Monday, March 21, 2016

Struggling with Contentment

Watching Chip and Joanna in the show 'Fixer Upper' turn people's dreams into realities, sometimes makes me look around my house and see the 80s paneling, old floors, and sigh because I can't have everything I want. How foolish is that?! I have a home, one that I don't have to pay a mortgage, it's a very good size, and we have everything we need. Please tell me I'm not the only one, though! As you skim Pinterest and see a mix of DIY art, beautifully matched rugs, new fixtures and modern furniture, do you stop being thankful for the roof over your head and sigh with discontentment as you look at your lack of creativity, funds, and decorating skills?  Paul had something to say about this:

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8(ESV))
Do you have food? Do you have clothing? If you live in the US, or other developed country, there is a good chance you have a great deal more than this. What causes us to have to have the latest phone, trendiest house, or most amazing vacation?

 I remember when I first went to Thailand, my room was huge, had my own large bathroom, which was in a large 3 story (if you count a very spacious attic) home. I was miserable,  though. One of the people I was staying with was just very hard to be around.  Two years later, I moved into a tiny dorm like apartment with a roommate, and we shared a tiny outside bathroom that birds would poop in. I was so happy! For the first time, I enjoyed living in Thailand, and was treated like an equal by my roommate. I was so content. The moral of this story is: possessions and things have nothing to do with our happiness level. We can have a Pinterest worthy house and wardrobe, and yet still be extremely unhappy and discontented. I think in our heart of hearts we know that, but it's so easy to forget!
Whenever I start to get discontented, I think back to that time, and remember all the blessings God has given me. I have a home, an amazing family, enough food and clothes to last a great while. I am blessed! I am not saying that I still don't have dreams of a Disney World vacation, a color coordinated kitchen, or a new pair of shoes, but those dreams shouldn't be on a high priority. Our relationship with God, then our family, should come a long ways before any of that. 
My prayer is to not let the things of this world tempt me and distract me from my real purpose: to bring Him honor and glory!

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Philippians 4:11-12

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Spiritual Lesson I Learned From my Toddler

It's amazing, isn't it? Once you have a child, you start understanding so many things about your parents, and about God. It was on a walk the other day, that the Holy Spirit convicted me through a couple of things my son did, and I thought I would share that with you.


Little man wanted to get out of his red wagon, and walk the rest of the way to his grandmother's house nearby. He started on the dirt road, and then quickly realized that he didn't know where he was going. He looked at me and put his hand up for me to grab, trusting that Mommy knew where we were going. Oh if we could be like that! If only we would:

Trust God and Let Him Lead us to Where He Wants us to go!

So many times I want to blindly go on alone, forging my own path, instead of looking up in trust and faith, and putting my hands up to be led by Him. To do that, knowing that He knows where I am going. To want to be led by Him to do His will! To be like that, always!

Near the house there was a pond and Little Man got very excited and wanted to let go of my hand and charge towards the water. I would not let him, however, and it frustrated him. He whined and griped that I didn't let him run towards what looked to be so fun. What he didn't know, was that I was protecting him from possible danger of drowning. It was out of my love and care for him, that I didn't let him have the 'fun' he wanted.

Isn't that like us and God sometimes? We want to go charging head first into sin, or even to something that is simply not God's will and plan, because it looks inviting, easy, or fun. God has to convict us or shut doors that keep us from going, and often we get angry and frustrated that we aren't doing what we want (or feel like is a good thing) to do. When we are convicted of a certain thing, or when we see that doors are being shut to something we think is good, but perhaps don't have peace or certainty of God's will, then we need to go back to letting God lead. Remember:

He loves us so much that His plan will be far greater (although perhaps not as easy or fun) than ours ever could be. 

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