Saturday, January 22, 2011

Contentment

I do wish I could be more consistent when it comes to writing on this blog, but for many reasons it just doesn't happen. Tonight, however, I feel like writing. I pray that just maybe someone reading can relate to what I am going to share.

God is still teaching me so much in this season of my life. I can't believe that it has been 3 years since Jason's diagnosis with leukemia. January 7, 2008, is a day I think will forever be etched in my memory. It is so strange how a date on the calendar plays such a huge role in the grieving process. Thankfully, this January 7 came without a whole lot of dread, but once I realized what the date was, I felt overwhelmed with sadness and emotion. However, January 8 was a new day. I still felt an incredible sadness as I relived so much of what took place 3 years prior, but I spent a good bit of time re-reading Jason's caringbridge site. As I sat and read with tears literally blinding my eye sight, I was once again blown away at the faithfulness of my God.

I love so much that we kept a journal of the journey. The encouragement we received from that website was huge while J was being treated, but it amazes me that even now I find so much encouragement there.

Although I am able to see His faithfulness to me then and know that He is never going to leave nor forsake me, I still find myself struggling in other ways right now. One of the major areas that Christ is having to work overtime with me is the area of contentment. One dictionary defines contentment as "desiring no more than one has; satisfied." A Christian author of the 1600s by the name of Jeremiah Burroughs defines contentmet as "a sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

I have found lately that discontentment in my soul seems to be the theme. I have longed for the days prior to when leukemia invaded our lives. I have not only longed for pre-leukemia days, but also longed for this season of pain and grief to come to an end. Sort of 'enough already, God.' I have even cried that very prayer many, many times.

I am currently going through a book entitled Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. Actually I was introduced to this book some time back by a sweet group of college girls who were studying through this book in a small group. I had the opportunity to lead one of their sessions. I now have the GREAT privilege to walk through this entire book with 3 recent college graduates who are wanting to be mentored each week. I can't wait to see how God uses this book not only in their lives, but in my life as well! Anyway, there is a chapter in this book entitled Discipline of Contentment.

Discipline in any form is never easy and as I read through this particular chapter I became extremely convicted over my discontent with this season of my life. The author writes that Paul, when writing to the Philippian church, understood contentment so well. By the way, the book of Philippians happens to be one of my most favorite books of the Bible and chapter 4 my most favorite chapter. He tells the Philippian church in verse 11 that he had "learned" to be content in all circumstances. The word "learned" brings me great hope that I can be like Paul and LEARN to be content. Paul certainly faced numerous hardships and difficult circumstances. He goes on to say in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this (i.e. find contentment) through Him who gives me strength." It will only be through His strength that I will be able to achieve this.

As I thought about other seasons in my life, I began to realize that it hasn't been just this particular season that I have been hit with discontent. Does this sound familiar? When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to be in college. When I was in college, I couldn't wait to graduate, have a job and be married. When I first got married, I couldn't wait until we had a baby. When I had Anna Lea, I couldn't wait to stay home from work. When I got to stay home, I couldn't wait to have another baby. When Jason got accepted into CRNA school, I couldn't wait for him to graduate so we could move back to Hattiesburg. I could go on and on, but I think many can relate. We all long for whatever it is we don't have!

My prayer right now for myself is that I can be content in the season God has called me. I don't want to miss anything that He wants to teach me nor do I want to miss the blessing of the right now. Another verse of scripture that I have come to claim each and everyday over the last several years is Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..." Being still for me has always been difficult, but necessary! I know this God I serve is just that...GOD...and news flash...I am NOT! I certainly don't want to long for another season when that isn't what He has for me. Barbara Hughes said it best when she said, "the truth is, the worst thing that can happen to a Christian who is longing for something outside of God's will would be for God to grant that desire!" She goes on to say, "when we experience discontent, we must ask ourselves some pointed questions: What is the source of my longing? Is it a godly one-or ungodly? Will you yield to temptation in an attempt to satisfy your heart's desire, or will you turn to God and His Word for help?" OUCH!

So...as I strive for contentment may Jesus fill my every longing! I know He is able!

Philippians 4: 11-12 "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

May we all strive to be like Paul and learn to be content in whatever circumstances Christ allows!

4 comments:

Kristen said...

LOVE this post. And I love that you are teaching me through it. It's a lesson for everyone. On another note, Jeremiah Burroughs sounds like a sissy. ;)

Becky said...

Learning to be content in whatever state we are in is certainly a goal that we should all strive to achieve.
Sadly, it often takes tragedy to make us slow down and remember where our focus should lie. Thanks for once again reminding me of a truth I needed to hear. Continued prayer for your peace is, hopefully, a given. But to be perfectly honest, it seems that you have a firmer hold on things than you give yourself credit for....to God be the glory for your wisdom and faith.

Anonymous said...

I really needed this today, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It really hit home with me. Contentment is something I need to learn, also.