• Cooperation in marriage
    When a wife walks with her husband, not against him, God gets the glory. Cooperation in marriage is serious business.

How to find contentment in your corner of the world

It wasn’t the way I envisioned Jacob’s 18th birthday. A year ago, I would’ve expected the four of us to be together, celebrating around the table with grilled fare under a blue sky, with the “You are Loved” plate in front of our boy-to-man. But when the day came, Jo was up North and Jeff was out West. Jake and I were home with the dog. It rained most of the week, and the walls of the house are bare. The garage is filling with boxes. Sometimes special moments don’t look the way we expected. How can we be “happy” in our corner of the world with our unique circumstances? Better yet, what’s the secret to finding contentment?

My Plan B started with a reservation at a special restaurant, the kind where you go for special occasions. It was a mother-son kind of spot, where I could coach him in etiquette suited to 18 yr olds (A girl can try, can’t she?) and explain what Bouillabaisse is. We were seated in a corner where Jacob could survey the setting and realize he is loved and of great value to us. I saved up cash from book sales of Expectant so we could afford the lunch menu, and I presented him with a (really nice!) Timex watch while we waited for our bread. It was all so perfect.Birthday contentment

Conversation drifted to our ears from beyond the papered walls and draped doorway. It came from the direction of a gaggle of silver-haired ladies, chattering about their Porsches and BMWs. Jacob was amused. They were celebrating a birthday too, but no one gave the matron of honor a Timex. Comparison is the enemy of contentment.

I’ve been reading in Philippians, where Paul says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

No matter what corner of the room we sit in or what our life consists of, we can be content.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Life’s journey includes being brought low and lifted high, times of plenty and times of need. In every circumstance, it is possible to be content.

Contentment

When Paul shares the secret to being content, strength through Christ, he waits until just after describing 3 necessary choices. These simple steps are essential experiencing PEACE in all circumstances. I’m holding on to these basics.

3 Choices for Contentment

  1. The choice to rejoice (Philippians 4:4-7)
  2. The choice to think God’s thoughts (Philippians 4:8)
  3. The choice to walk God’s ways (Philippians 4:9)

After all, we choose to be content.  Even in prosperity’s corner, discontentment can find a home. Wealth and possessions are no guarantee of contentment. They often lead to longings.  If we’re to have the strength to be content in life in Christ, we have to choose an attitude of joy, a Christ-like thought life, and a godly pathway.

Our lunches were delicious. Jacob loved his Timex. The restaurant threw in a free birthday dessert.  I think we might’ve been more grateful than the gaggle on the opposite side of the room :) But only God knows that, right? Who are we to compare?

Are you listening to conversations around you, from the richer side of “the room,” and struggling to be content with your corner of life? Are you finding it hard to maintain an attitude of joy and thoughts like those Jesus would have? I know it’s not easy. It’s a choice every single day. Hey, its’ a choice every moment! But in Christ, we have all we need to be content in our little corner of the world.

What area of life do you struggle most to find contentment? I’m praying through several ideas for blog themes in upcoming months, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about where and/or why contentment is hard to find.

Strawberry Raspberry Berry Trifle Dessert

Birthday Berry Trifle

I've missed Feed Me Friday.  In the swirl of showing our house, packing, and focusing on "finishing well," I realize I haven't been cooking a lot! When I do pull out the pots and pans, I'm cooking simple, familiar things like baked macaroni, grilled asparagus, and sauteed chicken. And, let's be honest ... I'm trying to empty out the pantry and the freezer! Bavarian pretzel, anyone? But this weekend we have a birthday in our house! Jacob is a lover of international treats, and trifle is an English treat that's right at home this time of year. It also makes a beautiful presentation.  And a bonus ... strawberries were on sale this week! I … Read More...

say goodbye

You should know: I don’t say goodbye

We have no control over the pace of God's movement in our lives. Lately, I have moments when I feel like I'm a spectator, watching my life building up speed. But it's not really going faster than usual, even if my heart beats a little more rapidly and I stop to tell myself to breathe. Divinely orchestrated change is coming, and goodbyes have begun. Before  I cross off more calendar days on the way to "then," I'm just going to stop right now and say what I feel slightly guilty about saying. I don't say goodbye. It's not that I haven't said goodbye before. I have. A lot. That's how I know the familiar vibe from friends and loved ones who … Read More...

Too Many to Jail

Because of the Resurrection … Too Many to Jail

 People pay a price across the world for believing Jesus died for sinners, was buried and raised alive. Faith in the resurrection comes with a cost. Most of us don’t even want to spend time reading about the cost of following Christ; it’s a downer. I agreed to review Too Many to Jail for Kregel Publishers, because I believe disciples of Christ need to know how God is working globally and how to pray for those in the grip of evil. We need to learn from them and stand by them and be amazed at how God still overcomes darkness. When I started reading Too Many to Jail, I was illiterate about the history of Iran and God’s movement there. … Read More...

Cooperation in marriage

Cooperation in marriage is no laughing matter

He laughed at me, mocking me for using words like yield and cooperate. I didn't expect the sarcasm about our family's way of seeking God's direction, but I should have. For a lot of people, cooperation in marriage is a punch line or lightning rod, an outdated way of thinking and living. Maybe you're in that camp and you're mostly determined to see your rights respected and your agenda advanced.  I'm not in that camp. When the ring of laughter faded from my ears, this conviction lingered in my heart: Cooperation in marriage is no laughing matter. One passage in the Bible gets a whince from women more than the king offering to cut the … Read More...