After two years, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. Something that started as an outlet for my creativity is now a business I am proud of. From the outside, it may seem as if this was my goal from the beginning…but I’d be lying if I said that were true. This business has played many roles in my life already and its’ blooms have not come without the rain. It’s funny how God plants a seed in us just hoping we will tend to it, trusting in a fruitful harvest in doing so. He doesn’t keep the weeds from growing up all around, but He knows if we find the will, we will bloom in His garden of life.
In 2016, my husband Seth (the dreamer that he is) bought a cnc plasma table for his small town welding and repair business Wilson Welding Co. At the time, I was keeping busy doing the shop book work and homesteading on the family farm we lived on at the time. Life was good and the newlywed bliss was still going strong as we celebrated our 1 year anniversary that August. A few days prior, we found out we were expecting our first little blessing and our hearts were spilling over with joy and thanksgiving. In September, we made the trip down to Alabama to pick up the plasma table. We had a fun little trip in spite of my horrible morning sickness (all day sickness). Nashville was the highlight of our journey!
When we got back, Seth quickly got the table installed and running. This had to of been the mother of all tools for this lover of any and all gadgets. At the time, I was still under the impression that this big fancy machine would be used for fabrication projects in the welding shop…after all, the machine looked a little out of my league. All I could think of is the safety spiel we had just been given down south! Did you all know this machine can send 5,000 volts of electricity through you in .2 seconds??? Yeah, I didn’t either! Needless to say, I was busy sending up a few extra prayers for my husband and all his future endeavors. Seth was tickled pink about his new toy, and I think he might have wanted to see me just as excited about this machine and its’ potential. Me… well I was still relishing in the thoughts of our future child and all the excitement that comes along with expecting your first baby.
A few days later, after watching the machine, it suddenly dawned on me that this table could make just about anything your mind can dream up. “So, if I wanted to make some cute decor for around the house…” I started up a conversation with Seth, “you could cut it out for me and I could paint them?” “Mhmm, sure can,” Seth replied. That was it. Hook, line, and sinker! How fun would this be?! Creating my own décor…YES PLEASE! “We can make a bunch of things and sell them even!” Seth excitedly shot back. “Sell them?! You think people would actually want to buy what I make??” That night, I designed my very first Welder’s Wife creation. A fall favorite called “Give Thanks” and I hand painted it the very next day while it was hot off the machine. I was excited. Life was so full of all the good stuff!
Within 2 days of creating my first sign, a customer bought it to take home to his wife. “She will love that!” he said. I couldn’t believe it! Seth was right, people would buy the things I could create. Every night I had Seth help me with the new designs floating around in my head all day. I wonder if he realized back then that in addition to creating custom décor, I was also creating another full time job for him as well! I also wonder what the farmers thought when they found Seth in the shop cutting out home décor instead of welding on farm equipment. I can only hope those same farmers can now see what dreams were in the making back in those September days.
September 27th, 2016 is a day that changed my life forever. Not only did it change the person I was, but it would change who I would become and the life I would lead. At this time, I was 13 weeks along in my pregnancy. I was getting anxious to move on to the 2nd trimester and my nausea seemed to be going away, FINALLY. On September 26th, my midwife checked for baby’s heartbeat with a hand held doppler. I waited and waited with giddy anticipation, my ears ready to hear a most glorious sound. After minutes of searching, my midwife reassured me that it’s not uncommon for heartbeats to be tricky to find with a doppler at this stage. She recommended waiting a week to retry or I could schedule to have an ultrasound done first thing the following day. I agreed to have an ultrasound scheduled, but not because I was worried. My first time pregnancy innocence had me thinking all was well. Having the ultrasound was more a reflection of my impatience to see and hear baby than it was my fear of something being wrong.
The next morning my world crumbled all around me as I heard the words I never thought I’d have to hear. “Baby is measuring much smaller than gestational age. I’m so sorry, but there is no longer a heartbeat.” My heart stopped. My world stopped. There’s no way… I’ve had every symptom in the book… I was a word for word ‘What to Expect when Expecting’ textbook pregnancy. My mind raced as the tears fell, trying to put the pieces together as they lay crumbled before me. That week was the most painful week of my life. Tears will forever pool in my eyes thinking back to those dark days Seth and I experienced. All of our hopes and dreams were shaken.
