December 6th, 2001 we filed the article of incorporation for the Vision. Just before Christmas, we got the approved document back. The Vision officially became Women Refreshed at the Well. We wanted a name that would capture the heart of the Vision ~ a place for women to come, to find refreshment, rest and renewal. A place to find “Living Water.”
Over and over again, the phrase “clay pots and broken vessels” came to my mind and I realized it all seemed to tie in with the woman at the well story (in the Bible, John Chapter 4). I realize that I am so often a clay pot and broken vessel and yet I know that God can use me in both mediums ~ cracks and all. He can use all of us! He is the One who can fix the brokenness and there are times when my brokenness is what God desires! He is also the one who can mould me and make me into the shape He wants me to be! Now when I look back to 1998 when Maxine shared her brand new song with me called Woman at the Well. I see how it all tied in, and how God moved me then, and still moves me now. I realize that I am the woman at the well! I have experienced the living water. I know were I can go to refuel, refresh and renew.
Around mid-December, Bill Fast (a businessman from our church) received our business plan. I was so thankful for this as I was feeling like I was floundering. So, when Margaret (Bill’s wife) told me that Bill would be glad to look over the plan, I was so thankful! I thought back to when the Lord gave me specific names that I needed to contact, and Margaret was one of them. I was very open to help from a business person’s perspective. Remember that there was no model that I could follow, or at least none that I knew of. I felt like I was very much just “winging it”. Alvin and I went and met with Bill and Margaret. We came away greatly encouraged and eager to get going on the ideas and suggestions that Bill gave to us. We walked away with their support as well as a game plan. Bill also put us in touch with a lawyer, who I met with to work through some of our by-laws and revisions. She did all the work for me “pro bono” (or in other words ~ free!).
My last working day at Sugar-N-Spice Kiddie Haven Inc. was December 31st, 2001. Was I excited? Very much so, as I sensed the “sitting on the edge of my seat” feeling. Was I scared? Yes, that too. But in the midst of it all was great peace. Did it make sense to quit work right at the time when I needed money to buy a house? It made no common sense. However, I had learned that God’s timing and ways do not always make sense ~ and I was perfectly okay with that! I also knew that I needed to take some time for myself. Those last two years of work at the daycare were tough ones. One of my closest friends Gail said to me that she thought that the timing was just right. Now I could renew, refuel and refresh before beginning the work God was calling me to.
Once I completed my 25 year career in childcare, I planned to focus totally on the next steps in Vision work. I knew that God had been stretching me way out of my comfort zone. I had a feeling there was even more s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g to come. I will agree, that scared me a little too!
It was at this point that I said to my husband Alvin, “If God chooses to close every door at this point, while my heart would be saddened, it has been such an amazing experience and I have learned so much about Him!” However, I really felt that this was just the beginning and that, like I said, I was just sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the ride to begin!
Over and over again during the year, God brought me back again and again to the verses in Jeremiah 29:11-14a: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord.”
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