Friday, August 01, 2008

I cried today

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I would NOT cry, but some promises are silly anyway. Today was my last day at work. The Christian bookstore where I have been employed is closing next week, but because I had previously scheduled holidays, the door closed behind me today for the last time.

If any of you have seen the movie, “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, today I feel very much like Kathleen Kelly. Economy forced the closure of her quaint little bookstore. In this film, “The Shop Around the Corner” held not only precious memories of special days gone by, but unforgettable moments held in the depths of her heart for her mother who had loved and cherished each second of owning this delightful store. As Kathleen’s friend described it, the store was a “lone read”, the only one of its kind in this location.

The Christian Family Bookstore where I’ve been employed was a “lone read” for our city and for areas to the North, South and East of us. People would come from various locations to stop in, browse, and enjoy a friendly conversation. Some were on a mission for the perfect gift. Others in pursuit of a specific book title. I think often our doors welcomed weary travelers, not so much physically, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally. They needed a place to rest tired hearts. They were looking for a word to encourage fatigued souls. They would enter and be greeted with a warm hello or a welcoming smile. Some found that invitation enough to share the burdens on their hearts that day. A listening ear was always available.

Although this store had changed names, this location had been a Christian bookstore for many years. Just last week, a dear elderly lady, with tears in her eyes, shared with me that she had purchased Bibles for all three of her grandchildren at our store when they were younger, and all three of them had asked the Lord into their hearts and are now serving Him faithfully. Many loyal customers were coming in to say Goodbye. Some shared memories. Some brought baking. Treats and chocolates were thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice to know that we were loved and appreciated, and that we would be missed.

It’s sad that statistics are based on financial statements alone. Our store did a steady business, some days busier than others, but who can measure the value of a life changed. A book suggested that walked a young girl out of depression. A Bible awarded that gave the invitation of salvation. A CD played that stirred the heart to offer the Lord a sacrifice of praise. A gift item purchased that said, “I love you”. Words of comfort, hope, appreciation, sympathy and encouragement found in note cards sent to brighten the day of others. We were more than a bookstore. We were a ministry.

So, I did cry today. The Lord had planted a dream in my heart years ago to work in a Christian bookstore. For the past year, He fulfilled that dream for me. I had not even applied for this position. One day, “out of the blue” I received a phone call asking me if I was interested in a part-time job at this store. I couldn’t believe it. God truly does give us the desires of our hearts if we’ll just wait and trust Him.

I cried today because of God’s overwhelming goodness to me to grant me a dream fulfilled. I cried because a chapter is ending in the story He is writing across my life. I cried for the blessing and joy of friendships that God had birthed, that now will go through a period of transition. Oh, we’ll still be friends, they won’t get rid of me that easily, but the almost daily contact will be gone. I cried for conversations past and conversations still waiting, wanting to be shared.

It’s been a wonderful year. The Lord has used this opportunity to stretch me, change me, strengthen me and draw me closer to Himself as I had to depend on Him for so much. After being a stay-at-home Mom for 15 years, it’s been rewarding to know that I can return to the work force and know that I do still have something to offer.

To any of you reading this who used to visit the store, thank you. It was a privilege and honour to serve you. You made my days! And, to my fellow employees, know how much you are loved and will be missed. The Lord brought each of you into my life for different reasons. You have taught me about grace, forgiveness, love, laughter, acceptance, authenticity and friendship. Your names are written across my heart. You are so special to me and I will miss you greatly.

Praying that this closed door will just be a change in direction. He has plans for each of us. Wonderful plans. This too is part of His plan, to take me down different roads that will stretch me and shape me more into His likeness. How I respond is vital. I will choose to praise Him and watch with anticipation for what lies ahead.

Tomorrow, the door to a much anticipated two weeks with my family is opening. I will be checking in and writing when I can and hope to post pictures of some of our activities.

Tonight I’m heading to the Beth Moore simulcast and I’m excited and eager to hear what God will speak to my heart through His Word.

Love to you all,
Joy

9 comments:

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Joy, did you know there are 714 churches and 70,000+ people attending. I posted about it today. I'm only 60 minutes from her. The churches 10,000 some seats were sold out months and months ago. I had an opportunity to go but was already obligated to host the simulcast at my church with our ladies' group.

Hope you can stop by and read my post. We need prayer for the mighty event but satan will be waiting for us on the other side.
Love,
Paula

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Perfect timing to hear Beth. Enjoy each blessed moment of comfort she will undoubtedly bring to your soaring emotions. I know you will find Jesus in the midst of it all.

peace~elaine

Melissa said...

Joy,

I thought about you all during the day. I'm sad that you are sad, but I'm praying for you and this upcoming awesome phase in your life! The Lord has great plans for you:)

Have a wonderful weekend. Tell Beth that Melissa in Charlotte said 'hi'! And then have fun "up North".

Love you my friend,
Melissa

Melissa said...

Oh yea, one more thing. I don't think I see an update since July 25th. Is that correct? Just checkin'!

And is your back all better? (It was your back wasn't it?)

Bye!
M

JMBMOMMY said...

It is so hard to see a phase end. But the future is bright!

Marilyn said...

Hi Joy,

As I was reading your post I thought to myself that I would get my Bible and try to look up a verse that would give you encouragement or comfort. I just flipped my Bible open to start looking and this is the verse that my eye fell on....highlighted in pink...."And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
What a day that will be when in Heaven we no longer have to say good-bye to friends or wonderful jobs we love.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Marilyn

hkudla said...

Joy,
I was at the simucast too... it was so incredible. I am sad that you missed today, but God is so faithful. He spoke so clearly to me last night, that last night alone woudl have been enough.
Maybe in the next few days I will be able to get some words out about it. But God used this weekend to give me another nudge down teh road of healing... I am still processing, looking through my notes, and remembering more things that I didn't write down that I need to!
I have to head to bed, so that I can have some time with God before church in the morning...
Love you and talk to you soon,
Have a wonderful vacation!!!
Love,
Heather

Catherine said...

((hugs)) Praying for you as you seek the plans God has for you.

Susan said...

Joy,

Just getting caught up. So glad I decided to stop by.

I really enjoyed the pictures you shared, look like you had a wonderful time away.

Sorry about the bookstore.

I met my husband in a small little bookstore 30 years ago. It was called Logo's.

I walked in as a young convert, only one day old, and he helped me pick out my first bible.

Now it's all history.

Thank God for Christian bookstores!!

Blessings to you in your new journey ahead.