I’ve Left HeartSupport

A tearful farewell to a company I love and the closing of our publication

Benjamin Sledge
7 min readDec 14, 2021

Photo of author at Vans Warped Tour with HeartSupport | Image created by author

In 2013, the founder of HeartSupport — Jake Luhrs — asked me to consider quitting my job to work full time for his tiny non-profit. At the time, I had a lucrative corporate career, was the head of my department, and my wife and I didn’t have children. We didn’t worry about money or our next meal. Life was comfortable, so to interrupt that seemed foolhardy.

Initially, I laughed in Jake’s face when he raised the possibility. As a volunteer, I’d begun to oversee the organization and helped run the finances. I knew all too well we couldn’t pay anyone.

“Well, think about it and pray on it,” Jake told me.

I ignored his request at first, but it continued to bug me. One evening, though, I approached my wife, Emily, and told her, “I think I need to quit my job and work for HeartSupport.” After we spent time in prayer, she agreed, and within the week, I turned in a letter of resignation. I took about a 70% pay-cut, both Emily and I uncertain of how to make ends meet.

That’s the hard part about stepping out into the unknown and following your calling — you feel crazy or like you’re making the worst mistake of your life. We survived, however, and my wife became the breadwinner for a few years. Whenever we ended up in a pinch, God would provide.

The early days at HeartSupport were full of challenges and hardships under my infant non-profit experience. Many people assume they want to lead — or start something new — until they realize the weight of leadership and responsibility. It’s often like the ancient anecdote, the Sword of Damocles. Damocles was a courtier to the king, Dionysius, and pandered to him one afternoon with flattery. In response, the King offered to let them swap positions for a day so that Damocles could taste what it was like to be king. The one condition was that the king had a giant sword hung above the throne, with the pommel held by a single hair of a horse’s tail. Dionysius meant this gesture to evoke a sense of what it was like to be king. The fear and anxiety of the sword hanging over Damocles, though, was enough to beg the king to return to his position. The point of the parable being that with leadership and power also comes…

Benjamin Sledge

Multi-award winning author | Combat wounded veteran | Mental health specialist | Occasional geopolitical intel | Graphic designer | https://benjaminsledge.com