|On our way to a camping trip in December 2015|
I've had multiple conversations with my husband, friends, and family about the struggles of life in the western world. Some may label these "first-world problems", but in my situation (and in the lives of some of my friends), they can feel very real and weigh down on us. We work the 9-5 just to cover the bills. We struggle to make the rent every week. We try to pay off debt. We want to have go out to eat and go on nice holidays, but the budget limits us. We see others buying houses and new cars and wonder how on earth we could ever "make it" there. We cannot fathom reaching the world's "standards" without working 24/7 and running ourselves ragged, not to mention missing out on quality time with friends and family.
Now, all of these examples are not necessarily the entire reality for me or for any of my family and friends; but some of these have been my reality, and I'm actually not ashamed of it. Shame can very easily be insinuated toward adults who already have one (or more) child but are still renting, still driving an old car (and certainly don't own a second car), and who don't seem to have it all or do all the "cool" things. I have to say, here and now, I am not ashamed of living in a rental home. I am not ashamed of driving my 2003 car. I am definitely not ashamed of having had one child during one of the most difficult seasons of my life. And I am most certainly not ashamed of the life that I CHOOSE to live.
|Our fourth house in less than 3 years! Absolutely no frills, but we made it into a home|
Between Andre and I, we work 6 days a week. With a live-in babysitter (shout-out to our sister Nataly!!) we could, on a practical and logistical level, quite easily both work full-time in order to save more, live in a newer home, buy a new car, travel, maybe even buy a house, and do/buy any number of things that the world around us tries to convince us we "need" to do/buy. However; we have decided that the most important thing to us is our family - to make sure we prioritise time together with our daughter instead of being consumed by work and making money, etc.
And the reason we can so confidently make this decision, without concern for our financial future or living arrangements?
We have HOPE that life will not always be like this. One day there will be a different life; an eternal life where everyone is welcome no matter of their standing in this world today; a life in which there is no pain, struggle, or suffering... but rather, absolute JOY.
|Our fifth house in just over 4 years|
In the Bible, in Isaiah chapter 65, we get a glimpse of what is to come in this new life. I've included the whole passage here so you can see the whole context, but I will comment further below.
17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people.
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat;
for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and my elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble;
for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them."
Verse 17 speaks of the NEW heavens and earth, and that we won't remember the old heavens and earth (the world we live in today) - this encourages me so much to know that the struggles I experience today won't even be remembered in the future!
Verses 21 and 22 were the ones that stood out to me, on this subject of living situations and finances (I'll wait while you go back and read them again!). This promise that we will have a simple life - to build a house and live there; to plant food and eat it; to live long and to enjoy the work that we have accomplished... SO MUCH HOPE that we won't always feel the pressure to work more and earn more and have more!!
|I have so much to be thankful for, and simple moments like these hit the top of the list!|
I am so thankful to believe in a God Who promises a life that will be full of joy forever. The things I have and do now won't last forever anyway, so really, at the end of the day, if I need to rent for my whole life, who cares? If I never travel to every country on the planet, what will it matter? Yes, I need to be wise with what I have (and to be thankful for it, too!), and I am constantly striving to live well and use wisdom in my decision-making. But I am so thankful that this isn't all there is - an eternal, joyful, simple life is waiting for me!