Oh my!! It is almost Christmas Eve. Mark and I have finally put the finishing touches on the homemade gifts. We have been wrapping and enjoying our youngest jump for joy as Christmas day slowly creeps up. There are many mixed feelings as the year closes. Some are exhilarating and others are heartbreaking. So many lasting memories have been made in 2008; yet 2009 looks as equally blessed.
In the spring, my family and I feeling the crunch of today’s economical times, spent a weekend camping in our own backyard. We built a fire, set up camp, and told family “camping” stories of the years gone by. Watching the kids enjoy a huge bonfire (thanks to Mark), roasting marshmallows and laughing until our sides hurt, melted our “money” worries away. We learned that a vacation isn’t where you go but how you spend the time with one another.
One of the biggest challenges we faced this year was me quitting my job. At first, leaving just about killed me. It wasn’t what I wanted; yet, in a strange way, it was a blessing that I never saw coming. Between the depression caused by the endlessness of the job, the burn out that many children’s ministers endeavor, and the constant catch 22 guilt associated whenever I chose to spend time with my family or the time I chose to be away from them, it was a wonder I didn’t completely lose my sanity (although there are those who are going to be wondering). And you know what, I would do it all over again to see those shining young faces saying yes to Jesus. That is the part I miss the most. I miss kneeling with the children and praying. I miss the countless cheers and games we played to learn about Jesus. I miss the moments when they would ask me to tell the more about a Bible story or about how Jesus loves them so! I miss the dancing and singing of our praise. I miss it. I do.
Once I left I began to fear the worst. I didn’t have an identity anymore. I had always had a title. I was an interpreter, a teacher, a children’s minister and now I was becoming a “Home Economics Specialist” complete with daily chores! At first, of course, I was thrilled to stay at home but my heart wanted more than scrubbing toilets. I continued to pray asking God for my purpose. I know I was born to do more than to be an associate to Mr. Clean. I needed a purpose from God. Then He spoke, “Speak and Motivate.” Confused as to what exactly He meant, I continued to pray. I was beginning to feel discouraged and a little impatient so I pumped up the praying efforts and one morning while walking God thumped me on the head with some really big news. He gave me the titles of Mother, Wife, Friend, Speaker, Motivator, and most of all “His Precious Child.”
In 2008, I have had to learn how to diligently be in tuned with our bank account. I visit our Internet banking so often that I could be labeled obsessed. We have squeezed our budget dry many months and yet we are still afloat. We are learning what it means to be content, bargain hunters, and amateur economists. Our children are learning about what it means to live with what we have and not to covet. Our children are doing great without all of the “extras” in life like baseball, basketball, soccer, piano lessons, shopping trips to buy “new” stuff and I can go on and on….. I think you get the point. We have learned to live with $3.24 in the bank for two weeks and stretch our meals to last until daddy gets paid. Trust me I am not complaining, I am astonished at our success!! Did you know that you can add Ketchup and BBQ sauce to the “mystery” food in the back of the freezer to make a cheap and easy gourmet meal that lasts for two days ? The family of 7 out in Arizona who claims to be the cheapest family in America have nothing on the Dettra family of 4 in Sardis! I would love to display that trophy in the living room! I am very proud of my family who are all sacrificing so that I can stay home. Our love and laughter is stronger than ever since I left the workforce. I may miss the perks but I love my family and what we are doing together. Go Team Dettra!!
One of the hardest things I did this year was saying goodbye to my Granny. She was the last remaining member of a generation in my family. She was such a special and strong lady. I spent as much time with her as I could (remember the catch 22?) and I always called her when I pulled out of the drive on my weekly errand to Wal-Mart. I don’t know how many times I have wanted to call her and I can’t bare the thought of deleting her number from my cell. She was a blessing and I miss her greatly. Christmas is going to be hard this year!
Oh the blessings that were showered upon us! My son gave his life to Christ. My daughter entered middle school and I am surviving! Mark and I are still newlyweds after being together 13 years! As we close 2008, we may look back on the memories, the heartaches, and headaches but we know that in order to grow we must leave the past in the past and face forward. 2008 is only a chapter in our lives and it is ending quickly. So let’s say our goodbyes for the next few days and then look to 2009.
We have a bright future ahead of us! Come on 2009! We eagerly await your blessings!!