Today’s blog post is a bit different from most. Because I’m a visual person (and this is an interior decorating blog) I generally like to fill blog posts with lots of pictures. But not today. Today I just want to write what’s on my heart.
It’s no secret that I’m doing my condo remodel/decorating on a very tight budget. And while some people decorate on a tight budget simply because they enjoy it, that’s not quite the case with me. Oh sure, I’ve come to love hunting for bargains, but the fact is, I started doing this out of necessity.
The past 14 months have been some of the hardest of my life. But interestingly, they’ve also been some of the most wonderful. It’s as if Charles Dickens’ classic words “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” were written specifically as a narrative for the last year in our lives.
It has been a year filled with joblessness and medical problems for Matt, a year of me learning how to truly be a “helpmate” for my husband (which does NOT come naturally for me), and a year of truly…TRULY…learning to rely on God to meet our needs. It has been difficult, yet wonderful…agonizing, yet joyful…painful, yet extraordinary.
In the beginning, it got to me more than just a little bit. I’d work with clients who seemingly had endless piles of cash to spend on their homes, and then I’d look in my wallet and see that I had MAYBE $20 to “splurge” on something for my own home. Then, inevitably, a very tearful pity party would ensue.
But in the past few months, I’ve really tried to focus more on the positive. I’ve learned to be thankful for what I have (rather than being frustrated with what I don’t have). I’m thankful that God has given me the creativity, the know-how, and the desire to make and create things myself (rather than having to rely on others to do things for me). I’m thankful that I have a husband who, even though he can’t help me with the condo because of his physical disabilities, is absolutely a gift from God–my biggest cheerleader, my biggest supporter, my biggest encourager. I’m thankful that Matt and I don’t have even one single credit card, and we pay for everything in cash as we go along.
I could go on and on, but the point is that I’m just THANKFUL.
I look at my little condo today, and see how the remodel is progressing, and it just makes my heart sing. Sure, it’s taken a lot longer than I had hoped or had ever imagined, but I love knowing that the progress was done by my hands, the design came from my imagination, and that everything I’ve purchased for my condo belongs to us, and not a bank or credit card company.
Every time I’m scouring the stores for treasures, and I find a bargain that would be perfect for my condo, I feel like it’s a little gift from God–my wonderfully perfect Heavenly Father who loves to give gifts to his children even more than my own father loved to surprise me with little gifts that would make my eyes light up. Every time I come across one of these “gifts”, I can just picture God in my mind, with a glint in his eye and a smile on his face, because he knows he’s just made his little girl’s eyes light up.
So why am I telling you this?
Because I know times are tough right now for many people. I know there may be some of you who read this blog and think to yourself, “Wow, it must be nice to have the money to remodel. I wish I had that.” Believe me, I know how that feels. It can be discouraging, and the last thing I want people to feel when reading my blog is discouragement.
But I also want to encourage you to be thankful. No matter where you are in life right now–whether you are the owner of a huge corporation with piles of money in the bank at your disposal, or whether you’re struggling with unemployment and wondering how you’re going to pay next month’s mortgage or rent, or whether you’re some place in between–a thankful heart is a powerful thing in life.
This isn’t a lesson I have completely mastered. It’s a lesson I’m still learning day by day.
I hope each of you has a wonderfully blessed weekend, and I’ll be back Monday to show you the latest on my kitchen/eating area “budget” design!
Funny story: I was sitting here writing this blog post, just so blessed by God’s goodness and faithfulness, with tears in my eyes. Matt looked up at me and said, “Kristi, are you crying!?” I said, “Yes, I’m writing my blog post for today.” He responded (with a sympathetic tone in his voice), “Oh, what happened? Did a lampshade die?” 😀 I’m thankful that I have a husband who makes me laugh…continually…every day.