Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Contentment is a strange animal. It's at the same time warm and fuzzy and desirable, but also quite elusive. At least it is for me. Contentment is something I struggle with. I battle with myself and my desire for things that I don't need or that won't actually benefit me but I also battle our culture that is constantly bombarding me with lies of happiness and security and peace if only I had....fill in the blank. I don't even have a tv. I don't go out much and I try to avoid most things pop culture so that I don't get lured into that trap, but as sin tends to do, it gets me from the inside out. So I've been working hard on this contentment thing. I mean, honestly, I have a pretty wonderful, blessed life. I want for nothing, I have more than I need--financially, materially and even in love and blessings. The one thing I've struggled with for a very long time though is my living situation. We are expecting our 6th child and we are living in the same 3-level, 1100 square foot tree house of a home we moved into when we had only two tiny children. Okay, to be clear, it is not the same EXACT house, but the same exact floor plan just down the street from where we lived before. It was small then, but it was enough. It was frustrating, what with no bathroom on the main floor and having to drag laundry from the 3rd floor bathroom to the basement to be washed and then back up again to be put away. How many people do you know who keep their toothbrushes in the kitchen because it's SUCH A PAIN to go up or down a steep flight of rickety, squeaky stairs to brush one's teeth?!?! We've done it for over 8 years. But as time has gone by, we've learned what works and what doesn't. We keep a lot of toiletries on the main level--like in the kitchen and dining room because it's just easier. We've also tried to keep a good perspective on the fact that this is not our "forever home" and that eventually, if the Lord sees fit, we'll have a larger, better laid out home. But for now, I was content to have my 6th child in this home...hey, maybe even my 7th if necessary and make do with what we've got--because in reality, it's a lot better than a LOT of people have. But then we got a phone call. "We were wondering if you'd be interested in moving into a larger home?" Seriously? No, we're fine...I mean, who needs a bigger home when we can take turns spending time in the same room together?!?! What a stupid question...of COURSE we'd be interested. We never thought it was a possibility so we never even thought about it. But housing here (we're in the military) has just changed their policy, allowing people to move into larger homes based on family size rather than rank. Well guess what?!?! There is only one other family around here crazy enough to have as many children as we do...and they happen to be our neighbors and also received the same phone call. So we start looking around at the "available" homes. Wow...how nice would it be to have more rooms?? To have room for school AND dining at the same time?? What would my big children do if they didn't have to pick up EVERYTHING they're doing as soon as the babies wake up in order to make room for everyone in the living room...and best of all, how nice would it be to run to the bathroom (for the thousandth time that day) without having to lug a baby or two up or down the stairs?!?!? And so my mind goes crazy. Which house?? When?? I'm due in just over 3 weeks...how is this going to work out?!?! Crickets. No info. Nothing. We make a few phone calls. "Oh yes, you're definitely moving...yes we know you're due to have a baby, but we have no further information for you." Okay. Thank you, that was ever so helpful. I start to pack and then I stop because now I know this was just a cruel joke. The houses we were scoping out are beginning to fill. Yup, I knew it was too good to be true...and now the house I was content to live in for the forseeable future is closing in on me. It feels even SMALLER than it already is. I have no room for anything. Where in the WORLD am I going to squeeze in another crib? How are my children ever going to be able to play on the floor of my living room as they get bigger??? Enter complete discontent. I'm now anxious and a tad bit angry. I was FINE before...why did they have to dangle the carrot of a bigger home in front of me when I was doing fine? I had never thought to complain to anyone (other than my understanding husband) because I know no one asked us to have this many children...it's our choice and we're okay with where we are...or we were okay with it. See how quickly contentment can turn to discontentment?? It's when I took my eyes off of trusting in the Lord with ALL of my heart, acknowledging HIM and allowing HIM to direct our paths that things began to crumble. I've lived in this house long enough to know that it is warm, it is cozy, it is manageable and it does work for us. No, it's not ideal...but as I said before, it's a whole lot more than many other people have. So here I sit...knowing that no matter what the Lord has in store for us will be exactly what we need...and may even be a huge blessing beyond what we could have imagined. The latest news is that those homes we were looking at that seemed SO big and wonderful are actually too SMALL for our family and that there is an even bigger home being prepared for us (and our crazy neighbors). We may not be in there before our babies arrive, but it's so much more than we could have DREAMED we'd ever live in. So pray with me as we await the arrival of this precious baby AND the availability of our new home that I will not fully believe in until I'm living there. Pray for me to be content. Pray for me to trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding. And praise the God who gives me so much more than I could ever hope or dream for because He loves to give good gifts to His children as much as I do.