Don't wait to be joyful and content.
I can't wait for more money, more time, or an easier life. I can't wait for my house to be perfectly cleaned, or for everything to be crossed off of my to-do list before I decide to be happy. The time to be content is right now, wherever I am and whatever is happening. I can't keep dreading what is coming "tomorrow" and waiting until "tomorrow" looks comfortable to be joyful. "Tomorrow" keeps getting clouded with unpleasant things, so now I try to be joyful today.
Don't take anything for granted.
I am learning to be thankful every day for little things like a healthy baby, food in the fridge, runing water, and a warm house. None of these things are "guaranteed" to me, and I feel so blessed. I also want to be thankful every day because...
Life can change in an instant.
I don't think I understood this very much until the day that Yehoshua broke his leg. Things had been going okay in my life. Eliyahu was almost 3 months old. Things were settling down, running smoothly.
I thought I had my days all figured out, and I was more than a little upset when my one-year-old fell on a trampoline and broke his femur. Here we were driving around to hospitals and doctors, and then caring for a child in a hip spica cast for 5 weeks.
We were busier than we had ever had been before, trying to care for two children who each required an unbelievable amount of time. (Thankfully, we had someone at our house almost constantly that first week to help us, and we all managed to get a couple hours of sleep each night!)
My life completely changed during that time, and I didn't like that. I didn't want to be staying up all night caring for an injured child. I didn't want all the struggles of dealing with the cast and injury. I just really wanted things to go back to how they used to be. I remember sitting on our couch, thinking of how I longed for how things had been "before", when I could put Yehoshua to bed for the night and only have to care for Eliyahu at night. When Yehoshua could run around... feed himself... take real baths in a bathtub.
But I realised that wishing wouldn't change anything, and life was happening right now, and YHWH never asked my opinion about allowing Yehoshua's broken leg, and the only thing I could do was start enjoying life right then. And I also learned...
YHWH can use "unfortunate" circumstances to bless us.
YHWH blessed us with so much encouragement, and so many supportive and loving friends and family during Yehoshua's injury. We would never choose to go through some things in life, but then we would also miss some really great blessings. I'm not sure how, but YHWH got us through those months (while Joshua was looking for more work, as well) and all I can say is that we're where we are now only by His grace and kindness to us.
It's humbling to receive.
I love to feel like I'm the one helping people... sending a little care package, writing an encouraging note, or blessing someone in some way. When someone does something nice for us, I like to be able to reciprocate right away. When Yehoshua was injured, I had to do a lot of receiving. People sent us cards, and toys, and came to visit, and let us borrow all sorts of things for him, and all I could manage to do in return was write thank-you notes. I felt so blessed, and so humbled... because I had nothing to give -- no time, no money, nothing -- and all I could do was receive.
Just when you get comfortable... along comes a challenge.
At least, that is how it has seemed in our life this year. If we've had a week without needing to take the children to the doctor's, or without any major things breaking down, I start wondering what's around the corner. ;) But I've also learned...
YHWH gives us strength daily, as we need it (not always before we need it), when we obey Him.
I'm learning to lean on Him moment by moment... even when the skies look dark.
YHWH can provide for me in the most unique ways when I need it.
It just might even mean waking up to find a like-new name-brand jean skirt folded and sitting on my front steps. Or someone "just happening" to have something they no longer needed and wanted to give to me. When you really need something, you really pray hard. And when you pray, YHWH answers. I love it even though it's painful. :)
Potty training can last 6 weeks. Or longer. With a 2.5-year-old. But it sure is nice when it's over! :D