Let me just say again that the economy is kicking our tails. I’m so tired of thinking, let alone talking/writing, about it but I feel a need to preface what I’m going to write. We have seen a dramatic downturn in our business revenue and therefore, our personal income. Don’t get me wrong, we continue to be blessed beyond measure compared to many. Our company’s doors are still open and God continues to bring business through them, however, we have had to be very creative in reworking our operational budgets—corporately and personally. This is an on-going, constant project. The stress of this is overwhelming. We never seem to get away from it. It is present when we wake up, throughout the day, when we’re trying to relax at day’s end, when we go to bed and unfortunately when we are sleeping. It definitely takes a toll on us.
It gives me great joy to say it has not taken a toll on our family life. Our situation has opened our eyes as to how much excess we truly had. There is no shopping unless it is for Jackson, and even that is only at consignment stores. Thankfully they are plentiful in Palm Beach County. As for entertainment—it is non-existent outside of our home. If it costs money, we don’t do it. We don’t dine out. We don’t attend events. We don’t travel. Much as I’d like to, I don’t join the costly mother and child activity groups. Yet our recreation is plentiful. We cannot believe how much richer our lives are for this. Another unexpected yet cherished by-product of these trying times is that our marriage is stronger. I know this is usually not the case. Financial stress has been the death knell for many previously-healthy relationships. We give God the glory for bringing us closer together. A great analogy would be that of people adrift in the ocean on a life raft. My husband and I are huddled together, better yet clinging together, for strength and security. Praise God!
Yet despite these positive turns, life is stressful and most days I forget just how faithful God has been and is. I had this realization in church Sunday. We had our final, one-year post-placement adoption visit with our social worker Saturday. I was a nervous wreck for our first and even second post-placement visits but I hardly gave this visit a second thought. We sailed through the visit, talking to the social worker like she was a neighbor. No stress. No worry. We just chatted and laughed. And I never took the time to appreciate that until singing a song in church Sunday. God hit me over the head with that realization. I had stopped appreciating all the good things in life that happen every single day. Shame on me. I’ve become so caught up in the worry and stress that I stopped living. My life had become joyless.
I really focused on this realization this morning in my prayer time and in response God showered me—literally—with memories of all of the wonderful and wondrous things he has done in my life over the years. The memories just flooded over me. In my mind I could see struggles I’ve had over the years, but they were visually small—like looking through a pinhole. And I could see blessings and answers to prayers and they were larger than life! I really believe God was reminding me that the struggles we’re facing right now will be overshadowed yet again with amazing blessings—if we just keep our focus on Him and let Him work within us, refining us. He is glorified in this—in all things—good and bad. Always! It is imperative that we never, ever lose sight of His sovereignty.
When times are good be happy; but when times are bad, consider God has made the one as well as the other.
Many, Oh LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them they would be too many to declare.
Be blessed, whoever you are. Please don’t let your life be joyless. Find joy in everything, in ever blessing—no matter how great or how small, and remember to give God the glory. He wants only good things for you.
“…For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”