Could sudden loss of a job birth anything good?
Today, I’m glad to introduce you to my friend, Amy. Amy and I met as freshmen in college and hung together for the next four years as part of a small group, choir and all other sorts of shenanigans. Now we both have daughters named Amelia. She’s got a beautiful story of redemption to share, so I know you’ll want to keep reading!
When I stood on the steps of my freshman dorm building at Samford University in the fall of 1998, my mom handed me a card, gave me one last hug, cried and drove away. I went up to my room on the fourth floor and opened the envelope. It was a store-bought postcard with a beautiful rainbow photo. The verse Jeremiah 29:11 was printed on the front.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
It’s a common verse to give to young college students, and my mother was kindly reminding me that the next four years would bring a lot of change, but that God’s plans were always for my good.
Fast forward fourteen years to 2012. I’m married and have two young children, a home and a thriving career. I work a nursing management job, a position that is meant for someone much older and more experienced than I.
I never imagined that I’d be a working mom, but never less, I grew to love my work and enjoyed the fast-pace of our facility.
If you had asked me in early 2012 about Jeremiah 29:11 and the prosperous plans God had for me, I would have said with certainty that this was it.
I was the primary breadwinner for our home, and my husband had started a new graduate school program to earn a degree he’d desired for years.
I had committed to working the next three years for him to finish school and then we’d transition breadwinner status. That was the plan, so we thought.
And then, it all came to a screeching halt and changed within a matter moments.
Through the work-related traumatic loss of two people — one a patient, one a co-worker — I was no longer able to work as a nurse. Suddenly, all of my college education, career experience, professional license and income source was no longer valuable. The grief was too much to bear and I was incapable of donning my scrubs and hanging a stethoscope around my neck. I questioned how God’s plans to prosper me could still be true after such tragedy.
I had promised to support our family, and my husband was required to work an unpaid internship in addition to classes, which left him little time for a part-time job. I was desperate to find a way to support my family, but knew it couldn’t be nursing.
Deep inside me was a rich history of seamstresses. As a little girl, I sat with my Grandma, Granny and Mom and learned to sew.
I have fond memories of sewing for hours on end during summers and Christmas breaks. I always imagined the day when I would create things people wanted to buy. This dream was long buried under emotion, day-to-day life, marriage and kids. However, somehow in the thickness of mourning, I began to hope in this dream once again.
As a way to take my mind off of the sadness and loss, I began sewing again.
A dear friend saw potential and suggested I start selling online. I asked my husband to “borrow” $50 from our checking account so I could start with the smallest amount of inventory.
I created the LippyClipTM, a clip-on lip balm holder designed to hold products like Chapstick, Burt’s Bees, etc. I remember thinking to myself, “This will never sell. This is such a first-world product. I mean, who would buy this?!?!”
I also remember praying, “God, you can do all things. I know You always have my good in mind. Please, let this work.”
In the summer of 2013, I started small and slow, but was quickly met with a high demand for products and nothing but growth for the business. In the months and years that followed, the business grew and exceeded all of my expectations and goals.
I couldn’t keep up with production, so I made the very intentional decision to grow the business as large as God allows, with the purpose of providing work for as many women as possible. These are women who, for the most part, are otherwise unable to work outside their home. Today, we provide supplemental income to seven women.
My husband graduated with a master’s in counseling and is now a licensed mental health counselor. He works full time in private practice and loves his job.
I’m so grateful for the knowledge of sewing that my grandmothers gave me, and the management skills I learned from years of nursing — both of which I use every day in my business. I’m grateful for the LippyClipTM, which is a first-world product, but symbolizes to me God’s sweet mercy to our family during my dark hour.
I’m grateful for the journey that birthed in me a new direction and prosperous future.
Amy Gabriel is the founder and creative director of Gabriel’s Good TidingsTM, which creates beautiful handmade products to help women find essentials easier and brighten their space. She’s committed to keeping all products made in the USA by women working from home. When Amy is not working, she enjoys beach days, watching college football, swimming and reading. She resides in Orlando, Florida.