There is something powerful in me that wants to hang onto the memories of my husband and I pinching pennies, taking turns with the one car we owned, and trying to pay all the bills.
Maybe it’s because part of me wants to remember how far we’ve come since then, not take things for granted today, maintain that attitude of gratitude. Maybe it’s because I want to remember how challenging things were so we don’t make the same mistakes again (always a real possibility!). Or maybe it’s because our marriage survived that tough time and in fact grew stronger because we didn’t turn on each other.
What I really think is the main reason deep down is how God used that time in our life to humble us with His grace, provision, definitely some strong discipline, and forgiveness. He showed us a much simpler way of living and how there is beauty and peace in small, simple things.
We were young, perhaps more foolish than we wanted to admit, and the keeping up with the Joneses (the poor Jones’s always get blamed for this!) mentality wasn’t working in our favor – we were paying the price and learning the hard way. However, it’s been a life lesson from God that has surely stayed with us over the years and for this reason, I pray that we never forget it.
God saves us in different ways over many different seasons in our lives. For our family, we had put a value on materialism that was inching God out of lives. Newer cars. Better clothes. Dinners out. Expensive vacations. Nicer furniture. We were living beyond our means and one can only live like that for so long before you recognize that instead of having control over the situation, the situation has control over you and you are a slave to it.
In the end, we recognized the problem, repented, and turned back to Him, slowly making the changes necessary to live a life that was simpler. We still make plenty of mistakes, but I’d like to think our hearts are in the right place now!
Here are three things we did (and discovered!) during that season of simpler living that we’ve tried to hang onto:
- We slowed down. This was true especially in the evenings when the weather was nice enough to go for evening walks. We would go for walks nearly every night as a family. A walk to the park. A walk to the grocery store so the kids could get a “free” cookie from the bakery. A walk around our apartment complex, and the whole time we were doing this walking, we were also talking. Talking about deep things that needed to be said. Laughing about something funny that happened that day. Sharing a vulnerable thought that needed prayer. This was a bonding time for our young family.
- We ate simpler. Instead of throwing the kids in the car and eating out at a restaurant or getting fast food, we placed the baby in the stroller and the other one in her little-motorized car and walked to the park with dinner we had made at home. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Chicken we had previously grilled for Oriental Chicken Salad or BBQ Chicken Wraps. This was also the experience that inspired me to start my food blog, Catz in the Kitchen, get my family back around the dinner table and spend some quality time with my husband.
- We saw (not just experienced, but purposefully recognized!) God’s provision. We were taken care of in every way possible. We had a nice little apartment. A working car. Happy children. Just “enough” food in the fridge and anything else you could think of “really needing” in life we had, like health insurance to cover sick kids, family that invited you over for a meal, a job that paid the bills.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.”
-2 Corinthians 9:8
When we look back over that time in our lives we’re really humbled by His grace. We remember how we felt and how challenging things could be, but despite the difficulties, mostly the memories are happy. God did that. He saved us from ourselves and gave us back a life that has proven priceless.
How has God saved you from yourself? Or perhaps…do you need to let Him?
Chels, Catz in the Kitchen
Chels is a born-again believer who dreams of living with all four seasons in Central Oregon. She’s a wife and stay at home mom to her four vivacious kiddos whom she home schools. When she’s not schooling or chasing after her munchkins, she enjoys reading, bubble baths, and finding clothing/kitchen treasure at thrift stores. But more than all of that, she finds refuge in her kitchen where she and her husband can be found cooking and baking up a storm for their family and friends. You can read more about her culinary endeavors at CatzintheKitchen.com.