For the past four years I have worked as a casual sales assistant in a fabric store. When I got this job I was in my late 40’s with no recent experience in retail but I did have well established skills in dressmaking and costuming and a degree in Fashion and Textile design.

For a decade I had been a full time Mum and a wannabe artist and author but the latter was getting me nowhere other than down. A reputable agent had failed to win me any contracts and I had almost been sucked in by a conman. I felt as though my life was going nowhere… and resorted to retail work. I say ‘resorted’ not because I had a problem with working in a shop but because I was bitterly disappointed that my artistic ventures had failed. But it wasn’t going to be any shop. I prayed specifically for a job with Textile Traders because I liked the staff and was a regular customer. I handed my résumé to the manager and in less than a week was offered a position. There is a right time for everything according to Ecclesiastes. This became an opportunity to share some of my skills with customers and it also defined my own personality type; I enjoy meeting and interacting with new people, I love working as a team, I am not management or leadership material and I am not good at confrontations!

During my years at the shop I have spent my free days further developing my artistic ideas; writing, dreaming and painting. Due to a lack of space in the house I also built a studio in the back garden.

This weeks has seen my final shift at Textile Traders. The shop is closing down later this year… I would have struggled to leave otherwise, but after much consideration I handed in my notice early.

The Magic Art Cubby has grown in my life to a point where I need to devote all my time to it. Nobody ever knows what lies ahead – we know what we want but Gods idea of good is not always ours. Romans 8:28 is an oft quoted verse:

 ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’

It sounds comforting, but when things are not progressing the way we think they should, it’s very difficult to accept. This passage from ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis makes it a lot easier:

‘If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one; we have to leave A behind before we get to B and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God from above or outside or all around contains the whole line and sees it all.’

 All I can say is that after much prayer, leaving Textile Traders felt right. In some ways I view the future with excitement and in others with great trepidation and sadness; the loss of a regular income and even more particularly the loss of regular people interaction is difficult for me to give up. Not only that but I confess to some apprehension in growing a business and stepping into the unknown.

One thing is certain though; I have no regrets about the past. My initially unwanted career as a sales-assistant was character building. Good friendships were made, valuable experiences were had, and all in all it was a very good time indeed.