Adding Faith: A lesson on contentment

The Lord is teaching me contentment.
It is good He is pointing me towards this direction because of the drastic changes that have happened in our lives and are yet to come.
In the past months of 2012 we have:
1. Bought a car
2. Had a new pet additioned to our family
3. Gotten pregnant
4. Moved into a house

And it's wonderful to move forward and all these changes have been huge blessings.
Yet ALL represent debts and expenses. The car loan plus gas bills, the dog food and vet expenses, the prenatal meds and monthly ob-gyn bills, the doubled house rent. Sigh.
Take a deep a breath!
Curiously enough, I was more overwhelmed last year that this year. Difference? Gratitude.

God has been beyond good to us. Somehow, He provides for us be it through help from my mom, help from the in-laws, help from family and friends, credit card rewards, or even extra hours and extra projects in the job. Our lives haven't nearly faced their most drastic change yet: parenthood. Friends who know our financial situation and our schedules constantly ask me: "What are you guys gonna do once the baby comes?" My answer: "I don't know, but I'm not worried."

I thinks this is 90% true. I'm still working on my adding faith. And probably when the baby is here I'll worry some more. But God's lesson today is contentment.
Today I read an article on blog I about contentment. The article was from Jeremiah Burroughs and he said that to have contentment, true contentment, we must first suffer discontent.
When speaking of contentment, Paul used the word "learned" several times. This made me wonder why I have only started to learn the power of gratitude.

Philippians 4:11-13

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Looking back on my life, I've really had it all. Mom provided everything and I never had a worry in the world. She even provided for a maid to take care of my meals, laundry, and cleaning. I feel foolish of the "problems" for which I used to lose sleep (which is why I feel like slapping a teenager when he complains because of school work!). It seems ironic that I didn't learn gratitude when I had it all and now that it's a struggle I'm more grateful than ever. It was easy to have contentment when what I wanted (not what I needed) came easy as well.

I've always reminded myself and others to have contentment when you put your situation into perpective with others' situations. I think now this thinking, although effective, is a crutch. Yes, when you realize how much harder it is for others or how much less than you they have, it helps you feel better about your situation. Does ts is make you LEARN contentment like Paul had? No! True contentment is "through HIm."

Today I came across a verse in Acts 5 right after the apostles had been unjustly imprisoned because they kept preaching in Jesus' name and flogged when they were released:

Act 5:41

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

THESE men knew true contentment and knew it through the joy of suffering for Christ's name.

Dear Lord,
That I may learn this true contentment through You, even in suffering and struggle, and in abundance and happiness as well. I rejoice in my sufferings and the teaching it has brought to my life and in seeking You harder. I rejoice in Your providence and choose to rest in You alone. Thank You for all the things You are doing in our lives and bless the child growing in me.
I forever love You!

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