About:
Ray Hilbert visits with David Lowry, owner and CEO of DL Lowry Salon in Indianapolis. David shares his story of pain and brokenness, abuse and shame, and how discovering his true identity in Christ led to the healing and redemption that allows him to impact his employees and clients on a daily basis.
 
Bio:
David Lowry is the owner of DL Lowry Salon in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been the CEO since 1994 and the salon is a multi-million dollar, award-winning establishment. David and his team travel the globe to find a broader understanding of the current styles, trends and techniques. They provide education to all staff members, which allows stylists to continue learning the newest things, so they can apply it to their guests.
 
David’s book, Coming Out: Emerging from Shame and Confusion, Opening the Door to Light and Love was released July 2018.
 
Quotes:
“Jesus is not ashamed of your pain.”
 
“It’s just not about your creativity, it’s about your ability to touch someone’s life.”
 
“It wasn’t all about having a relationship as much as it was ‘Who am I.'”

 
Key Takeaways:
1. You have to be able to serve to be able to lead
2. Your interaction with a client may alter their life forever.
3. Your source of identity determines the course of your life.
4. How to battle the shame of the mistakes you’ve made.
5. The most effective way to share your faith in the workplace.
 
Full transcript:
 
Ray: Hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert. We’d like to welcome you back to another episode of Bottom Line Faith and this is the program where we bridge the gap between faith and business to help you live out your Christian faith in the marketplace. Each and every day we get an opportunity to interview and have conversation with a very diverse group of Christ followers and we learn how they lead, how they succeed, how they fail. I’m really looking forward to this conversation. This is going to be an extraordinary conversation. Let me tell you about our guest today. Our guest is David Lowery. He is the owner of DL Lowry Salon in Indianapolis, Indiana. He’s been the CEO there since 1994. It’s a multimillion dollar award winning company. David believes that it was God’s design for him to be a hairstylist and to touch people’s lives in a very, very special way. Not only has he had success in his business, but he’s been recognized both nationally and internationally for his leadership and training and equipping others in this very varied, siding niche of hairdressing and personal care. David travels the globe worldwide and you’re going to hear his story today. He is also the author of a book. It is called Coming Out. David Lowry, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
 
David: Well, thank you Ray. It’s a pleasure to be here today, and excited to answer some of your questions, and looking forward to how our responses will be.
 
Ray: Well, David, we’ve had a chance to get to know each other outside of this program at lunch and we’ve got many mutual friends. I’d like to just kind of talk a little bit as we open our conversation, I’d like to learn more about your business, a little bit more about your company, why you do what you do and how you do what you do. And I believe that’s going to transition us into really an amazing story of brokenness and redemption that you have found in Christ Jesus.
 
David: Well, I started the business in 1994. And as a hairdresser out on my own, I always admired the professionalism of my peers and what I discovered was in the Indianapolis area, that there just wasn’t what I was looking for as far as professionalism. So I thought, well, I had my vision and I had the passion and creativity to develop what I’ve developed today and, the blessing that God has given me with it. I’m just a committed professional hairdresser who loves beauty, loves talent, and loves professionalism and most importantly loves to serve. And what I’ve found in my leadership was you need to be able to serve, to be able to lead. And that’s a humbling moment. And so you can keep your egos out of it. Because in industry egos are pretty, pretty large in my industry, but I think the most successful people that I have seen in the industry and in arts are the ones that are willing to serve and to help others.
 
And the thing about the clientele basis that you have to be able to listen, you have to care. It’s just not about your creativity. It’s about really your ability to touch someone’s life when they’re sitting in your chair in front of that mirror sometimes that we hairdressers tend to forget the hands that we have that have the ability of altering one’s life. I’ve always had the ability to listen. Maybe a client’s struggling with an issue or life that you know, the hands can change someone’s life overnight. And I always tell the staff that, you know, you have that client in your chair one time and you’re able to maybe alter their decisions of something they might want to do and maybe alter their life forever.
 
