Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Secret To Contentment

Usually when I have a "night off" it is because I desperately need some quiet time alone.  Sometimes I make the initiative and call Josh at work, asking if he would be willing to let me go away to clear my head for a couple of hours when he gets home.  Sometimes it is Josh who takes the initiative and demands me to have a "time out":)

Regardless, this alone time is mostly out of necessity.

But last Monday afternoon Josh texted me out of the blue to ask if I'd like a night off.

I told him I needed to pray about it, ha! (j/k)

It hadn't been an abnormally rough day. I, I mean, the kids, hadn't had any major meltdowns.

You better believe I wouldn't pass up this opportunity though!

I prepared dinner and we all sat down together to eat.

Then Josh looked over at me and said, "Now, get out of here!"

I had the perfect plan!

I needed a new journal, and we all know that finding the perfect journal can be time consuming:)

Then I went to a restaurant with an outside eating area and ordered a dessert to eat ALL BY MYSELF.  As I indulged I put in my earphones and finished the book I was reading and then...

...I couldn't really think of anything else to do.

So I hopped in the car, turned the radio off, rolled down the windows and enjoyed my last few minutes of blissful alone time.

When I pulled up the driveway I could see in the windows.  It was already getting dark, and there was a 50-50 chance that the kids would be in bed, but as I pulled into my spot I could see Alethia sitting at the kitchen table with Jude, making silly faces at him and feeding him a late-night snack.  I stood outside the carport window and watched for several minutes.  It was such a sweet thing to watch.

Then, instead of walking in, because let's face it, bedtime is so much more fun to WATCH than to DO, no matter how much you love your kids, ha, I walked around the back of the house.  Areyna and Zeke were twirling around in their own make-believe world and Cai was putting his cars "nite-nite".

I decided that I'd just hang out on the trampoline with Pandora and the stars watching the kids enjoy their daddy time before bed.

That moment is when I realized that I was content.  Like really soul-fulfilling content.

I believe it started in Uganda last fall.  Somewhere along the way I lost interest in trying to gain my self-worth in trying to be like my friends and trying to do what worked for them and their families.  Not that I don't ever struggle with comparison anymore, but that constant nagging that would continually leave me feeling empty, worthless and never good enough...those feelings are gone!

I have finally not only embraced this season of life that I am in but I am daily choosing to OWN it!

Now, don't go painting a picture in your head that parenting never completely exhausts or drains me and don't you dare think for a second that I have mastered the art of being completely content 100% of the time.  This mama is STILL going to need her time-outs locked in her bedroom and her nights away from the chaos of kids.

But when I think about the word EMBRACE, I mentally picture wrapping my arms around something.

One step farther is to take what I embrace and OWN IT!

When I hear "OWN IT", I mentally picture determination of the action being embraced.

For me, right now, I mentally picture myself wrapping my arms around the fact that I have 5 children (when growing up I honestly questioned whether I ever even wanted kids).  I am a stay-at-home mom (when if fact, I always pictured myself working outside the home in some capacity because I LOVE being active).  I provide for my family by feeding them (and not in a 5-course-meal kind of way either), teaching them and encouraging my kids to be thankful for their daddy's hard work to financially provide for our family.  I homeschool, a road I NEVER thought I would be going down.

These are the things God has called me to, not necessarily the things that I would have planned my future to hold, but in this season I can choose to be bitter, resentful, bored, complain about my kids and their on-going antics or the lack of emotional stability in some of their lives (*sigh*), or embrace this season as an adventure that God has blessed me to be a part of and own it!

I have never felt as content in my calling as I do right now!  I am committing to daily choose to own it (knowing that days will come and go where I will fail tremendously, but I'm committed to try anyway)! To run this race with Christ as my navigator and motivator, not in search of someone else's race and calling.

What season are you in?

Are you just trying to survive through it or are you going to work faithfully, as unto the Lord?

Do you exemplify contentment and ownership of your children or do they constantly overhear you complaining about them to your friends?

I'm a work in progress, but I believe that the days where I choose to own the things God has given me to embrace, those are the days I find contentment in them.

Choose to embrace YOUR calling.

Choose to OWN IT!

And smiling through it is never a bad idea either;)

Then, if you are truly following after God's own heart,  I promise you will find that contentment.
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