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Fireworks & Freedom

It's the Fourth of July. Woohoo! This means an off day for our David Christopher's family. Except a few of our DC crew had to meet early this morning to unload a few trucks. The break is much needed with all of the construction going on in Sheffield and the running of the Florence location.

 

This morning, David is mowing the grass, and I am procrastinating on prepping and packing for our upcoming market trip. Both boys are supposed be cleaning their rooms, and some show about the deep blue sea filled with all of its mysterious and weird creatures plays in the background. Our youngest son is obsessed with ocean life, and he dreams of a career in the Navy and/or Marine Biology. Although, he seems to feel a sense of loyalty to our family business and sometimes says he's going to run it one day. 

David and I have been taking some time to reflect on the past four months still grateful for all of the people who showed up to help us during a time of need. I am just now getting the rest of the thank you cards filled out, stamped, and mailed. 

Running a small business isn't easy. In fact, it's the hardest job I have ever had, but add a flood on top of the daily grind and it can be suffocating. Did you know 90% of businesses don't survive disasters of this magnitude?  We are still living within the walls of the disaster while life goes on around us. We're also living within the walls of God's protection and grace.  It's not as bad as losing a person, granted, but some of the emotions have been the same. I remember losing my Dad and having good days and bad days. Suffering through this has been filled with similar highs and lows.

Some days I am excited about the future and celebrate God's goodness. Other days, I look at our building and finances and think, "How in the world?" But every day, I give it to the Lord. It's all His. I remind myself that my natural eyes can't see the big picture. 

Thankfully, David's identity and my identity aren't wrapped up in our businesses.  It is not what defines who we are or how we live our lives. We are simply a family attempting to steward our gifts wisely, making a living, and being a light in our world to all of those we encounter. Our ultimate goal is not to be millionaires or popular. Our goal is to be an encouragement to our employees and our customers. Our marketplace is our ministry. 

I awoke this morning feeling heavy hearted. The feeling wasn't  just about our own situation but sharing a deeper level of empathy for all of those who suffer. I reflected on the couple we met in Memphis last week who have had to close their store. I cried right along with the lady who told me how much she was going to miss her customers, her friends. 

But I also woke up grateful for FREEDOM! And not just freedom experienced in the red, white and blue colors represented in beloved America's flag, but the ultimate freedom we have when we walk with Jesus. Freedom from depression, anxiety, addiction, and unhealthy life patterns. A freedom only He can offer. 

Later today, we will join most of America and celebrate Independence Day with our friends and family in Tennessee. We will eat, we will play, we will shoot fireworks, and we will remember freedom isn't free. But we will also remember those of you whose hearts may be a little heavy as you walk through whatever season you are in. You are not alone. We're rooting for you. 

I pray hope fills your heart, and you are lead by faith and not by sight. I pray you find joy amongst your circumstances, and you are able to trust God on the mountaintop and while in the valley. His plan is always better than ours.

Happy Independence Day!