Enjoying The Moments

Winter has come early. Last Friday it snowed, and today we have a coating of freezing rain. The school district wisely closed for the day because things are pretty slick out there. I still got up at my regular time of 5:30am because I enjoy my morning quiet, it is my time before the rest of my family begins to stir. 

I have my hot coffee (with dairy-free almond milk vanilla creamer). I have a load of laundry going, fed all the pets and let them out to take care of business. Now, I get to sit and just enjoy… for the moment.

The front window is covered in icy freezing rain so the world looks distorted as I gaze out onto the side yard. The smaller kitchen window, protected by the deck roof gives a better view. The sky is a cold gray, smoky smudges on the outside pallet. The wind gauge is quickly spinning around telling me the breeze is going to be cold this morning on my walk over to the barn. The grass looks crunchy coated in the coolness of ice. 

Thanksgiving is just a week away. Time is quickly slipping through the hourglass, and I don’t feel ready. I haven’t shopped for the big meal yet. (How long does a turkey have to thaw again?) Anyone that knows me, knows Christmas truly is my most wonderful time of the year. I love to decorate! With that said, I also love Thanksgiving. For me, it is a time to ponder and think about the year past and all the things big and small that I am thankful for. I don’t want to forget thankfulness….gratefulness….blessings in the midst of the frantic and hectic holiday season. 

So thankful for: 

*family *a loving husband that I genuinely enjoy hanging with *my young adult children–they are good kids *my grandchildren–there is nothing better than being a grandparent *a warm house that God blessed us with 9 years ago *Warm blankets *furry friends *a full refrigerator *hot drinks *colorful socks *a comfy bed *yummy dairy-free ice cream (it doesn’t matter how cold it is, ice cream always) *friends, old and new *plans with my peeps *Christmas shopping *my mom, who is my biggest encourager and without whom I would not be the woman I am today *my sister whose funny texts keep me laughing *my master’s degree *my students that make me smile, and their families that make me feel like part of the family *

My cup runneth over…

Hangin’ Tight With All My Might

Life.

Difficult. Scary. Unsure.

Those were some of my definitions of life over the past year and a half. Doesn’t seem very positive, does it? Well…for the past several months I was feeling more like Job of the Bible, I thought God had confused Job and me. The last week of January of 2009, my husband found out that he was being let go from his job of nearly 23 years. He and thousands of others. It was no fault of his own…the economy just was going south. Yeah, well I understood all that but, it didn’t help any. At all. It seemed like the beginning of the end. The end of life as we knew it. And that stunk. Big time.

So, here is a snap shot of that time of my life and how it all turned out. A chapter of my life story, so to speak. What I learned about life on the road. Not the fast lane. Not the slow lane. Life from the median……somewhere in the middle.

Job loss for my husband. The sole provider for our family. He had been making a very good salary, and now we knew that was coming to an end. Just like that. Within one week everything changed. So fast. I wasn’t prepared.

I cried. Frustration. Aggravation. Fear of the unknown. All this happening right smack dab in the middle of building a new house in another state. Things seemed dark. I was scared. Change is not something I love. Security is something I crave……and I felt that I was about to drown.

In the midst of all this I totaled my car in a scary accident. (hydroplaning in a down pour) So no wheels for me. Why? Why now? I’d never had so much as a speeding ticket, much less an accident. NOT NOW.

The money that I got from insurance, that would have paid for a new car, had to be used to pay the IRS. That lovely organization had found a mistake that we had made on our taxes 2 years before. We owed them. Good bye car. My resentment grew.

Because things weren’t bad enough, the economy got worse….the housing market froze and we were left with my house in Tennessee that we needed to sell….and fast. We couldn’t afford one mortgage, much less two. At this point how were we going to afford the cosmetic changes the house needed in order to sell?

Our other vehicle broke down on the interstate in December and we were stranded somewhere in Kentucky. A lot of money for repairs. Either we paid or we sat on the side of the road. In the freezing cold. UGH.

We gave up perks. Anything that we didn’t absolutely need we did away with. I was sad. I resented it. I’m ashamed to admit that I had a poor attitude on many occasions. This is not how life was supposed to be when we decided to build a house and move to another state. It was supposed to be an exciting adventure. It was an adventure alright….just not the kind that I had asked for or wanted.

I went through a bout of depression. Not clinical…but, close enough. I wanted to cry all the time and get out of this situation. I felt trapped in a dark place. I wanted to be upbeat. I wanted to say, “this will all work out in the end”. I longed to be “the glass is half full” kind of a gal. I failed. Miserably.

I ended up substitute teaching for a teacher out on maternity leave. 7 weeks. It was okay…but, my heart wasn’t in it. This was not the plan. I still clung to my old life. The one that was supposed to be different from where I currently found myself.

I wish I could say that I had a positive attitude, that I knew God would see us through these trials, that it would all work out in the end. I wish I could….but, I didn’t have it in me. My attitude was in a heap on the ground, I was seriously wondering if God cared about my pain, and I really thought we might lose everything— the end seemed imminent.

Sometime in March things changed for me. Really changed. Most of the circumstances were the same. Regardless of all that, something changed in me. God spoke to my heart, through His Word, through friends, through my church, through my family. It was as if a blindfold had been taken off of my eyes. I began to see how things had worked together… How God’s hand had been on my family’s situation all along. Even after I came to this realization and really took it to heart, it was still difficult. I still had doubt on occasion, but my attitude had changed. Instead of throwing a daily pity party for myself, I began to understand that maybe the reason that God had allowed this situation to continue was to teach me, and my family, a lesson in God’s provision.

Life lessons aren’t always easy. In most cases, if you are anything like me, it is the most difficult lessons that we learn the most from. I for one learned that my security in life doesn’t come from a nice car, a new house, or a fancy job. It comes from the Lord. He alone is where my true security lies. Amen.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   Matthew 6: 19-21

Addendum:

1. We sold my house in Tennessee, at a loss, but still we sold it so we didn’t have to worry about two mortgages. The lady that bought it wanted to move  in by the end of the year. Our church in Tennessee pitched in and helped get all the cosmetic things done around the house so we would be ready by closing. They were Jesus’ hands and feet to us. They were part of God’s provision.

2. My husband got a new job, just a few weeks ago. This after a year and a half of looking.  Totally unexpected. A job he enjoys. One that provides medical insurance. Again, God’s provision.

3. Family and friends that helped us along the way, both financially and with words of encouragement. They were part of God’s provision.

4. I still don’t have a car….maybe, one day. I’m okay with that. At least we could pay off the IRS and not have to deal THEM. God took an accident and a totaled car and turned it into His provision.

God is good all the time.