your journey.

    Lots of love and blessings!

  49. Marissa Beisner

    I relate to this in such a huge way! I had surgery at the end of 2015 and during that “break” from business…I felt so free that I was almost certain I just needed to quit. Instead the Lord brought me my new business partner who has lifted so much weight off my shoulders! Thank you for the raw honesty here!

  50. emily

    In a world of posting your best moments, thank you for writing your raw heart. It’s is incredibly refreshing. I’m not a Mom, yet. I don’t even own a business. I’m a young teacher trying to get through the day loving 22 very difficult children, that I wish had a parent or two like you! I’ve thought about quitting. so. many. times. My parents and high school sweetheart husband have spoken truth to me since day one and encouraged me to keep teaching. For me, it was all or nothing. I teach, or I don’t. God showed me there are other ways. But the long days, lack of support, crude comments from students and terrible behavior wore on me and I no longer had the spunky energetic personality to ‘go get it girl’ and find another job one that is considered ‘dream job’ around these southern parts.. God worked on me for a year, instilling confidence and hope in Him. Like you say, I believed I couldn’t, so He did. I’ll be moving to a Christian school for the fall and I couldn’t be more overjoyed. But I’m still struggling with the tension. This year I had a school bus hit my parked car, totaling it. My washing machine hose popped and flooded through the floor, pouring a shower down into the kitchen below. TWICE. the same thing happened two weeks later. On a trip to Mexico to ‘get away from it all’ my husband was rushed to the ER (in Mexico…) where we had to decide to fly back to the states, risking his life, or go in for surgery in Mexico. He had the surgery. The day after we returned from Mexico, our dearest, life long family friend heard a neighbor in need of help outside. He ran to help her, and was tragically shot and killed. We had to turn in a car lease and are trying to buy one so we don’t have any more payments. We’ve searched for months and finally bought one this weekend. Turns out, the sellers weren’t honest, the car is an unsafe money pit. I am SO unsettled. construction on the house to fix the flood damage, more insurance claims (health, home, and car) than I know what to do with as a 25 year old, even my classroom is uprooted and unfamiliar right now. I know it’s ok. I trust HIM with that more than anything. But how….how do you make yourself not just know it, but believe it in a way that changes everything??

  51. Caley

    Thank you Lara for this incredible post – so raw and honest. And something so many working Moms can relate to – we all seem to struggle with this is some way at some time. I have had a very busy month of May and I have had to take step back and re-evaluate what I do and why I do it… And now I’ve decided to close during the school break – so that I can enjoy time with my family and some quiet and rejuvenating time for myself… x

  52. Cheryl

    Hi Lara! Is there any chance you would be making power sheets for men? Or just a choice of gender neutral?

    • Lara

      We are considering it, but we do have lots of guys use the undated sets anyway–gold foil and all : )

  53. Ruth G. Nguyen

    I am a better person because of your work and honesty. God used you to bring me closer to him and for that I am ever so grateful. Thank you

  54. Lindsey

    Lara, Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Wow. I can’t imagine what it’s like not knowing what you’re feeling and what’s going on in the middle of the tension and then putting it perfectly into words for someone else to understand. Looking at all of the comments, so many can relate! I’m not a momma yet, but preparing to be a mom and business owner in the coming years so you are trail blazing for me. Thank you so much for sharing! Keep listening. God is moving mountains through you!

  55. Ashley

    Oh my goodness. I am a mama in business too and the tension and the urge to throw my hands up and walk away from it is so strong some days. It’s so MUCH to be so MUCH to so MANY people. Babies, business partners, clients, the husband…they all need a part of me, and that feels like I may just go crazy. It makes me want to retreat. It makes me feel like I need to stop spinning and quit everything BUT the motherhood maybe then I’ll have a handle on something.

    But then God gets ahold of me again. And I realize He put these passions and this drive in me. And that, inevitably, if I quit I would just get that Itch (you know the one…) and start creating something again. Because He made us to be mothers and business owners and creators and idea tanks and yogis and community leaders and chefs and best friends and great wives…

    Anyway. Thank you so much for sharing this. It went straight to the heart. It was a God moment for me. So…bless you! I’m loving following your journey!
    She believed she couldn’t, so He did. YES!

