Sunday, March 22, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Sometimes you turn around and discover that someone has already made the lemonade for you.

It's true.

Let me explain. This year has been an interesting one so far, to say the least. Since January we've been sharing custody of my car with the mechanic. Basically, he gets it on the weekends and charges us big bucks to fix it, we bring it home, something else goes wrong, and he gets it back the following weekend. We've managed to hold onto it for the last two weeks though, so please keep your fingers crossed.

Then our camera got lost/stolen. So, we had to replace it and since we were already spending money on one, it made sense to upgrade a bit. More cash out the door.

Then last week out of nowhere, our microwave lost the ability to produce heat. The light still turned on, the turntable still turned, and it still hummed, but no cooking took place whatsoever. So, we had to buy a new one.

Remember how we're only halfway through March? And I don't know about you, but in light of the economy, we've really been trying to cut back lately.

We were joking about what else could possibly go wrong early last week. Guess what happened on Thursday?

HH became unemployed.

And I'm not sure I've ever felt more blessed.

He's an auditor and worked for one of the Big 4 Firms, so way back when, this wasn't something we even considered a possibility. He's a very smart guy and a good worker and has two great degrees from one of the top accounting schools in the country. And auditing isn't something you can give over to a computer. So, it seemed very stable. I know that even with all those factors, sometimes people still lose their jobs, but it just didn't seem like something that would ever happent o us. Then all the chaos hit last fall and there were a couple of rounds of layoffs. But even then, we weren't really worried because he had several jobs with different clients going on and they would have been imbeciles to have let him go. But things kept tanking and they kept losing clients, so a couple months ago he came home and told me that he might get laid off in the spring.

That's blessing #1: Even though we didn't know for sure this would happen, we knew it was a possibility. So, we made a plan and prepared for it mentally. When he came home Wednesday night and told me he was pretty certain he was getting laid off the next day, it was a shock, but we knew we'd be okay because we'd already thought everything through.

#2 (These aren't in any particular order): And then a month or so ago I realized all of the things that have happened over the last few years (that's right, Someone has been watching over us and preparing us for this for at least that long). When we first came out here, we were going to buy a house, but for a number of reasons we didn't feel good about that and opted to rent instead. We have been grateful for that a million times over since we would have right when the homes were selling for the most and we would have lost so much. But now we're really grateful because we have no mortgage to worry about or house to sell.

#3: It's a long story but I actually wrote up the contract for our current lease. I wrote it when we thought we'd be buying a home, so I intentionally made it easy for us to get out of (i.e. 30 days notice). So, we don't have to worry about our rent contract.

#4: A little over a year ago, we decided to really get our finances in order and keep a good budget. We were able to pay off both of our cars and save up a decent amount of money. We were hoping to put that toward a down payment on a house, but now it means that we don't have to stress over moving costs.

#5: I hate going to the doctor. But for some reason, over the last few months, I found myself taking care of some medical issues I've been having. We do have severance and we expect to be in a new job before it runs out, but even so, I don't have to stress about these things if we don't have such great insurance for a while.

#6: I married into a great family. They're just good people. And they have an apartment in their basement that they usually rent, but happens to be empty. And they are kind enough to allow us to stay there while we figure things out.

#7: And did I mention that they are good people? So, I don't have to be stressed about living under the same roof as my in-laws.

#8: We thought we were going to move last fall, so over the summer we did most of the stuff we wanted to do while living here in New England. So, we won't be leaving with regrets.

#9: I also got rid of a bunch of stuff and packed up a bunch of stuff in preparation for that "move".

#10: Remember all those expenses I listed at the beginning? At first I was kind of upset about them, but then I realized that those are all the kind of things that "just happen" and even though we still have money coming in, spending money like that now would be a lot more painful.

#11: About 6 months ago, I got the bug to start some food storage. We don't have a ton (and we're not in any danger of starving), but it's nice to already have a lot of food on hand so we won't have to buy much more than perishables before we go.

See what I mean about having the lemonade already made for me? Those aren't even all of the blessings that we've had and I expect we'll continue to discover more as we go. Basically, we feel like we couldn't be in any better circumstances for something like this to have happened.

