Lifes unexpected adjustments and God’s constant grace

Honey Smith shares her struggles with adjusting to life changes such as marriage, children, and jobs. But Smith didn’t have several years to make these adjustments, rather in God’s mysterious wisdom, she was met with challenges in a short time frame. Read as she shares her real life struggles and about her real God’s faithfulness.

 

Tom and Honey

Tom and Honey Smith on their wedding day

I was 29 and not married. It had been a long road to learning contentment as a single woman. Then Thomas came along. Two weeks before my thirtieth birthday we were walking down the aisle. At our first anniversary I was very pregnant with our first child. At our second anniversary, I was pregnant with our second and third children. And at our third anniversary, we were expecting babies four and five. And for those who are like me and need a minute to do the math, that’s 5 children in two and a half years! So my adjustment to married life and motherhood came very swiftly, and not without a few challenges.

Getting married later helped me appreciate what a blessing it was that God would give me the gift of a companion to go through this life with. But getting married meant the end of certain personal “rights” I had previously felt entitled to. It’s not that my husband was demanding or had unrealistic expectations. The problem was in my heart! So arriving home after our honeymoon, we both, almost simultaneously, had a moment of, “Oh, what have we done?” Maybe this is where the saying “the honeymoon in over” comes from I can remember it. I remember I was in the laundry room. Maybe that’s what dawned on me-I have twice the laundry now! We talked later and prayed because we were both feeling a sense of loss of personal freedom with simple things, like who got to watch the show they wanted to watch on TV, and the fact that I don’t like to listen to Elton John for 45 minutes. The two becoming one flesh had to be worked out practically in our lives, through many opportunities. Opportunities are a nice, socially-acceptable word for conflicts.

When Nathan was born, I was preparing to stay home and we had to work through that whole season of making the change

tom and honey with nathan

Tom and Honey with their first son

from DINKS (double income no kids) to OINM (one income, no money). But God did provide for us each time a child (or two) was added. And our relationship was strengthened first by keeping our eyes on our Savior for which I have my husband’s steadfastness to thank. Without his biblical perspective and reminding me “it’s not about us and our rights” I could have easily plunged into the abyss of introspection and hormonal chaos. Sharing the work of raising five little children also grew our relationship. For me, adjusting to motherhood was really God’s grace. I didn’t find it to be all that dramatic. But one of the little difficulties I did have was: having your life compartmentalized into 3 hour segments.

Before kids I could spend the afternoon doing crafts. Now I had 10 free minutes to shower before someone needed to be fed.  Also challenging was the lack of freedom to go. My first baby was so super easy. Then I found myself with three children who were under 2. As an extrovert, I had the constant thought: “there is a party going on ‘out there’ and I am missing out on it.” I had to manage wanting to go and do, but being sort of stuck at home. This was a sinful attitude that needed adjustment. Over time, God gave me contentment and showed me, “the party is right here”. Right here in our home where things were messy and God was present, teaching me to serve others and constantly lay down my life. So when the boy twins arrived, I felt like I had come to a good place. These were the most exhausting, most simple, wonderful days of my life! I consider this a test of prosperity. It was a test for sure, but we knew children are a blessing from the Lord.  Just around the corner was to be a test of adversity. We would find God to be just as faithful to us in that season.

 Time went on and we began homeschooling our children. That was hard. There is a lot of angst that homeschool moms face even when everyone is learning easily and our girls struggled to learn to read. Constant anxiety over whether or not I was doing the right things, whether or not my children were learning things on time, and whether or not I chose the right curriculum were some of the worries I had. So it was a hard season. Hard, but rich in rewards of time spent together.

Then suddenly, my husband was laid off. Just like that. He went to work and came home at lunchtime without a job. Though there was a severance period, no job was found before it ended. My husband asked me to put the kids (now ages 8,7,7,6, and 6) into school and look for a job. He had found work as a freelance architect, but it was not full-time and he also took an hourly wage cut. Over time, enrolling them in school proved to yield benefits for the children, especially the girls. In some ways it provided more challenges There were now real-world scenarios to walk through. But overall, it was good and we have been so pleased with the school they attend. On the other hand, I was a mess!

smith kids

Smith kids: two set of twins and their big brother

Putting our kids in school was hard for me. I did not want to do it. I felt like I was abandoning my children. Homeschooling felt so organic and natural. You get up, have breakfast, do school, do activities together, learn as you live life. Contrasted with get up before sunrise, hurry to get dressed, shove people into the van, and drop them off all day into the care of people you don’t really know. They had never been to school so I worried about that. And I had to learn the new normal of balancing homemaking-which doesn’t diminish just because you work outside the home-with my job and with helping the children navigate through school and enrichment activities.

God continues to teach me endurance, contentment, and how to trust Him and my husband through this ever changing landscape. Although I wouldn’t wish for this season where we have had a bankruptcy, lost our home and endured much upheaval, one thing remains constant: He is faithful through life’s storms. He is the rock we cling to! We have been in some places where there was no path to be seen, only a small stepping stone. So we would take the next step and wait and every time He has led and provided! I can testify to God’s unfailing grace and I know my story He is writing is to be continued…

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