This past weekend, I was blessed to spend time with many dear friends from Journey on our annual ladies’ retreat in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. We spent our time talking, eating, laughing a lot, crying a little and reflecting on contentment in every aspect of our lives. It’s no coincidence for me that Mother’s Day will occur this very next weekend, because an area of my own life in which I struggle with contentment on a regular basis is motherhood. I don’t mean that I am discontent with my children—I am thankful for each of them and love them very much. Along with my husband, they are my greatest treasures on earth.
I mean that I am often discontent with my own parenting and with “how well I’m doing” as their mother. You see, I am sometimes mistaken in believing that how life turns out for them rests squarely on my shoulders—that if I don’t do enough or if I can’t be enough, they won’t reach their potential, whatever that means. It’s not logical, I’ll admit that! But, I have been on this motherhood journey long enough to know that plenty of other moms out there have the same fears, worries and gut-wrenching moments when we wonder—Am I do this mothering thing well? Am I giving them enough independence but keeping them safe? Am I teaching them to work hard but be well-rounded? Am I showing them to follow God’s ways but give grace and mercy to others who are not?
This weekend, I was reminded that contentment is made up of peace, trust, faith, acceptance and a decision to be thankful—pretty much the opposite of the dread, worry and “gut-wrenching” moments I experience when I let fear take over my mind and heart. As my kids get older, there are more and more times that I’m not with them and that I couldn’t control what they decide or what happens to them even if I wanted to! And they CERTAINLY don’t want me to!!!
But perhaps, rather than having a mom who is constantly focused on keeping their lives completely safe, happy and pain-free, they need a mom who understands that God has them in His hands—that He loves them even more than me and that all of His promises in scripture are for them too! Maybe they need a mom who will make the choice to be thankful for all of the experiences God is bringing into their lives—the joyful ones, the demanding ones and even the painful ones. And, I think they definitely need to see the trust of a mom who is learning…
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8