My not so perfect life

As I type this, there is a lot of unemployment uncertainty in my family.

My kids need braces, but with a crooked job future, they’ll have to live with crooked teeth a while longer.

My mom is housebound.

My hubby and I are buying health insurance, which is a significant drain on our savings.

The room we were hoping to build onto the house must be put on hold due to said unemployment uncertainty.

This means that our two tween kids (a boy and a girl) must share a room for another year. This then means that our renter, who we were hoping to move to our new add-on, will remain in the downstairs bedroom. This then means that the five us, along with our oversized lab pitt mix, will remain squished. (Let’s not forget to add in the children who flock to our house on a daily basis after school… plus the family who often visit from out of town… plus my niece and my nephew who I love like my own who are often in our home.  Did I mention it is SQUISHED?angry

My not so perfect life is actually my perfect life

And yet, the above scenario can only be called First World Problems. I mean, let’s get real: Are my kids starting their mornings in underground Israeli shelters like my cousin, Josh, and his family? Are they dying from an Ebola virus? Are they being crucified (literally, flogged and nailed to a cross) like our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria? 

No. My family is sharing a smaller space. This can go one of two ways:

1. We can complain and moan and sigh and throw a bigger tantrum than Scooby Doo and Shaggy on a diet at an all-you-can-eat triple decker sandwich buffet.

2. We can thank God we have the space to share.

We’re obviously going with the second option. And really? How hard is this? It’s not like the Lord isn’t going to automatically provide me with all my financial and physical needs since I’m “in” the Christian Club. 

Either the Lord has a plan for me or He doesn’t.

As a Christian, it’s my duty to remember that I was not born to fail. I was born to prosper. And when I can’t remember that (hey, we all have our times of doubt and frustration) I only need to pray on a few verses to be reminded of these promises.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Gratitude for what we have, not what we don’t

Our less than Pinterest Perfect House: Many of the rooms in my home need updating, from our 1950’s kitchen to our upstairs bathroom which, sadly, is still missing its cabinet doors. There are days when I can’t bear to look at my children’s bedroom anymore. They lack shelving and proper furniture for storage. We lack funds to remedy this. And yet, there are still things to do. I, for one, can stop focusing on the flaws and remember to focus on the blessings of what they have. I can also teach my children the value of cleaning up after themselves. Of throwing things away to make room for new things. 

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.1 Thessalonians 5:18

Our Meals: We don’t have amazing food options now. Oh, sure, we eat. Every day. But while some kids have fancy granola bars in their lunches for snacks, my kids are becoming personal friends with air popcorn. Instead of eating steak and chicken each evening, we are introducing our kids to salad with garbanzo beans. (We figure that worse case they don’t like it and eat less, they’ll lose weight. This means more space for us in the house! Oh relax, kidding. Kind of.)

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Our Social Life: We simply can’t go to the movies and expensive theme parks right now. This doesn’t mean less joy, however. It means making a point of sitting down and playing UNO with the kids. It means watching family movies or having friends over – despite a crowded house. It’s the attitude and the intention that makes a difference.

A cheerful heart makes good medicine, but a dried spirit crushes the bones.Proverbs 17:22

Ouch, that hurt! May I have another

There was a time I had far more than what I have now, but I had far less peace. Why? Because I didn’t have the joy of the Lord. I had the joy of the culture. This meant that no matter how much I had, I always wanted more. 

Note on Money: I do NOT believe that money is evil. With all truthfulness, I am so excited about the day where my book sells…when I have money to do some fun things to my home. Damask wallpaper for the dining room? Yes! Built in shelves for my daughters books in the upstairs stairwell? Yes! A house addition for our renter, a new kitchen with subway tiles, a personal trainer for our dog and water proof shed painted pink in the backyard for my office complete with lantern lights in the tree? YEEEEEESS! (Um, I might have been thinking of this for a while. wink)

But guess what? Those dreams are dreams. They are not necessities. What I want is beautiful chests to house my kids’ games and sports equipment. What I need, in the meantime, is the connection to my kids that can happen with or without fancy furniture. This means gametime around our old thrift store coffee table. It means tossing a frisbee on the front lawn to get a little exercise. (And some laughs when that frisbee inevitably lands on our neighbor’s roof.)

“Pain” is relative

When my attitude is focused on the Lord… when it’s focused on being intentional with my family despite less than peaceful circumstances, then I am at peace.

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6

Thank you, Pain! You’re Awesome!

In fact, I am learning to say “thank you” when things come that I don’t expect. After all, the only thing constant is change. Only a fool would create an ideal world in their head and then complain when it doesn’t go their way. Only a fool would insist that their realities match their fantasies, then make everyone else’s lives miserable when it doesn’t match up. And most important, only a fool would take on the challenge of being happy during difficult times without giving up their burden to the Lord.

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Lest you think I’m being self-righteous, never did a bigger fool walk this earth than I. (And I’m not saying this because I’m six one.) As a TV writer turned Good Housekeeping blogger, I thought I was pretty darn special. But guess what? I was a fool. Because it turned out only in killing my ego and allowing the Holy Spirit in was I able to begin again.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. - 1 Corinthians 3:18

Like the many games I play with my kids, I had to play that “Start Over” card. To be sure, that whole “killing my ego” thing? It HURT! Pain! Death! Destruction! Yikes! And even if I had better insurance, no doctor could have fixed that. The only doctor that could was Jesus himself, sometimes referred to as “The Great Physician.” 

Jesus was the cure for my dying flesh. 

Jesus is the cure for yours, too.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m saying it’s worth it.

Are you willing to go through some pain to find peace? Leave a comment. I’ll be praying for you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *