“Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?”
My boys responded with the teenage eye roll.
Maybe I tend toward the melodramatic, but hey, a girl’s gotta express all that excitement.
This morning it was over the working burner in my stove.
Time again to be vulnerable about a “private” subject. Since 2013 I shared here about losing weight inside and out. I’ve mentioned periodically our struggle with money.
There it is. The taboo word. Money.
Always paired with the word struggle.
But as I’ve lost weight Jerry and I have also fought to lose the poverty mentality. The attitude that money is always pain and struggle and worry. That there won’t be enough.
I admitted last week that we had some really hard times in the years surrounding Jerry’s near death, times when I couldn’t get groceries. During this season my stove went out. We found a free one on Craig’s list, but the front glass was broken in the oven. Soon after the main burner of the stove started working on only one setting: high.
This morning I put turkey bacon in my skillet and used my favorite burner on medium. MEDIUM! Hallelujah. See, little by little, (and sometimes huge project by huge project), the nagging things that have made me feel pushed down are being fixed, replaced, repainted, re-purposed.
It’s amazing what a new oven door or fresh coat of paint or new fabric on old pillows does to that weary, poverty mindset.
Yesterday we got new carpet. NEW CARPET throughout downstairs. The old carpet was original to the house 30 years ago. And I always hated the color. LOL.
Today? New shelves for the freezer. After the old ones broke I was determined to not be angry every time something fell out. It took a while to afford replacements, but thanks to that $75 needed, this is no longer an issue.
A friend tells me, “inch by inch it is a cinch.”
And it’s true. A little effort and money here. A little more there. It’s getting done. The upgrades long overdue in my home are actually happening.
The temptation has been to not even start these home projects. There are many, and we are weary. To be candid the first project was thrust upon us, and we had no choice.
But over the last three months much has been accomplished, and I have a peace about my home that is natural. It’s a peace I fought for, sometimes several times a day, when the need for repairs or the lack of beauty threatened to send me into despair.
During those lean years I changed patterns in how I lived, hanging out in rooms that needed less work so I didn’t get pulled down by the bad carpet or old paint. I cut fresh roses and brought them in from outside or made cloth napkins from old fabric to add beauty to each day. I lit a candle. Played some Beethoven. Used the pretty dishes. Cleaned out clutter.
Tried to give the family good memories by working hard to make a big meal even when I felt overwhelmed with the improvisation of cooking without a trip to the store.
We learned a lot in those years. The kids don’t take a gift for granted. Their hearts are tender when they see a need. They work hard. (They have some wounds, too, which I ask my Lord to heal.)
I learned to pray hard. That even in the worst of times I could find something to share with someone else. To find joy in little things, like those 1,000 gratitudes I wrote in marker on my ugly wall. (By the way, it took about seven coats of paint to cover that!)
I learned to treasure the gift of laughter, of a peaceful home life, of friendship and walks in the sunshine.
The best things in life really can’t be bought.
I learned that God cares about little things. Like when I craved mangos in my weight loss shakes, but couldn’t afford them. I prayed for them and was given a whole flat that were on the verge of being too ripe. I cut those mangos up, froze them, and enjoyed them in my shakes for weeks!
My journey has not been as intense as others. A friend of mine went without food for some time as did her son. Both left the bag of a few cookies on the counter for the other to eat, choosing hunger over taking the last bit of food. I haven’t been hungry like that. But my own journey was significant for me. I fought hard to find joy and to rise above the broken things and broken places in my home and in my heart. Sometimes I cried. Many times I found victory after the tears.
As we’ve worked together in my home I’ve learned new skills like caulking, painting, and using a power tool. This knowledge also helps me rise above my circumstances to create the beauty I crave in my home.
Today I am grateful.
For the lessons learned.
For feeling like I can breathe.
For the fact that I shopped for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal without worrying if I would be able to pay for what I need.
I’m grateful for a new fence, new carpet, painted walls, working burners, shelves, and oven fronts. For a new-to-me couch and end tables. For pillows a friend and I sewed that spruced up furniture I already had. For new dish clothes and new shoes.
I’m grateful for children who dug out old fence and scrapped off old wall paper and filled in holes in sheet rock. For a friend who contributed resources and taught us and for other friends who gave of their time and skills. For a husband who refused to abandon me to finishing projects even when he was bone tired from an eleven hour shift at work. Who fixed my stove burner and installed that new oven door. Who, with our son, helped hang shelves.
I’m grateful for a God who is returning to us the things stolen during the hard season. For a God who cared even about the perfect painting to set the theme for my remodeled room and the 50% off candles that tied the colors of the new sectional together with the blues and greens of the walls.
