Celebrating God’s Faithfulness: Our Independence Day Story!

It is Celebration time at the Steck household! For on January 4th 2018 God did something amazing in our business, Southwest Metal Systems. We have marked that day Independence Day and decided each year we will commemorate by throwing a shindig to remember!

Celebration

Our office party Celebration!

I had dinner with a friend the day before the Celebration, and told her this story I’m about to share. At one point she said, “Why have I not heard this before?” I told her it wasn’t a story I told often, because number one, it’s so long and involved, number two it takes a lot of energy to share, and number three until January 4th of 2018 it really wasn’t worth telling! It was just a bunch of hard stuff we had to walk through. And who really wants to hear that?!

By God’s grace I finally had the time and energy to sit down and write it all out. I’d love for you to come and see all God’s done in our lives and in the lives of the people who work at Southwest Metal.

It’s a story of God’s amazing love and faithfulness and a real life example of how He parted the Red Sea for us and allowed us to walk on dry ground to the other side. I’m still amazed and humbled at His strength and power that He displayed on our behalf.

This will span over the course of a few blog posts, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Here we go-

One year ago anxiety hung heavy in the air of our home. We tried to pin it up. Tried to pop it. We prayed and trusted and knew God had a plan, but just didn’t know what that plan looked like. We weren’t scared, just holding our breath. Waiting. Wondering what would happen.

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What Does God Desire More – Faith or Sacrifice?

“We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God no where tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – life with Himself.”

~Utmost for His Highest January 8

On New Year’s Day I bought two puzzles at the Dollar Tree. One was 300 pieces, the other 500. And I soon discovered puzzles are addicting! Every time I walked to the kitchen I wanted to add a new piece – then a new section. Like nibbling on a piece of cake, I couldn’t stop until I had a straight line somewhere. A clean finished area.

I discovered that putting a 500 piece puzzle together is easier when you can look at the picture on the box. When I was stumped, I would hold a particular puzzle piece in my hand, study the picture of where it might go and usually I could find its place.

If only life was that way.

To me walking in faith is like putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. I just have to figure out where each piece fits based on what I see right in front of me. There’s no big vision of how it all connects together. There’s no – oh, see where this line and color meet, that’s where it fits!

And that’s really hard for me. So what I tend to do is super-impose a picture I believe would work great, then start putting pieces together based on that plan.

Our journey to Kenya is the biggest example of this.

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Waiting in the White Space

It’s the first real Monday of 2020. The holidays are over. Routine is back. To me, January feels like starting a brand-new journal. Every page is white, ready for new words. The possibilities of what those words will say – of what adventure they describe – are endless. And that makes me excited!

My temptation is to quickly fill in that white space with my hopes and plans, creating a strategy for the year that will make God proud. But this year, I read something that has made me pause, and stare at that white space a little longer before I break the silence with my words.

In John 13:31-38, Jesus in a way, gives His disciples a piece of blank paper and then walks away, leaving them to figure out what to do next. Dishes from The Last Supper have just been cleared, and Judas has just left the room after Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

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Three Years Ago…

It’s been three years. Three years since I’ve held my Papa’s hand. Three years since I stayed awake most of the night. By his side. Administering medicine at the needed time. Watching, listening to his labored breath. Wiping his fevered forehead.

I sang a few hymn choruses to him that night. I read from the Psalms. I journaled. But mostly I just watched him, drinking in the time with him, knowing these would be my last memories.

Aerosmith’s song played in my mind –

“Don’t want to close my eyes
I don’t want to fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t want to miss a thing…”

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A Heart Full of Thanksgiving on Christmas Eve

Today I am so thankful for just being a mom. I love watching my kids grow up and become people of their own. It’s like slowly unwrapping a Christmas gift.

At first you get “It’s a boy!” and uncover what color eyes they have, whose nose they inherited and how long their toes are.

As the weeks and months slip by, you notice their little personality quirks – strong wills about sleeping or not sleeping, favorite positions, and funny facial expressions.

So many qualities that I see in my kids now as teenagers, I’ve seen in them since they were infants!

