From My Files I wrote this back in 2003. That’s two babies ago. We still live in the same house, though now we have an unfinished addition and a wonderful front porch. We are now bursting at the seams, and there are times when the Holy Spirit still has to have a good talk with me about contentment. I know, without a doubt, that this is the house we are supposed to have been living in all these years; and I’m thankful for His provision. I also want to note that my Rachel, whom I refer to at the end of this piece, is now a healthy 7 year-old who has Tourette Syndrome and the speech therapist who helped her with her stuttering is who eventually recommended we see a doctor about her sniffing and throat-clearing, which -of course- led to the TS diagnosis. Silas, whom I also refer to, is now a very healthy 4 year-old. I may blog about his weight-gaining troubles another time, but he eventually began to grow and now, you’d never know he had problems. Ok . . now for the thing I wrote back in 2003 . . .
My husband, our four small children, our 55-pound dog, and I all live in a pretty small house. My husband says real estate -speak for our home would be “modest” and “cozy.”
This winter our home developed a leak over the dining room and laundry closet. We noticed it when water began seeping up through our carpet and dripping down the beam between our dining room and kitchen. This was after the wall in our laundry closet had begun to get moldy and the insulation was soaking wet. Well, after finding a contractor, dealing with homeowner’s insurance, and all that, we are finally able to begin work. I think. Our home smells like mildew and we run a dehumidifier constantly in the dining room. Every time it rains, our carpet gets wet and occasionally water drips from the one part of the ceiling. The contractor told me last week that we’d better do something soon or he’s afraid our ceiling will cave in on us. Of course, we’ve had one of the rainiest springs ever.
Before all this leakage problem, I struggled with being content in this home. It is so easy to visit a friend or family member with a nice, large home and be covetous. It’s easy to dwell on thoughts of MY dream home and quickly become discontent with this small home. But I know that God has provided this home for us. And so I must take every thought captive and be joyful and content in this house. A little more than a year ago, I prayed about this often and gained victory. My husband and I both could say with ease that we were happy here. We know ways we can make this little house work, even if we have a bunch more kids.
Well, then the house started leaking. In circumstances like that, surely complaining is allowed. So I complained. Every time I stepped on the wet spot in the carpet and got a sock wet, I fussed. Every time I walked in the house and smelled mildew, I fumed. When we visited my parents for ten days and realized everything we owned smelled like mildew, I was horrified! Had I been going to church smelling like mold?!? Did I ever fuss then! So much for being content.
A couple weeks ago, we woke up on Saturday morning to find ants all over our dining room. We squished them and sprayed them, and I was about ready to just pack up our things and go somewhere, anywhere. Then Sunday morning, we awoke to MORE ants and this time there were also flying ants! A quick check on the internet and we learned about swarming season and mating season. It seems hundreds of flying ants decided to mate in the light fixture above our washer and dryer and then all the females flew out to the sliding glass door in hopes of getting outside to start new colonies. In the meantime, hundreds or thousands of little sexually immature worker ants were scouring our dining room for food. These ants had been attracted to the wet wood in the walls of our dining room and made their way into our home. I was certain it was appropriate to complain now!
Then I took a shower — one of the few times I get to be alone! — and the Lord began to speak to my heart. Suddenly, it became clear to me that if Satan can enter some swine, he can certainly enter some flying ants and make them mate in my light fixture. Satan, my enemy, is trying to make me discontent in the home God has provided. That makes me angry! And I was letting him win! That makes me angrier! So I prayed and prayed. And I decided that God gave us this house and I’m going to praise Him for it. Even if the ceiling falls down on us and the ants are everywhere, I will praise Him and continue to thank Him for this home. When I begin to feel frustrated, I make myself sing “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” and “Peace Like A River.” (I think a song with a form of water in the title is especially appropriate. LOL) Sure enough, if I sing it enough, I start to mean it. :o)
My God is good and He wants me to become content in all things and praise Him always; He doesn’t want me to always get my way. He is much more interested in the condition of my soul than in the condition of my house. So I am thankful for these wet, moldy walls and annoying flying ants for they have drawn me closer to my Lord and helped me grow in Him. The leaky roof and mold-filled carpet have helped me, like Paul, to say “for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
Oh, I probably will learn this lesson again in another way. I certainly haven’t mastered contentment; but I am making baby steps. And that’s what it’s all about.
In the midst of all this, my Rachel has had some testing for her severe stuttering and has seen the neurologist. Our youngest, 9 month-old Silas, is still only 11 pounds (as he has been for 4 months) and is seeing a specialist and having some tests done in regards to that and his gross motor delays. And my God has given me the peace that passes all understanding. I know that my children are His before they are mine, and so I am able to trust Him with their health. Amazingly, I am not worried or fearful at all.
My sweet heavenly Father has given me eyes to see that this is a testing, a trying of my faith; and He has given me the extra measure of faith needed to hold tightly to Him. I know this is the Lord’s working in me because I know myself; and I like to complain and cry and fuss and want my own way. God has molded my attitudes and given me His peace and greater trust in Him. This is His doing, and He deserves the praise. I am amazed that He loves me enough not only to die for me, but also to live within me and patiently form me into His likeness. WOW!