Why hello there. This is Mandy’s husband Tom, and I am writing officially for the first time on Nurture Her Soul and I just wanted to share.… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! No, this isn’t regarding our wedding anniversary. Instead, one year ago today on May 4, 2017, Mandy had her first official event for our new business. Since then we’ve had many events, both our sponsored events and private group invites, and Mandy has spoken to thousands of women.

We have grown very well in the short time since Mandy came up with this idea. Mandy has been to countless women’s events in her 20 years of work in helping others. Christian events, business and motivational events (she used to be a pink-Cadillac driving Mary Kay director), and many other kinds of events under the sun. The premise of Mandy’s new idea was simple- to create Christian women’s events that she would want to go to herself. She wanted to create events that at the end of the night the “girlfriends” would leave with some inspiration, having had some fun, some learning, some girlfriend time, and to know coming to the event was well worth the investment of their money and time.

But. Ugh. Is this business worth the time and investment for Mandy and me? Mandy and I are both so busy. We both occasionally get frustrated with business things, and we occasionally get frustrated with each other because of business things. We both don’t spend enough ‘us’ time together because of the business. We have learned frustrating and costly lessons in the last year as far as business practices, like if you want to pay for cheap help you’ll sometimes get cheap results. Or maybe you’ll get billed for more hours than was actually worked. Or maybe Tom didn’t order enough magenta printer ink in a timely manner. Or maybe we didn’t check the PO Box enough ‘this’ week and it came back to bite us. Or maybe we didn’t reply to a message in a timely manner. Or. Or. Or.

I work on my butt in front of a computer all day for my day job, and then I come home and work on my butt in front of a computer all night for this business as I watch my gut get bigger. There is always something to do. Write or pay a bill, go through email/mail, update a website page, process tickets, read and sign a contract, book events and musicians, order catering, make sure we get help at our events, order merchandise, do inventory, down/upload pictures, research, make contacts, calculate and pay sales tax, make name tags, create and make pamphlets, set up the technology for Monday Live, work with our accountants, process and save videos, budget, create ads, book hotels, and drive home late at night from events and sometimes in terrible weather when we had to be back at our day jobs the next day. On and on.

And then there are the emotional issues I have from lack of support from some people ‘close’ to me that hide behind their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs as an excuse not to support us (note some people, like my wonderful parents, support us more than fabulously). Some of the why is for very legitimate and understandable reasons, but some of it is a lack of understanding of who I am. I am not a liked person by some people because of who I am perceived to be, and I know if we instead owned an ice cream store we still would not get support from some of these ‘close’ people and they wouldn’t come in for an ice cream cone. Maybe they just don’t want to experience who Mandy is and what she’s about and what these events are about because of who they think I am or what they assume these events are like. Or maybe they feel they need to keep a sense of allegiance with my ex-wife by not supporting us. I don’t know. Not supporting our business in any way because of a belief or assumption, to me, is like not coming to support that proverbial ice cream store because they don’t believe in strawberry. This stuff is sometimes hurtful and sad, and always unfortunate.

I’m tired in every way, and I know Mandy is too.

So then why do I support Mandy in this venture of passion so much? The answer is more than simple – because I’ve seen too much. I’ve seen the quality of Mandy’s work. I’ve seen Mandy’s contagious conviction. I’ve seen the time and effort and prayer Mandy puts into everything she does. I’ve seen laughing faces and crying faces at our events (including my own). I’ve seen hundreds of comment cards praising Mandy. I’ve heard stories of women that started to go to church again. I’ve seen a line of women after an event waiting to speak to Mandy for just a few moments. I’ve seen countless women share how real and genuine Mandy is and that they haven’t experienced a speaker like this before. I’ve seen Mandy reply to practically every email and social media message, and I’ve seen Mandy laugh and cry with many. I’ve seen Mandy change too many lives. I’ve seen Mandy read book after book preparing for an event, and just trying to better herself. I’ve seen Mandy’s nose in the bible throughout every day. This is not Mandy’s job. This is Mandy’s life. This is Mandy taking calls and text messages no matter the day or time of day and giving someone in pain some comfort. This is Mandy singing during a service, or leading a youth group every Sunday night, or conducting a bible study every Tuesday night, or stopping whatever she is doing for her husband, or a child, or a girlfriend, or a stranger. Mandy is by far the most selfless person I’ve known.

A few months ago Mandy was speaking at an area-churches leadership luncheon meeting speaking about women in ministry, and one of the pastors said something we haven’t thought of before. He said Mandy is a missionary, which really made us think and talk about when we got home. The dictionary states that a missionary is a person sent on a religious mission. So what then is Mandy’s religious mission? Mandy wants to go wherever women want to meet and simply speak about the love God has for everyone through teaching, sharing, and conversation in a very fun, very real, and very accepting way no matter where they’re at in their faith journey, and no matter their denomination.

And my mission is to support and promote Mandy in every way I can. I go to most all events with her to drive, take media pictures, help set up/tear down, occasionally work on sound, work the merch table, steal food off the appetizer tables, and be any kind of support I can be. Shhhh, don’t tell Mandy, but the biggest reason I go is to hear her speak (and sometimes sing) with amazement so I can leave motivated and inspired too. I’m sometimes the only man at these events, and of course I love it. Actually Mandy has made me an honorary woman, which more than explains why I’ve been bloated lately.

But, when I am supporting and promoting Mandy, what am I really doing? Before every event starts Mandy prays and states she wants to only be a vessel of what God wants to say. Is it possible with how I support and promote Mandy, I am supporting and promoting God as well? I think so. I certainly hope so. We’re missionaries. This is not a job. This is not just a business. I’ve seen too much. We have to do this. All the stress and busyness is worth it because we’re absolutely, on a mission.

Happy anniversary, baby.