Guest Post by Hilary Bernstein
Four years ago, I was starting one of the toughest transitions of my life. A week after I was downsized from my part-time, stay-at-home job, I discovered the wonderful news I was pregnant with our second child. My husband and I trusted that the Lord would provide for us, but that trust was really put to the test when my husband was downsized two months later.
I had no idea how we would survive – and bring another person into our family – without employment. But God did provide. And when my daughter turned one month old, job prospects finally started to appear for my husband. He ended up making a career change with a job three hours away. We decided to sell our house as quickly as possible – and we did, within forty days.
Throughout this selling and moving transition, I felt so alone. As I was left to wrap everything up by myself – with my newborn and toddler – the healthy, green decisions that had become my routine were suddenly not even a blip on my radar. I solely focused on surviving.
When I had to make sure that our bathtub was sparkling clean for home showings, I used convenient toxic sprays. When I polished the exteriors of our stove and refrigerator for open houses, I used harmful cleaners that left me coughing.
I couldn’t bear the stress of everything and have two children in cloth diapers, so I switched my toddler son completely to disposables and used cloth diapers sparingly on my newborn daughter. When I was so depressed about leaving our family, friends, and house, I gave in to comforting those aches with cheap and unhealthy fast foods.
Making the most of situations
Once our family finally did move, I was shocked. Instead of a small but comfortable three-bedroom home like we were used to, we were living in a teensy two-bedroom apartment. Previously we cared for our small yard and gardened in containers, but we now had a tiny cement pad open to the public and absolutely no opportunity for gardening. Our attached single car garage was filled, floor to ceiling, with our boxed belongings.
The fourteen months we spent in that apartment were not my favorite ones. In what would end up being a huge refining process, God taught me to forget about our stuff and comfortable life. While I did enjoy watching my young children grow and change, actual day-to-day living was difficult.
Once we unpacked, I knew I needed to find ways to implement healthy and green choices into our daily lives – even with space constraints.
I experimented with castile soap. I made meals from scratch in our itsy bitsy galley kitchen. I attempted to make my own dishwashing detergent – and failed. I regularly whipped up batches of homemade laundry detergent.
I switched from using liquid hand soap to economical and greener bars of soap. I tried tea tree oil. I made my own mosquito repellent from scratch. And I discovered I could clean the mildew out of our shower’s tile grout simply by spritzing it with rubbing alcohol.
I threw away all of our plastic food containers (after using most of them for at least five years, they were pretty battered) and used my Christmas money to replace them with resealable glass containers.
I discovered we could still use healthy products – from cosmetics to containers to cleaners – no matter where we lived.
In this world there will be trouble
The Bible promises that everyone will experience trials, big and small. That’s part of life. But who do you turn to when you face trials?
James 1:2-6 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
I might have fought every step of my trial, but I did grow in perseverance. I relied on God for daily strength. I developed a greater appreciation for our blessings.
God redeemed our family’s situation, answered our prayers, and blessed us more than we ever would have imagined. Now that I’m on the other side of the trial, I appreciate His refining process. And I’m thankful it’s much easier to make healthy choices in our day-to-day living.
You don’t need perfect life circumstances to start making healthy changes. Even when your conditions are less than ideal, you can do something small.
What are your current limitations? What healthy changes can you attempt?
Hilary has written about simple, affordable, and healthy choices her family has incorporated into their daily lives in her new eBook, Accidentally Green.
Hilary Kimes Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and writer who blogs about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. She also encourages others to manage God’s blessings with responsibility and grace at her blog, Intentional Stewardship. She’s written two eBooks, First Bites: How To Instill Healthy Eating Habits During Your Baby’s First Year, and Accidentally Green: How and Why One Family Began Making Healthy Changes That Honor God and Help the Environment.