Happiness doesn’t depend on what we have, but it does depend on how we feel about what we have. We can be happy with little and miserable with so much more.
As of late my chest has been overflowing with gratitude. A gratitude that is felt so deep and so full that this morning after my family left the house I began to snivel. This wasn’t a typical cry. This was a full on ugly sobbing episode that lasted a good fifteen minutes. This was weeping that had me on my knees beside my bed as I poured my thankful heart out to a loving Heavenly Father. Tears even come to my eyes as I write this, but it must be written. It is burning from within and must come out onto page. It can no longer be hidden and kept away deep in my heart.
Why would I be sobbing like I am devastated yet feel so incredibly thankful? Lucky, to be exact? Excited to be alive? Happy in my circumstance? I thought about this and as I pondered where I am today the reason was made very apparent. After six extremely difficult years, going through trial after trial, life is better than I could ever imagine.
To explain I have to go back to a young girls dream. I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be a Mom. To me it epitomized complete happiness. A wonderful marriage where my husband had a job he liked and made enough money for our needs. Children that filled the house with laughter and love. I would be busy raising them, serving in the community, but would love every minute. I would not have to work outside the home, but instead I would be making the house a wonderful place to be, teaching them life lessons, preparing delicious meals, running errands, and going to various activities. I would be present in my children’s lives and be there, providing my time, because that is what is most important.
I count myself lucky because at a young age I had most of those things. By the time my husband finished his education, he was recruited into a nice job, and we bought a small home. We had five beautiful children, I was home with them, and we had everything that we needed. Life wasn’t perfect, but it certainly was lovely.
Satan has a way of wearing sheep’s clothing. For me He showed up in the disguise of “more”. I became friends with people who were more established, who’s husbands made more money, and had large homes. From the outside they looked happier. They looked like they had it better. I did not have jealous or negative feelings, but felt our smaller house with our large family was not enough.
My eyes were ever so slowly turned to wanting more. If there is a will there is a way and I have always had a way of attracting what I want into my life. However, not wanting to sacrifice being home with my children I devised a plan. We could buy a larger home and rent our smaller home. The plan seemed to work. We moved into a large house and things seemed to be wonderful. But as time moved forward I had a desire for even more.
The large house was no longer enough so we bought a beach home. We would rent it out when we weren’t there. It was the perfect plan. We loved it. Every minute of it. We felt blessed. But before long, wanting more turned into needing more.
This is when I traded my dream of staying home with my children into leaving them for more money. It was the perfect plan. A full-time job to pay for all of those extra bills from having more and teenagers who also wanted more. I was doing it for the kids. I would sacrifice being with them to keep up our lifestyle and buy even more. At the time this insanity made sense.
Before I knew it I was no longer living my dream of being a mom, staying home with my five children, having quality time with each of them, making our home a sanctuary, fixing delicious meals, and going to their extracurricular activities.
I had traded it all for more. To be behind a desk ten hours a day. To struggle to stay ahead. To be swallowed up in chores. To miss special activities. To pick up fast food on the way home. To see my beautiful large house literally fall apart before my eyes.
It was then that I realized what wanting “more” had done. How it had literally took the wheel of my life and steered it off course, driving me to a destination I didn’t want to be. As a matter of fact, how badly I didn’t want “more” any longer. How back in that small house I had “more”, far more, in fact than I had at that current time. How I now wanted “less” so I could have “more” again.
I truly believe that our thoughts are emitted into space and time and eventually they come back. If written down they come even more quickly. Wanting change so badly, looking for that simple life of more, the universe responded. God wanted to give me my dream again, but to get there I was going to have to face some pretty huge trials.
For six years my husband and I have endured one trial after another. With each trial we were stripped of many of those earthly things we had collected. No more large house, no more beach home, no more this, and no more that.
But what we did have were the things that counted. We had each other and the amazingly wonderful relationship found in one another. We were able to keep those things that can never be taken—our education, our faith, and our family. We began to realize that those things were more than enough.
Today as I sit here I can, with clarity of mind, see it all. The sheep’s clothing. The downfall of my very dream. The dream that I once had. That same dream that just today I realized I have once again.
And so with tears in my eyes and a grateful heart I embrace and write about this moment. Sitting in my little 1,000 square foot apartment with one couch, two chairs, two beds, and everything we need. But most importantly, free from more. Being home in the morning to make breakfast for my son. To kiss and hug my amazing husband goodbye. To clean, run errands, and prepare a healthy dinner. To have time to serve. To be home when our son walks in the door. To take him to music lessons. To have quality time to be a mom and wife. To have a second chance to live a childhood dream.
And to finally understand how less fills my heart even “more”.
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