If anyone had asked the young Rachel Johnson what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer would have come easily.
“I have felt called from God to be a teacher since I was young,” she said. “It was just always something I wanted to do.”
Six years ago, she saw her teaching dream come true when she began her first job at a Kansas City-area elementary school. Although she was thrilled to be living her long-held dream, she also felt drawn to her side job with a small company called Princess at My Party.
On the weekends, she would play the role of various Disney princesses at kids’ celebrations and revel in the magic she once felt as a young princess fan.
The party princess job seemed like a great way to keep her imagination engaged while pursuing her calling.
“I for sure always saw this as a side job,” she said.
Or so she thought.
After she became a mother, something shifted in the mind of this dedicated teacher. She started to wonder if she should leave teaching in order to focus on her babies.
“I felt like I was torn between what I thought was God’s original calling for me and giving my kids what they deserved,” she said. “I always wanted to play it safe financially and knew that me staying home would be a bit of a risk, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe God had a different plan for me.”
Indeed He did.
About a year ago, Rachel made the hard choice to ask her school principal for an extended leave of absence from teaching in order to spend more time with her kids. After the conversation with the principal, she contacted her boss at the party princess company to tell her she was interested in working more assignments.
The owner responded with an offer to sell Rachel the company.
Rachel was astounded. She saw the opportunity to leave teaching and do something she enjoyed – something meaningful to children – but she also saw the greater risk.
“My husband really encouraged me to go ahead and make the leap,” she said.
All within two days, Rachel resigned from her teaching job and agreed to take over the business.
The scary-exciting “leap of faith” has been one of the biggest blessings Rachel has seen.
“They (the kids) have those few years in their lives where that magic is so real to them that getting to do this for those kids is just so much fun and it’s so rewarding,” Rachel says.
(Read: 5 Lessons Broken Dreams Teach Us)
Sometimes bringing magic means bringing a small glimmer of childhood back to kids who have been robbed of it. Her company is regularly part of Make-A-Wish Foundation’s wish fulfillment for seriously ill children.
“You’re bringing that moment of joy for a little bit so the parents can hopefully just relax and the little girl gets to be the princess,” she says of Make-A-Wish roles. As a mom, she says it is a challenge to remain joyful in the hospital rooms of young patients fighting for their lives.
On the flip side, she also gets to be part of cancer survivor parties and other celebrations beyond birthdays. Recently, she was invited to surprise a little girl in a courtroom after the youngster’s adoption was finalized.
With a busy schedule of sometimes 10-12 celebrations each weekend and others in between, her ability to bring magic to a child is clearly something needed and desired. And for her, it is a childhood dream come true in a way she never expected.
“This past year was scary at times, struggling to find a new identity for myself and family,” Rachel said. “But at the end of it, I can proudly say that while I did not know this would be in God’s plan for me, I am so glad I felt encouraged to take a leap of faith!
“I love everything about the party princess business and how I am able to nourish my relationship with God, my family and call to work with kids all at the same time.”
This article is part of a summer series spotlighting the stories of my fellow dream chasers. Come back next week for another story.
If you want even more encouragement to find the courage to pursue you dream, order a copy of my new book Uncage My Brave: Pray Brave, Fly Free.
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