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?