God has laid a stirring in my heart the past few weeks and I am going to attempt to express the way he has been working in me and the things he is pushing me towards, but I will be honest and say when I was writing, this story came out sort of backwards. So if it seems like I am telling in reverse, sorry.
God has been cultivating me and making me into something new. Since 2013 he has been refining me to give me my confidence back, to gently remind me of who he made me to be, to whisper that I have gifts and talents he gave me, and if I put my mind to them I am can and will succeed!
Over the last six years I have learned a thing or two about obedience. I have written before about my face in the sand. And I learned that the reason I kept getting my face in the sand was because I REFUSED TO LISTEN to God and the Holy Spirit. I have learned to listen and to be obedient when God calls me to something. This is not easy. It’s actually really hard. It makes me sick to my stomach most of the time actually. But that is how this story begins…with a broken girl learning to obey.
In the time frame of 2012-2013 God broke me open in many ways. I was more venerable than I had been in a long time. I left my job, to start a brand new non profit, and ended up with my face in the sand. I learned so much and it wasn’t wasted. God has reasons and grace for every circumstance. Around the same time Derick and I were facing some of the most difficult times in our marriage. Both of our hearts felt ripped open and everything was so venerable. I got my face in the sand.
What followed this season was a lot of searching. To be honest I don’t even know what I was searching for. Probably community. Probably guidance. Probably people who would talk in the middle of the night and pray with you when you needed it. But mostly the searching led to a refining process. It is completely spot on that God is the potter and we are his clay. I have been his clay and he has been making me into something new. To be honest some days I don’t even recognize who Derick and I are anymore. (In a good way!) We have grown leaps and bounds! God has made everything about us new.
As I was learning to listen and be obedient I realized that God puts things on our hearts for a reason. And one of the authors I love, Emily Freeman says these are called “Arrows.” She has an amazing podcast called the “Next Right Thing” that I would highly recommend. Her soothing voice makes Jesus come near. So I learned that sometimes God would have a huge flashing light bulb arrow sign in front of me and sometimes I would just shrug and walk the other way. It’s no wonder he has made me new! So I started looking back on threads and arrows that had happened in my life and putting together the pieces. I came to the conclusion that God had slowly taught me to be obedient, and because I had been listening and looking, he had huge blessings in store for me. Here is the climax everyone.
Last month, my cousins came to visit for a few days on their Spring break and on mine. During this time we mostly just talked, had community, and fellowship. We cooked, laughed, rested, and we spent time in the moment. I always love our talks, but for some reason on this trip it felt like everything had shifted and our talks were Big Talks of the Heart. When I dropped them off at the airport it felt a little like a piece of my heart was missing. I was changed. Somehow having all the time and talks with them, I realized what is most important to me. I also realized that as a daughter of Christ if there is something in this world that I want to do, that is aligned with God, THEN I SHOULD DO IT. I SHOULD NOT WAIT. I SHOULD DO IT, RIGHT THIS MINUTE. So I started thinking, what if I really did…open a store. What if I really made this happen, and gathered all the products that I love and adore and shared them with the people I love?! God whispered, “I will bless it.”
So the first step was talking to Derick, because through everything I have learned over the last few years it is that if he is not on board, and 100% all in, there is no point in even starting down that path. So after dreaming for about 3 days, I went to Derick and asked him to listen to a CRAZY idea I had. So I told him, “You know, I have been thinking…what if I opened an online shop with all the goods I already love and buy, and did a little pop up shop as a grand opening, and then saved up and eventually open a brick and mortar store front?” He said, “I love it, that sounds amazing, you should totally do it.” (Imagine me falling off a chair and peeing my pants at the same time. I didn’t actually do those things, but I wanted to–I was soooo excited!) I said, “Really?!” I honestly could barely believe his answer. This was the first acknowledgement of the flesh that God was leading me to do this.
If there is one thing that most of you know about me, its is that I am a bit of a product junkie/snob. I like and expect the best. And if I don’t have the best, I find the best. And I stop at nothing till I find it. Then once I find it, I settle in to a life of ease and comfort knowing I have the best of that thing, and all is right in the world. It’s sort of like a weird ultimate shopper syndrome/gift that God gave me. It’s like I have built in “amazing product sonar.” Through my refining process I learned that it isn’t about how expensive or new the products are. It is about quality, about craftsmanship and care. I truly believe that well made products do more than just serve their immediate purpose. I think they can bring good, change, and joy.
~Side note…this is a perfect example. A few years ago I was looking for an Easter dress in late March I think and Easter was REALLY late that year. So basically no stores had anything. And nothing was springy, or pastel, or good quality. I searched high and low and found nothing. So one day I wandered into a second hand store and low and behold there was a pastel, yellow, beaded, First Lady dress that fit me like a glove and was $12. That was my Easter dress, I was so happy. When I told the girl at Banana Republic this, she literally cringed because she knew I had been looking and this dress was special, and she could not believe that I would buy a dress second hand. LET ME TELL YOU, If God has taught me anything, it is that I am not above a second hand dress. That second hand dress was better than any dress in the tri-county area and I love it!~
I love good products, but many of the products I love and buy are sort of a “big deal.” And honestly in the eyes of the world, I am a nobody. No one knows me as some retail expert. I am not a successful shop owner who knows all the things. So how on earth am I going to get partnerships with all these amazing brands/makers? I am going to be brave and ask…and let God do the rest, thats how! So I did, and boy did he EVER show up. As I write this, I have a huge smile on my face and a happy tear in my eye because of the blessings that God has poured over me the last month. I started a business literally TWO SECONDS AGO and I have been able to secure every single brand I had on my list!
