"Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." ~Francis Chan

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What happened to looking for the joy in everyday things?

So, this week I'm all sorts of whiny.  My yummy husband is gone for work training for the week, and I don't like it!  I'm such a baby when I have to be alone at night, but it is what it is.  I'm an adult and I will get through it....but I really want to be crabby about it.

I was laying in bed, alone, last night and was really thinking about how much I was having to intentionally have to not be crabby to everyone.  It's sad really.  And it's really not all about the hubs being gone, I'm just so unsettled right now.

I keep thinking that once spring gets here I'll be better, once I know if/where I'm going to work it will be better, once our house is done it will be better, once I lose this weight I'm working on shedding.....on and on and on.....

So, as I was thinking about all the stuff I'm waiting on to make me better (and happier) I got to thinking about my writing.  When I was writing regularly, I had committed to be thankful.  I had committed to see the best in EVERY situation.  I refused to let myself be a downer.

And it made me content.

I read a post about getting your kids to stop complaining yesterday by Ann Voskamp.....you know, 1000 Gifts, keep a gratitude journal, that Ann Voskamp?  Anyway, her advice to get your kids to stop complaining was to have them, daily, write down the things they are thankful for.

Duh....I know that.  Why did I let myself get in this funk?

I was so good at looking at all of the little things and thanking God for them.  Every hardship, every bump in the road, every rainstorm, and every good thing.  I was good at seeing the blessing in a sunset, a warm breeze, a child's laughter, everything......and I was SO HAPPY.

My life was no where easy at that time, but I refused to worry and I was continually thankful for EVERYTHING....even the little, unnoticeable stuff.

I want to get back to her.  I want that girl back that saw the good and joy in everyday experiences.

After I was contemplating all of this stuff last night (and read Ann's blog yesterday), I happened onto Laura's Gratituesday post today.  I used to always write and link to these Tuesday posts, but I sort of forgot about them since my writing has been so sporadic.

So, even thought I'm still a smidge whiny that my love is gone for the week, I'm going to list what I am thankful for right now......and find that thankful, content girl again.

  • For a rental house that we are able to stay in for longer than our lease because our house is taking sooooo long
  • For the sunshine that is slooooowly melting all of this snow that just doesn't seem to want to leave
  • For butter toffee keurig coffee this morning
  • For days of quiet in which I can have time to think and really figure out what I stand for and want out of this life
  • For the amazing way my children came through the hardest year of their lives and still can smile and know that it was all part of God's plan
  • For my amazing husband and all that he brings to this family that was so broken
  • For my husband's job that has stolen him for a week, but is steady and reliable
  • For a close knit and supportive family system
  • For a fit body that allows me to work out and shed this extra that I don't want to keep carrying around
  • For all of the summer plans that we are getting excited about
  • For all of the blessings that our family has received that are too numerous to count
Even on my worst day, I still have it better than so many people in this world.  I really need to stay focused on that.  I desperately need to remain joyful and thankful for every.little.thing.  Maybe Ann is onto something.....maybe to kick start my contentment journey again, I'll start counting my 1000 gifts.....hmmmmm

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lightbulb moment

It's been a long time since I've read any books.  I don't really  know why, I just haven't taken the time, I guess.  I have written before about Anything by Jennie Allen and how much it changed by life, so when I saw that she had a new book out, I was excited to read it. 
I'm just starting it, but I read this line today and it made me stop and think.

"....there is beauty and character formed in the mundane."
Restless by Jennie Allen 

I am the person I am today because of my period of mundane.  I wrote about a time of restlessness in May of '12.  Basically, that day, I committed to using a trying period in my life to seek God and what He wanted in me and my family.  I found myself during that period studying and learning and reading and praying.....just drawing closer to Him.

Now that so much has changed since that time, I can see where my new character was formed in the mundane.  I've said many times that I feel that I was totally prepared to lose Chad in the 2 years before he was taken.  I think these times of mundane had a HUGE part in that.  And because I felt totally prepared, I think it helped me be able to move on and trust that taking Chad was indeed going to work out for good....somehow.  I never doubted that.....not even for a second.  I truly felt like I knew it was coming and that I would be ok.

The next sentence in Restless was this:
But the most inconspicuous tasks usually are building big things we can't see yet.
Little did I know that in that downtime and time of learning and discovery that I was being 'built' to be able to withstand my oncoming storm.  I had no idea what I was about to endure.  Now, seeing this in print, and looking back, I can see where my inconspicuous tasks (my home all day every day) were building big things. I can see where my life of mundane was getting me in line with where God needed me to be to use me.  It was preparing me to trust in Him regardless of what was going on in my life.

And I feel that this is HUGE in why I have been able to deal with all of the changes taking place in my life.

As I'm looking at yet another huge life change of possibly returning to work outside of the home, I have been reminded that I let this reading, learning, and praying go.  It's been too long since I had a regular devotion and prayer time.  I know it's lacking and I know that it makes me feel restless.  I know it makes me question who I am  and wonder what it is that I'm supposed to be doing.

I am totally leaving it up to God as to where I end up and what I am going to do, whether it be in the home or outside of it.  That act has given me an incredible sense of calm.  When my new doors open, I'm ready but until then I'm going to use this mundane again.....who knows what God is preparing me for now.......

Friday, March 7, 2014

Challenging the way you see the world

I sent this to my husband last week.  This absolutely describes where we are.  I honestly thought if something happened to my first marriage that I could never be that happy again.  But here I am........absolutely infatuated.

