Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Psalm 107:9

"For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."

Isn't it amazing, how I can focus on one little thing, and it can aggravate me so, that I miss out on the big picture? I get so dissatisfied, with something so insignificant, that I take my eyes off of Christ, and well, it goes all downhill from there. I shouldn't be surprised, for the Proverbs tells me, this is the way of man:

Proverbs 27:20b " the eyes of man are never satisfied."

I've begun praying that God would help me become perfect. Now, hold on, I'm not praying for perfectionism as we understand it. But I'm praying for perfectionism as defined in Ephesians 4:13-14:

"Till we come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

This type of perfectionism is defined as mature and complete. A mature woman is not bothered if her bathroom or living room isn't painted (you will see where I am going with this). A mature woman is able to see the needs of her family, and just knows that now, in this season of her life, it isn't the best time for that. A mature woman learns to be content in ALL circumstances (Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.")

It doesn't matter if you are literally rich or literally poor, contentment is separate from those circumstances. I have more in my life now than ever, yet discontentment still knocks at my door sometimes. It takes work, and it is a choice to lean heavily on the Lord to keep discontentment at bay (and it is not something that comes naturally as we see in the above verse from Philippians). We live in a very lovely neighborhood, yet when I hear comments almost weekly about "your house is small to be having 4 kids", it takes nothing but the power of God to not let it bother me. Most of the time it doesn't, but sometimes it just does, for no good reason. "You are going to put an addition on, right?" Well, nothing is being planned right now, and honestly may never be. My husband and I are so comfortable just the way things are. Yes, we don't have a master bathroom (to think!); yes no child in our home will ever have their own bedroom (even if we had 10 bedrooms, for a deeper reason, we feel it is a good thing for kids to share bedrooms anyway). But our home is our haven (and easy to clean without making it an entire weekend affair).

So, to keep from letting the comments bother me some days, I have to look at all the beautiful things (and I know, and try not to ever take for granted, that I am so rich and blessed above and beyond that which I ever dreamed for myself). Today, I would like to show you my most favorite spots of our home. Really, it is almost every spot (except sometimes the color of the paint in my living room and bathroom bothers me - shame on me for not being wise, and letting such petty things even get the benefit of my precious thoughts ;).

The first picture, above, is probably my most favorite spot of our home - our front porch. I love everything about it. I love my $30 wicker set (yes, 3 chairs, a loveseat, and a little table, all for $30 from a garage sale - and the color is just my favorite!). Tomorrow we plan to decorate our porch and home for fall - my favorite time of year :) Oh! Notice the pumpkin leaves growing a top our holly bush on the left? A nice little gift from a chipmunk, squirrel, or some creature - we have two little pumpkins. What a lovely surprise since I didn't plant much this year!

My next favorite spot is my husband's and my bedroom. After selling our last home, we had some money leftover to buy some furniture for the first time. What you get a peek of in the mirror is our bed. I'm so thankful for a soft place to lay my head every night. We especially purchased a king sized mattress a few years ago, when a new mattress was desperately needed, so that any little blessing that finds his/her way in the middle of the night is warmly accepted (yet Mommy and Daddy still have ample room to get a good night's rest ourselves ;) )>

I love my kitchen as well. Nothing huge, just standard cabinets and original laminate counter tops. The benefit of being the first family to ever live here with children is that everything in it is in excellent and clean condition. The stove is original, and at first I thought it had to be replaced, but it is (er, I mean was ;o) ) in amazing and such clean condition! Its a waste of a perfectly fine thing to replace it now. Nothing lasts forever, and it will need to be replaced eventually. In the meantime, I'll be thankful for this fine stove.
Another favorite spot is our family room. Most of our indoor time is spent here. Many memories are being created here, and I'm oh so thankful! I am thankful also for an armoire (sp?) (lovingly given to us by my father-in-law) that can close the TV so it doesn't become the focus of our family room.
Our dining room. Another favorite of mine. The family table used to be one of my least favorite spots, as it was a battleground. You know the drill, fighting with your kids to get them to eat something. Well, after witnessing my older sister-in-law and (not older, but older in parenting years) sister, who didn't make eating a battle; and seeing their children eat vegetables just fine now that they are a little older; we decided to make meal time a time to connect, not battle. Oh how our evenings have changed! Rarely am I a short order cook, but instead of cooking with my husband and me only in mind now, I cook with my entire family in mind. I want dinner time to be a daily event my children fondly look back on.
Finally, it is our yard that was the major factor when we finally decided to purchase our home. The yard is spacious, and alive. Plenty of room for gardens when the day comes (it seems every year since I've had children, I've either been pregnant or had a near newborn - this spring I was newly pregnant, next spring I will have a newborn). Thankfully, my husband appears to be getting interested. However, our church just started this year a "Victory Garden" where the land from the church is provided, a neighbor farmer tills the land, the church provides the water , and you as a family can borrow a lot to plant your veggies in. We may do this next year because, in reality, we will have a newborn - our 4th born!

Anyway, here are a few pictures from this week - see those two blondies playing in their favorite spot - the sandbox built lovingly from Daddy's hands. The boys (and our little girl) can't get enough of playing in that sand!

Have a wonderful, full and restful weekend. Let's keep our eye's on Jesus, and He will help us turn from our worries and discontent, so that we can live in Him more.

Trying to find the blessings in it all,

Jen :)

P.S. If you blog, did you know about the draft feature? Wednesday I had a large block of time that I could devote to writing. So although it looks as if I've spent a lot of time the last three days uploading pictures and writing (and if you blog, you know that takes a while - at least for me it does!), I haven't at all. I did on Wednesday when I had 2 napping kids and one still at school, but the last two days I haven't had time like that at all. But on Wednesday, I was able to work on three things that the Lord placed on my heart, and then the last two days it was simply hitting a button to publish! Thought you may like to know that if you like to write like I do!


Nathan said...

lovely pictures! I think we'll be over next weekend so we can stop by and enjoy your lovely home!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to visit your home! I so long to be content in "whatsoever circumstance I am" but it doesn't come naturally, that's for sure! Thanks for the encouragement. Your family is beautiful!


Jen said...

Nate - can't wait to see you and your beautiful family! We'll probably head out your way the weekend after! If the weather is nice, Little O has baseball, and it is a real fun time for the little kids too as there is a HUGE field to just run endlessly in (while we can sit for a bit, catch our breath without having to worry about roads and such!)

Kim - It doesn't come naturally for me either! I remember one of my many surrendering (and I'm sure there are many more to come!) was my first son's first Easter. My focus was completely off Christ, and I was so angry, the angriest I can recall in my life. While at service that morning, it hit me, that I always thought once I was married, I would be happy, then I still had discontent and unhappiness. "Ah, I'll be happy once I have children." Nope, the void was still there! True happiness (joy) and contentment comes in Jesus Christ ALONE. As my husband, children and most of all myself disappointment me, as my house gets cluttered and in disarray, as the economy goes down the latrine, it makes me realize more and more and more that I can't put my hope in any of these things, as wonderful as they may be!

I've known that verse in Phil. my whole life, I think, but never did I focus on the word "learned" until I read the book "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow - GREAT book that helps point out God's truths about contentment.

I hope you (and everyone) get a chance to read it if you can!

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow