Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Post: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary


Boy do I have a treat for you today!!! Today I am so honored to be hosting the beautiful Heather from Finding Beauty in the Ordinary. Heather has an amazing story and such an honest, full heart. 

Show her some love!

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Hi! My name is Heather and I blog over at Finding Beauty in the Ordinary. I'm a 26 year old, happily married, adventure seeking blog lover :) My little blog is a place to share what's on my heart, what God is teaching me, and what my husband and I are up to as we have recently relocated to a new city for his new job.  I love capturing a moment by camera and simply finding beauty in the ordinary moment of life. 

But let me tell you something. Finding beauty in the ordinary moments of life is something that has taken me some time to embrace again. It's barely been a year since things have started getting better. I will be honest: the circumstances over the past couple of years before that left me hopeless, and somewhat even cynical, about life. 

 
My husband, Joshua, and I had only been married for a year-and-a-half when he and a major crop of people at his work lost their jobs due to the failing economy. I was working at Starbucks trying to finish college. We were blissfully happy newlyweds, freshly back home from a trip to San Francisco for our anniversary and a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Joshua had a job that we thought would be around until retirement. He had just been told months before the layoff that a relocation to Europe was quite possible if he wanted to grow with the company. Life was great and we had the world at our fingertips. I was making coffee when I got the call that would turn our world upside down.

Joshua was unemployed for over a year before finding a job that sufficed while he was in the hiring process for the federal government job he has now. And after he got that interim job-- managing a hardware store where he was severely underpaid and overworked-- he waited a whole year before he finally got "the job." We were strapped those years; financially, emotionally, and even physically. We were tired all the time. And stressed. We gained weight, but yet were worn so thin. Joshua's blood pressure skyrocketed. I do not wish any woman in this world to have to watch her man go through unemployment. It is such a massive blow to a man's ego. Our relationship and our vows were tried-- "... for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer." We had to fight to make sure our relationship stayed focused on God, and on living life in the moment, on still trying to have fun together-- and not on our circumstances. But it was rough on us. Without God in our lives and marriage, I don't know how we would have gotten through it.

 
To top it off, his truck completely died on us and we had to share one car for over a year. We moved in with my in-laws for almost a year to save money. I hated the job that I had. I was fresh out of college and hated the corporate world and the miserable, work-driven people I worked with that were consumed by materialism and making money. Everything was upside down and not anywhere near how I imagined my first couple years of marriage looking like. I never thought I would be in a position of being the primary bread-winner, or of making more money than my husband. I've always just wanted to be a mom. It rocked my world. It rocked his.

We were just at our wit's end. Everyone around us called us "troopers" and were so kind to ask how we were doing or what was the "next step" in our lives. We became somewhat anti-social to avoid the questions. To this day, I don't think any of our friends or even family have any clue exactly what a difficult season we went through. It was 2 years of patience, of worry, of questions, and of feeling like God abandoned us. There were some great moments in those years, too, I don't mean to not mention those. But -- I hate to say it-- the stress of life really did overshadow the flecks of beauty in our lives during that long, testing season of winter.

I learned a lot through that season and having come out of it, I believe that I can truly say that God will give you the strength that you need to get you through whatever trial you are currently facing. And even if the circumstances seem so out of control, and hope seems so lost, He will never give you more than you can handle. And I'm very confident, that one day... the sun will shine for you and you will see why God brought you through that storm. He will show you incredible things that you would have otherwise never seen had you not gone through it.

I've learned that I want to approach my life moving forward always trying to find beauty in all of life's moments. Even when it's rough. Because there were a lot of things that I closed my eyes to see because I chose to. Because I let my bad attitude cloud everything. Yes, my circumstances seemed out-of-control at the time, but that is no excuse to not thank God for my daily breath, or to punish God because I feel like He had "abandoned" me. Who am I?

Have you seen this?

Let's thank God for each and every season. Even the seasons of winter, when everything is falling apart before our eyes, and when we fell like there are few things to be grateful for. Autumn is here and Thanksgiving is coming. Let's live out an attitude of thankfulness every day, not just one special day a year when we carve a turkey. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow. And life is a gift itself. Will you join me on working on an attitude of thankfulness today?  


12 comments:

Leah from Sweet and Sour Showers said...

This is a really great reflection on a tough time. Thanks to Heather for sharing and glad to hear things have turned around. Although I hate that my Ruthersons is out of town this was a great guest post. :)

Amanda said...

This is amazing, Heather! I can't imagine how hard that must have been, but you are a beautiful person for sharing your story. Scott and I went through a short period of time where he was unemployed and I was the bread winner and it was really hard! Dell was such a blessing to us work wise and we have grown so much closer knowing how much we've been through. I love this post and I love your heart! xoxo

Erin said...

If you'e reading this Heather, Beautiful once again! You are so honest and have such a big heart filled with love and gratitude. It's amazing. My boyfriend has been going through the same thing the past few years. He graduated from college, got a job and did not like it. He went to get his masters and then after, started another job, but did not like that either. Now he is in law school... I think he is struggling with where he wants to go and all the setbacks and job applications that go without word...it is trying for a man. God knows his path and I just try to remind him of that and tell him to have faith! Just like you two did! :) Thanks for sharing Heather!

And Ruthie...thanks for the guest post! Very much needed!

Susan said...

Heather, this was such a beautiful post! My brother and sister in law had gone through the same thing for almost 1 1/2 years. It was very hard on them and their marriage, he was laid off 6 months before they got married. We knew it was hard on them, but I don't think we really knew just how hard it was. I am so glad that you were able to make it through this season in life still loving one another, and loving and trusting God more than ever!

Karen said...

That was such a beautiful post from Heather! Complete truth spoken from the heart. I am thanking God right now for all the blessings in my life. Thank you for the reminder!!

Ashlyn said...

heather, i love reading your posts. esp these heart felt ones. it is so true that we must THANK GOD DAILY for everything we have been given because it is not ours and we dont deserve it at all. I am so happy that Joshua was given a new job, bc the Lord provides when you are faithful to him! thanks so much for sharing this -- it enlightened me to be happy with what i have & to thank God more often! love you!

Ashley said...

Great post!! Sounds like you were stuck on the inbetween!!

Amanda said...

Wow! What a great and incredible post! Thanks for having her share with us! I really appreciate her appreciation for life and what we have at the present moment :)

Hope you're having a great weekend away, Ruthie!

ashley said...

this is such a beautiful post heather! thank you for sharing. the one thing that is constant in life is change, i think part of life is learning to lean on God when life isn't ideal. have a great weekend, girl!

Heather said...

Thank you ladies! Your words are so sweet and mean a lot to me! Every one of them :) Thank you, Ruthie, for having me on your lovely blog!! xoxo

Flor said...

Oh Heather, what a beautiful testimony! I've said this before and firmly believe that it's at the low points in our life when our faith will either be weakened or strengthened. Had you not gone through what you both went through you may not be here with us sharing your story! <3

Alana said...

Amen! What a great post! Thanks you for sharing! I always feel convicted after reading Heather's posts! (That's mostly a good thing). :)

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