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Contentment that Amazon Can’t Buy

This time of year requires a fair amount of shopping.  The holidays bring me into far more stores than I would normally be in, and Amazon and I know each other pretty well right now. It’s so easy to feel far from the contentment my heart longs for. 

There are SO many amazing products and services out there that I never knew I “needed”.  Sometimes I find myself longing for more than I have, yet I’m reminded of 1 Timothy 6:6,7:

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”

contentment

That doesn’t really look like any of my trips to the mall, but there is such a peace that comes with true contentment.  

What is true contentment?

The kind of contentment that Paul is talking about isn’t just a philosophical outlook, but rather a real dependence on the sufficiency of Christ.  This doesn’t mean we detach ourselves emotionally.  What it does mean is that we understand the truth of Isaiah 26:3 – “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

There is a peace that passes all understanding that is ours as Believers when we place our hope and trust in Christ to provide all that HE says we need.

Does this verse sound familiar?

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

This sentence has been used countless times to bring inspiration and strength to many, but have you ever read exactly where it lands within the context of the passage?

”How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.  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.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Contentment in any and ALL circumstances?  How is that even possible?  Only through Him.

The greatest gift

Hebrews 13:5 says:  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “

The greatest gift we have as Believers is God’s very presence…always.  Jesus, Emmanuel, “God WITH us.” 

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)

Finding Purpose Amidst Diapers

After spending a decade babysitting other people’s children, I couldn’t wait to jump head first into Motherhood. I had a rose-colored dream of the days I would spend raising my own children and the kind of mother I would be.

Motherhood turned out to be a lot more chaotic, messy, and draining than I ever imagined. Many days feel much more like survival than fulfilling a great purpose.

purpose

Motherhood truly is one of life’s greatest callings. Raising children who love Jesus impacts not only your own child but also future generations. However, in the middle of diapers, meals, messes, and chores it’s so easy to feel like an unimportant maid rather than a woman with a purpose.

When you are feeling adrift in the chaos of motherhood, how do you find your purpose amidst the day-to-day tasks? A few suggestions:

  1. Own the now. Give yourself credit for what you are doing right now, even when life is chaotic. What are you teaching your children about Jesus by nurturing and caring for them every day? Brushing hair with a tender hand shows the big picture of God’s tender care. Setting boundaries and sticking to them teaches your children about God’s guidance and loving discipline. When you stop to think about it, I bet you’ll realize you have more impact already than you ever realized.
  2. Make a list of your NOW purpose(s). Take several days to pray and think about your purpose during your current life stage. Give yourself credit for the things you are already doing. Make a plan for the ones you aren’t. Look at your list and find the “low hanging fruit”- the easiest thing you aren’t currently doing – on that list. Make a plan and begin fulfilling that purpose. After checking that one off the list, continue choosing and planning to add more of those goals into your life.
  3. Make a list of what you think might be your future purpose. Maybe you have a heart for caring for the elderly or want to write a book for new mothers. Often narrowing down those future purposes is the easy part, the hard part is feeling inadequate because your current stage of life doesn’t allow you to throw yourself at those purposes. Put this list behind your NOW Purpose list and try to mostly let it go for a season.
  4. Prepare for the future while remembering that at this moment your NOW is most important, even if it feels less than the purpose you hope for in the future. God has you where you are right now, even if it’s drowning in diapers, for a reason. He is preparing you for the future purposes He has for you while you are fulfilling the NOW purposes He has for you. Your children aren’t the only ones being equipped for their future purposes during this busy motherhood season. Spend what extra time you do have in the Word learning more and more. Practice those skills you will need for those future goals. Do the small things now that will prepare you for the bigger things later.

Most of all remember that your NOW purpose is actually fulfilling a much greater future purpose, as you equip your children to one day fulfill their own purposes! Think of the huge impact your children will have on the world because you poured into them day after day after day.

Join Me at CAPE in Albuquerque, NM

CAPE
I am headed to New Mexico this week to minister to homeschool families at the CAPE conference Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, 2014. This will be my first time in New Mexico and I am looking forward to meeting new friends.
The CAPE speaker team has chosen the following topics for me to present on:
How to have a HEART for Your Kids: Friday   9:45-10:45
This Can’t Wait Until High School (How to teach worldview K-8) F 11-12
Teaching Your Kids to BLESS: F 1:45-2:45
Stand by Your Man: F 3-4
Attention Obsessive-Compulsive, Perfectionist, Control-Freaks-CHILL OUT: S 9:45-10:45
Soaring Beyond Survival: S 11-12
The outline handouts are available for you to download here:
If you are able to join us, I’d love to meet you. Please come by the Apologia booth! On Friday from 4-6PM I will be handing our M&Ms in exchange for a Bible verse. Parents and students alike are invited to share a verse of Scripture that they have hidden in their heart.
During the weekend I will be discussing the importance of being in God’s word, of meditating on it and memorizing it. The word of God can change our hearts if we allow it to do so. We must saturate ourselves in His truth so that we can be the salt and light He has called us to be.
I have set our a year-long challenge for my blog readers called M&Ms All Year Long.  You can read more about it and see the list of passages for each month of the year here.
Come, taste and see that the Lord, He is Good!
Rachael Carman