We went to my cousins house for New Years and had a great time. We always do when we are with them. We had finger foods and boy was there a lot of them, watched some football (not my favorite thing, but the guys liked it), chit-chatted, shot off fireworks and toasted the new year with some sparkling grape juice. Then we headed home to begin 2010. Here's how it's gone so far:
The negative perspective:
1) When we got home and got out of the van the kids heard our cat moaning and meowing in a horrible way. Patrick began looking for him and found him lying hidden behind some things on our carport, unable to do more than barely pick up his head. He died within the hour. I got him as a kitten and had him for 13 years.
2) We have suffered a major spiritual attack.
3) Two vehicles have had dead batteries this week.
4) Josh (my 23 year old step-son) left for Army Basic Training and we miss him and are terribly sad that he will be so far from us.
5) The pipes to the washing machine have been frozen all week and we have been unable to do any laundry.
6) We woke up this morning to find that the hot water pipes for the entire house had frozen.
From our true perspective:
1) We are sad and miss our cat, but I was so thankful that he died here and did not suffer long. I had been concerned that, as cat's often do, he would wander off to die and we would be left wondering where he was and if he was dead or alive. I had also been concerned that his health would slowly go downhill and was thankful that it didn't. He was himself to the very end. We are sad, but grateful just the same.
2) Realizing that we were dealing with an attack of the enemy has actually been very good for our family. We were angry and confused when we became aware of what was going on, but with Jesus we have fought hard and many positives things have happened as a result. It has been an opportunity for us to really teach our children about the Devil and his schemes, what the Word says about who he is and what it says about how to deal with him. We are doing an in depth study of the Armor right now in the evenings after our Bible reading time, we are praying with the children before bed, Patrick and I are doing some reading together in the evenings as well as praying at night and in the morning together. I believe that through this battle we are all going to be better equipped, closer to each other, closer to the Lord and stronger, and I can't complain about beginning a new year with all of that in our favor.
3)I am so thankful to have a wonderful husband that has toughed it out in the cold without the first complaint to take care of our vehicles. I am thankful that we have vehicles that run and have heat and I'm thankful that the batteries did not have to be replaced.
4) While we miss Josh so much and are saddened by the distance. We are so proud of the man he is becoming. We are thrilled that he truly sought the Lord and is now walking the path that he believes the Lord is guiding him down. We are clinging to Jeremiah 29:11 for Josh and have peace that he has made the right decision regarding his future. At the end of the day, isn't that what we all want for our children. This may not be the road I would have chosen (because I'm human and selfish and this Momma's heart wants him here and safe), but I'm so thankful to serve a Father that knows so much better than I.
5) We have had a week of almost no laundry here and, quite frankly, it has been a lovely break. My Mom is always offering to help us with laundry (she offers to help with my siblings laundry as well), she works full time and, with only the two of them at home, doesn't have much laundry to do and I guess she sees it as the perfect way to help her children. So, she has done several loads of laundry for us and will probably do more in the next day or two. Who wouldn't be thankful for a sweet Mom like that?!?!?
6) We weren't excited not to have hot water today, but my hubby didn't have to go to work until 10, so we didn't discover the frozen pipes 'til later in the morning. By the time he had worked on them and gotten the to thaw, it didn't make any sense for him to go in, so we've had him home all day with us and I love having him here, so you'll not hear any complaining from me about the frozen pipes. All of this water freezing business and waking up to a chilly house (our house was built in 1898 and doesn't have central heat and air, so we turn the heaters down at night for safety's sake) has made me think much of those whose homes are colder than mine, who don't have the clothes and covers we have to bundle up in, who can't afford the powere bill so they won't turn the heat on, who have no home at all, etc. I don't want to spend a moment of my life bellyaching because one of my luxuries is not quite as available to me as it was yesterday. I may have in the past and I may slip up and do it again in the future, but my desire is to live a life full of gratefulness to the Father for giving me so much more than I could ever deserve.
So, if God has decided that we needed to begin this year with some valuable lessons under our belts, I sure hope we do Him proud and learn 'em and walk 'em out just as He sees fit.