Contentment is truly one of God's best blessings. Like many of God's gifts, the hardest part is learning how to open it. It has a lot to do with trusting that God has your best interest in mind, and that your circumstances are exactly perfect. No need to obsess about improving your lot in life, just rest assured God will continue to provide your every need. I am truly thankful that through the Holy Spirit's gentle urging, Joe and I have learned to be content.
All that to say, I have been finding that the more areas of my life that I entrust to God, the more content and peace-filled I become. I will elaborate more on that in a later post.
And now for the point of this post. I had an amazingly peace-filled moment yesterday. God's presence in my life was so tangible and my heart just overflowed with His goodness. What was I doing, you may ask? Walking in the woods, meditating on His mercies? Reading my Bible quietly at my kitchen table? Praying in the quiet sanctuary of my bedroom? Nope. I was walking out to the mailbox with a chubby and sticky little hand in each of mine. I mention the stickiness to make it clear that this was by no means an idyllic scene. Brilyn was wearing dirty red size 3T (too small by about 4 inches) sweat pants with candy canes appliqued on them OVER her PJ's, complete with purple snow boots with no socks. Cade was wearing a mismatched outfit because of a diaper explosion earlier in the day that had obliterated his pants that matched the shirt he was wearing. Both their hands were sticky from eating some fresh sourdough cinnamon buns earlier, and then coated with a fresh layer of dirt (or was it chicken poop on Cade's hands?). And me? I was looking hot in a Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt, jeans, glasses, and workboots. I can't even think of a way to describe the atrocity of my hair.
I think sometimes that when people talk about contentment, they paint a rosy picture of clean kids, clean house, attractive mom, etc. (There is nothing wrong with any of those things, and they are good to work toward.) But I think that gives us the idea that we will only experience contentment when we have our ducks in a row. Paul talks about learning to be content in WHATEVER state he is in. That means in the sitcky hand state. And the weird outfit state. And the too-tired-to-put-my-contacts-in state. I think that is a stumbling block for some moms to feel content and fulfilled in their vocation (root word Latin 'vocare', or "call") as a fulltime wife and mother. If we are not keeing a picturesque home with adorable smart children with size 6 jeans and a cute haircut, we are not 'doing it right.' So we don't feel a sense of accomplishment the way we did when we worked outside of the home. I believe that is why some women "have to go back to work." Not for the money per se, but for the feeling of respectability, productivity, and accomplishment.
I'd like the point of this post to be, find contentment and joy in the small pleasures of holding chubby hands while walking to the mailbox, despite the fact that nobody would want to take your picture for a parenting magazine. God himself thinks that walk to the mailbox is worth joining you. That's right, God thinks your job as mom is so cool, he makes time to walk to the mailbox with you. And wash hands with you. And wipe baby booties with you. Think that is stretching it a bit? Think back to the story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet. That's pretty much grosser than wiping a toddler's heiny. (Stinky dirty man-feet are worse in my opinion.) Anyway. Each of our tasks, no matter how menial, can be done to the glory of God if only we remember that He is right there with us. You can find contentment in those tasks if you take the time invite God to come with you. And then? You find that you are right where God wants you. In your home. With your children. And you will find peace under the couch with the Cheerios. And contentment on your trip to the mailbox.