  56. Beverly

    I’m feeling overwhelmed. Not from too much, but from too little. My life has been shaken up and emptied out so many times in the last two years. I fear I have given up to the tension. Between who I’m supposed to be and all I should be doing – and my constant failings in both areas. Honestly, I have tried. And then beaten myself up for not trying ‘hard enough.’ I have gotten up only to fall back down… again and again. I have sought to fill my life up with good things only to have them all fall apart and hurt me deeply. I’m pretty darn soul weary. Yet God has sustained me. Through it all, even these ever-present feelings. Overwhelmed by His grace right now.
    (Thank you, Lara, for posing the question and offering the space to really share, “How are you feeling?” My words are not pretty but being vulnerable will help, I hope.)

    Shifting thoughts… I’ve been so encouraged by you over the years as I’ve followed your journey, Lara. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly and truthfully. Your genuine words have met me where I am so many times, and given me hope. Even today. I know that I, too, have been stuck in my past. Fearful to embrace a new path or step into a new story. As I type this, I’m realizing that all my times of rising and falling were because I was trying to walk old, dead paths. There is no longer life on those paths yet I have continued to go back to them because they are easy and comfortable. And it can be scary to step into new, unknown ways. But I know that I have to acknowledge them for what they were (past tense) and let them go. I know that God is calling me to embrace a new path. Reading your story reassured me of that, and that I am not alone even if my story is different.
    I’m reminded of your response to a comment I made here years ago about: “Trusting God with abandon.” I’m going to allow those freeing words to wash over me once again. Praying God give me the strength and courage to get back up, again. To trust Him wholly and completely as I walk a new path into a fresh story. A story unique to me without any “shoulds” or “supposed tos,” just trusting Him above all else. And being okay, even at peace, with the uncertainty of it all. :) He is greater than my fears.
    Saying a prayer of gratitude for you right now, Lara!

  57. Amy

    So much gratitude for your words and your heart today. Not a mom so I can only imagine having 3 beautiful littles entrusted to your care as you have. Thank you for sharing your “mess” and all with us…..I needed to hear this and be encouraged in this way today.

  58. Fiona

    Lara, sweet Lara, this is exactly what I needed to hear during this season of my life. I’m struggling with fertility issues, feeling very inadequate after 3 miscarriages and taking leave from my work (which I love, but am so overwhelmed by) to gather my thoughts and reset. I find I spend so much time wishing I had a crystal ball to tell me what is coming for myself and my partner – it is sucking ALL OF THE JOY out of our life together. So, I’m going to use this day at home to re-read Make it happen and work on my Powersheets – which not surprisingly had fallen away during this unsettled season of my life. I am so grateful for your honesty and your pure heart. Keep me in your thoughts. x

  59. Stefania

    Lara, I sat down and thanked the Lord today for you and your willingness to share honestly about mess . Your example is powerful.

    Last summer, I followed your story of waiting for J to be born as I was waiting for the Lord to rescue me from a terrible job and deliver to me a new one. You showed me how to wait in the tension and mess, and led me to wait on the Lord in a deeper way. Boy did He deliver, and His blessings continue to expand. He regularly reaffirms, clearly, that I’m exactly where He put me, gives me new opportunities, and today I found out I’m getting promoted!

    But there are still many areas of my life where I feel like there’s so much mess and uncertainty, and like I have no time to deal with it. But the Lord knows, and He has the plan, the map, and time in His close, capable hands.

    You’re such a blessing. Thank you!

  60. Mattye

    I can’t yet articulate how good it was for me to read this. But, I couldn’t read it and not at least say “hi” and “thank you.” Thanks for being brave and honest. I feel less alone and so blessed to know you, sweet Lara! xoxoxoxoxo

    • Sara

      I had such a similar reaction – speechless. Lara, you are an amazing encourager!!

  61. Bonnie

    Oh sweet Lara, I wish I could give you a giant hug right now! You are so real and I hope you know how much that is appreciated. I’ve been going through so many similar struggles as well and praying and waiting, praying and waiting. It is the most exciting things when God provides a clear direction and you know you are exactly where he wants you to be. I encourage you that God has placed you exactly where he wants you to be. Sending you lots of love!

  62. Sara

    I have been so encouraged by this post. I read it late last night but your words stayed with me today and I shared this with a coworker-mom friend.

    Then, tonight, I stumbled on this and thought you might enjoy this clip (not sure if you’ve seen the show) – she wanted to quit her business too!

