What Does A Life & Business Surrendered To God Look Like? By Melissa Ahlquist
What does a life and business surrendered to God look like?
The beauty of these questions is that each life that has surrendered themselves to God is the only one that can answer this question. We are all so different and we are all on a journey that will also look so different from each other.
One of the things that I feel to share with you today is about how it is too easy to see someone rocking their business, they seem super ‘got it all together’ and amazing, that we can get caught in the trap of comparing our life with their life, or our business with their business.. or our surrendered to their surrendered.
Once we start down that track we start to forget that there has been a journey for them to get where they are, there has been a journey for you to get where you are, and there has been a journey for me to get where I am today.
Today, I would love to share a little of my journey with you, because it is unfair to only show the highlight reel, a snippet of today without you knowing how I managed to get here.
So, who am I?
My name is Melissa. I am married to a wonderful man and we have two girls together. We live on a hobby farm on the northern outskirts of Perth. I am a daughter of the most high king who also happens to be a serial entrepreneur whilst also working part time in my husband’s parents business. Prior to COVID, I would travel every 4-6 weeks to perform training sessions at Bunnings stores across Australia as part of my job.
This is the standard bio information that people give when asked what they do… but it doesn’t even touch the surface of who I really am. The person that God created. I have been through such a long journey of healing and restoration, which has only been able to happen due to surrendering my life to Jesus.
The world is not what defines me, my husband doesn’t define me and my many ‘hats’ don’t define me… but for quite a long time in my life, I did allow my past and present roles define me… and this is where the story gets a little interesting!
When teenagers were starting to drink and party, I chose to go to church, out of rebellion to my mum. She was against me going to church, and as a 17 year old who was angry, broken and hiding, the refuge of God was very appealing to me… but that isn’t what got me in the doors – the singing was. I have always loved music and the praise and worship drew me in and I was hooked.
Three months later, I made a calculated decision that ‘this Jesus and God stuff seems quite legit’ and I decided that day would be the day I raised my hand to accept Jesus into my life. It was a big decision as I did not trust anyone to know the real Mel back then.
Looking back, no one knew what I had been through and I managed to keep it all well hidden - until I received a phone call that was to rock the little safe world I had built for myself. I was 19 and I had just got my first real office job.
Dave and I had been engaged for just a few months. Just this weekend has been a time of reflection for me, and I can now see that this particular phone call was a pivotal moment in growing up in Christ (very quickly) and the start of a journey of healing and restoration.
Yes or No?
The phone call I received only needed a one word answer, Yes or No. It was from a detective from one of our local police stations, and he just needed the answer to one simple question, but the answer was not simple at all.
Have you ever done a choose your own adventure book? The answer would change my life no matter which way I answered. To answer no, meant that I would be living the rest of my life hidden, in denial of the truth that I had kept secret for many, many years. It would also mean that I had not stood up to protect any future girls in our family.
To answer truthfully, it would mean taking all my courage to tell someone for the first time about what had happened to me for seven years of my childhood… it was allowing God’s light to shine in the darkness of my life, revealing the truth of what was happening in our family, and it would start the process of keeping my step-grandad away from the rest of the girls in my family.
I said Yes.
So often we think that bringing the truth into the light is an easy process, God will reveal the truth and the truth will set us free – and it certainly does… but that truth started a 3 year process of police interviews and statements, unpleasant family discussion and it bought a great big crevice down the middle of my family.
It also started a devastating journey of remembering and reliving moments in my childhood that I had stuffed down, destined to never think about again. But we all know that our heavenly Father is just such a good, good father. He doesn’t want us sitting around in our own devastation, his love and heart for us is that we are made clean and new and whole in Him.
He is faithful
I would have never know, that when I surrendered my life to God in 2000 at the age of 17, that I would be taken on such an amazing journey of emotional healing. I went from hiding the real me behind a mask to become the Melissa I was destined to be - cheeky, energetic and bubbly.
I firmly believe that what happened to me was an attempt to keep me from God’s perfect plan for my life, but I did not let the enemy win. I did not let my own fears and doubts and emotions win, instead I chose to dive straight into God and take what he has for me with a confidence and boldness that only he can provide me. He gave me his supernatural strength to get through the toughest day of my life, and the verdict for all 11 charges was GUILTY!
This is just part of my journey, that I wanted to share with you all, because too many women are living as I was. Hiding their real self behind a mask as they are too scared of what others may say when the find out who they really are. Others are hiding deep dark secrets that have kept them locked up in chains and unable to have the break throughs in their lives that they need.
You can be free too.
I am living a life that has been redeemed and renewed because I made a series of choices to surrender my life into his hands, and then be obedient in following the process of healing. I have had the most beautiful moments with the Holy Spirit and in worship, because I know that he knows me.
I know that he has me, and I know that he is in control.
If you are feeling that you aren’t enough, please don’t allow the lies to keep holding you back. I invite you to take some time today to surrender your life to Jesus, lay your burdens at his feet and ask God for the healing that you are so desperate to receive.
Take the time to lay down those things that you are struggling with, the frustrations you have, the hurts and the worries. He has super big shoulders – he can take it!
A word of encouragement
When we live our lives AND businesses surrendered to Jesus, then we are opening the doors wide to Him to come in and do crazy, amazing, wonderous things through us and our businesses.
And if you have read this far, and still have no idea that God wants you to rock your business – I challenge you:
Who do you think gave you the desires of your heart?
Who do you think planted that seed of hope of a successful business?
Who gave you the ideas for your business and who opened the doors to make those dreams a reality?
Give it a try. Give him your business and ask him for the strategies and keep your daily life in close step with God. Let him transform you from the inside out, and bless you amazingly along the way.
All glory and praise to my God, my creator who dreamed of me and knitted me together in my mother’s womb. He has faithfully bought me through the hardest seasons of my life and I know that he has great things for me. To him be the glory and the honour, forever and ever!
I run three micro businesses.
My first, Outdoor Beanbags (www.outdoorbeanbags.com.au), was a direct answer to prayer. I prayed for a way I could support missions work, and then I stumbled upon some beanbags in Bali. Through a series of conversations and open doors, I opened my first micro business in 2012, building a biz from scratch with absolutely no idea what I was doing. But God was faithful. My commitment was 50% of profits would go into missions work. I have funded some amazing things and also managed to go on 4 missions trips to South Africa too!
My second biz, Little Biz (www.littlebiz.com.au) was born out of a desire to see micro businesses grow themselves and help their local communities grow. They didn’t have the funds or access to business coaching and so I developed a series of workshops to run through with micro business owners to help them discover and document their business foundations. I am also creating WordPress websites for clients, which was also a total God moment. I decided on a Tuesday, posted in a group I’m part of. I was introduced to a client, and by the Friday I had an agreement to create a new website for their event and then redo their main website also.
And my third is my new baby, Mellymoo (www.mellymoo.com.au). I love leggings (I practically live in them) and I wanted some encouraging and inspiring leggings. I couldn’t find what I wanted so had a brainwave to create the designs myself. I found myself a manufacturer and these leggings have just taken off. I am currently looking into other product offerings I can do in the custom made space with encouragement for women and also some scriptures. This one, is my unashamedly Christian biz… where I can blog whatever I want to blog about and sell my leggings on the side too!
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