How It All Began
For those of you that know us, you know that my parents owned and operated Smith's Cleaners from the early 1970s to 1993. Eventually, my family was blessed with the opportunity to purchase Five Points Shopping Center and rent the space out to various tenants. In 1995, my husband David and I took ownership of my parents' business. Years passed and my parents died, but the foundational principles that my mother laid remained. God was still our cornerstone.
In 2009, our renter in the tanning salon retired. Throughout that year, I had been praying for God's guidance regarding some financial issues. He plainly told me that He had already directed me and I was just unwilling to take his advice. But what was it? What did I miss? God had lain it on our hearts to buy the tanning equipment and run the tanning salon ourselves. I simply did not want to learn another job, but I knew by my mother's instruction that God's will is always best. So, in January 2009, we bought the equipment and learned the trade. The whole process required copious amounts of training and determination. Just when Midnight Sun was up and running in April of that year, another long-time renter of ours gave us a thirty-day notice that he was closing Anniston Quality Meats. Our biggest renter was leaving after almost fifteen years. What were we supposed to do? We immediately began weighing our options. We couldn't enter the store until the bankruptcy procedures were finalized. When we were able to walk in three months later, we spent countless hours cleaning out the former meat store. It was time to put the unit on the market. We had one good lead with a man in Albertville, but he decided not to take the risk due to the poor economy at the time. With all of our options drained, we stood on the sidewalk outside the store and asked God for a tenant.
One Sunday morning, as I was combing my hair, I gasped and could only bring myself to say two words: Oh no. My exasperation got David's attention, and he asked me what on earth was the matter. I looked at him and said SURELY God doesn't want us to start a meat store! To my surprise, David calmly replied Yes, I believe He does. As it turns out, he and I both sensed the same calling the night before as we sat in the truck and gazed at the reflection of our headlights in the store window.
So there you go--that's how it began. It was a simple calling. Did we understand it at the time? Not at all. Here we are in 2019, and we still don't fully understand what God has in store for us. I do understand, however, that life is a series of steps from the time we're born.
First, we can't walk; we are carried.
Then, we crawl,
This has been true in my spiritual life as well.
I was saved at nine. This set in motion a series of steps. I think God watches us and ensures we can complete one step before He gives us another. I'm convinced that if I had refused to take the step with the tanning salon, I probably would never have been able to take those other steps.
It has been a hard walk. "Challenging" hardly describes it. But, at the end of the day, God's peace in my heart--to know I followed Him--makes it all worth it. One day, I will understand the journey as He has planned it; until then, I hope I always stretch for the next step that He has planned for the adventure.