How do you decide how to spend your time? What is the most important thing in your life? I have quick and ready answers to these questions. “My top priorities are God, M, and my family. They come first.” I might say. That is an honest answer. It’s how I feel. Is that always how I act? No. I’m sure many of you could say the same thing. There are distractions and discouragements. How do we get past discouragement and move forward?
If I had it my way, our yard would be impeccable. The grass would be green. The flower beds would be tidy. I’d have cute Fall signs, a pretty wreath, and a garden flag on my flag post. We don’t always get our way. Our curb appeal right now is nonexistent. I used to take pride in our house. I still do, but my perspective has changed somewhat. I’ve had to realize that right now, the outside of our house just won’t be pretty until it’s fixed, and getting it fixed is out of our control. While we wait for the day we can put this whole mess behind us, I’ve had to let a lot of things go. I was doing better about the “Let things go” thing until something happened recently that hurt my feelings horribly about this curb appeal issue. I never wanted to be “that house”. It embarrassed me.
It’s hard to explain to people just how hard the past five months have been for me. We were newlyweds when the storms happened, and I was just settling in to my new role as a wife. Part of that was the homemaker aspect of being a wife. I wanted to keep our house nice and clean. I wanted to cook dinner and have a relaxing place for us to come home to after work. The house was my domain. I loved cooking in my kitchen and hanging out on the couch with my husband. Suddenly I lost control over my domain and had to leave it for months. Now, I don’t think women are the only ones responsible for the house. I enjoy my role in the workplace, too. However, having a house to keep was new and exciting for me. Decorating and maintaining it was something I truly loved to do.
While I was feeling sorry for myself today, I had an epiphany. For months, I had been tying “setting up house” to setting up our new family. It bothered me that outsiders would think badly about the way the house looks right now because I thought that meant I was a bad wife. I felt like our family wasn’t good enough, even though I knew it isn’t our fault the house isn’t fixed. Our house may not be fixed, but our marriage is stronger than ever. It’s okay. This world is not our real home anyway. The earthly things don’t matter. Our house doesn’t define our family. Next weekend, we’re going to buy our pumpkins. I’m still going to decorate for fall. I still can’t wait until we can put all this behind us. I’m still going to keep up our house, but I’m not going to obsess as much. This epiphany is just another one of those blessings that come from trials.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about blessings coming from trials. Some conversations I have had with coworkers in the past few days have given me a lot to think about. It seems that there are so many people I know going through difficulties right now. This is just a random list of things that have been going through my mind lately as I’ve tried to dwell on more positive things.
- Trials make your faith stronger.
- Trials make you a stronger person in general.
- Things that seem impossible become possible.
- Trials can bring you closer to your family and loved ones.
- Trials can open up doors and give you new opportunities.
- Difficulties can help you help others going through similar difficulties in the future.
- My prayer life (which was lacking) has gotten a lot stronger.
- Our marriage has grown stronger. We have learned to rely on one another and make hard decisions together.
- We now know how to deal with insurance companies, contractors, and mortgage companies.
- I have thought more about other people and their struggles instead of being as self-centered.
- We have seen once again how loved we are.
- I have done some self-reflecting and figured out what I really want to accomplish and be.
- I have (sorta) learned to let little things go.
- We got to pick out new paint colors and add some things to the house we wanted to add soon anyway.
- Once we are back in the house, we can open our home to others and be more hospitable.
Please help me add to this list. I hope it will give someone a more positive view. After all, “It will help you every day. It will brighten all the way, If you keep on the sunny side of life”
Waiting means you are looking ahead to something else. We wait with dread at times. We wait with anticipation at others. We spend many of the precious seconds of our lives wishing for something better we think will happen in the future. As we wait, our minds are consumed with thoughts of that place we want to get to. Sometimes, our lives are disrupted in a way where waiting is the only choice we have. We drive ourselves crazy because we want to take action. That one area of our lives is standing still, but life must continue. There is nothing we would rather do than catch back up with the rest of the world and get back to living life. Yet, we wait, for the most part, with a smile on our faces. That’s what we have to do.
In my life right now, there are two big things I’m waiting for. I’m sure most of you can guess what they are. Some days I’m more patient than others. In the grand scheme of things, aren’t we all just waiting while here on earth? Waiting for our real Home? How do you spend your time waiting?
Isaiah 40:31 “those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”