Ray: Well, you touched on something there that I want to just drill down on a little bit more. You talked about that time that you have that client sitting in the chair and you talked about the hands having the ability to change their life. Do you view your business and your skill set as a calling from God and a platform for ministry?
 
David: It’s absolutely a great platform for ministry. I tell people that the hands can not only create beauty, but they also can mold someone’s life. And you know, there’s a lot of times that I have people in my chair and they don’t even know it, that I’ve not only laid my hands on their head, but I’ve also prayed for them. There’s been a lot of famous people that I’ve had the opportunity to do in my career that have no idea that I’ve prayed for them. That’s a cool thing to be able to do. And I’ve had some clients that have come back to me and said, you know, I’ve made a commitment to Christ because of you and your environment and your passion for Jesus. And you know, it didn’t get any better than that.
 
Ray: It sure doesn’t. How and when did you first feel this calling or discovered that you had this very unique set of skills?
 
David: I didn’t. I mean, but always was a kid who was attracted to beauty, grew up on a farm. I was the guy on the farm that wanted to make everything pretty. I was in the restaurant business early on in life and I was frustrated with it and I needed to find something else to do. And someone had suggested maybe be a hairdresser. I’d be really great at it. I never knew how to cut hair. I never even touched a pair of sheers, but I ended up in a school and it just got more and more attractive to me as I followed it through.
 
Ray: So you went through some formal training and at some point you discovered, Hey, I’m actually pretty good at this. I’m guessing it looks something like that, but maybe I’m wrong.
 
David: No, I was actually, I was good. And it became very natural to me. I didn’t have to work at it. And when I teach my staff of 50 kids today, it’s really hard for me to teach them because I’m not a teacher I can create, but I don’t know how he created it.
 
Ray: You mentioned that you grew up on a farm. Tell us just a little bit about your childhood. What was it like to be a kid on a farm?
 
David: Well, I did grow up on a farm and it was a rural farm in Western Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful roaming, you know, hillside Pennsylvania farm and it was full of every animal that you could think of. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun. Cousins were around, family was around, the grandparents were on the farm. I had two older brothers. It was a beautiful experience to understand nature and God’s beauty and I don’t regret any of that at all. It was a great experience in life.
 
Ray: Yeah. For most people that also grew up with farming in their background, that brings back incredibly fond memories. It’s mostly a time of a reminiscing and great experiences that wasn’t always the case for you. And then reading your book, David, you had some experiences in those early days on the farm that really began to shape your journey. Tell us a little bit about some of those tough times, a couple of those experiences that were not so great on the farm.
 
David: Yeah, there were some ugly moments in that experience on the farm. My grandfather was a patriarch of the farm. He had suffered a stroke early on and so for some unknown reason, I was the chosen grandchild that he did not like as a blue eyed blonde kid on the farm. Which was unusual because everybody else was brown hair. I was picked out for some unknown reason with the grandfather and I had an experience with him in a hayloft unloading hay one summer. And he actually had shoved me down the hay shoot and I landed on concrete about 15 feet below. So that as a child, as a young 10 year old kid, really messed up identity for me because I really questioned how could someone do that.
 
Ray: So you’re saying not necessarily an accident, this was something that–
 
David: No, it was intentional. He had asked me to sit back behind the elevator door as we unloaded the hay and I had told him at that point I said, I can’t or I’ll fall and my memory is seconds later, his cane had shoved me down the shoot so and I can still see his face today as I looked up and I could see him leaning over heinously laughing. It was a dark period for me. That really started my identity as far as confusion. My father was physically there, but he was emotionally not there for me at that time in my life. I had a lot of competition with other cousins on the farm and because of that wound that I’d experienced so early on, I also became a victim of the farmhands and the neighbor’s sexual abuse.
 
Ray: And that’s really kind of a point where we can begin to transition that your life and your experiences went from kind of this apple pie America farm background. You really started experiencing some brokenness and some pain. So take us back, tell us a little bit about your story and we’ll get into some level of detail here. But what is the story? Why did you write this book Coming Out? Give us kind of the broad brush stroke and then we’ll kind of start painting in some of the details.
 
