Every year I search for a unique way to help my children understand the season of Lent. Sometimes I find something and other years we just do what we’ve always done, but this year I’m really excited about what God led me to. I’ve felt called to teach my children the importance of intercessory prayer and to lead them in praying for the needs of others. This year we are writing down the names of 40 people, issues, and concerns to pray each day of Lent. While doing my search, I stumbled upon these beautiful prayer intention signs from the St. Joseph Workshop on Etsy.
I immediately loved this shop, but I’m always skeptical when it comes to buying products online for the first time. I contacted the owners of the St. Joseph Workshop, the Rodriguez Family, and they sent me a personalized prayer intention sign to review. The even better news is, they are going to give one away to one of our readers! (Find out how to enter below!)
The quality and beauty of our personalized intention board astounded me. In fact, I tried to take a picture of “The Roach Family’s Prayers”, but my photos could not do it justice! Already, this intention board has become a focal point and conversation starter in our home. It is hanging in our dining room so that each time we enter we are reminded to pray. This is a wonderful visual for our 40 days of prayer intentions. When we hear of answered prayers, we will write the date and blessing on the back of the intention.
“Our journey started at the beginning when my wife & I were married. Well, actually it started before that as we spoke & got to know each other while we were courting. We talked about how we desired to do God’s will. We both came from dysfunctional families and both made bad decisions early in our lives, but we decided that this time around we would do things differently and God would be the center of everything. Our life’s motto has been “dreams do come true” because we trusted in God’s providence & knew our lives would be ok with his protection. I recall we both would constantly pray that we would always be together and that is exactly where we are today – together always!
As all young couples, we struggled with living on one income, family issues, have a large family, homeschooling, being self-employed, etc. but we always stuck together & never ceased to trust in God’s love & divine providence through it all.
Fast forward to the end of 2010, we had four kids & homeschooling three of them, still living on one income, and I was struggling with keeping up with two businesses working over seventy hours a week, meeting the demands of life. I was tired. I remember telling my wife that I could not continue this rat race because I felt I could not keep up and she helped me understand that this was not what God wanted for us. I was missing out on spending time with her & the kids because I had to provide for this lifestyle we had chosen to live. The reality was I just didn’t know how to stop. God was infinity good to me because my wife was strong during these times and told me not to worry that she would help me.
Well, she stepped in to let go of employees, shut down our second-hand construction material business and I continued my construction company from our bedroom. For nearly six months I would sit at my desk and I would frequently ask God what happened, what was I doing working from my bedroom, what went wrong, the list goes on… It’s funny now, but I would hide in our closet, or bathroom, or even go out to my truck for conference calls because the kids were noisy and they didn’t understand daddy was on the phone. Plus, our bedroom door didn’t have a lock, so they would come in when I was in the middle of a meeting.
But this is exactly where God wanted me to be because I started taking notice of the demands my wife had with homeschooling our kids and keeping up with our lives. I started getting involved to help around the house and with the kids during my working hours. I had not noticed at the time that I was working from home and I was closer to my family which is what my wife and I prayed for.
We were in a good place. We were together, growing in our faith, involved in our community, and able to start traveling. Life was good! Actually, God is good! All the struggles, hardships, victories, opportunities, etc. were what God was using to prepare the place we are in today.
We attended a retreat in Georgia in March of 2015, which changed our lives for the better.
At this time, we had five kids and were expecting our sixth in October. One evening my wife and I were sharing that we could see ourselves living in a place like Georgia where the air seemed purer, cleaner, & life seemed slower. We returned to Florida, but we could not stop thinking or talking about our experience in Georgia. It seemed like the Holy Spirit was burning within us urging to search for a home in Covington, GA and after several months we returned to see some of the homes we liked.
I recall during this time listening to Hillsong United “Oceans where feet may fall”. I was listening to this song over and over again; it was my go-to song. These lyrics gave me comfort, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.”
God was calling us into the great unknown, but it was where our trust would grow and God would receive the glory. As I said before, God is good, He knows what we need when we allow Him to do His work. When I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom years earlier I realized I had to surrender all to Him. It was this surrender that gave God the open door to do what He wanted to do all along but we had not allowed Him. We learned a valuable lesson in all of this. Sometimes we settle for good things in life, but God has even greater things in store for us because He loves us! This is where my wife & I have really begun to grow in our faith, as spouses, and as parents. This journey has been an amazing one because we can truly look back and see God’s hand in all the details of our lives.
In February of 2016, I wrote the following in my journal, which really was the beginning of St. Joseph Workshop, Inc. and the work my family and I are doing now:
Thank you for bringing us to GA and for placing beautiful priest and families near us to nurture and encourage us on our spiritual journey towards our real home Heaven! It is so comforting to know you prepared our current home well in advance for us. This is another dream come true for us because ten years ago we wrote a goal to have a one-acre farm. It has everything we needed or wanted and more importantly it is well enough away from the daily distractions to allow us to really jump into your presence. I know I have been busy working on the property since we arrived in August of 2015, but it has been so rewarding to work with my hands and to give you glory in that simple way. I continue to sense a desire to work with my hands and to become a carpenter. I know this is weird to anyone who knows me or hears this because I am “supposed to be managing, pointing the finger to get this done, & making money”. Yet, I believe I am on a spiritual transition to define my vocation as husband & father, but also with my career and work. I really feel much closer to St. Joseph now more than ever due to his perfect example as a husband & father of the Most Holy Family. I desire to be more like him in that respect…
My wife & I started working with reclaimed wood, salvaged wood from pallets, and began to make simple rustic wood home and religious décor for our home and some of the families near us. I began to connect more and more with St. Joseph since he worked from home and was always near Our Blessed Mother and Jesus. This was precisely where my heart was leading me. I was truly seeking this simple hidden life with my family.
We incorporated St. Joseph Workshop, Inc. in December 2017 and the rest is history. St. Joseph Workshop, Inc. allows us to work with our hands and to evangelize through the simple rustic wood creations we make. Each piece we make is handmade specifically for the customer as we do not make mass-produced pieces. Each piece is unique as no two pieces of wood are the same, and we believe this is uniquely linked with the work of God. All He does is original, authentic, unique, and can never be replicated! He took the old “us” and made something new because we surrendered and believed in Him in the same fashion we salvage wood & make something new. Check out some of our rustic wood creations at our Etsy Shop – stjosephworkshop.etsy.com and if you don’t see something you like we can work with you to make your custom creation a reality.
Would you LOVE to win one of these great, unique products from St. Joseph’s Workshop? Here’s how to enter so you can win! A Winner will be selected on March 11th.
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