…that is what I feel like doing. Shouting out with pure joy! Total amazement! A heart FULL of Gratitude!
Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you!
Bear with me as I need to share three seemingly individual events which end up linking together and producing my joy.
For most of 2014 I was searching for my next job. Not sure what I wanted to do, or how to work it into my “mom” schedule, I kept wondering what I was supposed to “do” with my life. Six years prior to this, I stopped working full-time as a corporate trainer and dove into full-time motherhood. While I realized how lucky we were financially that I could make this choice, I was shocked how much more difficult full-time motherhood was than my office job! Most of the daily tasks were not as hard but the endlessness of this-and-that always needing to get done was exhausting. (Many of you reading this know exactly what I mean!) While I believe motherhood is one of the most critical jobs women can do, an internal nagging would not leave me alone . What did I want to “do” with my life? How could I set a better example for my children? Do I need to work outside of the home to feel fulfilled? Was I already “doing” enough? Did I just need to relax and accept this is where I am supposed to pour my energy? These questions kept coming up and I could not find answers. Eventually I found part-time work that gave me an outlet for some of my focus and energy. As I grew more efficient at this job, the demand for my time also grew. As the hours started causing more stress for my entire family, we re-evaluated and decided the “extra” pay was not sufficient to suffer through the stress. I quit.
But the questions didn’t go away. I kept searching for meaning. My husband, while supportive of my personal exploration, was also frustrated. He tried to balance his patience with exasperation to just “do” something, and bring in some money. I understood where he was coming from yet we were fortunate surviving on his income. Finding deeper meaning and purpose was just as important to me as having more money was important to him. We had many discussions on the topic and at some point I mentally chalked up our differences as a typical male vs. female issue.
Then, in January 2015, while catching up with a girlfriend after the holidays, I was whining about this very subject. I confided I had even been praying to God, asking, “What do you want me to do?” Afraid I had already missed His signs, I joked to my friend, “He is going to have to hit me over the head so I actually get His message!”
At that very moment, I received a text message about a part-time teaching job I had applied for over six months ago. It was working with adults who wanted to earn their high school diploma. A hiring freeze was put into place just after I applied. Now that was being lifted and interviews were being scheduled. My clever girlfriend pointed out, “You just got hit over the head with His message.” I eagerly completed the paperwork process, had an interview and was discouraged to learn though I got the job, it could take 6-8 weeks to process everything in the system. Talk about air gushing out of my balloon! I got the job! Yay! But I don’t know when I start. Oh. The clock started ticking toward the end of February. My first day of work ended up being in the middle of April.
Now for the second event, I need to back up even farther. I purposely chose the word “confided”above because the fact that I would be praying for guidance and then share that openly with another person is new for me. Until 5 years ago, I was not very religious. This is an additional aspect of my life I have been questioning as long as I can remember! There is a lot I hope to share about this in future posts, but for now, the background is basically: religion has been a source of confusion for me. After my parents divorced, my father grew in his Judaic faith. My mother chose to go back to her Protestant roots. All I knew as a little girl was I was uncomfortable in either setting. I ended up marrying a Catholic, agreeing to raise my children in the faith and figured I’d have my personal issues worked out by the time kids came along. Life doesn’t go as smoothly as we plan, does it? My nagging internal voice had been piping up about religion again when a new friend, a mom of a fellow kindergartener to my youngest son, invited me to join a women’s Bible study. I took a deep breath and told myself it was time to learn. I’d love to say since that moment my life has been full of clear meaning and peace. Of course not! Moments of clarity and peace have come but so have many more questions and wondering.
The third event takes us back to finances. I kept hearing a radio advertisement for refinancing home mortgages. Since we had just done that a year ago, I didn’t think it was necessary to do it again so soon. So why did my nagging voice keep speaking up whenever I heard that ad? After months of brushing it off, one morning in the middle of April, I called. By the end of the following day, we were in the process of re-financing again and would knock off $200 per month on our payments. I could not believe it! That seemed too good to be true! During the big paperwork process, we hit a new snag where we had to provide extra documentation which was not needed the first time. We got it all sorted out and the final signing of documents happened two weeks later than planned.
Which brings us to last week. On May 8th my husband and I signed for our new mortgage. We are tickled with the new monthly savings. The very next day, my first paycheck was deposited. I called my husband to share the good news (since he had been more focused on the money than I!). When I told him the amount of my new paycheck, all he could say was, “God really loves us. He really, really loves us.” Turns out my paycheck matched a request my husband had given me long ago in frustration. As he pushed me to find a job, when I was focused on finding meaning, I asked how much $ would make him happy? His answer was, “The mortgage payment. If you could cover that, we could stash a bit into savings, I’d be so happy.” My new paycheck amount is just $40 over our new mortgage payment! Can you believe that? How can those two amount match up so closely? Who could orchestrate such a thing?
God! God can do that. He can make these totally seemingly random events in my life come together and make sense.
In fact, I think He made sure they happened at the same time in order to hit me over the head again with His message! He knows I need it delivered that way!
I’ve been told many times that God loves me. God wants good things for me. For years those were just words. Now, as my new job starts to payoff financially (hubby is happy) as well as purposely (I’m happy), I actually feel God’s love for me. And it feels good! So much so, I want to shout from the roof top! “God is good! God does love us all!” (I even think He loves me so much, He saw to it that I have the extra $40 dollars per paycheck to “splurge” here and there on myself! Or He knows another area where we will need that money is going to pop up!)
I had heard other people share stories how they believed God touched them. Now it is happening to me. Me! The little girl who was so uncomfortable with religion. Crazy. I am growing more and more comfortable sharing my belief in an amazing God.
This weeks For Getting FULL of Gratitude questions:
Remember a time when individual events in your life seemed to come together?
When was the last time it just seemed like “everything worked out perfectly?”
What, or who, do you believe made this possible?
With a heart FULL of Gratitude,