This morning, I sat down and typed out this letter to a very precious someone in Matt's family. As I read back through it, I realized it was a pretty good summary of what is going on in our lives at this point. Also, I know that I have been somewhat neglectful in keeping this blog updated....So....I have decided to post this very personal letter on here for my friends and family to read. I hope that the person I sent this to doesn't mind that I shared it...!!?? (love you!)
I'm kind of sad to say that our contact with everyone in XXXXXX has been dwindling to less and less. It's not intentional, but it seems like we are all just so busy and no one (us included) makes time for leisurely phone conversations anymore. :-(
I am working very hard to change that aspect of my life. Over the past year, I have read a couple of WONDERFUL life-changing books that have really altered the way I live. I have pulled out of ALL of my volunteering at the church, school, etc. and took a "break" from it all during the summer. In the process, I have been able to figure out WHO I am (which is a different woman than the girl I was when I signed up for all this stuff!) And also, and more importantly, who GOD is calling me to be. I realize now that while a particular job is good and helpful, it is not always good and helpful for ME to do it. Especially when I try to do TEN good things and end up dividing myself into so many different areas that I'm only able to give 10% of my attention and effort to each one (and even less of me was left for my family!) Now I realize that I want to do the things that matter the most and give them 100% of me. :o)
Right now, I am absolutely positively certain that my "Calling" is to be MOM. There is no greater or more rewarding or more important job for Jennifer Jones right now..than that one. The kids are at a crucial stage in their lives, especially
And Grant...he's no longer my little, sweet baby. Nope. He's Mr. Big Guy now and has started hastily wiping off mommy's kisses and refusing my hugs. Boo hoo hoo!!! Makes me want to cry. I knew this day was coming, but I HONESTLY did not think it would be THIS soon! His personality seems to have changed (and matured) a lot over the past year. I know it's a good and needed thing, but I just don't know exactly how to be mom to him right now (instead of a smothering mommy!) ha ha That is why it is so good that I am seeking God for wisdom in how to turn this little guy into a Godly, respectful young man. I am completely confident that as long as I stay focused on the task at hand (and don't start volunteering for a hundred different things again) I will be able to be the best mother to him possible.
In addition to the wonderful things that are happening with the kids, we have tons of other GREAT things to report. Like the fact that we are now completely debt-free (other than the house)! We were actually able to re-finance our house from a 30-yr mtg. down to a 15-yr mortgage. Because the interest rate dropped SO much, it only increased our payment by about $75/month. Praise the Lord!
Also, we have been doing the Dave Ramsey style of budgeting now for about 8 months and in that time, we've been able to save up enough money to (almost) buy a new vehicle CASH! (not a brand new vehicle...but a much newer, nicer one for us). That is such a huge testimony! Before this year, we were barely making ends meet, but now that we have "buckled down" on unnecessary spending and have honored God by handling our money wisely, He has blessed us so abundantly. Never in a million years would I have thought we could SAVE up this much money (and still pay all our bills and have all our needs met). God is truly SO AWESOME! Even now, as I type this, I'm in awe. In the natural...it just doesn't seem possible, but with GOD...as we know...all things are possible!
Another great thing is that since we aren't spending as much, I'm not shopping as much which means that I am home more...which means that I hardly EVER stress out about all the cleaning/laundry/ etc. that needs to be done. Since I am home almost every day, I am able to stay on top of it and make nice, healthy meals nearly every night. I know my family appreciates a clean house, clean clothes, a nice dinner AND A MOM WHO DOESN'T GRIPE all the time!! :o)
There is so much good that has happened in our lives over the past year, that I wish I could somehow share it with all my girlfriends who are still running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to do a MILLION things for everyone and not having any time left to give to the most important people in their life--their families. But...sadly...I had several wonderful people TRY to tell ME this for the past couple of years and I just couldn't grasp it. It wasn't until I came to the "end of my rope" with it all and surrendered control to God, that I was able to have this life-changing breakthrough.
On top of ALL of that, Matt and I are more in love than ever. As we seek God first, our marriage just gets better and better. I can honestly say that there is no one on EARTH I would rather spend my time with than that guy. He is the sugar in my kool-aid!! :o) I know you don't get to be around him too very much, but you would be SO PROUD of the man he has become. Even though I didn't know him back in his "wild" days, just in our 12-14 years of knowing one another, he has grown so much. He is actually taking some night classes at church to help him discover what his calling from God might be. He is unsettled in his job and knows there HAS to be something else for him, something more fulfilling and rewarding, that God has for him to do with his life. The tough part is being patient while it is revealed to us. Still, we praise God for such a wonderful job for him that pays so well.
I am still doing my medical transcription job, even though it was supposed to have ended exactly one year ago. The doctor I work for gave me my "notice" that he had purchased a new system and would no longer be needing me soon...and for some crazy reason (for which I give God all the glory!!) it just keeps on being prolonged month after month! I have recently re-written our budget to where we don't depend on my income any more, just in case it actually does happen that my job ends, but in the meantime, I am SO GRATEFUL that he is dragging his heels about switching to the new system. Even though I don't make a lot, it really is the difference in us having to count every penny, being EXTREMELY strict and tight...OR.. having a little breathing room. No matter what happens, I have total peace that God is our supplier and that He has our world in His hands!
I have developed a very strong passion recently for helping other young moms/wives discover these wonderful things that I have figured out recently and I have a feeling that in the future, that is how God is going to use me, which I am thoroughly excited about. TOO MANY of our girls get married at the young age of 20 (or younger!) and have NO IDEA what it means to be a wife or a mother or run a household or live on a budget. Even in the area of sex, I think there are WAY MORE young women than we realize that have never been taught about their bodies. I know I wasn't, and that was a horrible part of our marriage for the first SEVEN years because I was so insecure with my body and didn't have any idea how things worked. God has worked nothing short of a MIRACLE in our marriage in that aspect too and I want to help these other ladies who think (like I did) that there was something wrong or broken with them.
Ahhh....I could go on and on. :o)
I was just telling Brooklyn last night how priceless it is to me that not only did I get her AWESOME DADDY when I married him...but I also got 2 more fantastic grandmas and another mom and dad, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. I love you guys just as though you were my family from birth and I can't imagine life without you.
I know this was a long e-mail, but since we don't get to talk often enough, I hope you enjoyed reading through the things that God has been doing in our lives.
I look SO forward to seeing everyone at the holidays! It just can't get here soon enough! :o)