I feel restless. I toss and I turn and sometimes I have so much energy that I can’t sleep and other times, I feel like I am so overwhelmed by fatigue that even to breathe takes too much effort. Extended traveling is hard, especially when it has been filled by so many meetings and gatherings with people (good meetings and gatherings, but still a lot). We are on the verge of change. The kind of change that I cannot comprehend quite yet. In less than a week we will be on the East coast, house hunting. This will be our first house; a place in life that I never thought we would finally be at. I am so excited and also scared, but mostly expectant. I feel like I can finally start to dream about careers and travel and decorating a home and having a yard and all of these tiny details that I never felt safe to dream about, because although NYC was home and wonderful, it had some not so wonderful sides as well.
For the last five and a half years, we have been living in survival mode. When I say survival mode, I don’t mean that we weren’t enjoying life or living well…I just mean that financially, we were having our basic needs met (which is all we really need) without room for anything extra. Sometimes we didn’t have any money for food and yet, we were always taken care of. One time that stands out in my mind above all others….we were literally staring at our empty cabinets and refrigerator, wondering how we were going to feed the kids that week when the delivery man dropped a huge box off at our door. A supporter had sent a box filled to the brim with food! We whooped in excitement and called the supporter letting them know how monumental their gift was.
Life has been so strange. I look back and I wonder how we made it through years of never having quite enough money. Every month we had to decide what was absolutely essential and what was not; maybe that meant no razors, no shampoo (we started saving hotel shampoos and conditioners), no deodorant, and the idea of being able to make meals every day wasn’t a reality. Our first year there, we started off with $35 a week for groceries and by our final year (with two kids eating adult sized portions), we were up to a recommended $60 per week (although we often did $70, pulling out of other categories). A “thrifty” food plan for a family of four (according to USA Today) is $146 a week, which always made me smile and tell Gabe that we were ultra thrifty and doing just fine. But, when we hosted friends, it was always exciting because I knew I could make a big meal for them, and I love to cook! All of this to say that if something happened, like an unexpected hospital bill or a car repair or we needed extra money to visit family…we didn’t have the money, but somehow, it always showed up.
I think, in those moments, we realized that we were going to be taken care of, no matter what. I have honestly never felt fearful financially, minus one or two times. I have seen God come through for us time and time again and I am so thankful for the years we have spent being completely dependent on Him. In so many ways, He has changed my expectations, my desires, my needs, and He has certainly helped me fight my human tendency to entitlement…and I am so grateful, because I know who I am without Him and it’s not the kind of person I desire to be.
So, Philadelphia. It’s going to be hard and lonely at first, but also exciting and full of “firsts” for us. Like, we have our first ever Zoo season pass (gifted by our brother and sister-in-law), our first house, our first time being able to semi-afford where we live. Things will still be tight but not as tight. I finally feel like I can start preparing to get my degree in personal training, nutrition, and being a health coach. And Gabe can finally start deciding if he actually wants that EMT degree he’s been dreaming of. Olivia will be able to start gymnastics again and hopefully begin her own journey of making friends and we’ll be able to let Leif pick an activity too and ahh, it’s all so exciting. I can’t wait!
I am so grateful. I am so grateful to have my crazy family…these people who I get to do life with. I am so grateful that when something means anything to me, it’s important to them too.