David: Well you have to read the book to get the whole story. Coming Out. But the reason why it was titled Coming Out was it’s a story of a lot of brokenness, of a child and a teenager. It’s a story about restoration of an adult. There’s so many things that took place. And my journey there also became a false belief system that I carried with me on. The father-figure. And a lot of people don’t understand that a boy’s identity is really formed by their father and grandfather, not by their mother. And that what happened early on with the grandfather and the lack of emotion from the father, the child as I talk about in my book, it was pretty much left alone to try to figure out who he truly was.
 
Ray: So you talk about this kind of identity crisis, not getting the love, the affirmation, the affection from your father, certainly not from your grandfather. You’ve just shared with us and combining that with some sexual abuse, farm hands and so forth. What were some of those early thoughts, some of those early pictures that you saw of yourself that you thought was your identity?
 
David: Well, I thought that I was definitely different on the farm from everyone else. So that belief systems started pretty early on because I did feel different. So I sought after different things that the normal male on the farm didn’t seek out after. And so why was I more interested in being in the kitchen baking and with my mother than I was being with all the men in the fields. That was my pleasure. And so as a child I also was made fun of that by the male figure because I didn’t fit that mold. So that identity was really started really early on in that confusion of who this boy was and then came along the grandfather issue and then came along as sexual abuse. And the thing about sexual abuse that people don’t talk about is that when someone’s actually sexually abused, there are moments of pleasure in that with the victim.
 
And that’s the shame and the guilt that comes with sexual abuse. And unless someone can really help that person through at that time, their identity really gets twisted. It really gets completely turned the other way. And with my case, that’s what happened because I started going down another road that I felt was the right road to go because I was different. I became attracted, I thought, to the same gender and not even knowing why. And you know, the word gay wasn’t even talked about back then. So I wasn’t even sure what that even meant to me as a boy on the farm.
 
Ray: At about what age did you kind of begin to embrace this homosexual attraction heading down that pathway?
 
David: That really started pretty much full swing in high school. I dabbled with it, but somehow deep down I knew that wasn’t quite right. We attended church on a regular basis. My parents were really strong, committed Christians. And you know, I did the Sunday school and learned the 10 Commandments as you did in Sunday school. And so I did hear a little bit about God’s Word and had to sit in the service and listened about this Jesus Christ and savior and it was a rigid type church service. But we were made to go every week. And my parents were adamant that we did go. So very grateful that they did do that for me because they gave me the ability to have the seeds of God’s Word put into my heart that later down the road grew.
 
Ray: So here you are a teenager and you’ve noticed and recognize there’s some things different about yourself. You’ve got all these experiences of brokenness and pain and not getting the love and the affirmation that you needed. And then you began to notice this attraction. Now, same sex attraction. You left the farm. What happened next?
 
David: Well, I tried the college route and I hated that. I was never studier, so you can imagine. Book works didn’t fly with me and end up in the restaurant business. Loved it, got involved in management, ended up with a restaurant firm and found a partner at that moment through the restaurant business. At that time in the gay lifestyle, you only had a circle of a certain amount of people cause you couldn’t be vocal about it. So the hidden secrets, the hidden lies. You were always lying. You were always hiding, always covering up your tracks. It really was a disguise constantly because the front of who David Lowry was was really not the David Lowry who was practicing a different life ended up moving to Indianapolis. I always laugh about the hand of God on people because we originally were to go to Chicago two weeks before my partner announced he’d taken a different job in Indianapolis.
 
Luckily the company I was working for had a restaurant in Indianapolis and offered me a position there. So I came to Indianapolis and started working for the restaurant there. Really didn’t like it and that’s when I really questioned about what I was going to do with my life. And a good friend of mine in their business said to me, wanted to become a hairdresser and all of a sudden all I knew I was in front of the beauty school and I was in school one day. I really don’t remember making that final decision. I would say it was a God thing. I feel like God put me in front of the people there for the right reason.
 