    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/fixer-upper-couple-our-family-has-made-commitment-put-christ-first

    I am so thankful for fiercely (and fearlessly!) Godly women like you! Thank you for sharing your story!

  63. Jen Kessler

    I’ve been stuck in the middle ground for the past year as well, ever since having my second baby last May. I’m not a small business owner but I’m a gal with lots of dreams and a family and, while I have no desire to be a mom full time, I’m sort of in a place where I’m “stuck” doing that for the time being. Middle ground is so uncertain and I just don’t know what we’re doing or what we’re going to do. I just have no clue. I don’t understand how all the pieces will fall together. I just don’t even know. It is frustrating, grievous, stressful and anxiety inducing. Day in and day out. I, also, feel like my 4 year old has really big emotions – good or bad.

    • Karen

      Jen, I am in a similar position. I was driving myself crazy thinking about all of the things I could be doing as opposed to being a full time mom. It finally hit me that this is the season I am in and that I can embrace the learning and growing found here. I can truly say that after years of praying for patience, I finally have seen growth in this short season.

  64. Amy

    I honestly haven’t read many of your recent posts on the blog as reading blogs these days takes up way to much valuable time but this really drew me in and I related so so much to your feelings as I’m growing into motherhood and owning a business. I know I am more fulfilled when I have meaningful family time and if I didn’t shoot a single wedding again I would be fun…family time>work time! And thankfully we don’t rely on my income so I can choose to spend more time away from work. However, I always have a feeling that God is tugging me to not give up on my business and that he does have plans to use it for good! But I just don’t know how!! The thought that when you feel that you want to quick you just need to change is helping me understand this new season. For various reasons and some out of my control God decided I would not shoot any weddings this summer! That was defiantly not my decision but I’m grateful as we look to the summer that I don’t have any weekends booked with work. Over the past couple months we have seen God work in some unexpected ways and he is showing me that I needed to change and step back and refresh to find my purpose in my family and, I believe, reevaluate my purpose in my business. This is the first summer in 10 years I haven’t photographed a wedding and God is slowly revealing why!! I’m thankful to have a good good Father in control!

  65. Danielle

    Hi Lara,
    Just wanted to say thank you for this. I’ve been up since 5am with some pretty intense anxiety about the state of my business. I started my own business back in 2013 while also working full-time. Dealing with my full-time job and awful manager have completely taken over and my business is suffering. I wanted my business to become a way out but there is time and sacrifice that needs to be part of the equation, so I started thinking “Should I quit my business?” After reading some inspirational materials this am and your blog post, I’m more driven than ever to make this business work. Thank you and God bless!

  66. Jessica

    Lara, I am always so encouraged by your vulnerability and your desire to be honest and straightforward with your readers. It is very encouraging to be let in to these special places of your heart so that God is glorified. I absolutely loved this post. I am in a season of transition as I move from teaching after being an elementary school teacher for six years to working in ministry at my church as the administrative assistant. I will be managing the office and assisting my pastor. I am so excited about this role but will miss my students greatly and am praying for ways to continue to love on them and their families and our community. God has plans that are much higher and greater than ours, and I am encouraged by your willingness to share your heart.

  67. Anastasia

    Josh makes THE BEST faces!

    Lara , you couldn’t have made this article more relational if you were sitting with me in my living room! Your BRAVE heart really came through in this and I’m so SO grateful!

    To quit would be so easy. That’s my go-to. I get all excited about starting a new path and adventure then I backslide and make some mistakes and things get messy and all I want is for my fairy godmother to come in, swish her wand and give me a clean start…but Jesus has already done that! He has given me ALL the grace to quit but even more so to start over, to keep going and not be ashamed of it! He is making and has made ALL THINGS beautiful! This includes my mess.

    I’m struggling so hard being the leader of the Guest Services team at my church. I love it and them but I just can’t keep up! How can I be their leader if I’m not confident in who I am, if I can’t even keep up with all the practical to-dos, if I can’t even keep up with my devotionals? I think I’ve written myself off and said I can’t but continue to do so because “who is going to take my place? I don’t want to make someone else’s plate too full to handle. That’s not cool!” Also, half hoping that my heart will fall into the rhythm…

    Through writing this I have come to the conclusion that I need to step back from that and focus on myself, on finding a job with purpose that will fill out my budget and, most importantly, on my walk with my Father. I need to work myself out of this position and free up my schedule

    Thank you Lara for giving all of us a place to outwork our mess without fear of judgement.

