November is slipping by quickly in our house. In fact, this whole year seems to be picking up speed as it comes to a close. It’s left me reflecting on how many changes this year has brought. Reflection helps me to slow down and appreciate all that God has done. As a family, we’ve been trying to slow down and give thanks more–counting the gifts as Ann Voskamp would call it.
I can tell a major difference when I choose to give thanks versus days that I give in to anxiety and fear. Many days stress builds in my chest and counting the gifts–the simple pleasures and blessings–help me hold on a bit more as I bat away the fears and failures. Of course, I realize that I need to not just evade, but confront and deal with my anxiety. I am setting in motion several ways I am going to work on this. In time I will hopefully share some about what has worked. Until then, I’ll keep counting gifts. Here’s a few . . .
The pretty texture on my glass of water.
The few beautiful stents that all of our children are sleeping at the same time.
Our daughter giving a spontaneous hug and “I love you!”
The way Joseph tightly curls his fingers around my thumb while he nurses.
Daniel’s long, dark eye lashes pressing against his cheek while he sleeps, softly snoring.
Neck and back rubs from my strong and rugged man Mitch…
Hope washes over me when I meditate on God’s faithfulness. Sometimes it is hard to see how He is being faithful in the middle of a difficult moment. But when I trace our story–it is evident His hands were sculpting a way for us.
This time last year, Mitch had just stepped down from ministry. We had just learned that we were pregnant with twins. We were heading into the holidays unemployed. Fortunately, our church had offered a couple months pay, and we counted it as blessing that he would be home more through the holidays.
Every day Mitch fervently applied and sought out jobs, but few things were available at the end of the year. Prayerfully we tried to trust when discouragement and fear threatened to set up shop in our hearts. Mitch and I worked every odd job possible to make ends meet. And right at the end of the church’s provided income, God provided.
A job opened up for Mitch and God even provided me with a nanny position where I could bring Rebekah along. Plus, they only needed a temporary nanny, which worked out for me because the job ended the month before our boys were due.
Mitch’s new job was in sales and as can sometimes happen in sales, there was a lot of pressure, turnover, bad management, and the pay was lower than expected. Right after our boys were born he started looking for another job. Again we faced unemployment–with a toddler, two-week-old twins, and monthly bills to pay. Fortunately, we did have an emergency fund to pull from to tie us over. And of course, God had a plan.
This time around there were many job opportunities. Mitch got several calls for interviews right away. We prayed, trying to discern God’s will and not just jump at the first opportunity. One of the jobs he applied for was at our local library. Mitch thought it was an awesome opportunity, but he wasn’t very confident he would be hired. But he was! God opened up a door for Mitch to take a job that provided more financially and allowed him to serve in ways he was excited about.
Our budget is still tight, but all along the way God keeps providing. It seems like when unexpected bills crop up–like our dog getting a UTI leading to a carpet cleaning and vet bill–we find unexpected money like a Christmas gift sent to us from Mitch’s aunt or an opportunity for me to sub for a day at my old nanny position and bring all three kids with me.
When I look back over this past year, one thing is undeniable: God Provides.
(Family selfie from where we sat right after learning we were having twins. We had sat stunned, staring at the ultrasound pictures. This time we sat with our three kids thinking about God’s faithfulness and provision.)
I hope you have a chance to count the gifts, look back over this past year and see how God has been at work. Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving.