That last sentence is full of meaning I want to share. For several months I've been thankful but not wholly content. I prayed and prayed about it. I tried and failed to embrace contentment totally. I've been doing the same thing for 23 years -- been a stay-at-home mom. And for almost 19
I'd see my husband go off to work. I'd see my husband go off to powerlifting practice where he meets with a handful of students and coaches them in their powerlifting. This has been an incredible ministry. God is doing good things there (I know that is a tangent but wanted to share).
And of course my two youngest teenagers have all sorts of stuff going on.
And then, it would be me and Hawk at home. I knew (and know) what I was doing was what God wanted me to do. I knew it was important work, but honestly I was just feeling a bit left out. Feeling like life was happening everywhere but where I was. I knew this wasn't right but it was how part of me felt.
Just this morning I thought of what Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. Saul (who would become Paul) was chasing Believers to imprison them. On this road Jesus appeared to him in a bright light and said (according to Paul account in Acts 26:14), 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'"
This is not a common saying in our day, but I found a great site that explains it. You can read the entire article about it here by Tommy Boland.
Boland says a goad or an oxgoad is "a long pole or stick with a pointed piece of iron fastened to one end. In the strong hands of a loving master, the ox is gently prodded, guided, steered and driven in the desired direction when plowing the fields. When a stubborn ox attempts to kick back against the goad that is causing it discomfort, the ox will actually inflict more pain, driving the pointed end deeper into its flesh."
When Jesus brought this verse up to me this morning it explained exactly what I've been doing for so many months. Part of me has been fighting him in my discontent. I still did what I needed to do, but my feelings weren't being led. My feelings were betraying me, lessening me as a person even.
I continued to pray. I wrote. I wrote over 100,000 words in one document. A bit of it (just a little bit) was good. Most of it wasn't. I threw it away. I kept trying and trying and trying to find something other than what I had to make me content. At this moment I feel like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz when she clicks the heels of her ruby slippers together three times. She says, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home."
God will bring growth to us if we keep seeking Him. He knows what is best for us. He knows what will make us content. He knows how to transform us and will. I can truly say I am content in this quiet life. Summer vacation is almost over. My husband goes back to teaching. My two youngest go back to high school. And Hawk and I will do what we do here at home.
Paul says he learned to be content in all situations (Philippians 4:11). We each can learn this too. Learning to be content is a great spiritual feat. The world and the enemy want us discontent. God can bring us into contentment without changing anything about our circumstances. That is true power. That is love. That is a mighty spiritual miracle. When we are content Jesus shines out of us. Contentment is a process. And very likely we need to learn and relearn it every time we find ourselves in a new season of life.