We recently had the pleasure of interviewing long time friends and small business owners Mary & Sally. In this interview, Mary and Sally shares how their faith in Jesus has guided them through the challenges of starting a small business and how the promise of Eternity impacts the roles they play as Christian women in the home, church and workplace.
1. How did you come to know Jesus?
Sally: My first encounter with Jesus was going to church as a kid with mum. I remember getting my first Bible from Sunday school at the age of 7 and learning about Jesus in the gospel stories. During my late teens, I drifted away feeling that Christianity was a religion based on joy-killing rules, but the Lord showed His grace to me and drew me back through my best friend. It was then that He renewed my mind and heart, and allowed me to see His grace in salvation, and the joy and peace that comes from understanding that I didn’t need to earn or work for this. Looking back, I’m humbled by the fact that God was pursuing me and that He was faithful even when I was unfaithful.
Mary: I grew up going to a lot of lovely small Korean-speaking churches with my parents. While Christianity started making a bit more sense to me when I was in my final years of high school, it was only when I started attending services in English during uni that I was forced to claim my faith as my own and take responsibility for it. A lot of things clicked as I was taking it all in, in the language I was more comfortable in. God graciously allowed me to taste a real relationship with Him and that’s when the real heart changes started taking place.
2. What's the story behind your small business 'Mary & Sally'? What prompted you to start a business, and what do you hope to achieve through it?
Mary: It’s a pretty ordinary story – I just asked Sally one day if she might want to try designing some greeting cards with me! She jumped on it straight away though. We both wanted to work on something creative, but were a bit scared of doing anything on our own. God has been very gracious in giving us “Mary & Sally” to work on; we feel really lucky to be able to do it.
Early on we agreed that we wanted to be “salt and light” in the design space, and have encouraging and meaningful things to offer, rather than just creating pretty things for the sake of it. We hope to bring some encouragement to people, and help share that encouragement between people as well. We pray earnestly that we will continue to trust in God and that “Mary & Sally” would continue in future directions according to His will.
3. What advice would you give to women wanting to start a small business?
Acknowledge that it is god who has given you gifts and talents to be doing what you've set out to do. You may plan and strategise but god will determine the steps.
Sally: Acknowledge that it is God who has given you gifts and talents to be doing what you’ve set out to do. You may plan and strategise but it is God who will determine your steps. This means that you can praise Him through your success and failures. If you make mistakes, learn from them and move on. If you have a purpose that reflects this you will be able to persevere through the challenges of starting a small business.
Mary: What Sal said! I feel a bit inadequate to be giving anyone any advice about small business, because we feel like we’re still only in the very initial stages ourselves – but one thing that has been clear to us is that God is in control. He has allowed us disappointments that have worked out so much better for us in the longer term, and experiences that have grown us both. We were reflecting just recently how much he was graciously granted us as well – so many little things that we mentioned to each other in passing as “dream goals” He has allowed us! It blows us away each time, His attention to the little and the big.
one thing that has been clear to us is that god is in control. he has allowed us disappointments that have worked out so much better for us in the longer term. - Mary
4. The theme for OneLove 2017 is 'For Eternity'. How does living in light of eternity impact the different roles that you play each day as Christian women?
no matter the role we are carrying out on a day-to-day basis, we can confidently hold fast to 'less of me, more of christ' because of what eternity holds for us. - mary
Mary: I think I need to be more aware of the eternal scope God has given us on a day-to-day basis! No matter the role we are carrying out on a day-to-day basis, we can confidently hold fast to “less of me, more of Christ” because of what eternity holds for us. So often we might think that we are missing out on something, or sacrificing too much for someone; but everything is worth it, in and for Him.
Sally: I feel everything we do in this life has an eternal impact on our lives and on those people around us. From those small daily interactions with my kids, to serving morning tea at church, conversations with colleagues and clients, God uses those opportunities to draw us into Him. So I try to remind myself constantly that I am an instrument for His glory, I live for eternity and not the here and now.