For a God who is teaching Jerry and me to live outside of the fear of not having enough and to trust Him as He teaches our hands to create the provision we need.
All our circumstances have not changed. But we are moving into a new season. We are dropping the weight of a poverty mindset.
We are learning a new place of freedom.
How about you, my friend? What’s your relationship with money? Is it friend or foe? Is there stuff at your house that drives you to despair? If so, what CAN you change? You might not be able to buy new carpet, but how about covering some old pillows or cleaning out a clutter pile?
If you’ve never had old carpet, old furniture, or old paint, have you realized what a gift that is? What about the intangibles like love and joy and peace?
May the God of all fill your (and mine!) heart to overflowing with gratitude and joy.
May He empower us all to lose the weight of the money issue and embrace the truth that He has provided and will continue to do so.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
Until next time,
Tagged: change, freedom, hope, joy, losing the weight of poverty thinkin, losing weight inside and out, money, overcoming, painting, poverty mindset, Remodeling, sewing, Thanksgiving
Really happy for you! Your home looks beautiful.
We’re in a stressful lean time. I have to keep reminding myself of the blessings that surround me, even things we take for granted like indoor plumbing and clean drinking water, things that millions long for. The other thing I’m learning is to rest and trust that God will get us through this. He knows our needs. Last month He provided for us by an unexpected cheque from our insurance company, more than twice what they had told us they would pay. I think He loves to surprise us. 🙂
Thank you so much! What a beautiful thing–that extra cheque! Praise Him! I pray that you’ll have many more good surprises that helps you hang on as you get past this lean time. I know how hard those are, but it sounds like you are digging in and learning how faithful He is in the midst of this situation. Hugs!
Oh Paula, we have so much in common! I’m still realizing how much of an impact those years of financial stress we experienced made on me. It’s like a weird kind of PTSD. Today I took my youngest to the store and bought him shoes, socks, shirts, and jeans… because I COULD. Thankful for work, for knowing God brings us through those tight seasons, and for learning not to judge the family who needs help in the lean times, because I’ve been there. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Enjoy that squishy carpet!
Yes. I’ve experienced much judgement. People who haven’t walked our road can’t understand. That’s another good lesson learned, isn’t it? And the impact does go deeper than other people can understand and probably deeper than we often understand ourselves. It made me smile so big to think of you shopping with your son! What joy!! You are a blessing, Niki!
I enjoyed reading your post, Paula. I’m so glad that God has given you such blessings. Hope to see you soon. Miss you.
Miss you too sweet Bonnie! thank you for sharing in my joy. ;o)
Wonderful catch up, always makes me feel we are having tea in your living room. The pictures are great, but, I would love to be there and rejoice with you in person.
Oh how I wish you could!! Come visit. Who knows we may even update the bathrooms by the time you come so you can use a new shower. lol
What encouragement. Praise God for His faithfulness!
Thank you Davalynn. Yes. God is faithful!!
You brought back a memory from years ago: out of work, no food in the cupboards, a young wife, a younger baby, Sunday evening “dinner” a distant and fond memory. And I went into the kitchen to rustle – and scraped the few remaining bits together – a couple of slices of bread, a small tomato, a scraping of butter (possible a few other bits – memory on details is hazy). Because The Memory if of a dish from the oven which had no right to taste even “bland” – but which tasted scrummy, yummy and ever so filling. And the oddest thing? In more prosperous years I have never been able to come close to recreating that meal that evening in that home so many years ago.
Now that God and me are together I look back and say Thank You! Back on that day in that house before God and me – I was still filled with wonder!
I love this post – and I love you for prompting that really precious memory!
His provision and grace. He truly cares about the little things . . . and that’s the kind of thing that doesn’t seem little at all when we’re walking through it.
Paula my Internet is sporadic where we are at. I wanted to let you know how humbled I was at this post of yours. Wow sharing your personal life is hard sometimes. I am thankful that you do. It helps is to see that others have a rough life at times and struggle as well. Heck I was so poor growing up we played with the dust in the window that fell through the sunlight. I can remember counting pennies to get a can of corn for 14 cents. You could set a bowling ball in our living room and it would roll out the back door lol. All kidding aside. Most of all I appreciate your gratitude for what God had done for you and your family. You are truly thankful. I am as well. This humbles me.
Blessings to you and Jerry always
Ah, Tom. I miss all those Okie sayings . . . People in Colorado don’t have nearly the fun with expression that we did back home. Thanks for your kind words. I am truly thankful. God is doing some precious things for us . . .
Everything looks beautiful. 🙂
Thanks, Rebekah. I’m so intensely grateful.
Going without certainly makes you appreciate it when times are better. Glad to see things are looking up.