For the past six months or so, I have been a difficult person to live with.  I have been a seething pot of discontentment, an erupting volcano of discontentment, and a frantic squirrelly mess of discontentment.  And I wanted my husband to know just exactly how discontent I was…you know the Proverb about a dripping faucet?  That was me.

It started around my fifth month of pregnancy, when I began to fret over where I was going to put a fourth baby in the 3 bedroom house that we have been renting for the past 2 years.  Would I put 3 children in one room, or both babies in the nursery?  Would we buy another baby bed or would Jay Paul move into a regular bed?  How in the world was anybody going to come and visit us, when we are at more than max capacity?  All of those justifiable reasons to buy a larger home, coupled with my hidden one–a desperate desire to own a place that belonged to us, to decorate it, to be able to make changes, to make it ours.

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So I frantically searched for a larger home, and Jeremiah began realizing my hidden agenda when I was willing to buy a home smaller than the one we are renting now 😉  “I thought this was all about needing space?”  Well, maybe not ALL about needing space.  Then, a month before Mae was born, we moved Jay Paul into the same room with the girls and it worked WONDERFULLY.  My friend Melissa encouraged me to give it a try, saying that she had loved moving all three of her littles into one room, and so we did.  And she was right!  And my family had a brief period of relief from my crazies.

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However, after Mae was born two things happened that hurled me back into discontentment in a major way: 1) We found a snake in our bedroom–3 ft from the cradle where my baby sleeps. 2) I began to crave the convenience of living in town after adding a fourth life and second nap schedule to our family.

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While the snake was the primary catalyst, I am not going to go into it too much here.  It deserves a blog all its own.  But I will reassure everyone that there is life after finding a snake in your house (I was worried for a time that that may be impossible), that some of the reason it came inside was our fault (while studying for the boards this summer, Jeremiah allowed the field around our house to grow up to our front door–literally), and that we found the snake’s entry point and sealed it.

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Then, right after the snake, the girls started back to school and Mae developed newborn pneumonia, and I think I was pretty close to nervous breakdown.  In my mind, during all of that life upheaval, I was convinced that if we just bought a house in town–a home that was close to all of the children’s activities and snake free–that I would be content.  That stress would be gone.  That I would no longer feel like my life was swirling around above my head instead of sitting firmly on the ground where it belonged.

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Finally, God got my attention.  We had narrowed our house search down to 2 homes, and if it weren’t for Jeremiah holding the reigns, we would have been moved into one of those two homes months ago.  BUT Jeremiah kept refusing to make a huge life decision (like buying a home), while I was…crazy.  While you can imagine that that reasoning did not rest well with me at the time, it did give me space to calm down and hear what God wanted for us instead of what I wanted for us.  I had just dropped Pace and Mary Aplin off at school when it happened.  I began to notice bits and pieces of a sermon that was playing on the radio.  The overall message was this:

We (as a generation) are often placing our own comfort and convenience above the things God is calling us to do. And there are sobering consequences–primarily missing the joys brought about by His best for our life.

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The example the preacher on the radio used was the choice to forgo having children until much later in life because we believe there is more joy to be had in revolving our life around what we want instead of what someone else needs.  In one word, convenience.  {I am DEFINITELY not saying that God calls everyone to have children early in their marriage!}.  This message resounded with learned truth for me.  I did not make a holy and self-less choice to become a mother at the age of 23–after being married for only two years, (I was actually taking birth control and completely surprised) but I have reaped the magnificent rewards of that divine intervention for the past eight years.  First with Pace, then Mary Aplin, Jay Paul, and now Mae.  The gaping hole of wonderful life I would have missed if I had had my own convenient way instead of God’s way for my life!

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In that single moment listening to the radio, the word “convenience” morphed from my mantra to a dirty word.  My long list of reasons for moving from farm-life to city-life were primarily an outcry for comfort and convenience.  As I drove the remainder of the 10-minute drive to our home, these are the words God drew from my heart:

On Monday, I noticed that the last of the cutting was complete and everywhere my eye could reach had the shorn freshness of a new haircut.  On Tuesday, a white crane–its long graceful neck held in the smooth curve of flight–raced my car down the driveway as I took the children to school, skimming just above the black pond, eye to eye with me as I drove over the dam.  On Wednesday, two horses plucked up the courage to go around the wire fence and so enjoyed their afternoon snack just outside our back door.  Today-Thursday-the harvest moon was so joyous over the crisp breath of fall that is whispering over the land, that she forgot to go to bed and greeted the whole family on the porch for breakfast–where sleepy-eyed babies nibbled buttered toast in their daddy’s lap and watched the moon go back to sleep.

