When Contentment is a Struggle
Contentment is something I struggle with. I’m blessed to have a loving husband, a home that’s not huge or fancy but that is perfect for my family, three great children, plenty to eat, the ability to work from home, and so many other things! Yet, I seem to have trouble being content with what I have. It’s so easy to instead focus on what I don’t have.
I don’t have enough money to go on expensive vacations every year.
I don’t have lots of new clothes and pretty jewelry.
I don’t have the ability to keep my house clean and organized without a struggle.
I don’t have time to do everything that needs to be done each day.
I don’t have a perfect life, perfect children, or a perfect marriage.
But when I stop and think about it, God has given me so many blessings that I don’t deserve! Even though these things may not seem like much sometimes, I know there are people who don’t have these things and who would love to enjoy them like I do. People who would be thankful for these things and not take them for granted like I often do.
I do have a husband who loves our children and who loves me very much. He works hard to take care of us. He spends time with us.
I do have the ability to “tag along” on my husband’s work trips now and then. Even though he has to work on these trips, we still have travel time and evenings together.
I do have all the clothing I need. It may not be new or fancy, but I never have to worry about whether or not I’m able to clothe myself or my family.
I do have a home that I love. It’s not huge or fancy, but it has plenty of room. It has a walk-in pantry that I adore, a separate utility room—which is something I’ve always wanted, and it even has a good bit of closet space.
I do have children who love their dad and me, and we love them! We don’t always get along perfectly, but we do get along well, and I’m blessed that we have close relationships. I know many parents who would love to be in the same situation.
When Contentment is a Struggle
Yet my greatest struggle with contentment has to do with my 22-year-old daughter who is severely autistic. Since she was diagnosed at about age 3, I’ve prayed for God to heal her. So far that hasn’t happened. I know God could heal her if He chose to. But He hasn’t. It’s often hard to understand why God has chosen to allow her remain autistic instead of healing her. I don’t understand it.
But one thing I’ve learned over these 22 years is that God’s plan is better than mine. Even when I disagree with His plan. Even when I’m not sure what His plan is. Even when I wish MY plan was HIS plan.
So Many Good Things
I can look back and see so many good things that have happened in my life as a result of my daughter’s autism.
We attend our church because a friend who has an autistic son invited us. She knew we would be welcome and that our autistic child would be welcome—even though there were other area churches that didn’t welcome us.
I’ve been able to encourage so many moms of autistic children simply because I really do understand what they’re going through! I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard other moms say things like, “I’m so happy to have finally found someone who really understands what I go through on a daily basis!” Because I really do understand.
I’ve learned to appreciate every little milestone that my daughter reaches. I’ve learned to treasure every bit of progress she makes. I’ve learned to be happy for little things that most parents take for granted.
I’ve been blessed with a wonderful respite care worker who has become a friend. She takes loving care of my daughter for a few hours each day so I can work and go to the gym or to appointments. And my friend is blessed to have a flexible job that she enjoys.
No, I wouldn’t choose for my daughter to be autistic. But I’m learning to focus on the blessings I have and to pay less attention to the things I’d like to change. I’m learning to trust God’s plan more and my own plan less. I’m learning to be content knowing that God knows what’s best for my family and for me.
I’m learning to be content.