Chad and I had something special, nothing will change that.  What I didn't expect was that I could be given an amazing love for the 2nd time in my life.  I don't know why I'm so lucky and God has been so willing to give me another amazing man, but I'm not going to question him :)

It took me a very long time to get used to being the type of wife Chad desired.  It took me years to figure out what made him happy and what made me happy.  I could so easily have been the 'career woman'.  I've never been much of a baking, crafty, 'suzie-homemaker'.  It just wasn't who I was. But his desire was for me to be home with his children and available to him, which I, over time, grew to love.

(I just had to pause writing for a minute to take 3 loaves of bread out of the oven :)

Anyway........I never thought that I could be happy being a stay-at-home, homeschooling, from-scratch baking/cooking type of woman.  There was so much more to life than the mundane, boring life that must create.

But I learned to love it.  I learned to be happy at home.  I learned to be content with little to no money to do anything (including buying groceries, sometimes).  My husband came home happy, my children were thriving, and I was happy.....life was good.  We never had a lot of money, but we always had our needs met and then some.  There just wasn't much left for extras, but it became something that really didn't matter.

Then my life was shattered.

As I have started to rebuild my life, I have had many things come into question.  The biggest thing I struggled (still do) with is who is 'Nicole'?  Not who is ChadandNicole and not who is JasonandNicole.  Who am I and what do I stand for and value in my life?  I was with Chad from the time I was 15....all I've ever known is who I am with him........and Jason is 180 degrees different.

I seriously thought Chad and I were similar......NOT.EVEN.CLOSE!!!!!  Now that I'm with Jason, I can see how absolutely opposite Chad and I were, because Jason and I are so similar.....almost scarily so sometimes.

But the funny thing is.....it works!  We are far from figuring each other out, but we are off to a very good start.  

He challenges everything I am because we think the same on so many things.  So many different points of view.  So many things that I buried because it just wasn't in the scope of where my life was.

So here's the problem.....what parts of myself that aren't 'natural' to me do I want to bring back and which parts are actually part of my sinful nature that needs to stay buried?

For example:  I always wanted to travel the US.  I liked working out side of the home. Chad didn't want me to work outside of the home and he couldn't have cared less about traveling. Now I am back on that path......it is sinful?  Absolutely not, it's just a different point of view.  I want to travel, Jason likes to travel.  To do that, we need to generate some 'play money'. Here's where I'm finding my 'middle ground'.  

I am all for working out side of the home.  (I'd love to work from home, but if that is to happen, God will need to provide the way).  However, in my past, when I worked out side the home, my home suffered.  I will not let that happen again.  I will not accept a job that is so strict that I have to make my family come 2nd.  To me, this is the best of both worlds.  I will not allow my family to suffer to afford "stuff".  When this starts to happen, I will be on the hunt for something that fits our family better.  This is like the old Nicole (wanting to work out of the home) meshed with the new Nicole (my family comes first).  

This is just one example of so many things changing in my life.  So many ways I am figuring out what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable.  Some things that have changed over the last several years in my life are here to stay, but some things that I thought were an absolute MUST, really aren't.  Just because Chad didn't care about traveling doesn't make it wrong that Jason does.  I was happy to stay around home, but I'm excited at the possibility of traveling and letting my children see more of what God has created.

So many things that I was passionate about may be changing and it's not a bad thing.

It's so easy to become judgemental when you get comfortable at a point in life.  If something works so wonderfully for you, you sometimes begin to feel that since your life is amazing that it must be the way God wants it........for you and everyone else.

This is so not the case!!!  I didn't realize how easy it was to write before Chad passed away.  My life was perfect and it was easy to give advice.....now it's all new.  It's a brand new learning experience.  I'm getting thrown out of my comfort zone, though I kinda like it.  I'm sort of excited about re-igniting some parts of me that I buried for the sake of family.  The basic truths that I wrote about are still the same, but so much is different.

And I'm thankful that Jason is so giving and cautious about how he deals with this transition of me.  I'm thankful that he is willing to discuss things that I'm not sure about and fully support me either way.  He absolutely challenges what I thought about so many things but the funny thing is that the girl I was coming out of high school probably would've agreed with him......

I adored the life that Chad and I created.  I wouldn't have changed it for anything.  I don't regret anything and I'd do it all over again....even knowing the outcome......but I have to move on.  I have to continue to move through this life and rebuild myself.

I've finally decided that I can be "Nicole" and still fully support Jason.  I can be "Me" and still let Jason have the final say.  It doesn't make me a doormat, it makes me a peacemaker....and that is a biblical principle that won't change. (Blessed are the peacemakers)

I'm excited to see where our lives go.  I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for us. I fully trust that wherever I end up, the Lord will be there first and for that I'll be forever grateful.  

One last thought, just because you've been in a content place for a while doesn't mean it is the only way.  It may be the best way for your family, at this point in time.  But in the blink of an eye, things can change and you may find yourself considering all of the things you thought were 'not for you'.  Don't look down on another person's position in life because it someday may be you.  The place you're in isn't necessarily the only place for you to follow God.....don't get in a rut and forget to ask for His direction.  Maybe where you are isn't necessarily where you need to be.  Maybe it is, but maybe it's not.  Be willing to get out of your comfort zone if that is what you are being called to do...........

Thank you, Jason, for lovingly challenging my comfort zone......I'm excited to see where the Lord leads us!

Recent Visitors

Challenging the status quo of modern youth ministry

Challenging the status quo of modern youth ministry
Watch it here for FREE!

Comment on my blog and receive a backlink on your blog!