I know that God has “a most excellent way” that is different and just suited for each of His children.  I also know that He allows us a choice and that we may choose a different path for our life than the one He has planned.  For me, there are days when I want to chose the path of convenience.  When I want a short, paved driveway that is close to school and all the activities of my children’s lives.  When I want to not have to plan my day so meticulously because I can always pop in and out of my house around the corner to grab whatever I forgot.  When I tell myself that I might have time to do more important things if I weren’t DRIVING so much…But if I chose convenience, would I look back over my life and realize I’d traded that convenience for the everyday glory He reveals to me when I surround myself with His wonders?  Because it is in the small, everyday surprises where He shows himself the most, and while I know He can find me anywhere, I believe His “most excellent way” for me and our children is found living on land.

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Ashley made this for our Christmas party, not me!

I sat in my parked car in our garage and pecked all that out on my phone, because I knew He had given it to me, and I didn’t want to forget a single word.  I wish I had recorded the phone conversation when I tearfully called to share those words with Jeremiah.  A husband who’d left the house that morning with a dripping faucet wife nagging him about how long he was waiting before he bought us a home in town!  To a wife who is crying on the phone two hours later with all of that.  “What does this mean, Abby?”  he asked, flummoxed.  I didn’t know!  I am pretty dense, and if you can believe it, I had gratefully received that word from God and was still telling my husband that we should move in town for right now, that this message was for LATER.  I am serious.  The only excuse I can offer for that lack of perspective is that I am extraordinarily afraid of snakes.

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It took a beach trip with my sisters the next day–you know those people who are brutally honest with you?–before I let the message penetrate to my core.  On the drive down, they asked about where Jeremiah and I were with our house decision and I told them we were still confused…that we had narrowed it down to two houses in town, but that we still ultimately wanted to build in the country.  Then, I read them what I had typed on my phone…And I got slam dunked in that moment in the car.  Had I really received a direct answer to my prayer for clarity for our decision and still was claiming confusion?  “You have your answer, Abby!  Why won’t you accept it?”

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Now, I have accepted it.  We have made some small changes where we are living (mainly organizational issues), that make our day-to-day life more manageable in a house that has stayed the same size, while our family has doubled in size.  We have met with an architect and I have prepared my “house notebook” so that the house that has been living in our heads for the past 10 years can maybe have some wood and stone slapped onto it.

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The primary change, however, has been my heart and squeezing close the hole in my faucet to stop all that dripping.    A few months ago I would have told you it was impossible for me to be content where we are living now.  I looked longingly at every house I passed on my way in and out of town and thought how much more convenient my life would be if we just lived THERE.  However, when I finally caught a glimpse of God’s best for our life, everything else came into a new perspective.  The drive, the house size, even the snake were not huge issues.  I don’t want to settle for any less than His best, and His best this minute is exactly where we are.

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Ashley also took a lot of time to hook these lights up to the carriage, to make our night-time wagon ride happen on a day when she didn’t really have any time to give. I appreciate you Ashley!!!!!

9 Responses to “Discontentment”

  1. Azurae says:

    everyday GLORY! Lord give us eyes to see you! So beautiful my friend. Thank you for inviting us into your wrestling. We all benefit so deeply. Love you!

  2. Jessica says:

    I love your blog. Thank you for sharing these words. You have no odors how similar our circumstances are especially our “need.” Confession is powerful not just for you but for those around you.

  3. Abby I LOVED this post! Living in Houston without anyone around us has caused me to be in a state of discontent. Glad I’m not the only one convicted by my sin of desiring convenience!

  4. Emily says:

    I needed to hear this today so THANK YOU for sharing! Merry Christmas!

  5. Kathy says:

    Abby, I am so much older than you! But thank you so much for sharing what God spoke to you. Our life paths are completely different, but I it appears God is pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I have been quite content here. Need to make the choice to be obedient. Praying that I will trust and obey.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  6. NameGail says:

    Hi Abby, I am so thrilled that you are back sharing. Goodness…this OLE’ lady sure did find your blog today a blesssing! You are one, wise, woman! I hope Gods peace, joy and mercy remains inside your soul, body and spirit. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!! oxoxo

  7. Bobi Bobbitt says:

    Hi Abby! My name is Bobi and I live in Edenton NC. I found your blog a few months ago through my “online friend”, Darby. I have fallen in love with your blog and with your precious family! I SO needed this message today and have been praying alot lately about my discontentment with my life right now… we are living with our three children in my parents home waiting for our home to sell, it has been for sell now for six years! We are also waiting to bring our daughter home from Ethiopia… have been waiting for three years… do you see a trend here?? Waiting and then more waiting! I struggle daily (and sometimes hourly) with thinking if only my life could be this way or if only God would just sell our house and bring our daughter home! God bless you for sharing your heart, it has truly touched mine! Merry Christmas!!

  8. Brooke says:

    Discontentment is a scary thing. I’ve been dealing with it lately because I’ve been wanting to downsize to another house… so I’ve learned that it attacks in all kinds of ways! Praying for contentment over here. xoxo.

  9. Keely mims says:

    Abby.. I have never been on your blog and I must say this was much needed. We are having a hard time with contentment and are all packed in my grandmothers house as we look for our “new home”. Maybe this will help me to listen to where we need to be.. Since living in Webb is not “convient” .. I know there is a plan..

    Thanks??
    Keely

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