Growing Grace Floral Design February 11, 2016
Photo Credit: GROWING GRACE FLORAL website
I grew up with the clear knowledge that God existed. That heaven and hell were real places and believed, like many people today, that if I was a good person I would avoid the flames and spend eternity in the sky. My mom grew up with the bible forced down her throat and up until recently she had a negative association to the bible and the Word of God because of her mother’s bad examples. She used the Bible as a way to punish my mom and it literally has scared her for life. My father on the other hand, was born in Mexico and attended a Catholic church as a child. He also had a negative experience as a young boy and mixed with an abusive home he started running away at the age of 9. With these back grounds, my parents felt no urge to share the Bible or Jesus with their children.Throughout my teen and early 20’s I did my fair share of hanging out and doing things that were not in my best interest. I found myself “on” and “off” again relationship with boys that were no good for me. These relationships, plus going to school and working full time were good distraction for developing any relationship with Jesus. I prayed in the rough times, and gave thanks during the good times, but didn’t really understand who I was speaking to. I just thought talking to God was enough, and that living my own life was okay.When I turned 24 I had just move back from living in Maui working a dream job designing flowers for destination weddings. I had moved out there for a job and the opportunity to get away from my family. My sister and I had talked before I left about starting our own business whenever I returned. When I moved back, my mind had changed and I just wanted to take care of my mom who was sick and work so I could pay my own bills. But, shortly after being home, my sister’s wish came true and she had talked me into it.I was afraid of being a business owner. I had been in the floral industry for 9 years at that point and knew the competition and nothing about running my own business. But, it happened. On a side note, at the same time, I was beginning a “relationship” with a backslidden Christian. He wasn’t doing the right things, but would not stop talking about Jesus. I was interested more in him than I was about who he was talking about, but would listen to make him happy. We spent a lot of time talking and by the time the relationship had fizzled out, I felt called to go to church. I had heard him talk about Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano before and thought that would be a good one to go to.
One Sunday morning shortly after that, I went by myself and sat in the front row. I remember hearing the band and watching all the people singing and really feeling the music. I observed each person playing on stage and they looked so happy. When they finished playing, one of the guitarist put his guitar down and then went to the pulpit to start his sermon. I was blown away that a pastor would be rocking out like that, and his message that followed was very encouraging. I felt welcomed and at peace. I started going every weekend after that and after going for a few weeks by myself, my mom had decided to start coming with me. A few months later it was my first Easter Sunday involved with a church and CCSJC was having church in the park. It was essentially a concert outside with a BBQ after for everyone who attended. I brought both my parents and when Pastor John did the alter call at the end of the sermon, I felt called to walk up there. I had previously said a prayer months before by myself dedicating my life to Christ, but felt doing it in front of my parents and everyone else was important. One of my friends, who I have known since 5th grade, was there and came up to the crowd to stand with me.
This was in 2012. Since then, a lot has happened. My sister and I had the business together for just under 3 years. Our relationship suffered due to many things, Christ being one of them, and I finally left at the end of 2014. I was reintroduced to my now husband shortly after moving back from Maui. We spent a year being friends and running partners. I was so happy being home with my parents, going to church and working, that being in a relationship wasn’t even a thought in my head. I wanted to know everything about Jesus and was eager to learn. During our times of being just friends, I remember going to his house after Wednesday night services and sharing what I had just learned. At that time he was a single dad, dealing with baby momma drama. I remember telling him he needed a good Christian girl who would be able to deal with all of it and be a good example to his daughter. He just sat there looking at me and I had no idea that shortly after God would impress him on my heart and that we would end up falling in love and getting married. Once our relationship started, I made it very clear that being with someone who had the same morals and values, as well has a relationship with Jesus was very important to me. He started coming to church with me and soon after dedicated his life to Jesus! It was such a blessing and his daughter followed our lead. We all were baptized at CCSJC and absolutely love our church family.
Starting my second business was a mental battle. Part of why I left my previous one was because I didn’t feel my new found faith was a common interest, and I felt the Lord wanted me to share how I felt with the world. I honestly felt for a month that I was no longer going to do flowers and thought about getting a regular old job in an office somewhere. But after talking with my mom and hearing her tell me the gifts I have are from God and should not be wasted, I agreed to take the leap of faith. The name Growing Grace was given to me after a lot of prayer. I felt God telling me to be bold and to not be afraid, while the enemy was making a great case against all the reasons I shouldn’t have a faith based name. After some encouraging conversations with my husband, we decided to go for it and started my new company in January 2015.
Starting over was mentally really hard. I had invested so much of my life into my previous business and was still heartbroken after walking away from all I had invested. God gave me the strength and the courage to start over, deal with all the questions that followed me leaving my previous business, and provided (as he always does) work for me. My first year of Growing Grace was full of learning experiences. Being in the business alone this time left for a lot more responsibilities and paperwork on top of everything else a small business owner faces. With the first year now over, and the beginning of the second in full swing, I feel God pressing on my heart strings once more. I wasn’t bold for Him like he is for me. I wasn’t sharing my faith as I ought to be. I was a present Christian and kept my mouth shut about my love for Jesus. I don’t want to be like that anymore. I am in this business for a reason, and I want to openly give thanks and show the Lord my appreciation and gratitude for all he has and is giving me.
By my “random” seating next to Jena and her friends I became aware of the Increase the 5 and jumped at the opportunity to share my story and be part of something greater. My prayer is that to those who read this would be encouraged to step out with God and be bold for him. This life is only a vapor compared to eternity and as Christians it is our job to worship Him, be a good example of Christ’s love, and point people to Jesus.
I don't know about you but her work makes me want to start planning my vow renewal. So gorgeous!!
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