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.
This is very encouraging, as it is very similar to my current situation. I hope I can look back on it in the same way you are. Right now, its just tough at times. At least the move is done, but the new life part takes a lot of work- emotionally mostly.
This sounds almost exactly like my life right now! Just moved 9 hours north of our home of 10 years, from a nice home into a “questionable” rental, new job for my husband, and I just found out I’m pregnant with our 3rd. Lots of hard days-and I can completely relate to letting go of your priorities for survival mode. Praying for strength, patience, and encouragement daily. Thanks for the post. It’s nice to know someone else has lived through it! 🙂
Amen. My life right now is not what I ever thought it would be. Recently divorced, husband with his new “family”, my children going through something I never thought would be possible. Moved into a smaller but nice home, trying to figure out how to home school, be a stay at home momma and make a living. I choose to trust God, He has been so faithful through all of this and continues to protect and meet our needs but there are days those untrustworthy emotions attack me and I feel concern and fear and then I need to remind myself that He will work out all things for my greater good and I just need to trust and keep on going. I can’t wait to be on the other side of this one and see His handiwork completed.
Saying a prayer for you now sister. God is our healer and provider. A father to the fatherless, and a husband to the single. May you be blessed.
Like the other posts this closely describes our situation also. We had sold our home of ten years (3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms) because our financial situation had changed. Although our children our grown, we still have one daughter at home, and we had gone into a small 2 bedroom apartment. Highly overpriced (the whole city is overpriced) with structural issues, mould and cockroaches!
We have been living in a construction zone for a year. We have been here for 2 years, and had been searching for “the break”. In the meantime I know God was shaking us up to follow his will, we both quit smoking, paid attention to finances and instilled healthy habits. Providing fun healthy meals was a challenge, keeping occupied while being frugal is important (feeding the ducks at a local pond etc). I realized God wanted change from us ‘before’ He changed our entire situation. My husband has been hired on with a company 7 hours away, and it may take 5 months before my daughter and I can join him, but our new life awaits in the south I so dearly love and have been missing for 32 years! (I was born and raised in the south). Finally I will be going home! We were also blessed by my parents, they have given us a down payment for a new home, otherwise we could not get one. Our dear family has suffered so much and for so many years, we have suffered and also learned, and I thank God for all of these blessings. Things change when we obey what The Lord wants from us. Keep up the faith!
Oh how I needed this. We have been going through a very similar trial, and it seems like the loneliest place on earth. I know I am blessed but all I see and act is miserable. My husband is so encouraging but I have been full of worry and strife. It’s been hard to draw close to God bc I fell this is so unfair. I am realizing more and more God is changing me and I am thankful. I love the lord and my family with all of my heart and I pray to minister hope to others as we come out on the other side. Thank you for sharing
This sounds like what happened with me and my children, and eventually, my husband once we moved to Kansas. Life was so different than what we had back east. Struggles were constant, no place felt like home and we downsized immensely into places I never would have imagined living in, while back home with my children.
Yet, all were learning processes, we grew immensely and God did provide. We are now in a very nice home that we rent, I cook all my meals at home, went organic on most of our food and make my own cleaners, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. God is Good..all of the time!!!
Wow–this sounds a lot like what my husband and I just went through, and are still dealing with , in some respects.
At four months pregnant with our daughter, I lost my job. We had also just bought a small farm about 8 months before that, so were saddled with a huge mortgage payment.
Blessedly, God provided me with my dream job (a work-from-home position, including a pay raise)–within 3 weeks of being let go!
Six months later, as parents of a 2-month-old, my husband lost his job.
We survived for 3 months on my paycheck and his small unemployment stipend. It meant a lot of waiting to pay bills and get groceries until payday, only to see the entire amount spoken for in one day. We didn’t go out to eat, to the movies, or even to see our friends who lived an hour away. I didn’t get my hair cut. We put our beloved little farm (with its lovingly, newly decorated nursery) up for sale.
God heard our prayers and provided my husband with a new job with a much better company, also with an increase in pay. But, this new job was two states away.
We left our beloved farm over Memorial Day weekend, downsizing from a 4-bedroom farm out in the country (with barns and a 4-car garage) into a 3-bedroom duplex in town.
It hasn’t been easy. Our farm is still on the market, and we continue praying that we find a buyer for it soon. It literally hurts every time I have to pay the mortgage payment for the farm we so loved (and still do) but had to leave. We also miss living in the country, and everything that goes along with it–my garden, hanging clothes on the line, being able to let our dog out to play, etc.
I still struggle to understand why things happened the way that we did, but know that God has His reasons for His plan. But the important thing is that my husband loves his job and is so happy, and our daughter is thriving.
My prayer is that God will provide us with a buyer for our farm (which will, in turn, help us with some financial issues) and eventually, with another farm in our new location that we can love just as much.
I just read your story of your trial of moving from a house to an apartment. I went through this same thing when our 3 kids were teens. What I can appreciate today, in my life, from your experience is how you remembered what the bible tells you. I worship Jehovah God, and I love the verses from James (James is a book I love). Keeping in mind that all trials teach us things and that remembering-and using-our support from God is some of the keys to coming out victorious. Proving our God is true and Satan a liar is a true victory!