No matter where our feet rest we are still standing in the field of God’s provision.
Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving. A time to think about the past year and be thankful for it. Sometimes it is hard to see anything to be thankful for but there is always something to be thankful for. At the very basic level, oxygen is a good reason to be thankful. Some days that seems to be all there is. Sometimes the year, when you look back, holds many blessings, even when the year has been incredibly hard. Maybe today feels like everything is falling apart, but when you look back over the year it looks much brighter, you can see the blessings and the lessons learned.
Yesterday was a day of remembering and being thankful. This year has been a hard one for me emotionally, one of growth because of the pain. I have learned a lot. I have learned how to speak up for myself, I have discovered in a very real way that I am worthy of love and respect. I have learned about requiring respect, forgiveness and love, because of what God says about me, because that is how God treats me. I thought that I had learned that in 2003, when God blessed me with the name Beautiful. I think I had the head knowledge, but I didn’t want to do the hard work of changing others attitudes towards me, it was hard work emotionally learning what standing up for myself was like. Even though I knew that I was worthy of love, because God thought so, I didn’t take it to heart. I let it stay in my mind, but obviously didn’t trust it enough to allow it to sink into my heart. Well, this year, because of the despair I was feeling, I couldn’t stay there. I felt lost, those old voices of self loathing were getting louder, the sense of my unworthiness was overwhelming, I was swimming in a sea of depression. I go there from time to time. Sometimes, I just dip my toes into that sea, and sometimes, the tsunami overwhelms me and draws me ever deeper, drowning me, drowning my joy, and life looks bleak and empty. It feels like an incredibly thick fog surrounding me, so that I cannot see out past my nose. This year, it felt like a tsunami. I have been there before, as a teen, I was looking for a way out, and it seemed like the only way out was by ending my life. After Taylor died, I lived within that tsunami again, and it would have been so easy to die, or least that was how it felt, and if I hadn’t had Stephanie, I probably would have, grief engulfed me. Those years were hard years, and back then even at the end of the year, there was not much I felt thankful for. Those were the years where it felt like the only thing to be thankful for was the oxygen, and even then I wasn’t sure that I could be thankful for that.
This year, life has been hard emotionally, and really hard financially. The combination of the two seemed to make it seem even worse than it might have been if it had been just one of those. There was no retail therapy to sooth my pain away, or to help me focus on something else. Looking back, I see some of the lessons that I have had to learn have been really important ones, ones that will impact my whole life and those around me. To understand that you are worthy just because your Maker says so is an incredible blessing. Within it you learn about your Maker at a whole new level. You learn to place your trust in the only One who is trustworthy. Confidence comes from knowing that you are loved, just because. Real confidence knows that it doesn’t depend on anything you do, or if you are successful. It doesn’t depend on how you look, or on someone else’s opinion of you, or whether you measure up to your own standards of beauty. We all have these standards that we are trying to reach, the only problem is that these standards are not static. They change, they are almost always impossible to reach. I don’t know what it feels like to reach them. Your worthiness is not determined by what you have to offer to the world. Your worthiness is imparted to you because of the love of God, nothing else matters. This is what I have learned. I have not learned these perfectly yet however, but I have started to allow them to sink into my heart. These thoughts and truths are making the very short, but very difficult pathway from the head to the heart. This year has been really hard, but incredibly blessed.
Cam and I have had to learn the hard way, just how far $50 can take you in a week to a week and a half. It felt impossible in the beginning, but now it doesn’t scare me, because we have done it before, usually every week, and even though it is tight, we make it, we have food to eat, and a place to live, and people to love and who love us. I know that even in this we are incredibly blessed. There are those who live around us who don’t have that much, or that are missing loved ones. I think that would be too hard to live without. I am blessed with family and friends. God has always provided just enough for us. I know that He is the one who takes care of us. When it seems like we won’t make it financially, He always comes through for us and so we have our necessities taken care of. Our view of necessities has changed, it is much less than it used to be, but that is good. Where haircuts were an expected expense, they became a luxury for example. I have waited for 5 months for a haircut. I got a haircut on Saturday and I feel really blessed. 🙂 funny how view points change, how your sense of entitlement can change with a smaller cash flow.
Cam and I got ourselves into a financial crisis, because we were living at a level of income that we could not sustain. We were used to being $600 richer every month, because our girls were paying rent, so we got used to it and we lived at that level for a couple of years already. We borrowed more, because with their rent we could afford it. Then Steph went to school and our deal was always free room and board if you are going to school full time. Jaydyn lost her job and struggled to find a job for 7 months, so we got farther and farther behind on payments towards our debt load, and once you are behind it is really hard to catch up. This was not anybody’s fault but our own, so if my girls are reading this don’t take this on as your fault, it is our fault. Right now we are close to a year towards catching up, and I can see a light down at the end of this very dark tunnel. The problem was real, but it was also our fault. It is hard giving up some of the luxuries that we felt entitled to, but we have learned that we can be happy with less, we don’t NEED more. As much as the advertising around us says we need more, we don’t!
So this year my outlook has changed, both personally and financially.
I am thankful for my change of perspective
I am thankful for the hard lessons that I have learned, my worthiness, and lowered sense of entitlement and an understanding of what our needs really are.
I am thankful for my family, for their love, that they chose to put up with me, and encourage me. Sometimes they also challenged me, which was also a blessing. It helped me get up out of the darkness that I was in.
I am thankful that God always meets our needs, even if we feel like He doesn’t.
I am thankful that my Creator loves me and has chosen to impart to me worthiness, because He says so and that is all that is important. completely
I am blessed and I have no doubt about that, I am so thankful! Praise God!
What are you thankful for?? I would love to hear it.