One year ago today….I stepped out in faith!
And walked on water!
It was exactly one year ago today that I left my former job and stepped out in faith to open my own practice. I have been filled with emotion and tears the past few weeks as I knew the month of August would be emotional for me. My first born is leaving to start his sophomore year at ETSU as a premed student, my youngest started her junior year at Renaissance high last week (a second chance to find her way and thrive in school), I miscarried twins at 12 weeks 16 years ago that would have been due this month (yes, if you do the math…I would have had 4 children 4 and under), I have my first ever speaking gig at a conference in Denver this week….all during the same month I am celebrating my 1 year anniversary of opening Integrative Family Medicine! No wonder my adrenals are screaming at me!!
The past year has reminded me of the sermon my pastor Pete Wilson preached earlier this year on “Water Walkers”. Matthew 14:25-32 is the story of the 12 disciples in the boat who were afraid when they witnessed Jesus walking on the water toward them. There were 12 in the boat, but only Peter had the courage to GET OUT OF THE BOAT. He walked on water toward Jesus, but began sinking as he took his eyes off of Jesus…once again he was rescued and safely got back in the boat. For the first time in my life I sat quietly for nearly a year without making a move. I prayed, I sat, I waited on God to give me a sign if I was to leave the security of my job and open my own practice. And in July 2014 I heard it as clear as day while at the beach alone; “It’s time, go now”. I have spent my entire life in warp speed and never taking the time to listen or obey. This time I did both and even though it has been a wild ride and not without bumps in the road, adversity and fear on my part, I have stayed the course and kept my eyes on HIM the past year….
Needless to say my last year has been a whirlwind of chaos (not organized most of the time), blessings beyond belief, uncertainty as I pray every day that patients will actually show up and pay to see me, gratitude that THEY DO and that I can pay my bills and student loans every month! Here’s a little refresher of the last year in the life of me and Integrative Family Medicine……
August 11, 2014 I gave my notice at work…August 11, 2014 UHOHHHHH…no notice needed! I was free to leave that day. That afternoon after I left my job of the past 4 ½ years for the last time I posted on Inside Out that I would no longer be working at my old position and would be opening my own practice …and low and behold….the phones started ringing and the voicemail filled up in a matter of less than an hour. Jackson was at the gym working out (and had the new cell phones with him) and called me asking what to tell people. I was speechless, I had no idea if anyone would really call, if anyone would really want to come see me in private practice. I was loaded with insecurity, determination and scrappiness! That night as the phones rang, and it was just me and Jackson at the house I remember telling him “this is a night we will never forget son. This is the beginning of something amazing. Let’s don’t mess it up”!
August 12, 2014 command central was set up at my house with some of the most incredible friends ever who dug in and did whatever was needed to get my practice set up. Jackson took charge of the phones and worked 18 hours a day as the scheduler! He had patients texting him at all hours of the night to set up appointments and I couldn’t have set up practice in 3 WEEKS had it not been for that kid! Ella jumped in and helped haul supplies, office furniture and any work that needed to be done! It truly is a FAMILY practice that got the foundation laid with the best family of all…my kiddos!
The next 3 weeks were a blur of building out the new office, finding mix and match furniture, Jackson hanging shelves, pictures, putting together desks, painting, ordering supplies, setting up my supplement vendors, finding a lab company to work with, being wined and dined by various reps, getting computers bought (we had no internet for the first 6 weeks and borrowed from the neighbor), the electronic medical records crashing one night and us losing ALL appointments that Jackson had worked so hard on making, me breaking down and crying more than once that day and afterwards, food brought to the house and office from friends and patients cheering us on! The list of tasks needed to do was done in 3 weeks times was overwhelming…but it never occurred to me that we couldn’t get it done! All the while you all were cheering us on through the Inside Out Healing From Within Facebook updates! Showing up willing to work, clean, paint, make appointments or whatever needed to be done.
We got that office up and running by the first week of September and dang if a few weeks into it, Tammy called me late one night in tears telling me that Blue Cross was going to make me use a different supervising physician. I scrambled to find a new one and then they said “nope, you now have to credential all over again the time limit has past and you can’t bill for one patient you have seen. They cost me 40,000 in claims since I had not billed anyone with BC/BS. I was calmer than Tammy and quietly decided that there was no way I was fighting that. I would take the loss (I hadn’t even been open 2 months yet) and move on. And pray my patients stayed with me.
Thank YOU to every one of you that has been a part of something short of a miracle the past year. I can’t name names because there are too many to mention, but you know who you are. You have supported me, loved on me, lifted me up when I was doubting, fed me and the kids, drank wine with me and simply stopped in the office just to say hello! I love you all more than you will ever know and am eternally grateful and humbled daily that you show up!! I promise to keep showing up…if you will! I’m by no means the smartest NP out there, but I love my patients like family and will walk this journey with you as long as you want me to!
My kids have seen me divorce 13 years ago, receive Food Stamps and be on a Medical Card for 5 years while going back to school in KY and then starting Vandy for 3 years, seen me cry as I left Vandy with 200,000 in student loans and no way to pay the minimum payments, seen me scratch my head the first 2 years in practice wondering what in the heck I was doing…and have now been an integral part of their mom deciding at 48 to take one more chance and GET OUT OF THE BOAT….I hope they remember this past year as the year we were WATER WALKERS together all the while giving God the glory for anointing me to do what I do and giving me the courage to STEP OUT IN FAITH and walk on water!
Hoping for 20 more years in practice…actually, I am hoping Jackson changes his mind and decides his true calling is endocrinology and NOT orthopedic surgery!! J