Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Art of Contentment

(photo from

As my friend left my home and I closed the door behind her, tears flooded my eyes.  She had shared a precious story with me.  It was lovely for each of us to be able to bond over a lesson learned from our loved ones who have gone on to heaven before us.
Her mother-in-law was much like my Tim in many ways.  Though both suffered terribly through drastic physical changes, neither were complainers.  In fact, both walked their painful journeys with dignity and in a way that inspired others.
My Tim died from head and neck cancer.  Her mother-in-law passed away from ALS.  Neither of these were easy or comfortable ways to leave this world.  The legacies left behind by both remarkable individuals are too numerous to count, but a common thread in their lives was the 
art of contentment.

After my friend’s mother-in-law passed away, a spiral notebook was found.  This woman, who was an artist and had once used beautiful calligraphy penmanship, had jotted down notes to herself in a slightly shaky scribe.  Here is one that is now framed in her daughter-in-laws kitchen.

“I am learning the art of being quite content with doing very little slowly.”

Bitterness could have flooded the hearts of these two brave souls.  It could have robbed them of any satisfaction or happiness in the last few years of their lives.  The world might very well have said they were justified if this had been their response to their personal battles. 

But it wasn't how they chose to respond.  These godly individuals left us a legacy of understanding the art of contentment.  What tremendous testimonies and examples!

A peaceful mind gives life to the body, but jealousy rots the bones.  Proverbs 14:30 [CEB]

It makes me wonder….
Am I content?  
I don’t mean content financially or materialistically (although the Bible also has plenty to say about this type of contentment), but am I emotionally and spiritually content with where God has placed me? 
Right now, 
Right here, 
In this very spot of grief and the mess of learning how to continue in this life without my Tim. 
Am I practicing the art of contentment that was modeled for me by Paul in the Bible?
“Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11-12 [NAS]
As a widow, I have many choices.  One of these important decisions involves how I will walk from this point forward.  Will I cling to my God?  Bask in His peace?  Absorb His rest deep within my soul?  Will I walk with dignity? 
That’s exactly what I want my children to be able to say of their mother.  That I discovered the art of contentment, and walked this road bathed in God’s grace. 
I want to continue the legacy my husband began; a legacy of practicing the art of contentment; even when life is hard.  
Maybe, especially when life is hard.  
Regardless of what stage of grief we are each in, God has allowed us to be right where we are, right in this moment.

God, thank You for the years You provided us with our loved ones.  Thank You for their examples of true contentment.  A level of contentment that can only be found through a constant seeking of You.  Saturate every corner of my life with the art of contentment.  Teach me how to leave a legacy that will bring You glory.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. "especially when life is hard" - I think this IS exactly what your children will say of their mother. Praising the Lord for His strength in you.