10 years ago..... God forbid we talk about it.... the word. Struggle.
10 years ago we unlocked our first home. We un-boxed our belongings, lovingly packed for the journey to a new chapter in our lives. Walls were begging to be donned with framed memories, cabinets waiting to be filled, floors were polished, carpets were vacuumed in perfectly parallel rows for our arrival, and the smell of fresh paint still lingered. It was a dream. Our baby girl turned 1 the weekend of our move in. We watched her crawl over the threshold of our vibrant blue front door. "Happy Birthday, baby! We bought you a house!"
Fast forward a year and joy turned to anxiety, fear, panic and heartbreak. If 2007-2010 felt like this for you, you most certainly were not alone. A pained economy brought notices posted on the outside of our home, call after call after call "you're late!"
How does one process the highest high to the lowest low in what felt like no time at all. Quit with the "life isn't always easy" phrases and "God has a plan". We were drowning. But did Jesus not feed THOUSANDS with a small basket of fish and bread? Was He simply not providing? Absolutely, He was! It was in the small things, like health for our family, cars to drive, jobs that provided paychecks.
10 years later.... did He not walk aside us the entire time? Pointing our strength to Him even when we felt we had none? He sure did. And in the midst, a church was put in our lives that has been an answer to prayer after a 10+ year search. Embraced by support, love, and most of all prayer warriors.
I began to shift my thinking. I was tired of the roller coaster and whatever we were doing just wasn't working. Here's what I learned along the way:
Minimize material things, Maximize the experiences - De-cluttering our home and our expenses helped de-clutter our minds from the unnecessary junk that didn't serve a purpose. We focused on the priceless experiences as a family, such as: going for hikes, a simple drive to a park or beach for fresh air, cooking or baking/time in the kitchen, spending time at church being filled up with encouragement, teaching our children about the importance of giving back to others.
Money does not define our success - We DO need money. Money IS a necessity. When you slow down the hamster wheel of life and look at what you place your values on, you may find that money has nothing to do with it. It does, however, take energy and heart. It could be the way you raise your children to be strong, confident, intelligent youth. It could be the success you feel when you have your annual check up and the doctor says you're in the best health of your life! Or when a friend sends you a thank you card and flowers simply because you comforted and encouraged them when they needed support. These are all forms of success. True, organic, success. No money, just energy and heart.
Work-out, to work it out - Picking up a work out habit was the best things my husband and I did to keep our heads, hearts, and bodies healthy during a high-stress time. We made morning dates in our garage gym while the kids were still asleep. It gave us opportunities to have actual conversation without the small fries at our feet asking for all the things.
Letting go of the control - Probably the hardest thing for me personally. Hi, I'm Melody, and I am a control FREAK. This is also probably the most annoying trait of mine to my husband, who's famous quote in times of trial is "Don't worry about it". Are you kidding? Of course I'm going to worry about it. Because that's what I do. So transitioning my mind from fear to faith was the most challenging thing I've done. Many mornings I sat quietly in the kitchen, with a journal in hand and the Bible app on my phone and just wrote out my worry. Prayed, worried, wrote, cried, prayed.... then peace would come over me. Time and time again, this was my routine. But peace always found my heart. There He was..... telling me "don't worry about it" in those quiet mornings.
Daily, I am reminded of His steadfast love. We still walk over the threshold of our beautiful blue door. Our carpets may be worn, walls are scuffed, and couches wear stains, our bodies may be worn out, and our hearts exhausted, but we have been changed. Because we trusted Him to carry us thru and waited on Him with a patience we didn't know we had. A new sense of gratitude has entered OUR dept free home.