When I moved to the east coast of Canada, I didn’t know a soul. It was a big move during the most difficult time in my life. I was a stay at home mom, doing little things to make ends meet and homeschooling my kids. It wasn’t easy, but slowly we began to make friends.
One friend, in particular, owned a home decor store in town. I’ll never forget the day I asked if she would consider hiring me. I was shaking and stumbling over my words as my nerves took over. I could just feel my fair skin explode into a brilliant lobster shade of red which I could not hide. Although I had little confidence in myself at the time, I did have a secret love for design. So, I swallowed my fears, fought my insecurities, and stuttered out what I had rehearsed. Who knows what came out, but to my surprise, she was overexcited and said yes. Little did I know, this small step of faith would completely change my life in unimaginable, wonderful ways that I could have never planned myself. In the hardest of times for me, things began to unfold.
After working for about a year at the store, I decided to put my two oldest children into public school. This was one of the hardest decisions for me. As I battled others opinions and judgments, I knew it was right for me. This was just one of what seemed like many broken dreams. September came, I put them into school, and they did so great! It wasn’t until they were gone that I began to face my feelings…feelings of loneliness and unfulfillment. I almost felt like I wasn’t needed. I started to think, what do I do now?
One day, I was walking around the house picking up odd socks with no match in sight. As I was straightening up the house, I looked around the room and saw that everyone was happy. Everyone was doing something they liked to do, except me. I realized I was not happy. I thought, “Is this it for me?”
Was doing laundry my only purpose in life? Raising kids, nurturing them, and guiding them is no easy task, and I don’t take it lightly. I love being a mom. I just felt like there had to be something else. Just as much as I wanted my children’s lives to be happy and be fulfilled, so I wanted it for me. I felt so lost and empty. When I picked up those lonely socks off the floor, I began to cry silently. I hid my tears and walked towards the food on the stove.
It got worse. I would often look out my window and see my neighbour painting furniture in her garage, and she was filing them out as fast as they came in. She looked as though she had everything she wanted. She was happy and fulfilled. She had her own business, she was a young mom, and was making it work. I was feeling old and thinking, “What have I done? What chances have I taken? I have so many ideas and dreams. Why can’t I just go for it too?”
Things began to stir in me. After all, we are not here to merely exist! Being a creative person, I knew I needed to find an outlet.
I got to know my friend more as I worked once a week at the store. I told her of all the things I was doing to fix up my home and things I would build that we needed. We spent a lot of time talking and getting to know each other. One day she asked me if I could make a bench for her store to sell. (For the record, she always believed in me and pushed me forward!) With all the fake confidence in the world, I said: “Oh, for sure I could!” I went home that night and began to absolutely panic, thinking, “What have I done?” I can’t build a bench for this beautiful store. What was I thinking? I’d built for myself, but to sell? At a store? Well, in short, I did it. I made a bench. To my amazement, she loved it.
After a little time, it sold. We began sharing furniture ideas and different designs. We made a great team! I would build, and she would sell. Soon, I had customers coming in and asking me to create custom pieces for them. It got so busy I had to stop working at the store and just build. I took on every challenge that came my way! I even built two extra large wooden toothbrushes! Can you imagine that? I was now building dining room tables, benches, islands, shelves, wall signs, coffee tables, trays, and countless repurposed items (some pieces so sentimental and almost beyond repair). Before I knew it, I had started my own custom furniture building business that I now call Vintage House. I couldn’t believe the things that began to unfold and line up as I stepped out in faith.
Our little town, Fredericton, New Brunswick, is certainly a place to visit with many tourists throughout the summer season from all over the world (you should visit). Because of this, I have pieces in Europe, north-west territories, all over Canada, and some in the USA! This year, I will celebrate five years in business. It’s even grown! I now do kitchen cabinet refinishing and have many interior design opportunities. I am at the point where I’ve hired my oldest son and another employee from time to time! My other two kids are just anxious to get in the shop and help as well. Which thrills me to no end! What a dream come true!
As a little girl, I used to build with the scrap wood from my Dad’s workshop, but if you had told me even five years ago that one day I’d be a carpenter, I wouldn’t have believed it. Little old me! How humbling.
Not only do I get to design and build, but I love meeting all these new people day after day. People from all walks of life who, each day, have their own stories, their own struggles, joys, and pain. I’ve had opportunities to listen, share a kind word, or be a shoulder to cry on—which is also fulfilling. There’s always a chance to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter.
When I look back at where I was and how I felt when I first moved, I am in awe. I could have never made this happen on my own; just a little bit of faith and willingness to learn changed my life. Today my heart is full, I am happy in what I do, and my confidence has grown! What I had imagined for myself at a young age doesn’t even compare to what and who I am today!
If you read this and feel a stirring within you, don’t ignore it! That desire inside is stronger than your weaknesses. Let faith trump your fears, weaknesses, and insecurities. Hidden things will begin to come out. Surround yourself with people that believe in you, move you forward, and are honest.
Time goes by, and things can change. You might have setbacks in life, but sometimes your broken dreams lead you to a place far greater than you could have ever imagined and you discover the things you were made to do.
Don’t miss this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: 5 Things a Woman Must Do for Success in Life – 040!
You’ll also like Does Finding Your Purpose Really Matter?, How to Move On From the Loss of a Dream in a Healthy Way, Dear SAHM: I See You and Want You to Know These 8 Things, To the Mom Who Feels Guilty for Loving Her Work, and Dear You, You Were Made for Something More.