Rocking Horse Winner

Last night as I was drifting off in a NyQuil induced coma, Kel and I had a really great chat. Maybe it was just the drugs talking but we found a sweet depth in sharing the fears and doubts that we’re kicking around these days.

His heart hangs heavy on what the next step is for our family, we both feel the winds of change but have no idea what that looks like in reality.  We know he needs to finish up  seminary, but as we are currently debt free (except the house, Dave) we aren’t going to take out loans for his 3 remaining classes.

God has covered all the $500 credit hours up til now, yet still we doubt…

He suggested maybe we could cut back the grocery budget a bit and save cash there, I scoffed because the truth of the matter is that the belt is already tight.  I was actually looking for a grocery budget INCREASE, a decrease won’t do.

We always need more Milk, Eggs, Bananas, Milk, Eggs, Bananas.

I suggested he pick up a hobby that makes money on the side, like delivering pizzas.  Hey he likes to drive and he loves pizza, I smell a win/win and pepperoni!

As soon as he began to talk about money for seminary my worry prone mind began to race around in circles around spreadsheets, money envelopes and dollar signs.  There never seems to be enough does there?  I wish there was just a little more money for food, a few new cute shirts for me, maybe one more date night.  I wish there was a bit more.

Then he asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day.  My immediate response is time, I just want a little more time for myself, to write, read, stroll, sip coffee and just be me.  I wish there was more time.

In that instant a red flag popped up inside me, I had said the word “more” in our chat at least five times.  We just need more…more… more….

Does anyone remember the short story The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence?  Well I studied it in lit class in both High School and College and it’s a story about a family whose house is run by a woman who’s trying to live a life that exceeds their means.  She describes herself as “having no luck” and constantly imparts upon her children the need to be lucky and have money.

It’s said in the story that the children can hear their house whispering “There must be more money” and her son sets off with frenzied determination to ride his rocking horse to learn the winner of the next weekend’s horse races so he can gamble his pocket money.  He achieves some success and the mother is left with an 80,000 purse, but she sacrifices her son who dies from fever after riding his rocking horse to find the winner.

As Kel and I chatted about our fears I found myself feeling parallel with the woman in the story.  The one whose children could feel her anxiety and her ever present discontent with their lifestyle and means.

I felt the sting of being smacked in the soul.  Do I want to be the sort of mother who has such deep discontent that her children feel a desperate need to try to fix it?

Resoundingly and heartachingly NO

My daughter is a fixer, she will make you soup in her pretend kitchen to “feel you better” when you’re sick and she will kiss anything you tell her is hurting, from your head to your toe.  I don’t want her to ever endeavor to fix my discontent for money and time.

This realization parallels nicely with my journey to stop complaining this week.  With increased contentment I will surely find a decreased need to complain, right?

Oh mamas, friends, we have to give up this deep ache of “not enough” and replace it swiftly with the sort of contentment that Paul writes about in Philippians 4.  If the early church can have deep joy and contentment in the midst of beatings and persecution then surely through God’s grace we can find it in the midst of our lives.

“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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12-13

It seems that the secret is taking our focus completely OFF what is in front of us and putting it fully ON he who has guaranteed us the strength to do life in him.

Let us not think that strength means that we don’t need to delve deeply into our pain and struggle.  If you are grieving, weep well, if you are weary, rest up.  We are never called to pretend life isn’t hard but we are called to sew a deep peace into our hearts.

So, how?  We stop looking around us and look to him instead.  We focus on what we have, GRACE, FREEDOM, ASSURANCE and we just stop focusing on what we don’t have

I am preaching to my soul, maybe yours too?

Dear Lord, may I hunt hard to fix this contentment into my heart so that those around me don’t feel the need to rock and reel to fill my stubborn voids.  

What is your more?  Can we lay them down together?

  • http://learningtobealight.wordpress.com bigguyswife

    I am sitting on my couch, crying right now. All I have thought about since we found out we are moving is “how can we get more”. I have been so stressed on how we can make more money for the move, How can we have more in our savings so we can come home to visit whenever we want to. I have been on the verge of selling everything so we can have more when we move. I have been so worried about selling the house, so we will have more of our income left over. This just made me open my eyes to how many times I have said “more” in the past few weeks. I need more help, I need more boxes, etc… And how many time I say the word “I”. Taking the focus off of me, and my “not enough-ness”. Thanks for this! And, I have no idea how we have not been friends this whole time. I would have loved to get to know you better!!!

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Oh friend, hang in there! Life is crazy and moving is hard but God will sustain this big exciting transition for your family in a way that exceeds your dreams in hindsight, I believe!

      And isn’t life mean like that? You get to know cool ppl just as you’re separating? Thank God for the internet machines! :)

  • http://heftafarm.wordpress.com heroldsroses

    reblogged at heftafarm

    • Heather Tiger

      Poignant and soul-stirring. I needed to hear this message as the “I need mores” have been crowding in and clanking about. “I need more time to get ready.” “We need more diapers…not clothes, not blankets people..diapers..or the diaper bag.” “I need more sleep.” “I need more inspiration so my blog doesn’t sit untouched for days.”
      I’ve been struggling with finding some peace and this message helps me see that it’s not the more I need, but the enough that I have, in Him. Thank you friend for being a vessel of His enoughness and grace!

  • http://heftafarm.wordpress.com heroldsroses

    Reblogged this on heftafarm and commented:
    the always wanting more is often, SO ME, and I wonder where my girls get the “gimmes” from!

  • http://rebootingworship.com/ Jamie Kocur

    I’m guilty. I have had a few panic attacks over money this week with some unexpected medical expenses. I had to remind myself today that I have my emergency fund and that’s what it’s there for. Deep breaths, and be content with what I have. Thanks for a great reminder.

  • http://trainswhistle.wordpress.com train-whistle

    My thanks to you for this message. I was lead to it today because I needed to read it.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      You’re welcome, praying for peace!

  • Heather Tiger

    Reblogged this on Thorn in My Heart and commented:
    My posts have been, well, absent, along with any inspiration and time. I apologize, but felt it better to be void than post nothing of substance. I’ve been busy, tired, and overwhelmed, trying to capture some peace in the chaos. I came across this poignant post from my dear friend, Leanne Penny, just in time. I needed to hear this message as the “I need mores” have been crowding in and clanking about. “I need more time to get ready.” “We need more diapers…not clothes, not blankets people..diapers..or the diaper bag.” “I need more sleep.” “I need more inspiration so my blog doesn’t sit untouched for days.” “I need more focus.”
    I’ve been struggling with finding some peace and this message helps me see that it’s not the more I need, but the enough that I have, in Him. Thank you friend for being a vessel of His enoughness and grace!

  • http://joycannis.wordpress.com Joy

    Leanne,
    Your transparency here is so refreshing.
    We went through a time of unemployment, pregnancy complications, hospital stays and lack of insurance. This post took me right back to that time. I learned so much!
    I also remember wrestling with God…a lot.
    I LOVE Philippians 4:12-13.
    I can assure you, this post, just as so many of your writings, has reached more hearts than you will ever know.

  • 300poundsdown

    Just found your blog and I’m glad I did. This is so true. And you’re right. Our children pick up on things. Thank you for this reminder.