“Salt doesn’t say a word. It simply does what it does, preserving and seasoning everything it touches,” Anne Beiler, founder of the famous Auntie Anne’s Pretzels chain, wrote in a recent piece for The Christian Post adapted from her 2021 book, “Overcome and Lead.”
“Similarly, light just illuminates everything in its path, silently making things clearer, more visible,” she added.
The Jan. 5 article shared Beiler’s internal struggle as the company she founded began to grow and she could spend less time doing things she considered “spiritual.”
She wrote of a vision she saw while praying through tears, asking God what she should change.
“It was a picture of me rolling pretzels while Jesus stood in front of me with a big smile on his face,” Beiler wrote. “I could see pure joy in his expression — even laughter!”
“This vision seemed to be communicating something I had never considered. What I heard in my heart was: ‘I have created Auntie Anne’s as a vehicle to give,'” she wrote.
Beiler’s journey to founder of an iconic brand did not come easily,
Born in 1949 into an Amish-Mennonite farming family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, she was raised with strong values of faith and community. However, her world came crashing down in 1975 when her 19-month-old daughter was tragically killed in a farming accident, according to her 2019 book, “The Secret Lies Within,” The Christian Post reported.
In 1975, a mother in rural Pennsylvania lost her child in a fluke farming accident.
The tragedy sparked a series of events that eventually resulted in the most iconic pretzel brand in the world.
Here’s how Anne Beiler turned suffering into success (and built Auntie Anne’s): pic.twitter.com/gC2DKNJ4or
— The Wolf of Franchises 🍟 (@franchisewolf) January 15, 2023
Plunged into grief, Beiler sought counseling from her pastor but was instead pulled into an abusive relationship with the man she’d trusted. The relationship lasted nearly seven years.
Keeping the abuse secret, she said she felt “like I was dying inside,” The Christian Post reported. She even contemplated suicide at one point, overwhelmed by feelings of shame and unworthiness.
Her strict Mennonite upbringing had led her to believe that “life is good, and God is harsh,” according to The Christian Post.
But God used the worst time in her life to change her perspective and to open her eyes to His goodness, Beiler wrote.
It wasn’t until she built up the courage to tell her husband about the abusive relationship, in 1982, that she began the slow journey of healing. A counselor helped her realize the abuse was not her fault.
As Beiler began sharing her story, she found release from buried anger and self-blame.
A defining moment came in 2003 when, Beiler told The Christian Post, God spoke to her heart, saying, “Anne, I have done everything there is to do for you.”
Finally, she said, she understood the power of Christ’s death on the cross, the forgiveness he purchased for us by his sacrifice and the assurance of new life sealed in his resurrection. She realized she needed to forgive herself.
“I had never heard of self-forgiveness,” Beiler told The Christian Post. “I didn’t even know I needed to forgive myself. But it was so powerful and so strong that all I could do was respond and say yes.”
After over seven decades of life’s experiences, she said she now understands that “Life is hard, and God is good.
“And I’m not confused about that anymore,” Beiler said.
— Greg Leith (@GregoryLeith) October 15, 2014
She is just one of many millions of people, including this writer, who have found salvation, freedom, joy and purpose in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Our struggles, failures, disappointments and hurts — even those caused by others — are just part of the testimony written to glorify him.
After her vision in the kitchen, Beiler wrote, she began viewing her company through a new spiritual lens. She realized she needed to shift from “talking the talk” to truly living out her faith through actions.
Drawing inspiration from biblical metaphors of believers as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world,” Beiler developed acronyms encapsulating core values to guide Auntie Anne’s.
SALT urges leaders to Share their personal stories, Activate authenticity, Lean into intuition and Trust courageously.
Her LIGHT company vision stands for Leading by example, Investing in employees, Giving freely, Honoring God and Treating all people with respect.
Beiler’s courageous story is a living demonstration of Colossians 3:23-24, which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
It reminds us that whatever God has called us to do is an act of service to Him.
And that sometimes it takes the salt of our tears to draw us into the light of His grace.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.