Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey Darling.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Stacey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I married my husband in 2010 and every step we have taken since saying, “I do,” has been a step in faith including growing this budding small business.
I had spent many years in the classroom as a Special Education Teacher for students with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. After having our first child, I felt this strong tug in my spirit and I knew the Lord was calling me to stay home with my son. We now have three boys, Elijah (5), Jeremiah (almost 3), and Josiah (11 months). Leaving my career behind and living off of one income has been a struggle at times. Things are always tight financially. We have had to make many sacrifices, however, we feel strongly that we made the right decision for our family.
I have always had a love of beautiful, hand-painted furniture. I would dream about having beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces in my own home. I knew that we couldn’t afford to purchase new furniture, but it didn’t cost anything to dream about it. One day my husband walked in the door with a horrible looking end table that he had picked up from Goodwill. He walked me into the garage beaming with excitement, “Try it! Just play around with it and see what you can do!”
Ever since that moment in the garage, the Lord has been crossing our paths with the right people, opening the right doors and blessing my little growing small business in ways that I could never have imagined. The journey has been and continues to be an amazing testimony of stepping out in faith.
We relocated here to Phoenix from Houston last year and that move has had such a positive impact on our family and my business. The artisan community has been so welcoming and the Lord has crossed our paths with people and opportunities that have inspired me to keep creating beautiful furniture and also share my faith journey and my personal testimony through my blog.
It truly has been a whirlwind up to this point. What started off as just a seed, continues to grow and blossom into something so unexpected and so remarkable that I have to put my hands up and praise God because I couldn’t have made it to this point on my own.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with anything that requires great sacrifice, great faith, and great courage, there have been many obstacles, challenges, tears, frustration and all kinds of messy feelings and situations to overcome to get to this point.
Leaving my career as a teacher meant sacrificing my income. With our family trying to survive off of one paycheck, I’ve essentially been growing my business with no budget. After selling a piece, I may put a bit aside to invest in another piece, but the majority of my profits are my contribution to our monthly income. As you can imagine, the lack of finances makes growing a small business look and feel impossible. I’ve wanted to give up many times but something in my spirit tells me to keep going.
I talk a lot about my faith and to be honest, more than anything else in my life, this journey to build my business, has really been the catalyst to my belief in God and my journey in faith.
Since that first moment when my husband encouraged me to go for it, the Lord has blessed me with friendships, opportunities and resources that have all contributed to the growth of what was once just a dream, just a seed.
We have had experiences nothing short of miracles, one after another that has left us awestruck. The Lord has blessed us with donated furniture pieces, a donated vehicle and on more than one occasion, I’ve been greeted by the mailman who has a package addressed to me filled with things like high-quality paint product and some of the best brushes on the market. I could share story after story of these types of unexpected miracles and blessings.
What has truly kept me going is the outpouring of the love, support, and encouragement. It seems that every time I have felt like giving up, God has sent a messenger to whisper to me, shake me or just hug me until I pick up my brush and start painting again.
My advice is simple. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. It will take time for your seed to grow and during that time, there will be storms. These storms are necessary. Seeds need the rain as much as they need the sunlight. Plant firm roots during the storms, learn from them. You will grow more during the stormy seasons than you will during the seasons of sunshine. Every season is necessary so grab your umbrella and enjoy the journey.
what should we know about Renewed Spirit Home? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Lord’s ways are certainly mysterious and in His perfect plan, He had me stumble upon this passion an talent for transforming overlooked, discarded or outdated furniture into beautiful, functional pieces. Each piece is lovingly and sometimes painstakingly transformed and given a new life, a renewed spirit.
Every artisan eventually finds their way and develops a personal style. I feel as if I’ve found my niche in the industry and developed my style, one that I’m very proud of as a furniture artist.
When I first see a piece, I can see the potential and usually within moments I have a vision for the project. I love to create pieces that I would have in my own home. What I love most, is the reaction from my clients. The joy on their faces and the excitement when they see their customized pieces for the first time is just an incredible thing to experience as an artist.
At the same time that I began refinishing furniture, I felt the Lord calling me to start sharing my testimony and journey in faith more publically. I am an introvert by nature so this was a scary step for me. Admittedly though, it has been a true blessing in many unexpected ways. The most powerful being the fellowship and the friendships that I now have with people who have come across my blog and been touched in some way by it. Sharing in this way has not contributed in any way to the business financially, but I believe it has been the most powerful and important aspect of Renewed Spirit Home to date.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Early on someone told me not to ever compare myself to another artist. I didn’t realize it then but that has been one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever been given, both personally and professionally. When thinking about what advice I wanted to pass on to young women who may be just starting their career, that voice in my heart was saying, “Walk your own path.” I think, we have a tendency to compare ourselves with others or feel as if we need to emulate the journey of successful women in our industry. It’s just not the case. There is the only one you and your path will be unique to you and your personal journey. Let that empower you and ignite you every single day, but especially on those days when you want to give up. Even the most difficult days are necessary stepping stones toward reaching your goal.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others during the course of my journey thus far. I’ve learned it can be difficult but not impossible to find other women that genuinely want to lift you up, mentor you, empower you and celebrate you. Find those women and surround yourself with them but most importantly be that woman for someone else.
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Renewed Spirit Home