….or, 31.29 months
….or, 2.40 years
….or, 2 years, 4 months and 20 days
But who’s counting?
Without question, Edward and I are filled with joy to be putting this agonizingly long chapter of our lives behind us, but there are parts of it that I walk away knowing they were some of the best years of our family’s history and growth.
If God had given us a sneak preview and told us that Edward would be without work for nearly 2 ½ years, I’m quite sure I would have experienced some severe anxiety and been tempted to doubt that God knew what He was doing.
But because God only lights our path one step at a time, it actually made it easier, not harder, to put our hope in Him each day – having ultimate confidence that He would keep His promise and take care of us and reward us for our faithfulness and trust.
And He did! It’s still remarkable to me that we were able to stretch my single income and our savings this long, all while faithfully tithing to our church and giving to other charities, and we’ve never missed a household payment. Sure, there are many things we’ve done without and our family savings account is way behind where it could have/should have been by now, but some of life’s best lessons came from this chapter, many I hope to carry into the next.
I learned that God has always got my back. God has a plan and it's always better than mine. And God's timing is perfect! People can say those things, and they can’t believe they mean it, but not until it’s really tested with life’s trials can you really know you meant it.
I learned there’s a lot I can live without. God knows, we didn’t live a lavish lifestyle before, but even things like going to the movies every Saturday. For four people it’s almost $80 dollars a trip, over $4000 a year. Although my teenagers may disagree, cutting back and only going to the movies once every few months didn’t cause any lasting psychological damage and it made the trip to the theatre that much more special.
I learned celebrations are richer without the presents. I suppose as adults, we all actually “know” that, but when we reinforce the opposite message with our actions, it’s hard to sell that message to our kids. Christmas and birthdays especially had probably gotten excessive, especially for the kids. But establishing a “one-gift” expectation really made you appreciate the value of that one gift and drew the focus back to the purpose of the celebration.
I learned that we have really good kids. Well, of course I already knew that, but they have been real troopers with all the things that we’ve had to cut back on and are more appreciative of the things we are still able to do and get. Today we took the kids to the movies for the first time in months and I think they thanked us four or five different times. They’ve grown a lot through this chapter, in more ways than one.
Edward and I were also very humbled by how incredible, generous, caring and thoughtful our family, friends and especially our Fair Oaks Church family are. Not that there was ever a doubt that those characteristics applied, but more, perhaps, that we were deserving recipients of the friendships, prayers and generosities extended. Edward and I are both introverts and pretty quiet people and I think we were a bit surprised that with all the many people who might need support (whether it be a well timed prayer or the delivery of a home cooked meal) that we would be on anyone's radar.
One of the things that I things that meant the most to me during this chapter, and that I will actually miss, was the low-hanging-fruit opportunities to witness to people asking how I could be so positive and full of joy and hope while watching my financial security and life savings evaporate before my eyes and not knowing when or if things would ever turn around. Talking about my security being in God’s sovereign will for my life and knowing that things would turn around just in time – God’s time – and how much God was blessing our lives in other ways, were a great window of opportunity.
Now, as we anticipate what the next chapter holds for the Yost family, I am grateful for the lessons learned over the last 2 ½ years and can’t wait to see how God is going to use us and what He is going to teach us next.