Just wanted to pop in and give everyone an update of what’s happening with the store and our family. It’s been a whirlwind of a week but in a good way! We’ve been busy working on a lot of the behind the scenes kind of stuff this past week like switching the utilities over, applying for permits, cleaning up the backyard of the space (hellooo string lights + cafe lights) and moving inventory into the space. We also got a very exciting phone call this week but before I delve into the details, I want to give a little back story on this.
At the beginning of the year, Fred landed his dream job (which is in law enforcement believe it or not- yes, some people actually love this work!) but for the first time in our married life, I had a choice of if I wanted to work or not. To be clear, Law enforcement Officers are by no means raking in the dough, but we thankfully don’t have much debt at all and live a very modest, inexpensive lifestyle, so staying home was an option. However, I’ve known for about two years now that opening a store front was my dream and this is what I wanted to do more than anything. That is, until I started doing it.
Knowing that our cost of living was covered by Freds job, I was excited to dive into the task of opening a store in Stone Mountain Village. But we were greeted with nothing but obstacles. The building we were renting couldn’t pass the inspections needed to be open, we struggled to get permitting, and then we found out about two months into the process we were going to have to move to a new location. We were supposed to move to the location but the previous tenant refused to leave despite it violating the lease. Very quickly I found myself thinking, “F*** all of this and all of these people making this so difficult. I don’t have to do any of this. No one appreciates all of the effort and all of the money we are putting into something we truly believe the community needs. I want to just stick with my part time, stress free job and forget all of this.” Big pity party- you get the point. But the easy thing to do is rarely the right thing to do.
Alas, I continued, We continued to press on (I’m thankful for Fred as he has been my biggest cheerleader and supporter through all of this). We moved to the larger location which meant the more expensive location. This meant my part time job couldn’t completely cover the operating costs like the smaller location. This meant we had to trust, to rely, to be humble and vulnerable as we asked for help. This meant letting go of control, this meant I had to have faith. If you know much of our backstory, last year was a huge year of our faith being tested and ultimately growing. So much of last year was relying on complete strangers to help us meet our basic needs which was humbling and so so hard at times. But I feel like so much of that struggle was preparing us for this season. Just as we had to trust God to provide food and a place to live last year when we had no money, We are now being asked to trust God to provide for our business and to give us every good thing we need to carry out the vision he has placed in our hearts. Last year when we were in the thick of so much struggle and pain, I couldn’t imagine anything good coming from it. But the Lord is kind and sometimes He gives us glimpses into the purpose of the pain. Our hearts have been so encouraged to see how so many of our trials last year were preparing our faith for the journey we would be on this year. Friends, whatever darkness you might be in that’s overwhelming you, keep in mind it could be preparing you for something better than you could ever imagine. Our struggles shape us but they also strengthen us.
We have covered this store with our prayers and firmly believe that this is what we are meant to be doing in this season. But as much as my prideful self would like to do it on my own so I could boast in my own awesomeness, this is not what God has called us to. Instead we are reaching out from a place of humility, asking that our friends and family would prayerfully consider helping us bring this store to Stone Mountain Village. We want this space to be full of joy and love for the community- a breath of fresh air and new life. We believe that God has not called any of us to be self-made men and women but instead He has called us to work hard and live in community. To us, this means humbling ourselves enough to ask for what we lack. If you would like to help us bring this vision to life, you can donate here. Also, thank you to those who have given already! You guys have brought tears to our eyes (in the best way possible) and we are so thankful for you!
So as I draw this update to a close I also wanted to tell you guys about a super exciting answer to prayer that we got this week. I got a phone call from one of the producers at Warner Brothers asking if they could rent our store-front space to film a Dolly Parton TV series! We of course were thrilled and said “Yes” so they will be filming in our space for one week during September. So what exactly does this mean for us? It means we will get some of the basic repairs done to the space free of charge. This means fresh paint, light fixtures, flooring etc. This also means we will be compensated some for allowing them to use the space putting us a little closer to our goal of $3,000. We were trying to raise $3,000 by the end of the month but now we will be aiming for $2,000 by the end of the month. We are so excited to see the ways God is answering our prayers even when it’s through Warner Brothers! We also are still planning to be able to open in September as originally planned as they will be filming towards the beginning of the month. We will continue to keep everyone updated here on the blog as we move towards opening this space. Please keep us in your prayers that we would have strong faith even when things seem impossible and that we would have supernatural love for our neighbors and our community. We are excited to see what God does through us and through this space.