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The gift of contentment

As part of the redecorating project of my flooded basement, I took an ancient (faded) mountain print gold-framed picture to the glass guys, and had a mirror put into the frame. The print had faded to blues, but the story behind the picture prompted me to “repurpose” what other designers might label “junk.” This was my mother-in-law’s left-behind treasure from a catalogue purchase sometime in the l960s. My mother-in-law came to this country as a young toddler, with parents, siblings and a suitcase. She shared her life story with a thankful heart, content to share what she has with others in need — her health, her wealth, her wisdom and her cookies! “When you have enough — the basics — it is good to be content,” is the gist of what Mom Froese believed. The “new” mirror reminds me of my beloved mother-in law and her ability to be content.

I asked a few other farmers about what they would say about contentment. One fellow had tears well up as he awaits the surgeon’s report. Others just shrugged their shoulders and said “it’s been a tough year… 50 years of work is now in jeopardy.”

Circumstances may be critical, yet God is still in control. Is this a key to being content, no matter what life crisis tries to crush you? Being content calls us to reflect and cherish the spiritual gift we can choose to open. We each have the chance to accept and open up a vital, dynamic relationship with God for our lives, for the present, and for our eternal well-being.

In God’s word, the Bible, Paul writes to the Philippians about contentment:

“… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what is it 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Wow… what a gift!

There might not be a new sofa in the design plan this year, or the trip, or patio stuff. The gifts may be letters of love, thankfulness and affirmation. It might be a cup of tea shared in a spirit of friendship and caring with our neighbour. You might want to make an ordinary day more extraordinary, even if you aren’t celebrating a birthday or anniversary.

Mom might rearrange the furniture and dig to the back of the attic or closet for long-forgotten treasures that need new light and perspective. I like to spend some days “putzing” where I dedicate the search of forgotten white glass collections, linens or art that can find a new place to bring beauty and energy to our home sanctuary.

Some gifts to the kids may be a family heirloom or book that needs to be passed along to the next generation. Share the story that goes along with your treasure, and do some spring cleaning in the process. When you are storing things as you clean, take a few extra moments to pack away the story that goes with the special clock, ornament, or photo.

Someone said that “clutter is energy constipation.” It is time to declutter our lives.

What if we, as women, were content with a kitchen that was “good enough” and spent our time, energy, and financial resources helping other women locally and globally who are strapped for time and resources?

“Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life,” says Rick Warren, author of the bestselling Christian book Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan, 2002).

I agree.

We can be content with what we have and not worry (Matthew 6:25-35). We can be content because God will never leave us no matter how tough the situation is (Hebrews 13:5-6). Those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing (Psalm 34:9).

Tuck a love note and Bible verse into your loved one’s lunch bag.

Bake cookies together or deliver treats to a lonely person.

Go skating, sledding, trail riding, skiing, or walking. Look up!

Share memories around a scrapbook, photo album, or family history book.

Tell stories. Build an outdoor bonfire and roast wieners.

Laugh lots. Find a puzzle to work on.

You have many tools and resources in your home to be content. Recycle those decorating magazines, and volunteer at the local thrift shop this year. In New Zealand they call them “OP Shops” which is short for opportunity shops. We have lots of opportunity to repurpose our stuff and be content with what we have. It might also be a good idea to shut off HGTV to curb your “house envy” episodes. Open the good book and be content in going God’s way. What would it take for you to be more content? How much is enough? †

About the author

Contributor

Elaine Froese is a certified farm family coach and farm partner. Seek her out at www. elainefroese.com or call 1-866-848-8311. Buy her books for your mom. Share your stories of how these phrases have impacted you. Elaine wants to hear from you on Facebook at “farm family coach” or Twitter @elainefroese.

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