It's what I'm grasping for, desperately.
This has been a very difficult year for our family.
Don't get me wrong, we chose the struggle when we chose to go a different way. We knew when we decided I would be a stay-at-home Mom that we were giving up material wealth. We knew when we again decided that I would educate our children at home that we were again giving up material wealth.
But, it was to be worth it.
And, of course, it is worth it. I wouldn't trade one moment of my life for one that meant that my husband and I both went to work every day and my children had their own separate lives.
I choose this struggle because I believe that the reward of putting our family first is worth any struggle.
But, that does not make the struggle easy. And, the struggle seems to be getting tougher by the day. You see, we chose to give up much in the way of monetary gain, but we chose it when things around us were okay.
Now, even the people who didn't choose this life are struggling.
That means that those of us who did choose it are struggling even more. A family of four (plus four animals) that attempts to survive on a blue-collar income that fluctuates with the economy, in THIS economy, STRUGGLES. in. a. BIG. way! I mean when our one paycheck depends on the paychecks of everyone else, in a time when their paychecks seem to be shrinking as well, we hurt.
We've been "poor" for as long as I can remember.
But, again, we CHOSE to be. I get that.
But, this has been the "poorest" year yet. And, I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
We are living paycheck to paycheck. We are behind on most bills. Each week I am making choices between needs. "What is more important this week? Toilet paper or toothpaste?"
When you are struggling to meet needs each week, obviously any sort of want is so far down on your list of priorities it has almost fallen off the piece of paper.
That's hard to accept. But, you get used to it. Sort of. Well, not really. But, you deal with it. What else can you do?
Then, you realize it is November. Thanksgiving is days away, before another paycheck and the money is already spent on bills.
Then, you realize that if it is Thanksgiving now, that means that Christmas is only weeks away.
You realize that not only do you want/need to buy Thanksgiving groceries, but you also want to buy a Christmas tree as soon after Thanksgiving as possible. And, heaven forbid, you might want to give your children a gift or two.
You know in your heart of hearts that the meaning of Thanksgiving and the meaning of Christmas both revolve around family and being together. That the meaning does not revolve around money. But, that does not take away the sting of wanting to give to your children (and your nieces and nephews) and thinking that you might not be able to.
When you sit down and try to figure out exactly how you can pay your rent and electric this month, you realize that there doesn't appear to be room for the Holidays.
Your heart weeps. You feel sorry for yourself. You feel lost, hopeless.
Then, you are reminded of the simple blessings.
Your children know that you love them. They know that times are hard and they don't care. They don't expect anything more than your love and guidance.
Your children hug you and assure you that everything will be okay.
"I can teach you how to knit, Mommy. Then, you can just make us something."
What really matters?
Is it hard to struggle so much financially? ABSOLUTELY
But, in the end I must remind myself of the reasons that we CHOSE this struggle.
They are smiling right in front of me! We love each other. We have a beautiful relationship. We will make it through the tough times and will remember being together more than what is or isn't under the tree this year.
And, as always, I need to remember to trust GOD.
He has not let me down yet. Why would He start now?
Wouldn't you know, as I am realizing that I do not have the money to buy groceries to cook on Thursday that God is lining up a side job for my husband to do tonight. That will give me just enough to get the groceries for Thanksgiving.
As I am realizing that I do not have the money to buy a Christmas tree, God is lining up another side job for my husband to do some time this week. That will give us just enough to get a tree.
One step at a time.
If I trust in HIM, He will provide what we NEED.
Possibly nothing more.
And, I must learn to be content with that. I must learn to be thankful for what I DO have right here in front of me.
- A wonderful marriage to an amazing man who works so hard to ensure that I can be at home with our girls.
- Two healthy children who are a shining light in any room they enter.
- A home with real floors and running water and a roof that keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Love and friends and family and life.
- Freedom to make the choices we've made. Freedom to live the way we want to live.
- A family that can be together for the holidays, which matters most.
One . step . at . a . time