Thank goodness there is an answer. After last chapter I felt a little bit own about how to manage the constant workload. Knowing it was normal helped a little bit, but didn’t really make me feel much better. Fortunately, this week we have some suggestions.
“We have to keep our eyes on the eternal value of our work.”
This is so hard sometimes, especially in the daily grind. It’s hard for me to see much eternal value in most of what I do. What good is laundry? Well, by washing clothes I’m keeping my children properly clothed for the seasons. I’m taking one of their basic necessities off of their minds so they can focus on other things, like learning and playing. When I cook healthy meals I am setting a positive example for their future lifestyles. When I get up early to exercise, I show them that healthy living is a priority in my life. Most importantly, when I set it all aside to spend time with them, I’m telling them that people are more important than chores. Yes, the work still needs to be done, but relationships are always more important. (When they get older we can discuss the fact that sometimes relationships require household chores to maintain them).
Look back at a time when God refined your character through difficult circumstances. Write it down and thank him for his faithfulness.
Well if I’m being honest, it is a long list. But I’ll just highlight a few of them. When I was in my last semester of college, my husband lost his job. This was a good thing because it paved the way for him to go back to school. But because he was now in school full time, he took on a part time job of only 10 hours a week. I didn’t find my first full time job right after graduation, it took me a month or two. Then when I did it was a very low paid internship. Between our two paychecks we barely covered rent, let alone anything else. We had dinner with one of my college friends and her fiancé. At the end of the evening she gave me an envelope.
“Don’t open it until you are on your way home.” She told us. When we got to the car I ripped open the envelope to find a check for the exact amount of one month’s rent, and a scripture card that said.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7: 9-111
That was one of my earliest moments of realizing that God would take care of us. The next was when we bought our house and within a month we both had new jobs. Then when we decided that I was going to stay home, we realized that even living bare bones we weren’t going to be able to afford to live on my husband’s income alone. Three months before our daughter was born my husband received a raise with just enough money to allow us to get by. This is how it has always been with us. God has been gracious to us, we always have just enough but not much more. Five years later my husband now finally makes as much money on his own as we brought in with our joint income. Mind you, our cost of living his increased immensely, with two children, student loans to pay off and for the first time ever a *gulp* car payment. That last one really kills me, since we usually avoid debt like the plague.
As we approach the fall I don’t have as much money set aside for homeschooling as I’d like. Not enough for the curriculum that I picked out anyway. We are operating in the red on several areas of our budget and I feel discouraged just thinking about the Christmas season. But, I also know that God has always provided.
I realize that none of these are examples of life and death issues. But I also know that financial struggles are the kind of worries that really wear you down and can damage your relationship if you aren’t careful. As we encounter new financial difficulties at present these kind of experiences serve as milestones I can look back on and remember that God has been faithful it he past and he will continue to be in the future.
Clean out and organize your kitchen drawers. Well, we don’t have many kitchen drawers but the few we have are always a mess. So this week I’m going to try and get those in order, if only to make my life a little less hectic. (I’m seriously considering adding a baby latch just to keep the kids from messing it up when I’m done).
So as you go into this next week, when you encounter difficulties, try and remember a time in the past when God has been faithful in a similar circumstance. I know that it may sounds trite, but we need to remember what we’ve gone through in the past to help us continue to have hope for the future. So here’s to having our minds a little less cluttered in addition to our kitchens.
(Oh and for the record, the picture above is a sand castle my daughter and I built on the beach. It may have been temporary but the bonding time we had together has long term value. Consider it a metaphor).