#1,698 A New Chapter.

I can finally tell you what’s happening.

One of the great upheavals of our life is here, and I’m so thankful for a place to document it so I won’t ever forget this season of our life.

It’s been a secret for an entire week, that on Tuesday Ben told our pastor and the staff parish relations chair that he is turning in his letter of resignation. October 31 will be the last day of his life in career ministry. One last pumpkin patch. Tonight, he told the youth.

I can’t believe I just typed it. It’s real now, isn’t it?

His letter to the church family reads:

Effective October 31, 2014, I will no longer serve as the full time youth minister on the staff at Laurel First United Methodist Church. This decision comes with much thought and prayer as I feel that this chapter in my life has come to an end. Erin and I are not going anywhere and will continue to be active in the life of First Methodist. We stepped out in faith twice in 2009 when we decided to leave a great ministry position at Oak Grove, and that Erin would leave her day job and go full time with our business. In answering what we believed to be God’s call, we were blessed tremendously in both of these decisions. When I started professional youth ministry ten years ago, I knew that it was not a “forever” career. This has been the most educational and fulfilling chapter of my life, but it is time for me to move on to the next one and take up a full-time role in the business Erin and I started back then. Once again, we feel that God is calling us to make another step with him. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me with the guidance of your students over the last five years. Thank you for opening up and bringing us into the family at First Methodist. We are nervous, excited, scared, and optimistic about the next few years, but we pray that our church family will support us in this new calling. 

I can remember on this day back in May, when we were in Saint Augustine, Ben felt overwhelmed by the weight of it all. He felt like he was muddling through it, that he was out of ideas for ministry, and it made him feel horrible. He knew it’s not the kind of job you keep going through the motions in. He wanted to make a change but we didn’t know what his next career would be. It was a raw, bereft feeling.
About 6 weeks ago he was at lunch with Josh and they talked about it. Ever-wise Josh said, “I know you’re worried about where to go next—but God already has that planned for you. It’s so obvious to me that Lucky Luxe is ready to become a family business, not just Erin’s business. You’re half owner, and I know if you commit to being there full time it’s going to grow so much. It’s going to be amazing. Trust it.” 
He came home, we talked about it. We were excited. But afraid. We got confirmation later that very same day that the invitation I designed for Martha Stewart Weddings last year would definitely be releasing in their issue on September 1. A full page, for sure. We were kind of stunned.
The next day, I was asked to create a custom invitation for a full page feature in Southern Living’s sister wedding magazine, Southern Weddings. It’s releasing in November.
So many affirmations came flooding in in the weeks after that. Even bigger opportunities for the business are in the works, and I’m just not able to really talk about them since they’re just beginning to bloom. Prayers and texts from friends having dreams about us—providential, encouraging dreams. We’ve been overwhelmed. Like I vaguely mentioned last week. That night before we made it to the open doors of St. John’s church, we had walked the few steps to our church and sat on the front steps and held each other tight and prayed for our church, for our family there, for what it will mean to be done with professional ministry for us and our students. We prayed to be faithful servants there without the recent guilt of a paycheck to do it. Then we walked to the next block to Lucky Luxe and held each other and prayed again, for wisdom in business decisions and strength when business is hard, and thankfulness that this is an available, beautiful opportunity for us. Our last stop was to light those candles at the altar of our neighbor church.
Ben feels like a 50 lb. weight has been lifted from him and we’re looking forward to every morning bubbling over with excitement and opportunity. I saw this on the Freshly Picked instagram a few days ago:
The caption read:
“There are seasons you see, a season to sharpen your axe and a season to chop down the tree. I remember getting so frustrated with my work and thinking, this isn’t working, this will never work. And then something would happen, some little part would click and I would take it as a sign to keep going. Don’t try to rush through your axe sharpening season otherwise you will have to work twice as hard during your tree chopping season. Always have the chopped fallen tree as your goal, but take your time – learn your business inside and out, know your customers and take care of them, rise and grind every day. Your moment will come, your tree will fall and it will be awesome.” 

The signs from our Father who loves us have been so brazen and honest and clear in these last weeks. I wish I could have this clarity and communication with Him forever, but I know it waxes and wanes with the seasons of our life. But tonight, I feel ready for anything. And I’m thankful again, dear reader, that you’re here for the next chapter. 
Photo by Brooke Davis