Hello there friend. I wish like anything I could tell you this part of my story in person. I’ve tried writing it down about thirteen different ways this week but none of them seemed to touch the heart of where I’m walking right now or where I’ve been for the past two years. Because the things we’re going to discuss today are hard. They are real. They are my life. And it would be so much easier for me to explain everything to you in person with us sitting across my old walnut kitchen table covered in fifty years of scratches and rainbow glitter from kid’s art projects. I could find courage easier to grasp if there was a Sonic cup filled with Diet Coke and fresh lime resting in my right hand and you looking me straight in the eyes while we talked because then I’d know you could see my true heart and not who you want to believe I am in between the lines on the page or in the pew behind you on Sunday mornings. But easy doesn’t seem to be what I’ve been called to and I’m learning to lean into the scariest parts of talking about Jesus because every time I do I move closer to the Savior and some of you do too.
By now you’ve probably heard that my husband and I have chosen to sell our pharmacy and that I will continue working with the new company as one of their pharmacists. I think the first thing I would want people to know is that I am not sad about this.
I truly am not, scouts honor.
I have not shed one single tear of sorrow over selling this business, but I have shed buckets of them for the way I ignored God’s call on my life and the time I have lost with my family while trying to run it.
I did not own this business, it owned me, make no mistake about that.
You should also know that God has been gracious enough to not only provide me with a job to support my family but also to allow me to continue working alongside my fellow employees and continue serving the patients that we love. I can continue to care for them while still maintaining a family life and working in the ministry God has given me through my writing and speaking. This is grace friends, grace only God could have orchestrated.
And I know that some of y’all are thinking, “Okay, that’s great but when is she going to tell us the real reason?”
Because there has to be more, right? Nobody just walks away from their dream. Nobody walks away from their life’s work without a reason.
Pay careful attention friends because I’m not walking away.
And I think it’s important folks know why.
Ten years ago I followed God’s prompting and decided to work part time so that I could spend more time with my then two year old daughter. I gave my employer notice and set about learning to live with less and to walk where God pointed.
That lasted about two seconds before I received an invitation to enter into a partnership at another pharmacy and my adventurous heart could not imagine saying no. I could buy my own store and finally build the future I had dreamed about in my own hometown. I swiftly filed away the notions of having less and being completely present in the life God was offering because surely if the opportunity was there I should take it. It looked like a beautiful thing. But beautiful things will always cost you something. And I have discovered that my dream consumed my life at every moment while leaving precious little for anyone else. But since my dream required it, I gave it. Every good and perfect gift God had designed for me to use within His Kingdom was sacrificed.
Every single one.
And I didn’t give it a second thought. Because that’s what you do when you’re living in darkness. You just survive.
But seven years ago light broke through when I committed my life to Christ. And many of you have had a front row seat to the often stumbling baby giraffe like gait that I’ve been sporting and I know that comes with living in a small town and putting your personal stuff on social media and the internet for everyone (literally, everyone) to read. And while I cringe at the mistakes I’ve made, because mistakes always hurt somebody, I’m not ashamed of the person God is making me into. I’m not ashamed to talk about what I’ve done wrong and how I’m taking steps to change the trajectory of my life. Even if it’s hard (which it is), even if it hurts (which it does) I will share it because light can’t shine through a jar of clay unless it’s broken. And I want you to see all the light He has to give.
During these last few years I have found that the more I sunk into this Jesus the more I fell in love with Him, sandals and all.
And that changes a person. It changed me.
I found I wanted to walk so close to the Savior that I had no doubt that I was right smack in the center of His will every day for the rest of my life so I started doing things like burying myself in His word and leaning into His presence. I made a concentrated effort to stop running the race of this life long enough to listen to Him speak. For the first time in my life I learned to be still in the presence of the King.
And when I asked Him to show me the idols in my life He did not hold back.
I saw three children with half a mother who could not miss work for them when they needed her. I saw them get the least of her when everyone else got the best. I saw them never get her undivided attention because being present for others took precedence. I saw her teach them exactly how to give God the shavings of a life she was busy carving out for herself.
I saw a husband who had a decent roommate but a pretty crappy wife. I saw that she was preoccupied with running a business that was really running her with no concept of the relationship she was handing over to Satan at the end of her workday. I saw her crawl into bed at night exhausted with no thought of what her husband might need from her because she had nothing left to give. I saw him support and encourage her week after week, year after year as she coveted everything but him and the family they had created.
I saw a woman fiercely devoted to pursuing success because deep down success meant she was worthy. I looked at every little thing she had ever put her hand to and realized that always, always there was the driving force to be better at the task tomorrow because surely if she were better than others would approve of her. And approval was everything. Approval was the life force that made her perfectionist heart beat. Approval stilled and soothed the anxiety that wracked her being.
I witnessed a believer caught in the crossfire of a raging war between flesh and spirit. I beheld a woman whose heart desperately wanted to follow after the Christ with dirty feet and calloused hands, a woman who kept sacrificing God’s kingdom vision of her life in order to meet the status quo. I saw in her the woman at the well, dying a little more every day from a thirst that nothing acquired in this world could quench.
I saw who I had become because of my own inability to say no to the world and yes to God. The brutal view was often soul sickening because it is a dreadful thing to recognize your idols and the collateral damage you have made of the people you love and the God you claim to serve but change only starts with repentance and a heart that has been broken, even if you must do the breaking yourself.
So for the last two years I have sat in my closet praying for a way to fix a life that I had seen fit to wreck with my selfishness. I waited in sack cloth and ashes begging God to intervene and help me make amends. I fell into Him so hard I don’t know how He stayed upright. And in those two years He taught me the value of no. He allowed me to feel the discipline that came with choices I could not unmake. He taught me the value of gifts only He can give, gifts that look like mercy and taste like forgiveness. He redefined my needs and reconstructed my values. He took me in as a prisoner of war and fashioned me into a daughter of the King. He taught me what it means to be loved the mostest by the God who imagined me into being. And He gave me new work in the Kingdom while reminding me daily of the miracles I had already been given.
So I ask you, wouldn’t you run?
When He offers to finish tearing down the altar of all the beautiful things that you have spent your entire life building so that you can start running the race He has marked out for you, wouldn’t you be audacious enough to take off in the direction He’s pointing?
Can't you see it friends?
I’m running to the one who gives that life in the everyday moments whether it happens at work when I'm counseling a new mother about prescriptions she can take while nursing or whether it happens when Luke and I get to share M & M’s on my afternoon off. I’m running to the Savior who gives me grace when I yell at my kids or say a curse word. I’m running to the Christ who has spent years showing me that there is a better way to freedom than through kingdoms built on earth by my hands that will surely falter. I'm choosing the life he has asked me to live in the way he has asked me to live it. And I intend to keep making that choice every single day for as long as he lets me.
So don’t worry about me friends, I’m alright. I’m busy learning how to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received while watching those idols tumble down. (Eph 4:1)