When I was single, I thought the only thing that would make me truly happy was to get married and start my own family. I struggled daily with feelings of discontentment and frustration because not only was there no boyfriend in my life, I didn’t even have a prospect!
Then I met and fell madly in love with a guy named Gabe, and we got married. Finally!! I was content…except, well, I got the baby itch! I just KNEW the only thing that would really make me truly content was to have a baby! It only took a few sleepless nights with a screaming infant to realize that a baby was not the source to true contentment!
Over the years I have learned that contentment does not come from how many kids you have, how much money you make, how big your house is, or wether you drive a mini van or an SUV.
This is actually a hard thing for me to grasp even now.
We are still living in the first house we ever bought. It’s a cute little house in a neighborhood that is starting to go a little “ghetto”.
We had great plans to fix up our house when we first moved in, but we just never found the extra money to set aside for it. We were so busy raising our 4 kids, it just wasn’t that high on the priority list. Now that our kids are a bit older, those things that needed fixing 14 years ago are in even worse shape now. I have counters that you dare not place an egg on our you will be cleaning up the floor. Out of the many doors in our house, only one doesn’t have a large hole in it. Don’t even get me started on my bathroom!
Yes, I struggle with being content with my house. I really, really want to move. Moving isn’t possible until we fix it up and sell it first.
The week after Christmas, we had our kitchen measured for new cabinets and our floors measured for new carpet and laminate! After years of talking and planning, sacrifice, and hard work, we finally walked into the bank on a sunny January day, to look at our options for a home improvement loan. I could hardly contain my excitement!
As I was starting our dinner that night, my mind was racing with color schemes and decoration ideas. Kids clattering through the house with toys along with the melodic notes of my daughter playing the piano, easily made the ringing house phone unnoticeable. A few minutes later my husband urgently called me upstairs to our room. I had never seen him so distressed. I started to get annoyed. Was he getting cold feet about investing money in our house?
“I have cancer. Again.”
“Carrie, that was the doctor. I have colon cancer.”
Time seemed to slow down. I could hear my heart beat roaring in my ears. Then I lost control and cried my heart out. My husband held me, shock rippling through his body. Finally, I realized the wrong person was comforting the wrong person. I realized I was dangling over the edge of a full-fledged panic attack. I finally regained my self-control.
“God has got us through so much this last year. Why should we lose hope now? It’s going to be OK. No matter what, it’s going to be OK.”
My words echoed through my mind, trying to find a place in my heart to rest.
It’s March now, and everything is still OK. Gabe had a successful surgery. He is one cycle into his chemo treatments. Side effects from the chemo were there, but tolerable.
God has provided each and every need, and beyond. He has given us peace that we have a hard time explaining to others. We even have been able to forget sometimes that Gabe even has cancer.
It’s funny how circumstances in our life can cause us to be content where we once struggled. How things that seemed so urgent just a few days ago are now nearly forgotten.
Ok, do I still want to move? Um…yes. Do I still want my house fixed up? Yup. Do I ever think about how close I came to getting my house fixed up before the door slammed in my face? You betcha. In fact, I was even doing a little complaining to my dear friend the other day about it. Being the dear friend she is, she sharpened this old piece of iron by saying, “Carrie don’t let the Devil steal God’s victory from you.”
The fact of the matter is, contentment is a long roller coaster ride. One day, you can be focused on living your life to please God and you don’t struggle one bit with being content. You actually feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what you do have. The next day, you might go to IKEA, and well, your eyes get off focus from what God has already done and you may slope into days of discontentment and ungratefulness.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. – Philippians 4:11
If I can keep my eyes focused on what God HAS done (taken care of my husband through a stroke and thyroid cancer), and what God IS doing (taken care of every single need as we now face colon cancer), I can be content with knowing He has my future in His hands. I can trust Him. I can be content, even in the midst of chaos.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1 Timothy 6:6
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