Hey Friends... It's been quite the week and I've just been a bit lost on words on where to start this post. Throughout this week as I have been focused on all His goodness. Satan has really tried to punch me in the face. Those hard hits are not fun. BUT in addition God has planted people on my heart so timely that I've been able to see His goodness through little bits of love. So much pain in this world. If you randomly think of someone friends, take a moment in your day to just let them know you love them. You'll be surprised by how God uses those little acts of kindness.
Anyway... this post is supposed to be about the light at the end of the tunnel per say. During all that messy hard there was still so much joy. So first I want to share bits of that with you. And really friends... this all is part of the fruit of it all.
1. A little baby growing and experiencing life & love. He danced, babbled, and so much more. He brings us so much joy.
2. The fun after school snack time with my girls.
3. All the love and time with Scottijo. Coffee and chats. I love what God did here.
4. We learned so much about what we want for our lives and what our non-negotiable things are.
5. My relationship with my sister continued to grow and blossom.
6. My sister and I ministered to women through 8 different events.
7. I was able to speak courageously and boldly in my faith
8. My children saw resilience
9. My children saw imperfection
10. I learned to accept help
11. My husband's hears me differently and better.
12. My husband is becoming more aware of our finances.
And so much more...
And now after it all... the blessings that have come, even if small have so been worth it.
After every storm there's a rainbow, no matter how long it takes to show up. - Grace V Ohio.
I opened a Dove Dark Chocolate today and this was the quote inside - so fitting.
You guys everything was done in July 2018. I think that's when it was. Gosh I can't remember. But I think it's right. Oh for heavens sake! All I remember was going to court, then having coffee with my husband, and him taking me a on a celebratory french fries date. It was so cute, sweet, and spontaneous. We were just restarting the journey of intentionally loving each other, so this was a big deal. Blessings or fruit #1!
Even though all we went through had changed our financial situation dramatically, we knew that we could not make it on Chad's income alone. So I started looking for work a couple months prior. Nothing... absolutely nothing! I'd apply, I'd reach out, I'd get nothing back! Even for things I was overqualified for. So I finally applied to be a cashier at our local gas station. I walked in in heals and skirt for my interview. For the first time ever I found myself saying "this is the lowest pay I will take, I guess you need to decide how bad you want me." What?!?!?! When I told my mama this she told me that was not nice basically. The truth is we have to know our worth and I was already stepping into a job that I was very overqualified for to help my family. I also knew from putting a budget together that I had to make a certain amount. They called and still tried to hire me at lower pay the next day. However since my interview the day before I had been offered a job I could do from home for more (that I would have hated) and so I was able to use that to negotiate and get the pay I needed. I took the part time job working 24 hours a week. It was a huge help financially but it was so hard on our family. The days I had to be at work at 4am just killed me. I was so tired and I hurt so bad at the end of every day. Standing, kneeling, or crouching on a tile floor doesn't work the same at 37 as it did at 16. And, although the job was oh so humbling, it was just a job. Chad told me repeatedly to quit because of the challenges it added. Yet we could pay the bills, so I could not do it. I did however pray over it every week. I knew the Lord would show me everything in His timing.
During this time I had also updated Chad's resume and posted it. Friends I prayed almost daily that he would be blessed with a new job. We could not see how it was going to happen as many of the companies in his field were not in need or starting pay would be interesting. We just kept the faith, we had to. You see, we knew Sears wasn't going to last much longer. We knew eventually he'd be out of a job. In September he had an awesome opportunity with a company new to Minnesota. I remember the day Chad popped into my work on the way to his interview. I almost fell off the ladder I was on. I was like "Who is this man and what did you do with my husband". I smile every time I think of it. The interview went well and they offered him a job just a few days later. I had been praying for a specific annual income so that our basic needs would be covered. I was discouraged at first because the dollar amount per hour would not come to that if he worked 40 hours a week. We had no idea that he'd work 50 to 55 hours every week. I may not see my husband much, but our basic needs our met. God is so faithful.
During all of this, I had an upline of mine reach out to me and offer me an opportunity to help me make some income from home. I would be assisting her with some virtual administrative work. I was later blessed with some clients who randomly utilize my services as well. This allowed me to quit the gas station confidently and know I could be home. The time commitment for this has reduced over time. I have learned a lot about myself and grown in many ways by doing this. God is slowly showing me exactly where to place my time..
BUT although we've been taught so much financially and He has provided so well for us... that's only a small piece of it all.
Through all of this I was praying about homeschooling. Emma was going through evaluations at school. Hannah was coming home upset about girl drama. We had all kinds of new things to grow though. Over the last 4 years we have learned a lot about what our family needs. God is constantly reminding us how important our rolls as parents are.
What I feel is the real fruit though is what has happened in our hearts and inside our home.
We began the homeschool journey after Christmas. We are taking it slow adding 1 piece of curriculum at a time and adapting to each piece. I am loving the fact that I can work life and Jesus into teaching all day. We were recently at the chiropractor and he laughed as he heard me correct my child's grammar and said "school is always in session". This has become truth. The conversations I have with my kids and my heart toward my kids has changed so much. It's so beautiful - most of the time. Some days are really really really hard. My kids love me on a level that is so incredible. I see this so much more now. My relationships with each of my kids is growing in ways that are so tremendous. It's hard. Wow! It's hard. I have learned so much about them and what they need and where I fail daily. Which helps me give and teach grace.
I mentioned before how Chad and I restarted our love story a bit. We began to be more intentional. This is still tough, cause life... But I can tell you that when I answer the phone or call my husband he is almost always flirting with me. I also hear him say "I probably don't tell you this enough". We have things we are still and will always continue to work on, it's marriage. I do know how much we love each other and that we value each other. I am also a really big believer that our love languages can alter a bit per season or by what we choose to look at. We are both in a season of re-figuring this out. The fruit is that we are getting to know ourselves and each other on a new level again. This will be a constant.
But the willingness Chad and I have to do what God is asking us to do for the sake of our family and this world has transformed.
Especially for me.
You see I couldn't hardly DO anything that wasn't just methodical before. I was surviving. Now, I am pushing myself and God is giving me the focus, the energy, the clarity to do homeschool and still do my business. I didn't think it would be possible to do both. Sometimes it is super unbalanced that's for sure - I either work too much or work too little... I was so sad because I had already taken time away from doing what I loved because of our family's situation. I mean, how could I help others when my life was such a mess? In addition, I was in a place of being so hard on myself as a mother. I was really struggling with the nurturing of big kids. I often felt like I was supposed to be a career mom, not a stay at home mom, even though I had always dreamt of that. But since all of this has happened and I went back to work part time, I know that it is my current assignment. Loving them, raising them is 1 of my biggest jobs and my heart became willing. God used those 3 days a week away to show me this. Once I became willing, I was worried I was going to have to give up all my other dream for even longer. That was farther from the truth. God has placed a new fire in me. I gave him ALL my heart instead of half of it and He is showing me what He can do. I have redo this often, but I am aware and constantly reminded it's about Him. I'm in awe. I don't know how to explain it. My goals became clear. My discipline became stronger. My ability to love and encourage others became more fierce. I am becoming more of who He has made me to be.
And... this is overflowing into my family.
Becoming closer to my Savior and giving Him all my heart allows me to disciple my family, friends, my team, and those I coach so much more.
So, I am grateful. So grateful.
Below friends are some scriptures that came to mind as I was writing this. The blessings may not seem like blessings to you. But it is important we look for the good in the small things. I feel God changing and moving things even if I can't see it all yet and so I am excited to share His goodness as time goes.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1: 2-4
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Much love to you all!