Ray: Yeah, and you had another life altering occurrence and it’s something you’d talk a lot about in the book. Let’s talk a little bit about that.
 
David: Well as I was struggling with my identity, I felt like I needed to do what every other man should do and that’s to date. So I thought, well I should do that cause that’s what we were taught to do and you date and fall in love and you get married. I did find a girl that I was somewhat attracted to and ended up, she got pregnant. Before I found out she was pregnant we had broken up and she had joined the service and she came home on leave and she called me and said, I need to talk to you. And I went to meet with her and she was about three months pregnant and she said she was getting an abortion at that time, Roe vs. Wade had just been implemented. It was only three or four years old. I didn’t have any idea of what abortion was.
 
I didn’t know what abortion did to people. I just thought, you know, okay. And really never had a decision in the making. She went back to the service and further her leave and she came back again. Now she’s four months pregnant and it was obvious to me that this was more than just something to get rid of. She said that she was going back to Philadelphia and they were going to try something different that time. Her mother had called said, do you want to go? And I felt obligated to go out to Philadelphia. So I flew out and was in the hospital room and we were in a nursery. I heard babies crying. I heard life. And she had come back after having the abortion, went through and at that time they were experimenting with a new needle that they would take through the stomach and basically burn the baby to death.
 
That was a really hard part of my soul at that point because when she came back and had expressed what took place, there was something with my inner man that knew that I had just killed my child and being only 20 years old and not feeling like a man yet, but yet knew that I’d taken a life and I left that room that day and I buried the pain really deep. I mean I shoved as much stuff on top of it as I could and I left it there and never told a soul, never shared it for many, many years.
 
Ray: And that is a big motivator behind the book.
 

David: Right.
 
Ray: This is a part, a big part of why you wanted to write the book. You wanted to get this story out, but tell us what drove you to tell this very painful story to the world.
 
David: Well, Ray, I didn’t really want to write the book. I just had a lot of people tell me that I was going to write a book and they said your story needs to be told in this time. There’s a lot to it. And Jesus has done a lot with that story of how God healed me and brought me out of that situation, that those decisions and have the abortion and just one more asset of his glory and what he’s done with me. So the reason why I shared the abortion lot is because of what is going on and the education that I feel that hasn’t happened since Roe vs Wade towards helping women keep their babies and maybe give them up for adoption or maybe help a man who’s been through an abortion and not be shamed by it. And understand that that was part of him too. There’s not much talked about that yet, but I feel like that is in our culture will be coming down the pike. I think more men will speak out and have maybe a cause and just to be a part of what’s taking place in our culture today.
 
Ray: So one of the things that business people struggle with is their identity. And what I mean by that is so often we as business owners and leaders, we can tie up so much of our identity in what we do. I mean, it’s how we greet people when we meet somebody for the first time. One of the first questions we ask is, what do you do for a living? And it’s so much of our identity. And so David has, as we’re talking about your story, you were chasing many things to find your identity. You talked about bearing the pain and putting other things in place. How did you find your real identity in Christ and what’s been different since that recognition of your identity in Christ?
 
David: Well, it was a process. It wasn’t easy, but the actual identity really became finding Jesus. We can be famous for being a workaholic and we can be famous for being an artist or a chef or any form of business leader, but people that have their passion, we call them the workaholics. We can put our identity and false belief systems. You know, I shared my testimony one time and after I got done this woman standing before me and crying and she said, I loved what you had to say about labels. And she goes, I’m an alcoholic. And I was a little taken back. And I said, really? And I said, well, when was the last time you drank? She goes, Oh, I haven’t had a drink in 20 years. And I said, well, if you haven’t had a drink in 20 years, you’re not not alcoholic, you know, drinking. So that’s an alcoholic. To me, that’s not freedom. And that’s not who you are, that’s not your identity.
 
