a story of waiting for a break in traffic
Have you ever noticed that God speaks to you when you’re doing the most mundane of tasks? It’s in the every day tasks of life when His direction, guidance or inspiration seems to come out of nowhere.
I had one of those moments a few days ago when I was pulling out of Homestead Studios.
pulling out into traffic
For those of you who have never visited, Homestead Studios is the sweet brick farmhouse in the photo above. It’s the shop where I have my paint and furniture, and I also work the cash register 3 days a week.
What you don’t see in the photo is that it’s situated on a busy highway that connects Lancaster and Philadelphia. Anyone who wants to head to Amish country drives on this road. The shop is also just up from a major intersection that connects one of the main roads going South to Delaware.
In other words, there’s a lot of traffic that whizzes by the shop at 50-60 miles an hour! That’s very convenient for foot traffic and getting people to pop in and do some shopping. It’s not so convenient for pulling out at the end of the day, though.
Praying for a break in the traffic
So here’s the story…
A few days ago, I had closed up the shop for the day. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the road, turn signal clicking patiently. My habit has become to pray for an opening in traffic so I can pull out safely and quickly. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for cars to finish whizzing by, but God is always faithful to give me the chance to pull out safely. Literally every.single.time!
Now that may seem a silly practice to you. But if you’ve ever tried to pull out into traffic on this road, you definitely understand why I pray first!
As I was waiting for my turn, I took notice of the cars. Everyone had somewhere to be. They were all on their way to their next destination. They were all getting there much faster than me, who was still waiting to pull out and join them.
As my blinker clicked and clicked, it seemed like it was taking longer than usual for me to get going on my journey.
Darn if that wasn’t exactly how I have been feeling in my business!
It seems like a lot of the folks in my industry are taking off. They have their own shops that are bustling with shoppers and sales. They’re starting their own paint lines. They are posting all of their sold pieces online. They crush antique markets with sales. Their workshops are bursting at the seams. They’re being featured in magazines and are writing books. They’re interviewed on podcasts. They get their pieces shared and tagged all over Instagram. They partner with brands for giveaways and new product launches.
Meanwhile, I felt like I was just puttering along, waiting for my turn to pull out of the “business” parking lot and get going in Eight Hundred Furniture land.
Can you relate?
As I felt like the world was whizzing by at a whirlwind pace, God gently reminded me of all the times that He came through for me in the past when I needed Him. He started to bring to mind all of the “breaks in traffic” He provided in the past. Some breaks took longer than others to come, but one always presented itself when I needed it.
The trick is being patient enough to wait for it – wait for the traffic lights to turn red for a break in the endless parade of dump trucks over the hill or wait for the horse and buggy to clop-clop on by. Wait for God to open a door or close a window. Wait for a sign to direct me to whatever is next. Wait for an opportunity. Just…wait.
It was then at that moment that I realized how hard I was struggling with the actual waiting part.
eager for the end
On an hour-by-hour basis, I’m constantly fighting the urge to “make things happen” in my life. I’ll catch myself knee-deep in plans and ideas before I realize how far down the rabbit hole I’ve gone.
For example, Marc and I are patiently waiting as Eight Hundred Furniture grows slowly but surely to the point where we can afford a house of our own. The area where we live is terribly expensive. We’re finding it very difficult to meet our financial goals and it seems that we’ll never be able to afford a home of our own.
I’m also trying to get away from such a heavy retail focus in the business. I’ve got so much STUFF and I need to get out from underneath of it all. It’s especially hard when you work so hard on furniture projects, and they don’t sell at special events like markets. My passion is for teaching and educating other people how to use paint. So why is so much of my focus on the STUFF and not the TECHNIQUE?
Get the idea?
sources of comfort
I’ve been finding a lot of comfort in worship music as of late. Too often, I forget how my soul literally wakes up inside when I turn it on. I found a good radio station on Spotify that I’m enjoying called “Calming Christian”. I’ve skipped a handful of songs that I don’t care for but as a whole, it’s pretty good.
I’m also really loving the Mary Marantz Show Podcast.
The reason why I love this podcast is in the very tagline – “Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots”. I’m so thankful that someone actually acknowledges the concept of slow growth these days in a podcast!
Too often, I turn podcasts off because the speaker’s words are drudging up the need for me to strive. I walk away feeling like I need to do a million things in my business to make it grow. I need to sign up for this free list of 3 steps, take this course, go to that conference, implement this strategy, download that resource, etc.
I’m also enjoying Lara Casey’s podcast, “Cultivate Your Life“.
Lara is a Christian who has liiiived herself some life. She’s been through some stuff, all of which she shares in episode 1 of her podcast. I LOVE coming across people who are real about their struggles and how they strengthen their faith in God. She fits the bill 100%.
I’ve also had private conversations with entrepreneurs who know me and my business well. All of them are a few stages ahead of me in their businesses, and speak to me from a position of authority and experience. Usually these are “bouncing off sessions” where we chat about ideas that I have and they weigh in with advice.
Most importantly, I’m hanging on to Isaiah 26:3.
Having God’s peace in your heart during uncertain times is completely contingent upon keeping your mind stayed on Him. And believe me, that’s a daily task!
Leaving the nest
It’s taken me a little while to get this whole experience into an organized blog post. It’s actually been in draft mode since the end of October! I’ve been meaning to share this season of life with all of you, but I couldn’t get it all into words. I’d start to write and get flustered and would delete the post.
Well, I’m so happy to not only share the struggle with you, but I also have a bit of a resolution to share too! I’ve been presented with an amazing new business opportunity. It’s so big that I can’t believe God brought this opportunity into my life. There’s no way I could have ever contrived this on my own!
I can’t share much about it at this particular point in time because I’m still in the middle of signing paperwork. Nothing is “official” yet, so I’m holding off on making a formal announcement. I will give you a small hint – it has something to do with television! (But it’s not my own show, if that’s what you’re thinking…)
Hopefully that will satisfy your curiosity for a little bit 🙂
closing my morgantown market location
This new opportunity brings some closures along with it. In light of the time I’ll need to dedicate to my new “thing”, I’ve decided it’s time to close my retail location at Morgantown Market.
This is the end of a sweet season of business for me. Morgantown Market is the place where I first began. I got my business legs under myself and learned such valuable lessons from the owner, Stacey Thompson. This is the place where I made a name for myself. It’s my proverbial “nest”.
When I shared the good news with Stacey, I cried – both because I was happy to tell her about my new opportunity, and sad to be leaving this special place I’ve come to love. Morgantown Market is truly a unique antique co-op. Stacey’s mission is to see her dealers succeed at their goals. She pays attention to what everyone needs and wants from their small businesses. Whether it’s more sales, moving inventory along, getting better at staging or learning how to price antiques, Stacey is there to help. Her heart is woven into every cinder block in the building, and leaving her shop is bittersweet. She cried with me and kept reassuring me that everything is okay and it’s all good.
That’s all I have for you, dear readers. I will continue to sell painted furniture, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and General Finishes products from my retail location at Homestead Studios in Parkesburg. And you can always purchase paint products in my online store.
My Morgantown Market location will be closing as of December 1, 2019.
Here’s to new and exciting ventures in the world of Eight Hundred Furniture!