“Be strong & courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
In this season of my life, few pieces resonate so much as this. So many times in life we experience self-doubt and question where we are at and God’s intention for what is going on in and around us. But as his faithful followers, our job is not to know all the pain or beauty, the stumbles or successes that are about to come our way… instead, we are called to fully rely on him and trust that He has our best interests in mind, even if we cannot see it for ourselves in the moment.
It was the summer of 2008 and I was at home enjoying my second week of maternity leave with my beautiful first born son, Jackson when my employer called to let me know I was being laid off. What? Really? Me? You can't do that... can you? Oh yes, they can...
I went from being on top of the world to being crushed. My identity had been found in my career (I know that's not healthy), but I clung strongly to my work and when I lost my job I felt lost. It may sound terrible but I did not want to be a stay at home mom, I wanted to work. I wanted to travel the world and have a professional career. So, I looked.... and looked.... and looked... and after 6 months my husband finally said, "Allison, why don't you just stay home and be a mom?" It felt like a stab in the heart, I had been defeated.
So I did some soul searching, joined a mom's group at a church where I knew no one (which was not easy for an introvert like me...) This is where I found a relationship with Christ and with time that defeat I felt turned into peace and a sense of purpose I had never felt before. I was able to fully embrace being a mom. I honestly don't know that I would have ever given myself permission to leave my career to stay at home. I love this saying: 'I thank God for protecting me from what I thought I wanted & blessing me with what I didn’t know I needed.' How true is this?!
So, in 2009 I decided I was going to start a business to give myself a creative outlet and that is when Allison Marie Design was born. I bought a camera, started doing 'alphabet photography' (it used to be a thing... you can google it) set up a wonky website and took my goods to shows around the twin cities. It kept me busy while the kiddos were napping and made me feel like I was 'working and contributing'. So fast forward two more babies, 3 housing moves, some random product creations, learning to paint and 7 years... we're at July 2016 when my husband called to tell me he's ready to leave his corporate job to work with me and would like to have my approval. What? Really? I've got to think through this one for a bit.
'Having a business together' is something we had talked about since dating. We would dream about different ideas... he'd dream about opening a restaurant, owning rental properties, manufacturing parts or some weird thing... let's just say his ideas never included 'home decor' NEVER. EVER. EVER. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed some more and while I was driving I clearly heard the Lord say, 'His job is toxic, he needs to leave.' What? Really? Are you sure?
And so here we are today, the last year has been an adventure. As my dad would say, 'we're just livin' the dream'. It's not easy, it's actually pretty messy and chaotic, sometimes a little stressful. But I wouldn't want it any other way. If you're reading this and going through something hard I pray you cling to God's truth and Be Brave. 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.'
I am truly honored and humbled to have had this opportunity to create a business out of my true passion. Seeing my art fill the spaces where you gather with friends and family is a gift I never could have imagined prior to 2009. Thank you, customers and friends, for being part of this creative journey it means more to me than you'll ever know!