And we buy into these belief systems of false identity. And the identity that came place with me was I was seeking truth. I had been in a heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships, and I didn’t find any truth in either one of them. It wasn’t all about having a relationship as much as it was who was I? And when I went to the beauty school there, I had a dear woman, Miss Ruth was her name and she was a tall, lean Christian, smoked those Virginia Slims. And she’d always call me kid. But she also talked about this guy named Jesus. And I was like, well, yeah, I know who he is. He’s the guy on the cross. And, but she talked to him, talk to me about Jesus who was right here in the same room and right next door to me, to her.
 
And I just was really intrigued with that. And I didn’t know where I was. I was so confused with who I was, where I was going, but I was intrigued with this dear teacher of mine who loved Jesus. And all she would talk about was Jesus. And I eventually became a follower with his word. And she had given me a Bible and I had taken it home and started reading it. And the scriptures, the words jumped out at me like I’d never known before, like they were on fire. And I saw something in the scriptures that showed me that my identity wasn’t who I was and that kind of stopped me in my tracks. I’m what God’s Word says this, but I’m doing this and something’s not adding up. So who am I? And I actually became a believer in Jesus and had repented truly for all my sins, not just for being in the gay lifestyle, but for everything. And that’s where my identity started to grow.
 
Ray: That’s fantastic. Now you’ve written the book, you love to have the opportunity to share your story. Why did you want to come today and talk about this? What do you hope listeners of your story will take away? What is it that you believe God is wanting folks who are hearing this conversation to take away from it?
 
David: Well, I had my story for 20 years in a marriage and I didn’t share my story. What I love to where I’m at now is the many healings, the many transformations that God and Jesus have done in my life, and God is so loving and to have a loving God that we truly can understand how much he loves each and every one of us. And if we can get that out, I know to say God loves you. That’s such a flippant comment today because the church, I feel it doesn’t really go into the details of who we are in Christ. So it’s difficult for us to truly understand it. I find that if I can change one person’s heart, if God can use this book to change other people’s lives in so many different ways, there’s so many identities that we start wrapping ourselves up in our lives. What we’d need to understand is who we are in God’s eyes. And I feel like if we can get our true identity down, our leadership, our love for mankind, we’re just flourish in a great way and to help so many people.
 
Ray: So I’d love to just for just a moment then ask you to contemplate this. You know, let’s say that there’s someone listening to our conversation right now and they may be successful in the world’s eyes. They may be running a very amazing business or leading a company, maybe in a real prominent position of leadership. But as they’re listening to this, it’s a painful conversation for them as well because maybe there’s some shame in their life. Maybe there’s some mistakes that they’ve made along the way that they have not forgiven themselves for. Maybe they have a loved one in a child or a brother or a sister or whatever, who’s struggling with whether it’s sexual identity or maybe there’s been abortion or other great failure or mistake in their journey. What word of encouragement, David, could you pass along to someone who’s listening to this and going, I relate to this guy’s story, but how do I get rid of this shame? How do I get rid of this pain that I’m feeling because of these mistakes I’ve made or this journey I’ve been on? What would you say to them?
 
David: I would say number one, you’re not alone and everyone is in pain. And people that say that they’re not in pain are lying because we all have some form of pain in this world. Some pain for others are greater and some maybe not having experienced a great pain. But I would encourage you, don’t be ashamed of pain. Jesus is not ashamed of your pain. And I would encourage you to speak out on your pain because the Word says, if we confess our sins, we can be healed and to hide pain does us no good at all. And that’s one of the most greatest things that have come out already in this book was putting all my pain, all my shame on a book. But yet at the end to see the outcome of it and what God did with it. He’s right there for you and he can do the same thing for you as he’s done for me without a doubt.
 
Ray: Very good. And David, I’m very grateful that you would take the time to share your story with us here at Bottom Line Faith. And before I go on, if someone is listening today, I’d really like to get some copies of the book. Obviously it’s available on Amazon, but maybe they’re saying, Hey, I’d like to talk with David, maybe have him come talk at our church or organization or whatever. There’s a powerful story here. What’s the best way for someone to reach you?
 
