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If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know that I operate a small daycare. But you may not know this interesting little fact…my three teenage sons and I lived in the daycare before we were able to buy our own home.

Yep, that was as fun as it sounds. Ask my boys, and they will tell you it was the best three months of their lives. (I wish there was a font for sarcastic. Just in case you didn’t pick it up, they did NOT enjoy living in the daycare. Not that they didn’t love the kids…but you know, having a bathroom door that locks is, ummm…nice when you’re a teenager.)

I learned many things in those three months, but the best lesson was something we learned as a family:

You’re never truly thankful for something until it’s taken away from you.

We had recently moved from a spacious 4-bedroom home in Australia back to the States. We lived with my brother and his family for a couple months (which is a great story too, but that will have to wait for another time). Then God supplied a new job for me–operating a daycare. And it just made sense to live there while we looked for a house.

At this point you might be imagining a large, spacious building with myriads of colorful classrooms. Well…not so much. My daycare is a one-bedroom trailer. Not a double-wide, just a regular trailer home. It’s the perfect size for a daycare licensed for ten children.

Add three teenagers to the mix, and things get a little tight. We squeezed three single beds and a computer table into the back bedroom. The downside was my guys had to crawl over each other’s beds to get across the room. The plus side? There was no floor to vacuum. Actually, there was no floor visible. 🙂

And there was one bathroom. For 14 people. Which included several toddlers, shall we say, in training…with no ability to wait. Not even for a single second. So we all learned to use the facilities really, really fast.

And my bedroom? I thought you’d never ask. It’s the biggest bedroom I’ve ever had. Well, perhaps I should say, it’s the biggest room I’ve ever slept in. My bedroom was the living room/playroom of the daycare. Complete with multi-colored fish curtains, playpens, and tubs of toys. Oh, and lots and lots of toy trucks.

I slept on the couch, which was the perfect size for my 5′, 3″ frame. One inch taller, and I wouldn’t have fit. (I knew there was a reason God stopped me from growing past the 8th grade!)

We ate in shifts. I fed the daycare kiddos first, then my boys got to eat. (Turns out teenagers are more patient than toddlers. Who knew?)

It was a glorious day when we moved from the daycare into a house. We delighted over things that “normal” people would have laughed at.

My boys were ecstatic with locking bathroom doors. And using alarm clocks instead of waking up to the sounds of boisterous children at the front door. And being able to see patches of carpet on their bedroom floors.

And me? Well, I was thanking the good Lord that when I had a shower, I didn’t have to put my shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razor way up on the top shelf of the bathroom cupboard EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I bet you’ve never thanked God for that, have you?)

And I got to sleep in a real bed! Not that I didn’t sleep well on my little couch, but now I could roll over without falling on the floor. (Which is a big plus in my book!) But perhaps the best thing was my bedroom had a…wait for it…DOOR! Never in my life had it even crossed my mind to thank God for my bedroom door.

We are so very blessed. Every day we use and experience a thousand things that ought to fill our hearts with gratitude. But most of us never think about these things…until they are gone.

Take a moment to look around. Do you have shoes on your feet? Imagine going to work today without them.

Is there a faucet in your kitchen? What if it suddenly stopped working? Forever. No more water, and don’t try the bathroom faucet. There’s no water there, either.

And while we’re at it, look in your fridge and pantry. What if they were completely empty?

So many times in life, we get caught up thinking about all the things we don’t have, instead of thanking God for the thousands of blessings He has given us.

Perhaps a good exercise for all of us would be to imagine life without these blessings, and then take some time to thank God for them.

And if you’re feeling that your house isn’t big enough, I suggest camping out in a daycare with 14 people for three months. It will make your home magically grow, I promise. 🙂

 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:1-2)