I was born in the wrong era and I’ve always thought I’d make a great pioneer. How great would it be to have zero technology, nothing fighting for your attention, not having gads of stuff, and just a simplistic life? My biggest issue for the day would be baking bread and making sure the cows were milked. (Now this is a perfect scenario, no need to bring up the diseases, isolation, and a crazy gold miner scalping me.)
Ten months ago, we lived in our own house, worked with a fantastic student ministry, and I enjoyed many deep relationships that had been cultivated over 4 1/2 years with girls in our ministry. When Nick and I moved to Tennessee to pursue church planting, we thought we would live in my in-laws’ basement for three months tops. Now here we are ten months later and we’re still in our same situation.
While living in someone else’s house, with all our belongings in storage, it has been easy to become disgruntled. Oh my goodness how I’ve I struggled with an attitude of contentment! I’ve prayed many prayers to the Lord about taking me out of this situation and giving me back what we once had. Aren’t we all like that sometimes? When God leads us through rough waters, we long for the peaceful. Sometimes, I just want him to stand up and calm our storm. Jesus hasn’t stood up to send the rain clouds packing, but he has taken a seat beside of us for the journey.
I’m very blessed to have a godly woman in my life who covers me in prayer, encourages me, and holds me accountable. Recently, I was in need of some encouragement and so I sent an email to my friend/mentor.
(Ladies my age, if you don’t have a mentor in your life you need to get one! Older gals find a younger girl and invest in her because we need your godly wisdom.)
She suggested instead of asking God to change my circumstances, I start praising Him for them. I read her email and thought to myself, “aww Jean is sweet, but that’s just crazy.” I mean, who really praises God during the bad times? I remember the song “I’ll praise you in this storm,” but how many of us TRULY praise him during those times?
Several days went by and I could not get her words out of my head. I would reason with myself why it was ok to not praise God for my situation; It’s too hard…., I don’t want to be thankful for this…., you know providing a job so we could move out is something more than you are able to do…., etc.
When I notice I’m making excuses or reasoning with God I realize I sound a lot like people in the Bible who knew what they were supposed to do, but didn’t and that’s never a good place to be in.
So, I started praising God for the things that just days before I was begging him to take away. I praised him for our one room basement apartment, for our one (small) income, and even for Nick not having health insurance (He’s had 4 open heart surgeries). Since taking her advice, my circumstances haven’t changed, but my heart and attitude have changed for the better.
I don’t praise God to get things I want; I praise God because He is good. Even though things are stinky right now, I praise God because he can make even the ugliest situation beautiful. I’m beginning to trust that he will work all things for our good.
Until then I’ll just pretend I’m a pioneer.
Are you finding contentment? How has that journey been for you?
Laura is the wife of Nick Farr, co-manager of YouthMin.org. She’s served in student ministry for 4 1/2 years, is a cake decorator, vision impairment aide, amazing wife, and wonderful mother.