This is actually the post that started my professional writing career. I say professional because this article was posted in our women’s church magazine. Normally, I wouldn’t consider publication in a church magazine to be professional but I suppose if your church has over 39,000 members then I suppose that should count. Since this article was published we had another child rounding us out to six, I became a widow and my two oldest sons have moved out. Contentment is still something I strive for daily and at times I find that sweet spot.
I have five children and we homeschool our children so my house isn’t the perfect picture I would like it to be. I believe there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. However, when you have five children in the house ranging from 11 years to 4 months you rarely achieve this goal.
After checking on my children one night on my way to bed and seeing the disastrous state of their rooms, I was discouraged at all the mess that once again had to be cleaned up. As I walked down the hall toward my bedroom, I stepped over half of a plastic bell pepper. When I got to my bedroom I had to step over an Angelina Ballerina puppet. As I navigate these items I think to myself, how many times have I told the kids to keep their toys out of my room. I just want ONE room of the house to be clean. Can’t I have just this one?
Then I go into my bathroom to wash my face and get ready for bed and I find a baby doll lying face down on the bathroom floor where my youngest daughter had left it. Not only have they cluttered up my bedroom but now they’re leaving things in my bathroom. As I look at that doll lying face down on the cold tile, I am suddenly convicted by the Holy Spirit.
I realize that one day my children will be grown and move out of our house and there won’t be any more dolls lying in the bathroom or any more vegetables in the hallway. I realize that there are many women who long desperately for a child of their own and struggle with infertility who would trade places with me in a heartbeat. I have not only been blessed with a child but with five children. I think how often I take that for granted and consider it a burden at times to have five children at home all the time. I suddenly realize that when my children finally grow up and move away I will then long for these days when the toys and the laughter fill the house.
I then understand that my problem is not that the children are messy. No, the problem is much deeper than that. The problem is that I have not found the contentment that Paul talks about in Philippians. If I could only learn to be content in ALL things not just when things are neat and tidy and going according to my plans, then I will truly be living the way God intended me to live.
“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”