In the past few years of my life, God has really impressed on me the area of contentment. When I was first married, I wondered why we didn't have all of the things other people had. Nice houses, nice cars, etc, etc. Over time, I have come to really appreciate everything I have. It was not instant. No, it was a process.
What I have learned in the past few years is that contentment stretches far beyond belongings. Sometimes we can long for dreams or aspirations. It happened to me. I want to tell you my story.
My husband and I married almost 15 years ago. I was an LPN at the time with hopes to become an RN. I spent the first 3 years of my marriage working and going to school. I graduated in 1999 with my RN and began working my "dream job" in the ICU. Just before I finished school, we began wanting children. We tried for a total of 6 years with no success. In those 6 years, we had a 2 person income, took a lot of trips, and bought our first house. Admittedly, I knew very little about saving and finances. We had not saved much when I found out that we were pregnant with my first daughter. I managed to work part time and still nurse her exclusively. I worked when my husband was home, or my mom stayed with my daughter until my husband got home from work. It was a pretty sweet deal, but it was tiring. Two years later, my second daughter came along.
Shortly after Hannah was born, my husband experienced the first "dry spell" in his job. I had been working one to two days a week, but now I needed to find an actual part time position to make ends meet. It was much harder now with 2 kids. I really wanted to be home. I hated that I had to work. The fact that I really wanted to home school also loomed in to near future. How was I going to work and do it all? I really began to experience discontentment at this time. I talked to my husband about staying home, but he really didn't agree. He couldn't see the point in throwing away a college degree and a good paying job. NOW, he would never had forbidden me to do it- he's not like that, it was just his opinion.
When I became pregnant with my son, an opportunity presented to us. My mother-in-law wanted us to buy her other property located right next door to her. The house was no bigger than the one we lived in, had rotten-egg sulfer water, and had a kitchen that was far inferior to where we lived. BUT, in my thoughts, maybe we could sell our house, and put a large down-payment on this house, pay off our vehicles, and decrease our debt! Maybe I could finally be home where I wanted to be! so, on the advice of a family member, we moved out of our house, into my mother in law's home, and we placed our house on the market. Weeks passed, then months--no takers. We had only one offer that was very seriously below what we wanted for it. It would have done us no good. We wouldn't have made any money on it--therefore, we would be in more debt than we started in.
Then, another opportunity came knocking--someone called us out of the blue and wanted to rent our home. So, we began the journey that didn't go so well. We suffered through very hard times with bad renters, and lost tons of money on the house. Remember, at this time we were paying 2 mortgages! I was a bit upset that my plans to get home had blown up in my face! And to top it off, my husband's work this past winter almost came to a complete stop. I was working more than I had in years.
Through all of this, I can still look back and see God's hand in all of it. I was always able to work one day a week in times of plenty--and sometimes the census at the hospital would be so low that they would call me off and I wouldn't work at all. But in the dry spells--things always seemed to pick up. I was able to work almost as many hours as I wanted while Will stayed home with the kids. It was always temporary. I am thankful for that. We are currently in the middle of the worst dry spell Will's work has ever experienced. But, in the midst of this, we have had enough, and God even provided us with Christian renters who are responsible and pay in advance. If you read back over this post, you will see some of the other amazing things God has done for us. I give Him all of the glory. No, he didn't miraculously give us a way for me to quit work. My hopes have not changed in this area either. My ideal would be to work 2 days per month! BUT, I have gained much contentment in what He has given me. We don't have a fancy house, a fancy car, or expensive....anything! But we don't need it. All of our needs are provided for. We have food, clothing, and a roof over our heads.
I have still managed to home school throughout all of this too. It really helps to have an amazing man that is willing to do what ever needs to be done when I am gone. I love my husband and appreciate him so much. Again, my goal is still to get out of as much debt as I can and eventually stay home. I have learned much more about finances, and I know with hard work--we can get there. But while we are on that journey, I can still enjoy contentment and peace. Thankfulness for the ways God provides. Thankful that my worth as a woman and a mother only lies in HIM--not my circumstances. For I am a child of God. Forever grateful. Forever His. My treasure is in Him.