I don't know where to begin really. To say that we are in a season of change is an understatement. To say that we are in a season of growth and blessing and seeing God's hand orchestrating our lives is also an understatement. We are in a very exciting time and are excited to see what God has in store for us. Let me explain.
When we moved to Knoxville about three and half years ago, Jonathan began a residency program in General Dentistry at UT Medical Center. He participated in the program for two years where he learned so much about dentistry and medicine, so much more than he was able to learn in dental school alone. He learned to place implants, he had first-hand experience with very complicated cases, he spent lots of time in the operating room working on patients with special needs. One of the things Jonathan enjoyed the most about the residency program was that he was surrounded by other dentists. They learned from each other, challenged each other, encouraged one another. It was an amazing opportunity, and we are so thankful for those two years and for the professors and doctors that poured their knowledge into Jonathan's life.
When the residency program was over, Jonathan was offered a position as an associate for the practice that supports the residency program. At the time the economy was really bad, meaning there weren't many options available elsewhere for an associateship or dental practices for sale. Since Jonathan was so pleased with his experience at UT, he was more than happy to stay. There was even talk of Jonathan potentially buying in as a partner one day in the future. We were so thankful for the opportunity. It was a great job with wonderful experience for Jonathan and a good salary and benefits for our family. We had the perfect opportunity before us to save money for whatever the future would hold. Not to mention, we had an almost two year old and a two month old at the time. We were very thankful for a good, dependable job.
Jonathan has been an associate at UT for almost a year and half now. In that time, I think the Lord has really awakened in Jonathan a desire to have his own practice. In fact, God has definitely grown Jonathan in the gift of leadership, in my opinion, and part of that is seen in how he leads our family, leads me as a wife, but I think God has also been preparing him for being a leader in his career. Jonathan has always talked about one day owning a practice. He loved being a UT, he enjoyed having the comraderie, the interaction with the residents, the opportunity to teach up-and-coming dentists. He enjoyed the challenging cases that came through the door since they were located at the hospital. It is such an amazing program, but there was still something in him that wanted to go out on his own. However, with the dwindling economy over the past few years, dental practices that are for sale and that provide a decent and economically-wise opportunity are few and far between.
We have a financial advisor who has walked with us through this entire process over the past two years. When we first started meeting with him and talking with him about the possibility of buying a practice, he told us to make a list of things we would want in an "ideal situation." Jonathan came up with about 5 things that would make for a great dental practice to purchase. This list included the location we desired, the worth of the practice, the plan of the dentist selling, etc. After we presented this list to our financial advisor, his advice to us: Pray. (He is a believer!) We knew at that moment that we were so blessed to have this business relationship with him, and we also knew that he was right. We needed to pray. The list seemed impossible, if I am being honest. Almost too good to be true.
I can't go into all of the details for obvious reasons, but after pursuing several opportunities that eventually fell through for one reason or another, I am so pleased and humbled to say that God has given us a dental practice. This past Thursday, my husband bought a practice. This has been a process two years in the making. Two years ago we started making financial sacrifices to save as much money as possible. There have been meetings and more meetings. And even more meetings. There has been excitement and anxiety and prayer and major challenges to our faith. There has been waiting and struggles with contentment and fear that it wouldn't work out. However, God has carried us through and has stretched us and caused us to depend on Him more.
The practice is located in Lenoir City, TN, which is just 10-15 minutes southwest of central Knoxville. Jonathan's commute from our house is about 30 minutes, which is not bad at all. However, one day we hope to move further west which would put his commute at about 10-15 minutes tops. The dentist we bought the practice from is retiring. Jonathan is putting a lot of TLC into this practice, starting with a complete renovation that is going to be taking place over the next three weeks or so. He is set to leave UT in just a few weeks and start seeing patients in HIS office in the middle of November. CRAZY!!!!
Although we are so excited, there is still a fight for faith. We have a lot of financial responsibility right now and there will have to be a LOT of things that have to fall into place over the next several weeks and months. God can and will make this practice successful if He so desires. We are praying that is His plan for us and our family. God has to bring the patients and make Jonathan's efforts flourish. I trust that Jonathan will continue to work so hard to make it happen, and I pray that the kids and I can adjust to whatever changes occur on our end. This is my hubby's dream, and I am so excited to watch it come true for him. He has worked so hard over the past few months as everything has come together, and I have seen him grow tremendously in so many areas. I am so incredibly proud of him and the path he is choosing to lead our family. God has been very kind.
I'll end by showing you a picture of our new logo for Heritage Family Dentistry!!!