A few years ago I was at a place in my life where I had never been more clear in what it was that I was called to do, yet never more confused about how to actually do it. Little by little I began following the breadcrumbs that were being laid before me.
Soon enough, God brought a strong group of women that were there with me for of my greatest seasons of life, starting a local nonprofit to help people help people.
This “thing” took off, not in the way the world would see success, but in how it radically changed my life and my outlook. I finally connected to the thing that I truly felt God had made me for. All the hurt, pain and talents that God gave me was poured out into this small but mighty mission to Ignite hearts on fire to live full intentional lives.
As the dream began to unfold, I started dreaming for a physical location for community members to come, connect and become aware of ways their purposes could be put into action. As a group, we truly believed that the best way to fulfill that vision was through a coffeehouse. We took time to search for spaces, dream, and search a bit more. Although we had a deep passion for this dream, we came to an understanding that it wasn’t the right time for this dream to come to fruition.
Fast forward a few years and several efforts later, I’m sitting across the table from a young, vibrant and go lucky blonde from Xenia, Ohio, Whitney Caudill. Around a large wooden table, completely oblivious that God was totally up to something much more than a project we would be executing together. He was getting ready to intersect our lives in a much bigger and more special way.
In less than a year I have gotten to know Whitney as a person who means what they say and always follows through with genuine care that is truly unprecedented. Working with her through that project birthed a friendship which has blessed and enriched my life so much. Regardless of the obstacles during those few months working together, Whitney maintained such a level of professionalism and compassion I have not seen in many other people. Through those short few months, we experienced a lot of things and it made me realize she was going to be a friend that would last beyond the project.
Our project wrapped up and we kept in touch, texting almost every day and sharing updates about our lives. Then one evening she hit me with it… “I have something serious to ask you… do you want to start a coffee shop together?”. I was completely silent as she shared her ideas, at times with some hesitation and longer than usual pauses waiting to see if there was something I would interject with.
Little did she know during my silence that I was sitting there taking everything in in complete awe. I kept wondering how is that this friend of mine has the same dream that I have been carrying around for the last few years. I laughed on the inside and continued to listen.
Everything she said lined up perfectly with the original vision that God had given me a few years prior. So then I had a decision to make… was God truly up to something?
This is how I came to my yes:
Listened - I believe in listening to the ones you trust and admire and of course, I trusted and respected Whitney enough to hear her out. I knew that if she was wanting to take the time to talk about something serious (she had pre-warned me that it was something very serious), it was because she had first prayed about it which is important to me.
Prayed - Regardless of my initial fears or thoughts, I cared enough about Whitney’s opinions and dreams to pray about the possibility of what could be and to truly seek if God was up to something through our friendship.
Reflected - Anytime anything really good has come up (I say that loosely because nothing in our lives I believe happens by coincidence) in my life God has typically had to wake me up or “shock” me in other words. By the way, I don’t suggest doing things that way with God. However, I do believe we can become somewhat “comfortable” in our ways and in order for us to be used for God’s glory we need to remember to stay flexible to what God has planned.
Waited - I think we can be guilty of jumping to our Yes too quickly. We allow our human flesh to drive us to land there before God is ready for us to. So I like to give it a little bit of time. The time you take to encounter the real answer is often the best part. That journey of waiting always unveils so much good for me. Now, I want to be clear here... The waiting is for big life altering decisions, things that impact your present and future life and those you love. If I invite you for coffee, please don’t text me back and say you need to pray about it first. LoL… it’s a coffee friend, not war.
If you are at a crossroads or considering starting a new venture, I am super excited for you! I hope you find the steps I took for myself helpful and that you find your own realization of what He is up to in your own life. For me personally, it looks like He is up for some coffee and a few other things.