Dear friends, Thank you for the prayers many of you have offered on our family's behalf, prayers for employment for both my husband and our son in law Ross. I want to assure you that Blossom and I have complete trust in the Lord to provide what is needed at the right time. My husband knows this too, but being the head of the home and our main provider, there's more pressure on him (in his own mind) to gain work soon. Ross is not a Christian so he's feeling more pressure with each week that passes...so we keep praying, and as my beloved Nana would say all the time, "God willing it (whatever the need or plan was) will come to pass."
Homemaking in my experience, is like the seasons, a rhythmic change of circumstances. We have the season of noisy growing children filling the rooms, and then the season of quiet when they have left the nest. There are the seasons of plenty, times when we have comfortably enough, and the times when every penny counts. A season of excellent health may be followed by a serious illness, and vice versa. Our home garden might be abundant one year, and swallowed up by flood or drought the next, and of course there may be a season of being ably employed, followed by a season of no work at all.
As a homemaker first and foremost, I find myself challenged in various ways when a certain season arrives or leaves. For example, I knew in advance that my husband would be unemployed by early October, so I did what I immediately thought should be done, and began a new Stitchery Club to at least help us pay the mortgage each week...but I was wrong to do that.
Hubby used to work six days a week, and when he would have holidays I'd consciously pull back a bit with my regular chores so that we could spend more time together, especially in the garden as that's a pastime we really enjoy. But a week or two later he was back at work and after playing catch-up with deep cleaning for a few days, I'd settle back to the normal routines and rhythms of keeping home.
Having him home now for an unknown period of time, and adding a new Stitchery Club to my list of to-dos (working on the club requires hours every day) on top of my regular and important responsibilities around home, he has noticed that I am run off my feet trying to keep up, and this has put a real damper on our days. My beloved is the head of our home, and through God, he is our income provider. When we married the plan was always that I'd raise the children and keep house, and he would be the breadwinner. Admittedly, when the children were younger (as was I) and he was retraining at University, he was happy that I was able to earn a little extra by doing things like Avon, cleaning a large local church (hubby helped) or selling used rare books online which I'd found at op-shops - these all helped fund our homeschooling expenses over the years...but they never replaced his wage, nor became a necessity. If it was getting too much I simply stopped with his blessing and gave my full attention to home and family.
When the children were at the end of their homeschooling education, I had begun to design stitcheries and offered a free block of the month on my blog every year (still do). Soon various craft magazines were asking me to design for them on a monthly basis, and I did that for about five or six years before choosing to offer my patterns through my own site. It's been a wonderful journey doing this, and because of the income we were finally able to save enough for a deposit on a home of our own late in 2018. Buying our home was a long held dream and we give thanks daily to the Lord for making this possible.
As I reflect on the changes having a home of our own made in our lives as we neared 60, we were simply not prepared for the energy it would take to turn a home in the tropics which was surrounded by concrete, into a green, shady, edible garden. On top of that were the internal changes, a flood in 2019, so many home repairs and flood pumps installed as we fought rising water every wet season, and each year getting older and both of us having auto-immune diseases to manage. We do not regret a thing, and we know this home was a gift from God so that we'd not have to rent anymore, but could create our own home sanctuary to last through the latter years of life, and ultimately be passed on one day if the Lord tarries His return.
But jumping in to start a new club, even though my intentions were good, did not make them right for this season of life. One day I was so exhausted and with my body a mass of pain, another migraine beginning to brew, all I wanted was to fall into bed. Later that night when bedtime finally came around I prayed and asked the Lord for help. Do you know what He said?
"You didn't count the cost first." Every time I woke in the night I pondered those words and next morning re-read Jesus' words on that very subject. (Luke 14:28,29) He was describing how a builder would not build a tower without first sitting down and counting the cost, to make sure he had enough supplies before he began. Then I read chapters before and after that one, because I am very much a contextualist when it comes to studying Scripture, and discovered more examples of counting the cost.
Cost can be anything which will be required of you to pursue a certain task, relationship or belief. It's not just about money. The cost I had not factored in was time, energy, age, health and priorities. As the past few months have come and gone, it's clear that not much was lain aside, apart from blogging, because I take my homemaking very seriously, but in order to keep up I had to fill more and more hours each week with precious time which should not have been surrendered so rashly. No wonder I was exhausted and in so much pain. If only I had counted the cost before making that decision.
When I eventually fell on my knees before our Lord, He was so very gracious, and in the past week or so I have become more aware of the cost that must be paid for any decision I will make now and in the future. Counting the cost is marvellous for putting things into perspective, for alerting me to a pot-hole in the road ahead, for reminding me of what I have in my hand and what I can do without.
I even got inspiration for a new design, with words of life to keep me steady and grounded in the simple life I love so much, and which recently began to slip away.
I do not have to design anymore. But I can when I have time, when inspiration from the Lord is present, and when I am enjoying it. The project above was lovely to create, and because it came from my heart, overflowing with gratitude to the Lord (and my husband), I relaxed and did something I'd only attempted once before...cotton crochet edging. It took time, but it wasn't rushed. It simply brought me joy.
So, no more new Stitchery Club, but yes to the occasional new pattern which I'll just pop in my Etsy Shop. I do have a few already, which I made for the club, but now they'll just be single patterns in the shop. Maybe later in the week the patterns will be added there, but right now, hubby and I have a garden to work in, a Bible to study, some bread to bake, and time with each other to enjoy. Oh, and our Molly-dog too. She's become the sweetest addition to our home and puts a smile on our faces all the time.
If you've become overwhelmed this year, perhaps you have taken on too much? Step back a bit and pray for the Father to show you what needs to go.
Perhaps you are facing a decision? Count the cost first, dear one. Count the cost. You might be paying more than it's worth.
Bless you heaps,