Friday, August 15, 2014

Contentment


What image does the word "contentment" bring to mind? Floating on a lake under a blue sky, a perfect summers day when all's right with the world? Family all around the dinner table? A Sunday afternoon nap? All these things are wonderful blessings, but this isn't the kind of contentment The Lord has been teaching us this summer.

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

This contentment is an entirely different thing from the kind described above. The first kind is dependent on circumstances, available when we have most of our needs met and/or no major crises or unresolved issues. If we're honest, we live our lives in pursuit of this kind of "contentment" and peace. We make decisions based on achieving this goal. When life interrupts us with suffering and inconvenience, we chafe and cry and question God and are irritable with everyone around us.

Or maybe that's just me!

The Apostle Paul didn't live this way. Come to think of it, neither did Jesus. And I say I want to follow after Him. 

Luke 9:23-24 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 

That doesn't sound like I will always have my physical and emotional needs met on my timeline. Who would sign up for this?

Mark 10:21, 28-31 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 

All this to say, it has been a challenging summer. 

In June our minivan's transmission went out. This required time and prayer and wisdom to decide whether to fix or replace it, finally decided on replacement, and then the time and expense of the replacement...$3400. Gabe needs the other car every day for school so the kids and I biked, walked, and took the bus a few times. We stayed much closer to home than I normally would...and I think that was the Lord's design. Having a car was a convenience I am so thankful for now! But I don't know that I quite "learned contentment" on that one.


We were hoping I would be travelling to Ukraine for Anya's adoption this summer, but through divine delays, we weren't able to get our dossier paperwork submitted in time. We had made the decision not to bring her here for hosting this summer based on that hope...then realized too late that she would be in Ukraine for the summer without us. We are still planning to surprise her with the news of the adoption when we get there....so the knowledge that she is sad and feeling rejected right now breaks our hearts. But praise God, we have recently been able to Skype with her through the kindness of a family who are currently at her orphanage adopting two boys from there and who are loving on her for us.
We are also still working through the surprising difficulty of transitioning into a new church body while grieving changed relationships and missing the familiar of what God clearly led us out of. It's been lonely and I think has given us empathy for Anya as we have felt a bit like "church orphans"...longing for a place to belong but having difficulty attaching due to past hurts. Trying to balance wisdom with loving His church wherever we are. It's easy to try to cover all that with Bible verses and platitudes, but the truth is we are wretchedly human and weak and can be hurt and have a hard time getting over it. However, in the midst of that He has blessed us with some beautiful friendships and strengthened family bonds and has made us treasure them and invest in them more intentionally. He's showing us what unconditional love really looks like, and how He loves us even when there's nothing in it for Him...other than that He loves us.

He is just...SO GOOD.



It hasn't been all suffering however…we have had some fun summer adventures that I will get the techie to help me find pictures of! Thank you for your love and prayers!

Blessings,

Bonnie
Adding a small garden this Spring

Sam's got one his dad has never done!


Somebody get some pants on the boy!

Backpacking with the "men"!


Heading to Whidbey Island with friends for July 4


Tacoma Splash Parks were a big hit this Summer!

Is Ocean Shores always this gloomy?

Fort Nisqually




Free bowling, courtesy the library's Summer reading programs

Clear Lake with friends



Wallace Falls State Park (Spring Vacation)
Upper Wallace Falls