We start every project with a question: “Is the Lord asking us to do this?
Modern Ark became a creative outlet for us at the beginning of the pandemic. It was such a crazy season because we sold our house, and the same week we closed—and didn’t have anywhere to live—I (Nahum) got furloughed right as everything was shutting down. The house we ended up buying has a massive dining room right in front. I was at home with nothing to do, but I’m really handy with my hands. (Working on cars has been my passion since I was 14, and I currently work as a collision tech at Classic Chevrolet.) During the pandemic, I discovered this hobby of building things with wood, so when ReShea asked if I could copy a table she wanted from West Elm, I did it. The project ended up being better than what we’d originally designed, and we had so much fun together that it sparked an interest in both of us—then, thanks to social media, it just took off.
We’ve had the honor of building tables for 20+ families so far. There’s something so special about creating something, specifically a table… There are so many special moments that happen at dining tables. When we’re working on tables and dining sets, we’re praying over the conversations that they’re going to have and for the people who will sit at that table. As we worked, we realized that even if our business isn’t a ministry, when we make it one, the Lord comes in and fills the gaps we all have as humans and as couples.
Have All the Grace in the World
As we got started, we naturally found our groove. Nahum does the designing and all of the heavy lifting and building. Outside of my job in full-time ministry at Gateway church, I (ReShea) work with customers to discover what they’re looking for, handle the scheduling and contracts, and then come in at the end and sand, stain, and finish. We found that if we just lean into each other’s strengths, we don’t have to force anything or argue as much because we trust each other.
But it was work to get there… It took me a little bit to realize Nahum carries much more of the project stress. It’s caused tension because he might hit a roadblock trying to figure out how to fix something or make it better, but I’m looking at the schedule, worried about deadlines.
We learned our lesson the hard way when we overcommitted taking on a stressful, mass production project in the 2020 holiday season to produce 4,000 Christmas ornaments—during Thanksgiving. Working 12–14-hour days put stress on us, our family, and our marriage. We had some ugly moments where we almost didn’t finish the project. We had to decide: do we really want to do this anymore? We eventually realized that to stick with it, there were some things we needed to tweak moving forward.
Make Sure the Lord Is Asking You to Do This
Now, we start every project with a question: “Is the Lord asking us to do this?” We encourage every couple in business together to do the same. If the Lord is asking you to do it, He’s going to give you the grace to get through it. When we operate under His will, there’s so much grace and so much He equips us with. If you’re looking to force something for any other reason than the Lord asked you to do it, everything is just going to be harder.
The thing is, something is going to go wrong in every project—it’s inevitable.
Knowing that, the most important thing we do is keep open lines of communication. During stressful deadlines, we talk about everything from deadlines to processes. A lot of the time, we step back after that conversation and realize we have so much time left—we need to prioritize our family. Even if it pushes a project a little, it doesn’t matter.
Prioritize Space for Your Family
We had to get really specific about boundaries. If we’re working on a project and something comes up within our family or our marriage, that always takes priority. When our kids go to bed at night, and we’re in our room, we’re not talking about the business—that is our time for sexy time, to just be together, or to have fun.
When we first decide on what projects to take on, we build in time for our family first. We both work full-time and have two kids, so we’re balancing a lot, and our clients know that. There will never be a week when we don’t have a Sabbath. You would think taking time out of the calendar would be detrimental to timelines, but it has been such a blessing to us—we don’t argue as much. Projects aren’t as tense.
Be Willing to Lay It Down
We know that when something gets tough, we might need to decide the business isn’t working out. If it’s putting stress on our marriage, family, or relationship, that’s not healthy. There’s a quote going around: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” Everything can’t be all about the business or a project because if it is, we might be making a lot of money, but we’re ruining our marriage in the process.
We don’t want to pay that cost, so we know there are seasons when we need to step back completely and take a longer break for the sake of our family. Projects are great, and they bring in extra income, but we have to be sensitive to the fact that different seasons hold different loads. Heading into any new season, we decide if taking on a project is going to be healthy for our family because if doing it means we can’t be healthy, then we’re going to be Chick-fil-A on Sunday and say, “No.”
Find Modern Ark on Instagram: @modernarkwood