At the beginning of 2023, Mari Rodriguez, a former Betenbough Companies team member, felt a nudge in her spirit to ask the Lord for confidence, not in herself, but in Him – which was an invitation from God to Mari to know and trust Him more. That invitation, Mari believes, spurred every encounter that ultimately led her to surrender her career.
Mari’s family had recently moved about 30 minutes west of Lubbock when she began to feel a shift in her heart to be closer to her kids. Initially, she thought this could be solved geographically, but the desire to be near them and available to them only persisted.
So much so, that Mari shared with some of her team members that she was feeling this tension and they encouraged her to press into that with the Lord. As she prayed, the Lord began to reveal the different ways her kids were growing spiritually, and she knew it was time to pour into them in new ways so they could discover more of His love for them. “This is when I knew a shift in my career had to come, but didn’t know the Lord was leading me to lay it down entirely,” Mari said. She thought the Lord was leading her toward a different job, perhaps remote or closer in distance to her new town, because Mari genuinely loved working. “This desire came out of left field,” Mari said. “It felt like I was growing a new heart – one that I didn’t understand.”
She prayed for an opportunity to tell her leader and Betenbough Companies marketing manager, Jeff Johnston, but was nervous about how that conversation would go. “If I told my boss I was sensing a shift in my career coming, how would he take that? Will he think I can’t focus on my job or that I don’t want my job?” Mari reflected. Despite fear creeping in, Mari trusted Jeff as her leader and friend, and knew God would lead the conversation. What came next was a gracious gift, one that is far from the norm in the marketplace.
In a weekly one-on-one, Jeff told Mari that God gave him a question for her. Jeff said, “I’m not sure why I’m asking this because I feel like I know the answer, but are you still excited to come to work?” Tears filled Mari’s eyes and she smiled. That opened the door to a beautiful conversation. “I was vulnerable and honest and so was he,” Mari said.
“Selfishly I didn’t want Mari to leave,” Jeff said. “She’d become one of my best friends and was excellent at her job. But what a gift it was for her to let me be a part of her journey — to pray with her and watch her fully give herself and her future to the Lord. It was inspiring for me and I know it was for others too.”
Jeff committed to praying with Mari to see where the Lord was leading her, even if that meant He was leading her away from Betenbough Companies. “Every week after, he checked in and prayed with me,” Mari said.
Despite knowing a shift was coming, Mari stayed the course, knowing it wasn’t time to go just yet. While she waited, she walked through breakthroughs with team members and even got confirmation at the February 2023 Kingdom at Work workshop. She received two prophetic letters, written by people who didn’t know her journey. Both letters referenced a new season, shedding expectations, new beginnings and verses that spoke to how God sees her. “God wanted me to feel confident in surrendering [my career], laying it at his feet, knowing what was to come would be better,” Mari said. In total, the journey to surrendering her career took about 8 months. “When you’re on a slow journey with the Lord, our humanness causes us to doubt when answers aren’t delivered in our time,” she added. “But God was so gracious – He spoke loudly and clearly in those moments and used people close to me to do it — many of them from Betenbough!”
Mari felt confident in sharing all of this tension with her team because of Betenbough’s deeply relational culture. “God uses us in each others’ stories and I needed my team in those months prior to resigning,” Mari said. “I needed their wisdom, their prayers, and their encouragement.”
At the end of June, while on a Vision Trip to Israel with a team from Betenbough Companies, Mari heard a clear invitation to “come” jump into the deep with the Lord. “All of the things I had been hearing, the prophetic letters, the dreams, the scriptures that had been speaking to me came together on that trip,” Mari said. “Every day I received more and more confidence that it was time.” She knew it was time to officially surrender her career and resign after a day that was slow and sweet, unlike the typical fast-paced days the Israel trips typically consist of. That day, Mari journaled, “I feel like this day is a taste of what’s to come.”
Mari called Jeff from Israel, and, through tears, resigned. She knew he’d be on PTO when she returned from the trip and felt this couldn’t wait. Jeff responded with peace.
Life for Mari now feels light. “It feels like joy abounding, like freedom, like peace, like refreshing water I didn’t know I needed. It feels like a gift I don’t deserve.”
This journey started because Mari desired to be closer to her kids, to give them more access to their mom than they had so that she could help influence their spiritual walk. Mari said, “And while I get to do those things, God showed me that HE desires to be closer to ME… to give ME more access to Him than I’ve had, and to influence MY spiritual walk.” She asked for confidence in the Lord and has received it by learning to abide in Him. Mari continued, “I’m not sure how long this season will last, but like with every season, we take something with us from one season to the next… and I know I want to abide no matter where this path leads.”