Five years ago when I started my jewelry business, I had absolutely no idea it would turn into this. That I would love what I do so passionately; that I would get so excited to teach others to make jewelry. But I do. When I can't sleep at night, I think about designs I would like to try, or how I can get more glitter into my classes. When I am watching tv, I am usually looking at the actress's jewelry and trying to remember it so I can make it later. For a girl who wanted to be a missionary, this all-consuming passion has really surprised me.
A few days after I turned 30, I woke up with the most unbelievable pain in my hands. Not sure what caused it, Chris and I started looking at what I had been doing to see if that held any clues. I had been working feverishly to finish several Christmas orders and my hands seemed to be reacting to that. So after the Christmas rush, I gave my hands several weeks rest and it seemed to get better.
When it kept happening, I went to see my doctor. She told me that I had developed arthritis in my hands. WHAT?! I was only 30, a good 20 years too young for arthritis. It was a major blow to my ego. I couldn't make sense of what was going on. I mean, God had given me this unbelievable passion and the skills to match it, and now it felt like He was taking it away from me.
I loved listening to Chuck Swindoll's morning devotions on my way to work, and as I was driving to work one morning, he started talking about Abraham and Isaac. I knew he was talking directly to me. Abraham had wanted to have a child so badly (even more than I want to make jewelry), but God didn't see fit to bless him with a son until he was 100 years old. And not long into his precious Isaac's life, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son to Him.
But Abraham (fearful or fearless, we don't know) faithfully took Isaac to the mountain God commanded him to, and prepared his beloved Isaac for sacrifice. God intervened and sent a ram to take Isaac's place--He rewarded Abraham's sacrifice and willingness to follow Him.
I wish I understood the road I'm on today. I have since been back to the Rheumatologist to find that I have tenysenovitis and carpal tunnel (both aggravated by using my hands). Some days I can work extensively for hours on end. And days like today, I can't manage to hold anything I pick up, let alone work on jewelry. I don't doubt that God has a plan for me. And I don't deny that things could be much worse--I still have the use of my hands, I just have to work within my limitations.
I sometimes wonder if God is asking me to make an Isaac sacrifice of my jewelry business and the use of my hands to make it. I have had almost 2 years to think about it, and I really would give it all up if that is what He wanted. Its hard to say that, but I trust that God has a greater plan I don't understand.
But if I'm being honest, I am impatient and want to know how this will all work out. While my senior students take some comfort in knowing that I struggle with some of the same afflictions they do, I want to know how I am supposed to be a handmade jewelry designer who somedays can't hand make her own jewelry.
Only time will tell, but until the day that my ram comes out of the brush, I'm going to continue on towards the altar with my Isaac hands. Becuase even if I don't understand why they don't work, I know that God does and that He will use it all to His glory if I only let Him.
You can read Abraham's story for yourself in the Bible. Genesis 16-22