****Most Importantly, please pray for my great Aunt Okhi. She suffered a brain hemorrhage and is in ICU back in GA. I am waiting for update from my Mom, but it really doesn't sound very good at all. My Uncle Junior (her husband) is in his mid-70's and is keeping vigil in the ICU waiting room, only about to see her 10 minute every hour. Please remember both of them in your prayers.****
Aaaaahhh, it is good to be back. Life has been busy here, so I haven't had time to post. Do you find that life is busier when you have your husband home for an extended period of time? I do. We get A LOT done, so it seems busier anyway. I have several posts that have been brewing in my mind. I will post those over the next week. For now, I thought I would update you on how things are going.
Nathan has been out of work for over a month now. You would think that I would be fretting, but I am not. We have had so much to do that I haven't had time to fret. Money is tight, but that isn't news to anyone right? We have learned to live on 60% of what Nathan was making. Honestly, I consider that an accomplishment instead of a burden. The less we can get by on, the less we need to bring home when God sends us out. That is a blessing. I have learned (very quickly) to buy groceries on less than $75 a week. Before your jaw drops because that seems like a lot, remember that we have seven people eating here. All but one of my babes are up to normal portions, so it is really like 6 adults and 1 child eating. We aren't doing a lot of fancy meals, but we are eating good, nutritional, home-cooked meals. We have cut our utility bills down by using less or opting for basic. I am not spending my days driving all over town and we are being more purposeful in our gas usage for the car. It is amazing the ways you can cut back when you apply your mind to you tasks.
I realized a little while ago that we hadn't bought clothes for our children in over a YEAR! Don't worry. They are clothed. We have just been blessed with hand-me-downs that have met ALL of our needs. The week after Nathan lost his job, I noticed that MaryEvelyn's tennis shoes were wearing thin. We were going to go and buy her some, but guess what showed up in a bag from one of Nathan's former co-workers that afternoon? Yep, the perfect size and perfect style for my little free-bird, MaryEvelyn. Can I just share with you how grateful I am for all of this. This isn't the first time this has happened. Seriously, we have had this type of thing happen EVERY TIME we have noticed need come up in the way of shoes or clothing for a solid YEAR or MORE. I am constantly reminded of Matthew 6:26:
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (ESV)
God has called us here. He has laid this path for us. He is providing even the clothes for my little ones as they need them.
Some may (I know that some DO) look at our life and think that our children suffer, because our wealth and our possessions are so few. However, if you talk to my children, they wouldn't have a CLUE what you would be speaking about. They are completely clueless to the world of material trappings. Even Graycen, at eight years old, has no idea what name brands are and I honestly believe they are better for it. There aren't hang-ups there. They don't have worry about finances. They know they are loved. They SEE love displayed. They feel love for others. For that, I honestly think they believe themselves to be among the "RICH". My prayer is that we can continue to nurture that in them and that, as they grow older, we will be able to continue to deflect any pressure to "keep up" with anyone. That is a futile effort that brings hollow reward and hefty debt. The land of DEBT is a place that I am BLESSED have been free of for a LONG time now and there are no fancy duds out there that are worth going back!
(Nathan with the kids in February after they presented him with the used bike they earned for his birthday. They hung "moving sale" signs all over for some missionary friends that were headed over seas.)
In other news, Nathan has continued to send out resumes. We know this process is long. We are eager to hear where the Lord is leading us, but we are enjoying the wait and praying for ALL of these places that we have sent resumes to. God will provide. Until then, we are loving our time together and spending a lot of time getting back to the simple fact of us. Our love has grown in these last ten years and it is MUCH stronger than ever. It is nice to have this time together to work side by side on projects, to laugh at each other's stupid jokes, and to just grow closer as we lean on the Lord together.
As always, we appreciate your prayers and can't wait to share the NEXT step of our journey with you!