After sharing lessons learned about our home, our girl, and my man, it's only fair that I share lessons I've learned about myself during the past year and a half.
I am more easily satisfied and resilient than I thought.
Several years ago, I wanted the newest and latest of everything. I bought shoes and purses on a whim. I was constantly feathering my nest with pillows and other decor. If I saw something I wanted, I found a way to justify buying it. We took trips to Boston and New York. We were living the American dream. And paying for it dearly.
God, in His sovereignty, knew that some things needed to change. Nearly two years before R's employer announced the mill closure, He began convicting me of all the waste in my life. As I began to reduce the clutter and the spending, an amazing thing happened. I realized the things I thought made my life were really choking it out of me.
I've learned to weigh the value of everything before allowing it to take valuable space in my home and in my life. I've learned I'm just more satisfied eating a meal I've prepared, watching a movie at home, and hanging out in our back yard than going out for dinner, a movie, or shopping. I've learned that the things I have and the places I go don't define the quality of my life.
I am more controlling and selfish than I thought.
I've always been a controller. Not only do I like to know what's going on, but I like to be in charge of it. It's been an exercise in patience and self-control to balance helping my husband with schoolwork and paperwork with taking over completely. It's been an exercise in humility to remind myself daily that God's ways are higher than my own.
When this path doesn't seem to make sense, or I want to just get-to-the-end-and-be-done-with-it-already-thank-you, I must tell myself yet again that having control is an illusion crafted by the enemy to draw my attention from God. When I tire of being the primary source of our family's income, wanting to slough off that responsibility along with my work clothes at the end of a long day, I have to remember that this is temporary and that I should be grateful for the provision of my job. When I'm tempted to stomp my feet at God and ask why my dreams of going back to college have not been realized, I recall the changes wrought in my dear husband's life, changes I would not have witnessed if my plans had prevailed.
In those moments, I quietly whisper prayers seeking forgiveness and the strength to let go.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
~John 15:5 (ESV)