Not many know this, but the first business Brad and I ever started was an online hookah retailer. Yes, you heard me right, we sold hookahs in college.
I can’t stop laughing while writing this out because it seems so long ago and so foreign, but once upon a time this young married couple at Ohio University went into business with a friend because they thought they could get a corner on the hookah business in Athens. Plus, we enjoyed smoking the fun fruity tobaccos. They were somehow “better” for you because they tasted good, right?
This isn’t something you lead with when introducing yourself, or even when sharing your life, but it’s an important part of our story because it was one of the first times we decided to do life differently. Not surprisingly, it didn’t go well and we weren’t able to quit our jobs and lived as the hookah kings of Athens, but we began to learn lessons about what it means to own a business.
A few years later after doing the “normal” job thing we both quit to travel and pursue God in greater measure. We developed our own businesses because we knew deep down there had to be more for us than working 40 hours a week to make a corporation rich.
We built our businesses, I took pictures and Brad designed websites, and we made them work mostly on our own. We prayed about them and when things were hard we asked God to bless them and help make ends meet. The beautiful thing is he always did; we always had enough. We built our businesses and God was our sidekick.
A few years passed and after many late night front porch sessions it was decided that Brad would build a new company that helped people self-publish their writing. We were older and more in tune with the Lord. Through prayer this direction felt right, but it was still us doing the building and the grunt work. Again, we would come to the Lord with prayer requests when money was tight or when there was a tough situation, but this was still a business that WE made and that WE were in control of. Despite that, He has blessed this business beyond measure and we have learned to hand over more of our lives, little by little, to the God and creator of our Universe.
God began calling Brad and I to full time ministry this past year. We explored and prayed for what that would be, and slowly the vision came into focus.
We are to start a School for Kingdom Writers here in Zanesville. Students will live here for two years, immersed in both a writing and Kingdom living program.
For the first time in our lives, this is all God. There is no way this school would come to fruition by our own accord. It’s too mighty and massive and we are not skilled in all the parts necessary for it to thrive. Oh, not to mention the large cost it will incur, and we are a people that live committed to doing everything with zero debt.
But God has relayed to us in many prayer sessions and prophetic words via our brothers and sisters that HE is going to do this in His power, not ours. We are merely vessels, but he has assured us to dream the big dreams that he is laying on our hearts because they will certainly come to pass.
This doesn’t mean we sit back as passive spectators in our life, but it does mean that we can choose to not participate in the worry and stress that comes with starting a non-profit. We get the chance to trust our creator fully and without waver, knowing that even as we’ve held onto parts of our lives for our own, HE STILL PROVIDED FOR US.
This is a defining moment in our lives as we take the leap of faith from in control to His control. We are all in, ready to look like fools for the sake of the advancement of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. His wave of great mercy and love is coming in and it will wash over everything in this land, in this community and The School of Kingdom Writers is going to be one part of how He chooses to spread His message. To God be all the glory.