    You are doing very good work!

  68. emily scott

    grateful for this. I’ve been in this place for 2 years but not giving up though it keeps getting harder. love you and your heart and wish I could sit with you for some coffee today. all my love, em (the gem)

  69. Ashton Robertson

    Lara,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words! Your posts are always so timely – I know you’re listening to the Spirit when you write.
    Ashton

  70. Rachel

    You know, I’m not a mother. But I do want to say that I don’t think your children are missing out on moments with you; to the contrary I think they’re learning and absorbing quite valuable lessons from you. They get to grow up watching a mother work toward balance and learning that it isn’t easy – but that it’s still doable. Watching a true leader who works with and embraces her team’s support. Learning how to be part of a team by watching you do it. Seeing their mother demonstrate resilience. Witnessing what it’s like to integrate passion with purpose.

    These are invaluable lessons and really, they’re the ones that are gong to stick with the kids for years far beyond childhood. So few people grow up seeing their parent’s other half of life (work) and it sometimes feels when you get older that you don’t know half their story. This way your kids get to see and know all of you.

  71. Kim Alford

    Yay, Lara!! Adore your heart… and that sweet family! <3

  72. Elizabeth Burns

    Your message has always been so timely in my life. This one is so perfect. I don’t know if I could have said what you said any better! It’s so hard to be in the middle. Not always highly performing and feeling like there is always something more to do and not enough time to do it well. God has been teaching me to live small and try not to please everyone else. Motherhood, business owning, marriage, self-care and everything else we do as women is hard enough to feel like you’re doing it well. You’re amazing and thank you for sharing your message!

  73. Melissa

    Love you friend! I’m so grateful for your heart and the courage you have to share your story. Can’t wait for the next season!! xo

  74. When Plans Change.... - Red Head On The Run

    […] of social media can cloud what we really need to see and do. Or maybe I’m the only one.  Lara Casey wrote a great post on this very subject and it was the last thing I read before I went to sleep […]

  75. Cath

    Hi. Ive watched from afar (literally as in the UK) on Insta in awe of what youve taken on in the last 12 months.
    This is the first time ive read your blog. Lara you are so full of the Spirit! And youve given me much food for thought about my life & its path. I strive to keep God at the centre but social media & my ungratefulness at my job keep me from being God-centred and not letting Him in. Since Christmas ive wanted to quit & be a stay at home mum but Im a lone mum and so thats not possible. I havent yet started to pray about it tho I know He knows my heart.
    Why am i sharing this? Just to say thankyou for writing about normal heartache stuff of mothers and the crossroads and challenges we face. God bless. X

  76. Working mom

    Don’t you have nannies and assistants? im not sure what all type of jobs you have had but believe me, MANY are more strenuous and demanding than being at home coloring (?), blogging, doing computer things (?), and having a staff of 3 nearby to take pictures. Certainly you’re busy with a bunch of young children but there are thousands if not tens of thousands of mothers working Terribly undesirable, low paying jobs to put food on the table withOUT these countless luxuries that are a part of your life. Very difficult for a regular working mom like me to relate. At all.

    • Lara

      Yes, I have a wonderful nanny, and friends who come help on occasion. I am grateful. But, my struggle still remains and that’s humbling to me. I know my struggle is different than others. Thank you for your thoughts!

    • Carina

      Dear Working Mom, Why would a creative business be less of a business? I am not in the same situation as Lara but can so relate to what she is saying about feeling stretched and not feeling we are enough for everyone around us at times. Stress, depression, struggles do not segregate ….it happens to rich and poor. At the end of the day, we all need the same – the grace of God. I think that is the point Lara was trying to share. God is for you and wants to help you in your situation too.

  77. Sam

    Thank you for being so real and honest … you have no idea how much God is using you in your mess and feelings of weakness. You shine of His power and all that He can and is doing through you! You are such an inspiration and encouragement to chose God’s ways over our own!

