Archive for October 1st, 2016

Dear Friends,

Today I want to start by sharing one of my favorite scriptures:

Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Two years ago my daughter got married to a wonderful man. And they moved away to Iowa, five hours away from home. I’ve always had a great relationship with my daughter. In fact, she’s one of my best friends. We used to meet weekly for our coffee or dinner at the Mall of America. Sometimes we just talked the entire night, other times we shopped, and yet other times, we only walked the mall while chatting. We both looked forward to our mom-daughter time together. Then she moved. She got a very demanding job in Iowa and she was not able to talk on the phone during business hours. And because she was on the phone most of the day, she didn’t want to talk at night either. She would put her phone away. I was ready to let her go and was so happy that she got married. But I wasn’t ready to “disconnect.”

While that was happening and after all the excitement of the wedding wore off, I was also leaving my job of ten years and my banking career of twenty three years to start my own business, Malzahn Strategic. Those were two major life events that I was not prepared to handle at the same time. I found myself alone at home, very busy starting the business, yet lonely with no one to talk to during the day. I was missing my daughter and I was missing my employees so much. Those who have worked for me before know that I truly cared about each one of them and treated them almost as if they were my own children. I got to know them as individuals and formed life-long friendships with them.

I found myself missing being in charge, being the decision maker—the one people depended on to run all the divisions that were under my oversight. As CFO and COO of the bank, I oversaw everything except the lending and sales of the bank. Even though it was exciting to start my own business and also focus on my speaking career and writing more books, I missed being an executive, leading others, and having that huge responsibility. I felt like I was thrown off the treadmill without notice—even though I had planned my exit for the entire previous year. I delegated all the tasks I could, I trained all my employees, I gave authority where appropriate, and I promoted all my employees to the highest level I could before I left. My mission at this bank was complete. It was time to move on. I had so many mixed feelings and emotions and it was hard to deal with it all.

I was so happy at the same time, that my son was still living at home for the next two years. That really helped me, more than he’ll ever know, to not feel completely on my own. We had our little routine each morning that he had to say goodbye and give mama a hug before he left to work. Each day I was left alone working at home on my own. Many people like that but I didn’t. As an “extreme extrovert,” as I call myself, it was very hard to be by myself. Even when I had a lot of work, after several hours from focused, intense consulting work, I like to lift up my head and talk to a human. That’s just the way I am. Many days I cried at home, alone, not really feeling sorry for myself, but simply because I was missing being with people and being part of a team.

One day, I was in my kitchen and I finally realized what God was doing in my life. I remembered that for so many years I had been asking God for rest. I was exhausted. I was burnt out from working so hard and so intense, having so much responsibility for so long. And now that I had the chance to rest, slow down, spend more time with Him, I wasn’t recognizing the opportunity. So that day, I thanked God for giving me this amazing opportunity to do my own business, to follow my heart, and pursue my true calling in life. I changed my attitude to being thankful each day for the benefits of being an entrepreneur, owning my schedule, and not being responsible for anyone else but me (at least for now).

In the last two years (exactly as of today, October 1st) I started my bank consulting company, Malzahn Strategic. I started my own publishing company, Malzahn Publishing, finished and published two more books, The Fire Within and The Friendship Book, under my own publishing company. The Fire Within book got published in the Philippines by the largest Christian publisher there. I started my speaking business, became a member of the National Speakers Association and have had 55 speaking engagements! I also traveled to Rwanda, Africa in my first mission trip where I taught six times at a pastors’ conference and women’s conference, and I’m now writing three other books. I’m volunteering on three nonprofit boards. And went on vacation to Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Wow! I guess that’s why I’ve been so busy. But during that time, God has also worked in my heart in amazing ways. He has narrowed my focus and I’m truly connecting my gifts with my calling. I’m using all my gifts for the Kingdom of God. Now my purpose is clearer than ever in my life.

This summer, my daughter and son-in-law announced that they were moving back. I thought they were going to be away for at least five years but God answered my prayers and surprised me with the gift. They are now moved back to Minnesota and have both found excellent jobs at great companies. Looking back, God knew they needed to be away to gain invaluable experience in their fields so they could get the jobs they now have, but also to solidify and strengthen their own marriage. It was a time they used to connect, get to know each other better, and truly enjoy each other’s friendship and love. I am confident they will enjoy a happy marriage with a strong foundation based on God’s love.

My son moved out this past May and even though I cried for a few days, he only moved twenty miles away and I see him often. I knew this time it was the right time for him to go on his own. He was ready and I was ready to let him go. He also just got a new job and loves it. I don’t know why parents in America can’t wait to send their kids off. They push them away and out of their home too soon. Some kids need the extra time and just knowing that they are not being pushed out until they’re ready, gives them the desire to be close to their parents. I have an amazing, healthy relationship with my two children and thank God for that each day.

During these two years, the Lord also worked on my marriage. Because we had our kids so young and so soon after we got married, we never had enough time for us. These past two years I feel God worked on our marriage in amazing ways and instead of growing apart, we are now closer to each other than ever before. We love each other more than ever and enjoy each other’s company and friendship like never before. We are truly enjoying being empty nesters for the first time. We now go on impromptu trips, go on a date just because, go for long walks, bike rides, and watch TV uninterruptedly. We’re enjoying our time as a couple as if we just got married and we just celebrated 28 years in July!

So that’s my story from the past two years. God has answered all my prayers. I can finally say, “I’m off the treadmill of corporate life” and I love my new life following the calling in my life—fully. My ultimate dream is to be an “international bilingual inspirational public speaker” and share about God wherever I go… and I’m there. Am I rich? No. Am I famous? No. Am I happy? Absolutely yes!

Today I encourage you to pray. Ask God for your heart’s desires to come true. Ask God for others. Ask God to help you wait until His timing comes true in your life. His ways are definitely higher than our ways and His thoughts are for sure higher than our thoughts. Keep praying, believing, and thanking God!

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