Since announcing the opening of Philanthropy’s first franchise in Cape Girardeau, MO we’ve begun to notice a trend, which includes a look of sheer confusion and a one-word question – Why? Precisely, Why Franchise, Why Bridgett, Why Cape Girardeau, and Why now? The philosophy of Philanthropy has never been just to sell clothing and it will never be about fitting into the typical business model – we will always head in the direction we are most called and do God’s work wherever and whenever he sends us. We have always believed a business built around charitable works and grounded in Christ could make a difference. As we started looking at the process of franchising, we had to ask WHY? Why would this be our next step? Better yet, was this the next step God was calling us to do? At every turn, we were being reminded how Christ came and impacted the masses by walking ‘city to city’. We knew if we truly wanted to make a difference, Philanthropy had to start walking ‘city to city’. If you’ve had the opportunity to read Bridgett’s Story then you know that she is an extraordinary person who has been brought into our lives for a reason. When we all met Bridgett we knew there was something special about her. Her willingness to walk in faith and drop everything she knew of a career to choose a path with Philanthropy spoke volumes. When Christina began putting one foot in front of the other in alignment with Bridgett’s chosen path, amazing things started to happen. Neither one of them knew what this was gonna look like, but they both had faith that God already had the details worked out. ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’…Ralph Emerson On our first visit to Cape Girardeau we were completely embraced by what is a truly spectacular city with a rich, deep history and a TON of incredible people doing awe inspiring things. We knew the right home for Philanthropy would always be in historical towns with a wide outreach in the local community and found exactly this in Cape Girardeau. Our new Cape family introduced us to the Old Cape Historical Society, and Hope Children’s Home which they have chosen to be the first local causes in our Wearable Compassion campaign in Cape. Within our first few moments in the city, we knew exactly why Cape is where we have been called, exactly why Bridgett was brought into our lives, and exactly why now is the right time – to discover a town we may not have been the most familiar with but which we know now will be a member of our extended family and a community we are perfectly fit (and very excited) to be a part of. Philanthropy will continue to ba a catalyst for teaching the joy of giving and will grow our vision to all small communities where customers throughout the nation can shop with generous hearts. “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 – Jeremiah 29:11 Thanks to everyone in Cape for your shared excitement in our upcoming Grand Opening! We cant wait to meet every one of you – and hopefully see a few familiar faces!!! You have a very special town and we can’t wait to watch it grow!!! Together in Him, ~Your Philanthropy Family
Have you ever been driving down the road with your significant other and hit the passenger side imaginary brake? So often, when I grasp the door handle and stomp on that imaginary brake, my husband chuckles and claims “I’ve got this. I am in complete control!” Funny! He thinks that HE can prevent or stop a car crash. As much as we think that WE are in control and can handle everything in our lives, sometimes we are reminded that the Lord is guiding our life and He is in control. Hi! I’m Bridgett! And, much in the same way that my husband thinks that he is in control, I am also guilty of “control”. I used to think that I was in control of my life. Two years ago, my life was interrupted with a skin cancer diagnosis. I was 34 years old, a mother of two and happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I also had an amazing career where I spent more than ten years working hard and climbing the corporate ladder. I was so focused on my career that many times I shooed my son away so I could sit at my computer and get a few more hours into my already 10 hour workday. To say that my diagnosis scared me is an understatement. And what scared me the most is that I realized that I was NOT in control of whether I live or die? In a simple second, everything can change…my life could end. Was I ready for that? NO! When I received my cancer diagnosis, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God. Sure, I read my kids bible stories and attended church on the important Sundays. You know what I’m talking about. Christmas, Easter and…I guess that’s about it. There’s nothing like the “C” word to scare you into evaluating your relationship with God. Upon realizing that I was not in control, I started searching for my faith and the One that truly is in control. I read books and researched the Internet. (Don’t laugh!) It was like writing a term paper. I would read and take notes. The research helped but I decided it was time to start speaking to people in my life that were obviously living their life for Christ. So, I continued my faith-finding journey and confided in some wonderful people. I shared my fears and my future hopes. It’s hard to admit that you don’t quite feel close to God and haven’t made a relationship with Jesus Christ a priority. Amazingly, they all told me the same thing. They told me that I had to let God love me and trust Him. What did they mean “Let God love me?” What did they mean, “Trust in God?” I was a headstrong, opinionated, highly ambitious woman. I didn’t “let” anyone do anything that I didn’t agree with and I didn’t “trust” easily. My oldest friend (not old in age, but number of years of friendship) encouraged me to travel with her to Swaziland, Africa the year after my skin cancer diagnosis. I had undergone surgery on my face to remove the skin cancer and had received four benign biopsies. So, I really started to think hard about going to Swaziland. I had a lot to be thankful for and maybe I would find God there. That’s what a mission trip is for, right? In July 2011, after a windstorm of the enemy’s obstacles (illnesses, passport issues, etc.), I continued on my faith-finding journey to a country 9,000 miles away. While serving in Africa, I met the happiest, most faith-filled people that I had ever met in my life. Their songs of praise and dances in His glory were contagious. I truly felt the love of Christ and completely surrendered myself to Him. After returning from that trip, I gave up control of my life because I trusted Him to have a better plan for me.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6After Swaziland, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with the voice in my head. The voice of the Lord was whispering to me and He told me to quit my job. The job that had been #1 in my life was no longer important to me. All I wanted to do was to feel God’s love and work for Him everyday. I am a planner. I write to-do lists for everything from daily itineraries to cleaning tasks. I couldn’t imagine actually quitting my job with no plan for my future. What would I do? How could I quit without another job lined up? Did the Lord really have a better plan for me? How would I pay my bills? Without answers to these questions, I quit 12 hours after I heard the voice of the Lord. I quit my job of 12 years. I completely trusted in the Lord even though none of it made sense in my head. Check back later today to see how I got involved with Philanthropy!!! Next up, Part 2 ‘God led, I followed’
Blessings in Him,