One of the things that has been so conflicting in this refining process is my journey with Arbonne. I have been holding onto Arbonne like a life preserve and God has been standing on top of the water saying, “Sarah, get up and walk to me, I have a way, I will show you, I will provide.” Let’s just say it has been one of the hardest things to let go of that life preserve. It is still there, floating in the water for when I need it. And it always will be. Arbonne has been such a huge part of my journey and my walk with God, you can read more about that here. The relationships I have built have changed my life. Arbonne will always be a part of my life, right now is just not my season for it. And I am at peace with that. I still believe in the company and think that every man and woman crushing it is so amazing and inspiring, they have a good thing going on. It is just not for me right now. So I got up, and walked towards what the Spirit was saying to me.
So how did I get here? What were my arrows?
One of these arrows was way, way, back in 2008 when I went to a little town called Weston, Missouri for my bachelorette weekend with my sister and a few friends. This little town is like something out of a Nicholas Sparks book, but equal parts rom-com (kilt wearing men playing bag pipes anyone?) Anyhow, as we explored this little town that was full of history and wonder we stumbled into this candle shop. 5&B Co. was a place where the candles were made, poured and sold. I had never seen such craft in candles. There were HUNDREDS of scents, colors, and varieties of sizes. These women who ran the store knew their craft, took pride in it, and they killed it. They were shop owners. Experiencing that shop was a little bit like coming home, but it was also a tiny death. Why didn’t I have my own store? Why wasn’t I my own boss who could make my own hours and choose amazing products for my customers. This was one of my first arrows.
Fast forward to 2017, my thirtieth year of life, and the year I declared my year of fun. (Ha! Does God have a sense of humor or what!?) 2017 is a year I still can’t process or verbalize but I can say it was a year abundant of learning, change, depending on others, and trusting my God. The circumstances I faced with taking college courses and then in the middle of the semester having major surgery– aren’t really something I could wrap my head around. But God knew that after that surgery I would never be the same. And I’m not. I HAD to be different. I woke up, and I felt like I had been given new life. And I had. The days following, God poured miracles and blessings on my life everyday. One of those miracles was in a photography class I was taking. My professor was a liberal, whacky, hilarious, grouchy old man. I didn’t quite know what to make of him, and since he doesn’t really email or use technology– the days after my surgery were filled with unknowns about what would be the course of action for me coming back from my surgery to finish the course. Would I fail? Would he kick me out? Would I be able to catch up? When I came back from my surgery, I met him in his office and he told me that everything would be OK. I had nothing to worry about, he would take care of everything and we would start fresh. WHAT?! I just missed 2 weeks of a lab based course and you are going to let me start fresh like that never happened? GRACE. God poured grace over me as the semester continued and although I faced struggle after struggle in that course to try to make decent black and white photographs with a beat up, rented camera from the university, I finished the semester with a collection of beautiful photographs of some of the most inspiring women I know. God blessed me with an A in that class. He told me that if I trusted him, and did the work, he would bless me in anything that I was facing. That single truth changed my life in 2017 in more was than I understand.
So being a completely refined, new piece of pottery, I started this adventure at full speed! None of it makes sense, the timing doesn’t make sense, but the thing about Arrows and obedience are that you do not WAIT. You do what God says, when he says to do it! He asked me to leap and so I did. One of the things my cousins and I talked about is how I have always felt a little out of place in Missouri. My whole life I felt like I belonged somewhere else, at the beach, in a big city etc. But part of my refining process was to grow where I was planted. And Missouri is where God has planted me in this season. So a huge part of my store will be brining the influences that have influenced my life, into my store but to also keep my Midwest roots at the forefront. For that reason I wanted the name of my store to have a strong connection to my roots. I grew up along the Finley River in Southwest Missouri. My store is Finley Market. A market for the simple at heart.
Home is a very powerful word to me. I think that home is a very sacred and special place where you should feel calm, peace, and joy. So when you visit my website, or walk into my storefront one day it should feel like coming home. Into my home. A place where we tuck our feet under and get cozy, we relax, and have amazing conversation.
So I hope you will join me, support me, and come along on this crazy ride. This isn’t a short term gig for me, I have a deep rooted feeling that this store will be around longer than me. The other day when I walked by my storefront (Yes mine, God has already told me where it will be one day.) a man was walking beside me and said, “Are you an art major?” I laughed and responded, “I am an art minor, does that count?” He responded, “Yes, a long time ago I lived in Egypt, and when my son was in college, we would go down to the market, to the busy part of town, and all of a sudden he would see SOMETHING and he would get down at eye level, just like you just did, to see it from the perfect angle. That is how I knew you were an artist.” ~Another side note, I don’t consider myself an artist. I consider my self a person who has gifts that God has given me, and that I should use and cultivate those gifts. Sometimes that means having a good eye for things. To one person that definition is an artist. To me, it is who God made me.~
So today friend, I want to challenge you to look inside your heart and find the passion that God has given you. Find it and chase it. God will bless it!