Saturday, June 5, 2010

Finding Contentment in Hardship

       It is so easy  to feel content with life when everything is going my way. It's so much more difficult when I am experiencing hardship. A few years ago, my husband lost his job.We were never big spenders, but it was devastating for us and thoroughly a strain on our lives. We had no savings and had to move fast to replace our income. The reality was daunting, and I can still remember that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. We made it through with the help of a very supportive family and found an even better job. To me it was a miracle because the area we chose to live in had very little options.  I can look back now and see the tremendous rewards that we reaped. But I was definitely NOT content then. I only wish I had known what I know now. I am not perfect and still have days where I need improvement, but I do know this: you can have contentment even through times of trouble. 





     This subject has been on my heart so much lately. It is one of the reasons I started a blog:). I was reading an inspiring post today by Flower Patch Farmgirl . She is an amazing writer and delightful person with a beautiful family. In her post, she writes about how she and her husband are choosing to be content with less, and how excited she is to be living this way. She is so uplifting and you can read more HERE.





     There really is such freedom in having less, living simply, and focusing on what is eternal. Look at it as if you are taking a vacation from the influence and pressure to live up to a material standard. Paring down allows you to focus on what is real and important around you. Don't sink under the pressure...swim! You have floaties:). The Lord is right there and He does take care of us. There is just a different standard of living. Goodness, I wish I had those words engraved on my heart a few years ago!


      It is hard to trust when you don't know the outcome. But He does:). Sometimes, just having enough is OK. There were times during that period of our lives that I didn't know where we were going to find the money for food. I really had to scrimp, but you know the kids went to bed with full tummies...and it was enough. I couldn't pay all of the bills. Most often, I had to just pay a small portion. But it was enough. The kids didn't have a gazillion outfits or toys, but they had enough. I don't think they even noticed. We had a very meager Christmas that year. In my discontentment and selfishness, I actually cried that day. It was a low point. Big salty tears were running down my face as I tried to hide in the bathroom so no one would notice. I was upset there weren't enough presents under the tree for the kids, my husband...even myself. Talk about selfishness! At that point, the Lord gave me a swift kick in the tushie. I will never forget it. I looked out the window in the bathroom through stricken tears and saw my sweet husband in the cold. He was meticulously building me a lovely arbor for the garden. The garden with the beautiful picket fence that he had built me a month earlier out of free wood. I felt like such a nincompoop. The Lord had not only blessed me with a loving husband, He had provided us with enough. More than enough! I look out my kitchen window every morning and see that arbor, and I feel so thankful. 





     I am grateful that we went through that tough time. It has prepared us for future bumps in the road, should they come. It was a season, and I feel like we are just coming out of it. Living the way we had to was a challenge everyday. In some ways, a really fun challenge to see how far we could stretch a dollar. At first I was in despair over the idea. Years later, I haven't changed a thing. I still use my clothesline daily, stick to a frugal food budget, make or buy thrift clothing, and try to not go into debt. Hardships help mold us into the people we are supposed to be:).  


~Julia


* A great resource for managing through difficult financial times is Dave Ramsey . I just love his great knack for common sense and found such comfort reading his books.

7 comments:

Green Gracie Home said...

What a beautiful post. I found you through Home and Harmony and love your writings...

Vanessa {Bloom Right Here!} said...

Oh, my! I just came over here from Home and Harmony. I decided to look through posts on your blog and so glad I did! As of July 1 my husband will be without a job. I'm trying to trust in Him, but actually I am so scared. We aren't big spenders either, but we don't have savings. We have three children; one with special needs. I want to have peace, but everything seems so complicated right now. Thank you for your encouraging words. Just what I needed this morning.....

cranberry cottage said...

We have lived, with very little resources at times,(years) and sometimes there have been less worry over money...I didn't say no worries LOL

But I seem to have derived more satisfaction and peace when I have had to stretch the dollar than not.

Being forced to pay attention to the little things makes me more apprecitative....

Nice to meet you by the way! Yesterday I bought a huge bag of clothes pins, at the thrift store and they are old and strong and sturdy. Not like the dollar store/chinese made ones that let your laundry fly off the line in a good wind. Now THAT makes me happy!

cranberry cottage said...

where in the world did you get FREE would that could possibly make a beauty of a fence like that???

Julia said...

Cranberry Cottage...I need some of those clothespins! The new ones are sooo flimsy and we live in a really windy area. Most of mine just snap:(. I am going to have to look at the thrift store. Thanks for the tip!

The fence really was free and made from rough cut cedar that my Dad had milled. My husband actually cut them in half and made each little picket. It was so time consuming and I will forever love him for it:).

It is so nice to meet you, too! I went and visited your blog and it is lovely. You are a wonderful writer:).

~Julia

Julia said...

Vanessa,

Thank you for your sweet comment. Being with out a job is scary, but hang in there. I wish I could give you a big hug, but know that I am praying for you that peace and comfort surround your home:).

~Julia

Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise this is! I am new to pinterest, and happened to find your how-to for the mason jar pump. To find a Christian mom was unexpected to say the least. I know about the lean times, when I, being a single mom of five kids, had to stretch a dollar, do with out many things, all those you mentioned. Now my children are grown, and have a diffent appreciation for things other people probably don't think twice about. They laugh about how going to McDonald's was a BIG EVENT, and how they shared fries. Being able to really buy groceries, having a car with a radio and air conditioning!And how God got us through it all, and still is. Thank you for your tips, and stories1

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