“A man’s contentment is in his mind, not in the extent of his possessions. Alexander the Great, with all the world at his feet, cries for another world to conquer.”
“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
“I have heard of some good old woman in a cottage, who had nothing but a piece of bread and a little water. Lifting up her hands, she said as a blessing, ‘What! All this, and Christ too?'”
“No heart of a child of God will ever be satisfied with an object or person short of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is room for wife and children, there is room for friend and acquaintance, and all the more room in one’s heart because Christ is there. But neither wife nor children, nor friends nor kinsfolk can ever fill the believer’s heart. He must have Christ Jesus. There is no rest for him elsewhere.”
A while ago I was asked to do a radio interview about my book. In the course of the discussion the man asked me what advice I had for moms who lacked a support group. How can they find help? How can you meet the people who can encourage you, perhaps stirring you up to love and good works, and cheerfulness in the midst of potty training? Of course this doesn’t apply to moms only – lots of people struggle with this. But there is something unique about being a mom that makes it harder to really get out there and meet people. You could go to the park with other moms, and maybe not get past a few sentences coherently exchanged. There are diapers, scrapes, all manner of interruptions. It is not as easy to go somewhere because you need to plan around meals and naps and potties and whatever else is currently happening. You need to know that your own energy will hold up, that you could get yourself back home from wherever you are going. Most of the time mothers are not free to make friends the way they used to. Continue reading ‘When you need…’
Each and every one of us has needs. We have spiritual needs, physical needs, emotional needs, and there’s probably another category I haven’t thought of. There’s no denying that the human race is a needy bunch, and women are no exception. So there’s point one.
The second point is that God made us this way. It’s not a sin to be needy, but there are ways that this neediness can lead to sin, and I’ll get to that in a minute. God created us to need community, to need love and acceptance and fellowship. Ultimately, we need God. When we are put right with our Creator, our deepest needs for forgiveness and restoration and fellowship with our Father in Heaven are met. But even after being put right with God, because we are still fallen creatures, we will Continue reading ‘Content to Be Needy’
My husband had the bright idea of reprinting some articles from The Hammer, a little magazine I edited for Community Christian Ministries in the late 80’s. This article of mine was printed in 1986, volume V, no. 1. It is slightly edited.
We are told in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armor of God so we can resist spiritual adversaries and not fall to temptation. But I believe we often get “hit” with our armor off and our shields down because we are in the presence of our Christian friends. When we get together with the saints, we feel safe and are consequently unprotected and not alert. There is one temptation I have noticed that can come at such times undetected. It is disguised as sympathy or Christian compassion.
Here is an example. Perhaps you have been swamped recently with company, and you have more coming. Some Christian friend says to you, “Are you having more company? I don’t see how you do it!” Up until that time you may have had a sweet, happy attitude about your hospitality. But this seemingly innocuous remark can lead you astray. You may remark, “Oh no. I’ve really enjoyed the company!” But later your friend’s remark may come back to you, causing you to think, “I really have had too much company. I should be exhausted.” You begin to feel sorry for yourself. Where you once had joy, you now Continue reading ‘False Comfort’
Have you ever noticed how often people (okay, women) say, “I feel so guilty”? Or, “You make me feel guilty!” Or “You shouldn’t feel guilty about that!” I think it happens quite a bit in casual conversation between women. But first let me define guilty. Guilt is when you have committed a crime or broken one of God’s commandments. You have done wrong. It is a serious thing to be guilty. But often we use it to just mean that we feel bad. Let me give some examples.
Guilty Example #1. You ate something (delicious) and now you feel guilty. You tell yourself you are a big loser because you ate it. Your friend dashes by on her morning run, and you haven’t exercised in a week. You feel so guilty. Should you feel guilty? True guilt is connected to real sin. Did God forbid that you eat it? Did He insist on the exercise? No, but you are counting calories, and that sent you over the limit. You let yourself down. So next time eat a carrot. But don’t convict yourself of sin over it. You can’t confess that kind of guilt to God, because He is not going to forgive you for something like that. What you may need to confess is making up rules for Him.
Guilty Example #2. You show your friend the curtains you made or the sweater you knit or the garden you planted or the bread coming out of the oven, and she says, “You make me feel so guilty!” Now there are several possibilities here. First, maybe she is trying to give you a compliment, and she doesn’t know how to do it, so she compliments you on making her feel bad about her own failings compared to your achievements. Not a very complimentary compliment. And I doubt that she is really thinking this Continue reading ‘You Make Me Feel So Guilty!’
I pulled this painting out of a box the other day, and just for the pure heck of it I hung it on our bedroom wall. Maybe it was just a strangely philosophical mood that I was in, but this painting got me thinking.
I painted it one afternoon in the autumn, shortly after our arrival in England the first year. It was the view out my living room window. The fog had rolled in so far that it seemed to come right to the edge of our yard. Just for fun I sat down and painted it. As I pulled it out the other day and looked at it, I got all nostalgic. You know how that can happen? A song, a smell, or a snapshot can bring on a whole host of memories – and for just a second can give you that fleeting, wistful, poignant feeling that is much bigger than the smell or the song itself.
We lived that year on the grounds of a 16th century manor in a little stone cottage on Church Lane out in the country. Continue reading ‘Contentment’