Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Beautiful Mess

From January 1, 2014:

I am feeling melancholy. By definition, there is no obvious cause for this feeling of sadness. Perhaps it is the result of reading a friend's post about becoming a widow last week. It was truly sad but I'm not sure it is the cause of this lingering sadness. My life at this point could even garner proof for the source of my feelings. That is if you don't look beyond the surface. Yes, we have hit hard times and yes, we have been in a financially depressed state for almost 5 years. Despite that, we have our home and continue to meet our mortgage obligations, we have food, we have clothes to wear,  we are more often than not healthy and we are still an intact family. I would say, that despite all our trials and difficulties, we are still very blessed.

Hindsight is always 20/20. If my 20 year old self could know the current outcome of my decisions, I doubt I would have made many of the decisions that brought me to this place. I could avoid the college debt and have picked a vocation. I haven't used my degree yet. Most of the job skills I possess don't require me to have a college degree. I could have chosen a more appropriate degree, maybe getting one in education. I could have been more materialistic and married for wealth instead of for love. I could have put off the physical deterioration into which pregnancy and child birth catapulted me. My husband and I could have accepted the job offer that would have moved us halfway across the country and away from every support person we knew.

Hindsight may be 20/20, but life isn't a sterile lab. If I had made all the "right" choices, I would have missed my partner in life. We would never have created 3 adorably challenging humans. I would be very superficial without any of the roots I have been forced to develop. My friends and family may look at my life, shake their head and say all the "if only's" that they want. I would not be the woman of character that I am today if I had not made some of the "mistakes" that I have made in my life. My challenges have forced me to dig down deeper, to hold on to the things in my life that matter: my faith, my marriage and my family. I am thankful that we do not see the future with 20/20 vision because I am not certain that I would have been brave enough to make the decisions that led me to this place.We have had some lean years, but that has only forced us to be grateful for what we do have.

This is the first year that we didn't spend money on gifts. As a result, I got to see my 7 year old create gifts for her family that were filled with thoughtfulness and love. I received the most adorably "simple" jewelry stand from my 5 year old. He and his dad created it with two pieces of wood, a handful of nails, some staples and red and gold craft paint. My boy received a life experience when he hit his poor little hand with the hammer, but he also had the satisfaction of creating something for his mom. My 9 year old amazed me with her sewing skills. I would have missed all of these blessings if we had just bought gifts. The funny thing is, I don't think anyone believed me when I said we were okay with not spending money on gifts.

My prayer and fervent wish is that we could move beyond our current challenges. I am ready for a season of growth and abundance. Even so, when that season of life comes to us again, I hope that I don't loose sight of the wisdom and lessons I have learned during our lean winter-like years.

Trite as it may seem, the cure for feelings of melancholy is counting your blessings*.

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep,
I count my blessings instead of sheep and
I fall asleep counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small, 
I think of when I had none at all and
I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery
and I picture curly heads and
one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.

If you're worried and you can't sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings."

*This is not a medical statement, if you are feeling melancholy, depressed, in crisis or suicidal, please seek out the advice of a medical or mental health professional. You can also contact the national crisis lifeline or a local Oregon hotline.
If your

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