Last year at this time, we were hopeful that Joe would get a new job after about 6 months of unemployment. Then we found out in an extremely unprofessional manner that he didn't get the job. The whole situation was quite a blow to our little family. And then he lost his unemployment benefits. There was some hope because of a refinance we were able to secure for our home, but we still questioned how we were going to make it through financially.
But we did. Last Christmas was full of generous people choosing to selflessly share their abundance with our family. It was humbling, touching, and amazing. In fact, it was the best Christmas I ever remember having. Still, our trials weren't over.
And, of course, even though I found a job and Joe later found a job, we have had trials this year as well. Having your identity stolen is not something I would wish on anyone (except maybe the person who stole mine, although I suspect her identity is not much worth stealing).
I remember when Joe lost his job and we had to exercise a lot of faith. We figured we'd exercised sufficient faith and were ready for our trial to be over. What a joke that was! Trying to tell God you've learned your lesson is much like trying to hold back the ocean.
We are feeling much more stable as a family this year. We got to spend so much time together last year and for part of this year that the very limited time we had together as a family once we both got jobs seemed grossly inadequate. I missed my husband. And yet, we did what we had to do to provide for our family, hoping that there would be an end to opposite schedules and a chance to have more time together to connect. While our schedules are still not ideal, we are finding that we finally do have more time together, and we are grateful for it.
Joy is surprising and amusing us every day. She is learning so much that I think if I was away from her for a week, I might go into shock at how different she'd be upon my return than she was when I left.
Sometimes I think about how much she is changing and wonder how much I am changing. Am I growing and developing in ways that I am unrecognizable to those who only knew me in the past? I am pretty sure that in many ways that answer is yes. And that's a good thing. While that growth was often squeezed forcefully out of me as I was thrust into challenging situations, I am able to look back and see the good that came from bad situations. I am able to ponder and reflect on things from a different angle that I would not consider before.
When I look at old photos of myself, I suspect that the past-me would not recognize the current-me or even begin to comprehend how she could get to this point. But I guess that's what you get when you grow as you live your life.