If I would have made this lemonade for myself, I probably would have added a lot more sugar to make it sweet. But, like I'm always telling Sweet P and Little M, you really shouldn't have too much sugar, it's not good for you. It's okay for the lemonade to be a little tart. It's healthier. If my life had all the "sugar" I wanted to put in it, I wouldn't grow much. And I wouldn't appreciate the sweetness either. And the thing about lemonade is, it's always really tasty. And if Someone who loves me has already made it for me... well, what can I feel but immense gratitude?

Have you ever made lemonade by hand? It's hard!

I am so overwhelmingly grateful for the many tender mercies of my loving Heavenly Father. Sometimes I feel more like an only child than just one of countless others. I am truly amazed at how much He is involved in the minute details of my life. How He has softened this blow so tremendously that what I mostly feel is an outpouring of love and support from Him. And I wish I could feel that I deserve all of it, but I don't. Yet He still continues to bless me and to love me and to let me know that not only does He want me to be happy, but that He can provide a way for me to have abiding joy even in the midst of troubles.

And what do I have to offer Him in return? Not much. But I'm trying. And I feel that sharing this with all of you is one way I can do that. Although, I am sure that I have benefited the most from writing all of this down and reviewing all these blessings again. See? The list just keeps on growing.

We will be moving across the country pretty much as soon as we can, so the next few weeks promise to be hectic. If any of you would like to guest blog, I'm sure I'll have weeks where it will be even more appreciated than an average week. But don't feel pressure. The Lord has blessed me even in this point. I got slammed with a bunch of ideas and actually started 3 or 4 posts for future dates. However, I won't complain if you do have something to share. Just remember to leave a comment here telling me if you've emailed me at abidingjoyblog@gmail.com. Thanks!

9 comments:

Markell said...

I'm sorry to hear of your hubby's unemployment. I know how difficult that is. You've got a great attitude! It helps so much when we can look and find those tender mercies.

I know the Lord has helped prepare our family for what we're going through right now. It's not what I would choose for myself, but He knows what we need and what we can handle. I've been so grateful for the wonderful blessings we have been given lately. The simple little things that I used to take for granted.

You're in our prayers.

Jennifer said...

You have such a positive outlook on a negative situation. You really are an inspiration. I am also super excited that you're going to be so close, so I guess this is a doubly special blessing for me!

Nikki said...

Cheryl, that is a tough situation. I'll be thinking about you guys. Thanks for sharing the blessings!

Spencer and Kimberly said...

I am so sorry to hear about losing your job! Thanks for sharing your great outlook on it. I think it's hard in that situation to see the good and it helps others to see your example. Good luck with the move and everything that goes along with that.

Melissa said...

Wow! Seeing the blessings and how you have been prepared for them makes going through 'tart' times so much better. It isn't easy to remain positive in certain situation, but I believe you have the right attitude. We will be praying for you family.
There's always Arkansas...
:-)

Meg said...

Oh my gosh, I'm having an emotional seizure! it's this strange mix of shock/"how could that happen?!"/"the insanity of it all" and excited/freaked out/totally stoked to be close to you feelings.

AHHHHHHH!!!!! I love you.

Jen said...

I haven't checked this blog in a while, and I always feel like I had been missing something important when I do. . . like this post!

I was sitting next to Eric in the car a week and a half ago when your HH called him to tell him the news. Initially, I felt shock and concern. In the course of their conversation, though, I realized that you (meaning you and HH) were prepared for it and already had a plan. And, my concern diminished. You are definitely making lemonade out of lemons! We'll all experience adversity at one time or another; the important thing is how we deal with it.

I am super excited to have you four that much closer! Does HH want to look for jobs in the Bay? :)

Stephen and Deon said...

I am blown away by everything, but obviously you were being led in the right direction for a reason.

Thank goodness for good guidance . . . and good family.

I hope everything goes well in UT. Please keep us posted!!!

Susan said...

Now I feel the fool for leaving the "I'm so excited for you guys!" comment on your other blog.

You have such a great outlook and are so upbeat about this all. It sounds like Heavenly Father is really watching out for you and blessing you in your time of need. What an amazing wife and mommy you are! And on top of it all you recognized the promptings and followed through. I don't know that I would have done that. We love you guys and hope that the move goes well. :) Hugs!