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What Does “Peace on Earth” Look Like?

A few days ago my daughter Mackenzie asked if I would help her on an assignment in her online guitar class. Now this doesn’t happen often, because she is the expert in music not me!

The assignment taught some basic guitar skills along with reading music. I whizzed through the instructions quickly assuming Mackenzie understood those things and just needed help understanding how she was supposed to put it all together.

That’s when she told me “Everyone thinks because I’ve been playing guitar for a long time that I know how to read music but I don’t. No one taught me that at the beginning. I just started out just learning the chords and not the individual string/note names.”

That kinda amazed me but looking back, it was true!

Well the devotional I read today in My Utmost for His Highest reminded me of this conversation and how we can do the same thing spiritually, especially during the Christmas season.

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What Scares Me about being Vulnerable

Have you ever woken your kids up by turning on the light in their room?

It’s kinda funny isn’t it?!

They immediately make a face and pull the covers over their head moaning, “MOM, turn the light offfff!!”

That’s what I thought of yesterday at church when the Pastor spoke on accountability. He said being in an accountable relationship means being honest, vulnerable, available and teachable.

It caused me to reflect. The times I’ve been most vulnerable and honest are also the times I have been most wounded by those I called my friends. As I look back at those times, that “rejection” has caused me to temper how vulnerable and honest I am.

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The Unexpected Journey

We have been on strange and unexpected church journey for almost 10 years now. We’ve experienced church in so many forms with so many different kinds of people ranging from home church to Church of Christ to Assembly, to Non-Denominational. Honestly my heart has forgotten what it feels like to be in a church home.

Regardless of what it looks like on the outside, on the inside Adam and I have done our best to follow where Jesus is going. For us, following Him requires movement. And sometimes it looks like we’re wishy washy and wandering, trying to find something perfect, but in reality we are just following where Jesus leads us.

Looking back, I see God has taught me something through this unexpected journey…

I am an achiever. Put a goal in front of me and I can’t sleep until I crush it! A couple of years ago someone introduced me to the Enneagram. It has helped me accept my personality and understand the warning signs of when I’m over doing it and moving into an unhealthy range. Mostly it’s shown me God’s amazing grace – for it’s only by that grace I am a whole person today!

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The Unexpected Change of Plans

Recently we had an unexpected change of plans.

And they were BIG plans to me. I’d call them anchor plans of the day, what we planned other things around.

Then, 20 minutes before the expected start time, someone called and cancelled due to events totally out of their control.

And I can’t lie… I was bummed. Frustrated. Even a touch mad.

My thoughts sounded like, Are you serious? Do they know we planned our whole day around this?! Don’t they care? I wish I known this yesterday!

It was all about me!

In reality this other party was probably feeling the same. Their plans had also been interrupted. And they were torn with how to handle it. But I didn’t look at it from that angle.

I tried to sound understanding on the phone and say it was OK and we’d happily reschedule! But I also tried to leave one note of my true feelings in my voice, hoping they get the drift I wasn’t real happy about it.

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The Unprepared Host

Have you ever noticed it’s not always what people say that makes an impact but what they don’t say? Some may call it reading between the lines, but often what’s not spoken can give perspective and context to what is spoken.

Jesus is a Master at this…

Last Sunday morning I read John 6, which is such a familiar passage to me I almost skipped over it all together. It’s one the kids have dressed up and reenacted with picnic baskets, red tablecloths, furry beanie babies and colorful plastic food. It’s the story of Jesus feeding the 5 thousand.

Scripture tells me that the words contained in Genesis through Revelation are living words. They are inspired words from God. If they weren’t, they’d be like a book on the bookshelf – a story I’ve already read and don’t really want to read again because I know what’s going to happen next. But the Bible isn’t like that to me. It’s like a fresh water stream. Each time I read, I see a new perspective, a new detail and it’s fresh information again!

That’s what happened to me with this “children’s” story. All of a sudden I didn’t just see the characters interacting with one another and the lines I almost have memorized. I saw Jesus interacting with people He cared about. Friends. This was an intentional time with those men and it was intentionally recorded for me to read.

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