David: Well, you can reach me at ComingOut@usa.com and you can also reach me on Facebook. A lot of people have reached me through that. Message me and ask me questions, but feel free to reach out and if you really want to track me down and you can always track me down at the salon business and they’ll pass on information to you. But I am open and available and willing to reach out to anybody that’s looking for any form of counseling or if I can direct them to help I’m available and that’s my passion. That’s one of one of the things I want to do.
 
Ray: That’s fantastic. So the email address, best email address, is that ComingOut@usa.com? So we’d be remiss here, David, to not ask you, how has your story and your journey impacted the way you lead your business, the way you’ve grown, what has now become a very successful professional salon, but how has your journey impacted how you lead your business?
 
David: It hasn’t really changed a lot about how I lead my business because my business runs like a machine and it’s pretty well oiled for the last 25 years. But I have to be honest, I was scared to write the book and that what it might do to my business. You know, we’re in a culture that, you know, I’m saying something that the culture’s not agreeing with. So I was a little worried about that, but the responses have been so positive and so authentic. My staff knows that I’ve written a book. Some of my staff have read my book, but some of my staff haven’t. And that’s okay. And I find that with people in general, you know, some people will find something interesting or they won’t. But the thing I would encourage any leader out there or fellow Christian in a workforce, don’t be afraid to share your faith, but do it in a very loving way and do too a very non condemning way. People are hungry. And I feel in my business that it is a ministry and sometimes it is a church. I have a body of people that need to hear the truth and I’m not afraid to do it anymore. And it’s a great freedom to be able to share your faith and not be afraid of it no matter what the outcome may be.
 
Ray: Oh, that’s fantastic. And so I have a tradition here at Bottom Line Faith. I ask every one of my guests this question is my last question and it’s based out of Proverbs 4:23. In Proverbs 4:23 Solomon writes above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life. So David, I’d like you to think about is the one piece of advice you’d like to leave our audience with as we depart. Fill in the blank for us above all else…
 
David: I would say above all else, praise the Lord because without him we can’t do a thing. And you know, guard your heart. Watch what your eyes see and guard your tongue because the tongue can be so wicked and can destroy so quickly. I saw it in my own life as a very young boy. What a tongue could do and what actions can do. But Jesus said, where we’re not asked, but we’re commanded to love one another. And whether you what or whatever your policies are as a humans and the creation of Christ, of who we are, we’re commanded to love because he first loved us. That would be my advice to all of us.
 
Ray: Wonderful advice. Well, David, thank you for coming on the program today. It has just been an honor to have you in this conversation.
 
David: Oh, thank you, Ray. I greatly appreciate it and honored and appreciate it. Everything you do here at Truth At Work and what you do in this community and for the workforce. I think it’s great.
 
Ray: Well, thank you. Well, folks, we have been talking today with David Lowery once again. He is the owner and founder of DL Lowery Salon in Indianapolis, Indiana. And we have heard today his story, a true story of the pain and the brokenness, the torment that he went through as a youngster and into his early adulthood. But most importantly, what we’ve heard today is his story of redemption and victory and finding his identity in Christ. That’s what I want you to take away from the conversation today, that as you are leading and your families, your community, your business, your identity is in Christ. It’s not in your checking account. It’s not in the number of customers. It’s not even in your reputation and what others are saying about you. And you know what? It’s not even the lies that you’re hearing internally, that the enemy is trying to defeat you with your identity. And that was David’s message for us today. Your identity, your redemptive identity is in Christ Jesus. And so I want to encourage you as David shared with us, get in the Word here and learn more for yourself what Jesus says about you, who he says you are, and not any other voices. I do hope that you’ve been blessed and encouraged by our story today with David Lowry. Until next time, I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to live out your faith every day in the marketplace. God bless till next time.