I never thought there was such a thing as contentment. That is, until I saw her.
I was at the park with my children and this woman caught my eye. She had a stroller full of plastic bags stuffed with clothes. She held a toddlers’ hand and it looked as if she was expecting very soon. I was uncertain if she was homeless, but I could tell that she didn’t have much.
I am not one to stare but my eyes somehow forgot that fact. I was not being judgmental, but instead, I was taken back by the joy on her face as she played with her toddler. She seemed like a mom who was doing her best teaching her child how to be content no matter the circumstances.
I was in awe.
I later learned that she in fact was homeless and had given birth. I could not stop weeping and praying for her.
I pictured that day at the park and asked myself, “Would I be able to teach my children contentment in the midst of us living on the streets by day, homeless shelter by night?” Another question quickly came, “Am I teaching my children contentment in our life now?” A shameful no was the answer to both.
I knew God was giving me a lesson here. My hunt for contentment began.
I started with the definition and found a version that made me wince. Here is my paraphrase: Not finding fault.
Lately, I have been finding fault with everything, from my husband to the forest green carpet in our family room. Seriously, dark carpeting and small children do not mix well. Just sayin'.
My husband is by far the best man I know and my children follow suite. Finding fault with them was not something I normally did because I thoroughly enjoy them. I knew it was time to get to the bottom of my discontent and take action to change it.
Due to the nature of my husband’s business, we move a lot. This is so unsettling for me. Give me predictable any day. I laugh when I think of God’s sense of humor though. He gave me a risk taker for a husband and three children very close in age. I knew from the moment I met my husband that he was far from predictable. And let’s face it; there is nothing predictable about raising children.
God revealed to me that my discontent was not with them, but with myself. My journey to contentment has started with choosing to be thankful regardless of my circumstances and making a decision to trust God everyday. This practice is not an easy thing for me. And unfortunately I fall short of gratitude almost daily.
But, I am inspired.
By observing that mom at the park, I know that contentment is real. By putting my faith to action, I know contentment is attainable.
...for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquited) in whatever state I am. Philippians 4;11 (AMP)
The learning part is easy. The doing...not so much. Thankfully I choose to look to a God that is stronger than my emotions and offers me victory, in every situation I face, through trusting Jesus.