I love the book of Philippians, but man is it challenging to read through these days. Let me show you something:
This was our house in South Dakota (well, most of it. Close enough to get the idea). I loved my house. It was something we’d saved for, planned for, and anticipated during our first year of marriage. We scrimped and saved and then thoroughly enjoyed shopping for it and signing those millions of papers to make it our own. The only DIY thing I ever did was the welcome sign you can just barely see hanging next to the door. It’s a plank of wood that Brian measured, cut, and stained. We bought stencils and wrote on it “Bienvenue” (French for “welcome”) and attached our house numbers: 720. The deck was built by Brian shortly after we moved in. We had plans for the backyard and lots of plans for inside.
None of those came true. Almost a year to the day, we sold our house. Oh, my beautiful home.
We had bought the house with the plan of settling down for awhile, listening to the Lord’s direction for our lives, and in the meantime, starting a family. Now, since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being a mommy. The first birthday present I remember is a Cabbage Patch doll that I dragged around everywhere with me. I had my dolls and my dress-up clothes, and my imaginary husband: John Gardner, the banker. Yes, he had a name. Yes, he had a profession. We were very happy together. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mommy.
When we sold the house, we sold that dream, for the time being, as well. With all the transitions, the schooling, the culture stress, and everything that’s involved with moving around the world and starting a ministry, beginning a family just did not seem wise. It still doesn’t! But, oh… to be a mommy.
I think it’s hardest when I see friends who have been married less than half the amount of time we have been, and they already have children. Or to know people who have been married the same amount of time and are working on child #2 or #3! Man, that’s rough.
But… then I think… wait a minute. What am I so upset about? We have the privilege of being able to move around and not have to worry about children in tow. We can actually sleep through the whole night; we can get things accomplished; if we get sick, we just have to worry about ourselves. Just yesterday, I spent an entire afternoon catching up on scrapbooking… sans interruptions. Hmmm, maybe it’s not so bad after all.
Every day it’s a struggle to give it back to God – that desire to be a mommy and the jealousy of everyone else who already is one. I will admit, it’s a conscious effort. But, I want to say with Paul: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” I can’t say it constantly, but I can say it. That alone is a big step forward from just a few months ago!
And then I look back a few verses and get these reminders: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch that? “Will guard your hearts AND your minds.” I believe it’s a guard against those thoughts that he warns about in those verses, too. It’s a guard to keep what’s good and pure and lovely and of good report IN and what’s not, OUT. And He will guard your heart. 2 Corinthians 4:8 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” He never said He’d guard it from pain, hurt, or disappointment. But, He won’t let it get taken away; He won’t let it get crushed, despaired, abandoned, or destroyed. “The sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning…”
Ah, to be content. I don’t crave joyfulness, happiness, or even amusement every day. I crave contentedness. “I am learning to be content whatever the circumstances.”
By the way, these were my babies in SD. Clockwise from Top: Minnie, Molly, and Gunther. Gunther is still with us; Minnie and Molly have since found new homes.