This past March my twin girls had their first slumber party to celebrate their birthdays. As they were eating breakfast with their friends the next morning I thought to myself, “I want to listen in and see what all these girlsies are talking about.”
Interestingly enough, they were not trying to impress each other by naming off the things that they owned or the things that they had accomplished, like adults sometimes do.
These 10-12 year olds were talking about the vacations they had been on with their families. I sat there and smiled as I said to Steve, “This is so cool. What makes these girls happier than anything is getting to spend time with their families!”
Steve and I really want to be great friends with our daughters, Angel and Starr, all throughout their lives. We’re thoroughly enjoying our relationship with our girls now as well as looking forward to what our relationship is going to look like as they grow up and begin leading lives of their own. We want to continue doing life with them and we want them to want to continue doing life with us as well.
The kind of relationship Steve and I want to have with each other and with our girls is one of the things we kept in mind when we made the decision to go with owning less stuff and have more date nights with each other, date nights with our girls and family vacations.
We are in the middle of a vacation right now and we could definitely have found something else to do with this money (isn’t that always the case), but we don’t want to do something else. We want the memories with each other.
We think investing in our relationships holds far more value than getting our garage fixed up or finishing the decorating on the inside of our home or buying furniture for our one room that still doesn’t have any after four years of living here.
That will all be done over time, one thing at a time, but the memories come first. Why? Because they’re more than just memories.
We’re building a family identity together. The security our girls are gaining from knowing that they are so much more valuable to us than material possessions is something we believe they will take with them into their own families.
Really, so many of the decisions Steve and I are making now, by God’s grace, are actually an investment, not only into our kids lives, but also into our grandkids lives. Did I mention we are already looking so forward to having grandkids? Cannot wait!
In talking about this subject, I realize there are many people who are barely paying the bills with the income that they earn and I am definitely not for spending money you don’t have.
So everyone has to start where they are at. For instance, Steve and I go on a date twice a month, but we don’t want to pay a sitter twice a month so one of our dates is a stay-at-home date. This way our date money that we set aside each time Steve gets an extra check (which is twice a year) lasts a lot longer.
As I mentioned, we are on a vacation right now and it is a dream come true for me. Ever since I saw the Anne of Green Gables series of movies years ago I have wanted to go to Prince Edward Island, Canada. Well, I will be there by the end of this week, but this didn’t happen immediately just because I wished for it. It took lots of years of being patient and not getting ourselves into debt by spending money we didn’t have and continuing to believe that if we used wisdom that we would be able to go someday.
When I first started having a desire to do this our girls were not even born yet and they are now 11 years old so you can see how much patience I’ve needed to have. And that’s ok. Waiting is good for us. Do you know how much I am going to treasure the memories from this vacation since I have waited to do this for so many years? A lot!
Anything is possible when we are willing to put whatever little amount of money we can aside and wait, wait, wait. The thing that Steve and I have found out to be true with money is, if we don’t set it aside for date nights with each other, date nights with our girls and family vacations, that money will get spent some other way and usually very rapidly. But if we set some aside from each paycheck or from the extra paychecks Steve gets, it does eventually add up so we can do some special things with each other and with our kids!
So please don’t let the fact that you don’t have enough money right now stop you. You can even take a stay-cation. You can take off work for the week, stay at home and plan lots of local things to do with your family. We have done this before as well and it was so much fun!
And most importantly, above and beyond all of this, you gotta believe that God, your Heavenly Father, does want to see you blessed. It really is ok with Him if you laugh a lot and take breaks and go out and have fun and go on vacations.
I know for me personally, I used to feel like I was doing something wrong if I wasn’t working all the time. It was ridiculous. I think a lot of people struggle with this. For me, so much of this workaholic mentality stemmed from my misconceptions about God and the way I perceived Him to be, but thankfully I’m getting all straightened out now by His grace. Now I see God as my Heavenly Father who loves, loves, loves me.
You wouldn’t even believe the number of times I’ve simply prayed and seen miraculous answers. I’ve prayed simple, believing prayers like this. “Dear God, I sure would like to have some more money for date nights. We are running low and won’t be getting any more for a number of months. I trust you to provide for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen!” or “Dear God, I would love to go to this particular place on a family vacation. It’s a desire of my heart. I thank you for providing the finances for us to be able to do this someday, according to Your will, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Obviously, from a physical and mental standpoint having an impromptu mid-week movie night with the family, a day of rest, time out with your friends, date nights, and vacations are all so good for you because they allow you to pull away from your normal everyday life and throw in some variety and they allow you to recover.
Yesterday we were on a bike ride with our friends, Frankie and Teresa, in upstate New York. As we were coasting down one of the hills on our bike ride I told Angel and Starr, “It’s in the times when you’re coasting downhill that you can recover for the times when you have to peddle uphill.”
It’s the same in life. This is what vacations are for. This is what time alone is for. This is what Mom’s nights out are for. This is what date nights are for. This is what any and every kind of break is for – recovery and strength building so we can then do everything else God has called us to do in life!
Don’t be afraid to rest because rest has everything to do with God’s overall plan for you!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!