Each year since 2012, I have prayerfully chosen a word to grow through over the course of the year and learn about through our trials and blessings. This provides a way for me to be on the lookout for God’s wisdom and lessons in day to day life. It’s certainly not always easy or fun, but I guess wisdom doesn’t come cheap. 🙂
In 2013, it was content. I was nervous about it from the get-go. That doesn’t even sound like a fun word! But I was still on a high from the way 2012 ended (a new baby and a grand new adventure for our family!) to look too far into the future. Then reality hit.
Here’s a quick run through of some of our year before I get into what I learned about contentment.
– Jan. 2013
With three weeks notice, we moved 50 miles from the home I grew up in, crammed most our belongings into a storage unit and the rest, plus the 5 of us, 2 dogs, and a cat with newborn kittens, into a 950 sq. ft. house with literally zero yard, on a super busy street, in the middle of a new town.
My husband started a new job.
– Feb. -October 2013
We didn’t know many people.
I was starting to get depressed from the isolation.
Renters moved into our old house.
I turned 26 and had a fun date night with my husband and our 4 month old in Memphis.
We dedicated our baby girl to The Lord and found a church family.
Our renters moved out and we were back to paying rent and a mortgage and utilities on 2 homes.
Our new home started feeling like home.
Our oldest son played soccer for the first time.
We found out we would be having a 4th baby.
We moved back to Bono house that still hadn’t sold.
We signed a contract to sell our house in Bono a week or so later.
Chaos. Lots of chaos.
Two birthdays & Thanksgiving.
More time and money spent on our house.
We learned the house we had our hearts set on buying had been vandalized beyond what we had the time or money to repair.
I shed a lot of tears.
I threw a few fits.
We were told our house would close right around Christmas, so we packed up, put more stuff in storage, and moved again into the upstairs 2 bedrooms of my parents’ house.
– December 2013
An ice storm ruined our plans to have a weekend away for the first time in two years. (Oh the life of a lineman!)
A month long fight with our buyers’ bank to get a closing date, that still hasn’t ended.
Our anniversary came and went without a chance to celebrate it.
We put in an offer on a house, but due to our issues from our buyers’ bank, we were a day or two too late.
I shed more tears.
Then the year ended.
In between all that stuff there were lots of other big stressors that popped up with sick family members, unexpected traveling, car repairs, our car was hit in our own front yard, my husband’s company went through a restructuring and laid off a lot of people, sick kids, and several other things that very well could have sent us all over the edge. We also spent nearly every single weekend and a ton of money working on updates and repairs at our old house. Did I mention chaos? Then, just like that, another year was gone. On New Years Day 2014, all I said was, “We survived.” It was not an easy year.
That’s not the truth though, at least not the whole truth. We did survive. We also grew. We loved. We somehow managed to make some fun memories along the way.
I learned a lot. I grew in contentment in ways I hadn’t really considered before, and I was thankful for the contentment I already knew in other areas.
Content – in a state of peaceful happiness
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Through my word content, last year I learned…
– through downsizing twice in one year, how to be content with far less stuff. I am honestly embarrassed by the sheer amount of material possessions my family had crammed into our 1200 square foot house.
– to be content in my home, with just the company of my children and husband most of the time. Before we moved, I was used to being constantly on the go and having the freedom to get out with friends for bible studies, late night coffee, etc. once or twice each week. After the first move, I rarely left the house alone. That was a big adjustment. Now I can’t wait to have my own home again, so I can enjoy that time even more.
– that I actually enjoy grocery shopping and cooking for my family all the time. So many complain about those tasks, but I am so thankful I have a husband at home each night now to feed!
– a content marriage is a blessing when facing lots of trials. Our year would have been so much worse if my husband and I had taken our stress out on one another instead of being in it all together.
– my husband expects far less of me than I expect of myself.
All year long, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and love. I also learned that all those people that told me 3 kids were easier than 2 didn’t have 3 kids in less than 3 years. 🙂
Mostly, I learned being content isn’t just accepting your lot and going on. It’s having peace, happiness, and joy in everything you have and do.