Seeking Contentment

 

Monday started out like most other school days.  Drink some coffee, help the kids get out the door for school, kiss my husband goodbye as he heads off to work, and then get ready for the gym.

And that’s when it hit me…not like a whisper tickling at the edge of my senses. No, in this moment of solitude, it was like a heavy blow to the chest, knocking the wind out of me.

Grief.

Sadness for my grandmother who passed away 2 1/2 years ago.  And I was shocked by this sadness because there wasn’t a trigger.  I hadn’t dreamed about her.  I hadn’t found the letters that she has written to me that have envelopes, classically addressed to Miss or Mrs.  I had not come across the inscriptions in the books she gave my children, written in her beautiful flowing cursive.  I hadn’t even picked up one of the pieces of jewelry that belonged to her that I tend to choose to wear more frequently than not.  No, this was step out of the shower, feel the tears brimming at the back of my eyes and begin to take deep breaths to keep them from spilling over.

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And I remember how she wanted me to be content.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is 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.  Philippians 4:11-12

If you’ve read my prior post about how we came to leave Florida, you’ll know that I was very confident that this move was the right thing.  That doesn’t mean that it was easy.

My grandmother was becoming more ill leading up to our move.  I had visited right before we moved.  I knew that I would never see her face to face again and that was very hard for me.  Toward the end, I thought about jumping in the car and driving down, but we were in chaos.  The house was a nightmare, school had just started, we had no local help, and I was trying to embrace the move.

My grandmother wanted me to be happy and even made the comment to a family member about her being happy that I was content.  And I thought I was, because we were supposed to move here.  But inside I was just trying to keep my head above water, and feeling like I was sinking more each day.  When she died, I felt like a fraud.  I was not content.  And I sank deeper into the abyss.  That winter was probably the roughest of my life.

Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim. -Tyler Knott Gregson

I don’t pretend to understand depression.  I don’t think it’s the same for everybody.  I’ve experienced the edges and shallows of it plenty of times.  I’ve tried medicine at different points, but it was not for me (I completely believe that it is the lifeline for some people).  That winter, however, was deepest I’ve ever climbed into that hole.  I’m not going to pretend like it all got better and now I’m happily content. I still have days when I don’t understand this season.  This season in a foreign land without my family.  This season of struggling to find a network of friends.  This season of major issues popping up before I’ve resolved the last.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

I’ve just survived my third winter here and did it by searching daily for something to hold on to that was good.  I changed the way I eat , take yoga, and took photographs daily.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I love quotes and spend time searching for ones to go with my photos.  I spend lots of time talking with God and listening for his guidance.  I try to remain in the present through all these things.

After my sadness Monday I thought about writing this post, but I wasn’t ready.  I walked into my yard that afternoon to a flower blooming that had never bloomed in my yard before.  I’ve watched it daily as it opens, more beautiful than the day before.

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 I’ve also admired the flowers (weeds) that have popped up in adverse locations, squeezing through the rocks and grass to turn their yellow faces to the sun.

A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows that it is in the journey where she will become strong. – Unknown

Tuesday, I read this devotion,  which had the same verses I’d been dwelling on the day before. And yet, I still wasn’t ready for this post.  I wrote most of this post this (Thursday) morning with plans to edit and add pictures after yoga.  It’s a 3 minute drive to my gym and this was a piece of the song that played in the car:

Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet, it’s not over yet
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet, it’s not over yet
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark, into the light, it’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in, never give up, it’s not over
– “It’s Not Over Yet” by For King and Country

God always has a way of showing up just when I’m not sure if he’s listening.

The verse after the two I’ve dwelt on this week is this:

I can do all this through him who gives me strength – Philippians 4:13

This is how I find contentment.

In Him.

Let your light shine!

Amy

14 thoughts on “Seeking Contentment

  1. Tears reading this. I have been where you are when we moved away for four years. I know how difficult it can be especially when you are grieving. Someone very special to us passed away while we were away so I understand. It is already so difficult getting used to a new place, meeting people and making it feel like home. What you have written is so beautiful and heartfelt. I love the way that you find beauty in every day and share it through your photos, quotes and words. And in your faith. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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