  78. Cati

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I had this email sitting in my box for the last week, and with so much to “do”, I’ve kept pushing it aside. This morning, I was having a total meltdown, dealing with my regressing potty-training toddler, and my 7 month old non-napping girl, and my (very much surprise!) morning sickness of baby #3. Telling God… (okay, yelling to God), “I don’t WANT to have another baby!” and feeling totally incapable of three kids, a two bedroom house, and somehow running a business on top of that. Anyway, in the middle of all that, I felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to READ THIS POST, so I determined that after the kids went to bed, I’d sit down with my email and read, and I am so glad I did. I needed to hear this SO MUCH. I am sitting in that mess right now, that tension between being a wife and mama and business owner, and adding two babies in 13 months time, and thinking yesterday that I should just quit my business or sell it and forget about it. Thank you for writing this. I appreciate your honesty.

  79. Maite Perez

    Thank you for sharing what the Holy Spirit has put in your heart :) It was a blessing for you that was meant to be given away to us!! I have this really great book I read called “Confident Mom” which goes hand and hand with what you are saying and what God truly wants for us as mothers!! I would love to gift it to you!!! Where can I send it!!!

  80. JoAnne

    Ditto & Thanks deeply…with some tears… :) xo

  81. Britt Lauren

    Sing it girl! I love how honest and to the point you are Lara! We all feel like this at some point no matter how little or how much help we have. I felt it a year ago. I choose to slow down and focus on having a very small business instead of growing. If I kept adding more, I couldn’t restore my balance. The ups and downs of Motherhood is real and thanks for sharing your take on it!

  82. Leanne Caroline

    Oh Lara, these words are amazing. Honest and beautiful. And so encouraging.

    Last year I was gifted (and I say that, as I was incredibly blessed to be head-hunted into it) my dream job. Dream job. One huge piece of my life puzzle fell into place. Yet of course, the hard work and the mess remains. Dream jobs don’t equal just sitting at a desk looking out at perfect blue skies. There’s doing and thinking and changing and helping. And I think this really surprised me. My Anxiety means I love tying things up in a neat bow. My psychologist tells me frequent words of wisdom, “Leanne, when you do have all you ducks neatly lined up in a row, and you have ticked everything off your to-do list, what then? There would be no more ‘life’. If we get everything done, that’s the end of the game”. There will always be mess, because you will always be in the middle of something, that’s life.

    These reminders really speak to me: “I cannot do it all, but I can do a few things well. And only with grace. Grace upon grace.” and “It may not be what you do for all of your life. We were created for seasons, and seasons don’t last forever for a reason. They prepare us for what’s next.”. Popping these in today’s journal entry.

    Many thanks for sharing your life with us Lara. I’m a million miles away (Australia) though I feel I really know you.

    With love, Leanne.

  83. Michelle

    I’ve had this blog post opened in a tab since you posted it, but I hadn’t made the time to sit down and read it until now. I’m SO glad I did. I’m all goosebumps and tears over here. I’ve been sitting in a mess of uncertainty for over a year now, but this reminds me that I can’t just sit on my own in the mess. I need to sit with God in it, and listen to what HE is whispering to me, not what I’m shouting at myself. THANK YOU for sharing your story.

  84. Ashley

    I went through this very same thing last winter. I’m not a mom, but starting as a small business owner, all on my own, with no help.. it was a huge struggle for me. My dad was battling cancer at the time, and his health quickly declined. I was tired of all the free this and webinar that. I knew that I was trying to do too much… much more than I should have. I took a break for about 5 months and it was possibly the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. My dad will always come first, family always comes first. I will forever remember the lesson I learned and all that God taught me.

    Thank you for sharing Lara. xoxo

  85. Amber

    Thank you for this. I have been in the tension too… and now, I feel a little less alone.

  86. Just Keep Swimming – The Fabulous Giver

    […] As Lara Casey wrote in this incredible blog post, […]

  87. sarah

    I’m reading this quite late, but it’s EXACTLY the conversation i’ve been having with God for goodness…years? And the answer for me has been THE SAME. Like, our stories are completely parallel. How could he ask me to build something, then feel like I need to tear it down, especially when it’s blessing others? I’d do it in a heart beat because in some ways, quitting is SO much easier. my family matters most! But the growth and beauty and fruit comes from the struggle. The digging down deep, and reaching up tall. Just like that seed. Pruning is also something I’ve learned is essential, just like in your garden. And sometimes it’s the pruning, not the quitting that eases us into the next season. But honestly…your words are truth for me today! Thank you!! xoxo