“Not that I am speaking of being in need, 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. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” The Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi.
These four sentences seem to be surrounding me the last two and a half months. They are every where it seems.
Being back in Italy has been like coming home. We knew the culture from having lived in Naples so the only real shock coming back has been how many things I can find here now that five or six years ago were almost, if not completely, non-existant. We remember enough language to function and carry on conversation. We have learned our way around the city fairly well. Nothing about the actual move back, other than missing family and friends, has been difficult.
But there are other things that have made the transition to Salerno difficult. And I must admit, that I was allowing those things to bring me down. My focus shifted to my circumstances, to the temporal, to things.
I lost sight of what was most important. I cried out to God, asking Him to change my circumstances over and over, thinking that it would also change my attitude, my mental state, my emotions.
I thought that if after nine months of not having our own home we could just be settled then I would be a better mom and a better wife. That the kids would settle down. That a home would make me content.
If we could get a routine down after being so long without any kind of consistency that would make me content.
If we could all not be sick. We just haven’t been able to get any momentum because someone is always sick…for over two months. If we could all be well, at the same time, I would be content.
At some point in the last nine months, I lowered my eyes from the heavenly to the earthly. I put more emphasis on things of this earth than things of heaven.
I suffered for it. My kids suffered for it. My husband suffered for it.
When Paul speaks of being content in every situation, I think he means every situation. It’s not only about whether you have need or want in the form of money. My family has needed some consistency after almost a year of bouncing around from house to house and country to country. We all need to be well because all of the sickness is absolutely draining us. Kids need routine – all kids, not just mine – and that’s not a bad thing. What is bad is that I began to think it would bring me peace and contentment if those things happened.
Then Paul’s words began appearing and people began speaking into the situation and I realized that I had been idolizing a home, a routine, health. Those things would never bring contentedness, never make me a better mom and wife.
A home will always have things to fix or paint or redo, and I’ll always be picking up and cleaning it.
I have two little kids…somebody is probably always going to be sick. It’s life.
I can get a routine but it will change.
The only consistency in my life comes from the one person I was failing to turn to, to lean on, to rest in.
I can do all things through him because he is my source of strength, peace, and comfort. I am realizing that my attitude, mental state and emotions will not change based on my circumstances but rather on the One who can bring me through those circumstances.
He is where I find content despite transition, despite sickness, despite inconsistency.
So I choose to look up and find contentment from above.