We decided to let the miscarriage happen naturally as I wanted to avoid medical intervention if possible. For me, I knew I needed it this way to heal and find peace. I needed this baby to know nothing but love, and I prayed that by trusting God in this process I would somehow find strength and renewed purpose. Little did I know just how much strength would be required to trust that God’s ways are not our own, and His plans for us in this life are far greater than any we could make on our own.
Every emotion one can possibly think of I experienced in those initial days. The pain was so raw. I needed an escape. Our house was 25 minutes from the welding shop back then. I still remember driving through the haze of tear filled eyes, wondering if oncoming traffic could see my dismay. Thoughts were racing through my mind, anger piercing through my inmost being, and sadness overwhelming my soul. Once I arrived at the shop it was time to pull myself together…there was work to be done, something to distract me from the pain for awhile. And so it began, two months of working none-stop, pouring all of my energy into becoming “The Welder’s Wife.”
We decided to start taking our products to shows starting that October. Show life is crazy, especially when your start-to-finish, handmade goods are heavy metal items! Thankfully, the shows proved to be worth the effort and I decided to try and get into “Iowa’s Largest Arts and Crafts Show” at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. With only a little less than 2 weeks to spare, we found out we had been pushed to the top of the list and had a spot at the show! It sure was an exciting phone call for me at the time. For the first time in weeks I remember feeling an emotion other than great sadness, anger, and pain. We doubled down and started staying at the shop till 2AM and 3AM to prepare for the big show. We were grateful for the help from family and friends as well! I still don’t know how we did it all but I think we’d both agree that outwardly pouring our hearts into this endeavor felt rewarding in a time of great inner sorrow. The show quickly came and went and we were blessed with a successful weekend of sales. The Welder’s Wife had been born and it appeared it was here to stay… or at least we hoped!
You see then, The Welder’s Wife was truly born out of tragedy. At the time I didn’t see it that way, but looking back it’s very clear to me. Seth and I worked long and hard for months. All the while, I painfully awaited the day when I would miscarry on my own. Little did we know, it would take my body nearly 3 months to recognize that our baby was no longer growing inside of me. I can say with certainty, God held and strengthened me through those long days. It was here in my life that I realized firsthand that The Lord is my Strength. He saw me through that darkness and helped me to grow into the person I am today.
In tragedy, we are brought into awareness that we wouldn’t have otherwise found having not gone through trial. As life continued to unfold before us, God’s abiding faithfulness was shown to us in many ways. Though I still could not understand why I had to experience such pain, The Lord was Faithful. His plans were far greater than our own and the seeds he planted within us were meant to come into full bloom. As the months continued on, Seth and I would come to know Jesus better and in turn love one another more deeply. We would trust in God’s plans instead of our own. We would buy an acreage of our own and start building our dream homestead. We would welcome two new partners into our business and watch our capabilities continue to grow and expand. We would pray for an earthly child and be blessed with our sweet Addilee Marie. We would be shown life’s truest miracles and purest blessings. Life’s journey is not easy, But The Lord is FAITHFUL.
Our daughter Addilee has brought more joy into our lives than we even thought possible. She is a daily reminder of God’s perfect plan. When Addilee was born, my life felt complete. After all, my heart’s greatest desire was to be a mother and raise a family. The weeks following her arrival, I honestly didn’t think about my role as “The Welder’s Wife” anymore. After all, nothing could come close to my new role as a Mama!
Several weeks went by like this until one day, I sat down and reflected on my life. Right then it hit me. I realized the reason I had been pushing away The Welder’s Wife, a business I had once put my all into, was because of all that it stirred up in me. Subconsciously, I was reminded of the pain of the past when I worked on my business and new designs. It was all too familiar.
But just as He always does, God looked down upon me and knew what my heart needed to hear. He reminded me the sun was finally shining to dry up all of the stormy rain… the perfect conditions for growth, you see. In that awakening moment, it was as if God whispered to me “I planted that seed for a reason, don’t stop now. Keep growing and watch it bloom.” And so here I am, growing…ready to enjoy all that is yet to bloom.