May the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful.– Psalm 90:17
Owning a Christian coffee shop had been a dream of mine for years. I spent countless hours imagining what it would be like to run a successful business slash ministry. Whipping up latte’s while sharing faith, growing a profitable business, while encouraging souls, yes, that was the dream.
When the door of opportunity opened a year ago to purchase a small coffee shop in town, “Café Aroma,” I spent a great deal of time in prayer and research. Concluding that this opportunity was a huge risk but also God’s timing, I took a giant step of faith and moved forward.
From the very first day the shop opened, I found myself in awe as I witnessed the dream, which only God fully understood, unfold right before my eyes. Not only was the coffee shop adorable but every little detail that I had spent years praying about such as having a lending library of faith-based books, a bucket for prayer requests that would open the door for faith-filled conversations, inspirational coffee names and a white board to display encouraging messages on a daily basis to everyone who entered the shop came together.
A god-like assurance stirred my heart every time a customer would enter the shop and our conversation would “somehow” lead to inspiring one another in faith. The word spread quickly that there was a coffee shop in town that offered more than just java. On more than one occasion the shop was referred to as “Church,” a place where customers sensed God’s presence, and with that felt inclined to worship, pray and fellowship with each other while sipping on espresso. Indeed, the Spirit of God was there and my dream had come to pass.
So why did this God-ordained, church-like coffee house go up for sale only 8-months later?
Despite the growing ministry, under my ownership the business was unable to get beyond the effects of the present economy. Although I knew this could be a dilemma from the start, I was certain God was calling me to it and assumed that with hard work, God would roll in the dough somehow. After all, He knew my heart, right?
I came to realize that while God knew my heart, He was not going to give me what I “wanted.” And so I struggled. And when I say I struggled, I mean, S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E-D.
How could God do this? Why would He give me this dream, bring me this far, then let me fail? Why was He not providing what I wanted in order to continue “Bucket of Money”? I just didn’t understand why.
It became very clear to me that I needed to let go of the business and to trust God despite not having answers. And for those few dear friends of mine who know me well, they can attest to the fact that I did not let go gracefully. I went kicking and screaming the entire way. That is until the fog began to clear and I began asking myself questions like, Is God big enough to finish what He starts? Is it possible that God is not giving me what I “want” because He knows there is something more I actually need? Had God used me (and the customers for that matter) to plant seeds of growing-faith within each other’s hearts during the 8-months? Despite how it looked, had I been obedient to God’s call?
I wasn’t entirely sure of the answers to these questions until one afternoon when the soon-to-be buyer of the shop shared something with me. He didn’t know anything about me or my dream or my struggle to let it go, but prior to signing final papers he felt compelled to tell me that he believes God called him to the shop and it’s his “mission to serve God through Café Aroma.”
Out of all the people who looked at the shop as simply as a business opportunity, the one who made the offer was someone who felt compelled by God to have a business/ministry.
It became very clear to me in that moment that God doesn’t always give us what we want, but He gives us exactly what we need.
God knew that what I needed most was to trust the journey He was taking me on. To know that the dream was from Him (not from me) and He would see it through. God also knew I needed to be willing to pass the torch to another and trust the process without always having all the answers.
Interestingly enough a new customer came to the shop after signing papers. He didn’t know I had just sold the business. The customer purchased his coffee and commented on how much he appreciated the “Christian environment.” And upon leaving he added, “May you be blessed with success.”
I thought about the irony of his words. From a worldly standpoint, my business didn’t even last one year and so it would appear that I failed. But did I really? Doing what God calls us to do isn’t always easy but when we are obedient to His call, He will bless us beyond measure.
During my 8-months of running a business/ministry at Café Aroma, I witnessed God heal, touch, encourage, save and minister to many and with the new owners, the dream will continue. And with that I am indeed blessed with success.
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