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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Sunday Snippet: Contentment Crept Up On Me Unawares…

June 29th, 2011 · 24 Comments

I guess you could call this post one of those lessons learned at the grindstone of a homeschool mom…

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When I was a new mom and started attending morning Bible Studies, and they had planning meetings with a list of topics to choose from, I always always ticked the “contentment” box on the list. I so wanted to know more about contentment. Seriously I was pretty much reeling with my new baby. I had left work for the world of motherhood with wild enthusiasm, of course I could do “it” and I could do it well…

Turns out “it” was quite a bit harder than I expected and certainly not my typical assignment, that I could hand in after a few weeks and get a grade!!! My life was nothing like the “media presentation” I had been given… there were no flowing gowns while my baby slept, there was no perfect house with manicured lawns and scrumptious healthful dinners night after night. We just went from being a family with two students earning a pitiful salary, to one student and two dependents… it was far more like a bowl of rice with a sprinkling of herbs and absolutely no sleep to mention and t-shirts covered in spit-up!!!

And I can tell you that going to a morning Bible Study didn’t help one bit. My little guy and I visited in houses that looked just like the dream, often with full-time help and one parent with a serious career and the other working from home and perfect children that weren’t actually there because they were in play-school. I tell you from behind my seriously sleep deprived eye lashes it looked like they had it all… including the climbing frame, and weekends away at guest farms. I never really looked any closer at their lives and never imagined that they too would have piles of laundry or days when the car would just not start… it just looked perfect and I thought that that was what contentment was all about!!!

Well a couple of kids further down the line I have found contentment to be something quite different to what I thought it was, contentment is actually being happy with what you have, it is not a level that I have to achieve, it is not a goal I am reaching for or striving to attain. Contentment is right where we are right now. Contentment is really is really the ability to accept our circumstances whatever they are, even negative ones, look at Paul in Phillipians 4, he suffered and yet was content in all circumstances – in jail, in pain, whatever, he was content!!!

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So what changed, I think contentment crept up on me unawares… while I was reading to my kids. I have spent the last ten years reading missionary biographies to my kids for school, hours and hours of reading about folk who were far more noble than I will ever be. Folk who travel the world, who were persecuted mercilessly and yet still overcame and ended up singing praises to God in all circumstances, even prison of war camps.

I guess it is all about that great comparative party, when we look at what others do and what others have. As a mom at home my life can seem pretty dullsville, trust me on this, there isn’t that much glamor in the day to day of it all… turns out I am not really a glamor girl and I am happy with dullsville of my kids splooshing and helping with the dishes. I have a friend who visited a while back and stared aghast at our end of day laundry piles waiting to be packed away, she has a housekeeper and hasn’t done laundry in years!!! I tell you the truth I love the end of the day laundry piles, they tell me of a day well done!!! There will always be people who think you are living on easy street and there will always be people who wouldn’t change places for the world, thank-you very much. Turns out it doesn’t matter what other people think, or what we think about other people… it is more about Colossions 3:2:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossions 3:2)

The great thing about this is that it is something I can practice… setting my mind on things above. So I too can aim for contentment in all circumstances. I don’t have to get it right straight away, one step at a time, changing my perspective on the smaller things:

  • A change of perspective from frustration at all the things left undone because of interruptions – to welcoming all those little opportunities to serve.
  • A change of perspective from all those requests we make in a day that are totally ignored – our kids are in training and so are we!!!
  • A change of perspective from thinking our tasks are unimportant – to realizing that to teach our children to have servant hearts they need to see a servant heart – we all know they do what we do and not what we say!!!

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Now from time to time we have a group of moms round to my house for Bible Study and I hope that they don’t look at me and think that I have it all!!! The cute kids, the perfectly tidy house and a banquet three times a day!!! In actual fact they are right, we do have it all, but we are far from perfect and far closer to a house full of kids, very often wild chaos… and lots and lots of laundry!!! Our house isn’t perfect, I am still sleep deprived and we still have nights when dinner is rice with a sprinkling of herbs. But what I do have is a bunch of kids who are loving and learning and preparing for a life to “Love the Lord with all their strength and all their hearts and with all their souls and with all their minds” (Matthew 22:37). And with that I am more than content!!!

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24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 April O. // Jun 29, 2011 at 6:16 am

    With a stifled lump in the throat and a tear, I thank you . . . Genuinely thank you for this post.

    You are so very rich in the right way. Blessings.

  • 2 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Hay April, Thank-you, I treasure your comments, they are so encouraging!!! Hope you have a great day!!!

  • 3 auntymuffin // Jun 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Absolutely true! Great post.

  • 4 irene // Jun 29, 2011 at 8:24 am

    well said. I do agree that your house is far from perfect, but my mother taught me that a house needs to look like it’s lived in – none of this “perfect order” stuff. There was a time for cleaning up and if that took the whole day, so be it. We were encouraged to playfully clean up and it became a game rather than a chore.
    I love that last paragaph of yours. it is so true and all I can say, is AMEN TO THAT. You have doen a great job with your children and I think that is more important than the piles of alundry waiting to be done.
    Keep strong and keep doing what you’re doing.
    thanks for the message.
    Irene

  • 5 Julia // Jun 29, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I have to say that I struggle to find a balance between being content about my life and some of the what I’m going through due to circumstances beyond my control and being accepting of crap (sorry I can’t think of a nicer word). This post has put a lot into perspective.

    Thank you for writing this post. It was exactly what I needed to read this morning.

  • 6 LindaOz // Jun 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Awesome post. These things are my goal too. My dad makes comments to me about how it is good for me to ‘get out’ and do other things because i spend so much time with the kids. It bothers me because, at this stage of my life, I can’t see that there is anything more worthwhile to do than inputing into their lives and helping them to develop their love for God. Thanks for sharing.
    PS: Just thought I’d tell you that we are expecting #8. I know you’ll ‘understand’ how cool that is… :-)

  • 7 jenni // Jun 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

    this post brought a slow smile…so identify..with those early years…and so agree with your definition of being content…
    jenni´s last blog post ..so i have been seeing………lately…

  • 8 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks Aunty Muffin!!! You are such an inspiration… Have a good week!!!

  • 9 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Hay Irene, You say the sweetest things… like my house is far from perfect!!! You tell them!!! Seriously thank-you for a another fabulous comment!!!

  • 10 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Julia, Sorry about your bad week…tell me about weeks beyond our control!!! I the crinkles smooth out even a little bit and your week gets better and better… Have a great day!!!

  • 11 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks LindaOz for a great comment!!! So many people tell me I need to get out… I will, just not right now when I would so much rather be with my kids and spend time with them… they won’t always want me around but while they do I certainly intend to be there for them!!! Lovely news about your #8… I hope everything goes smoothly, how exciting for you!!! Have a fabulous week!!!

  • 12 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hay Jenni, Good to hear from you again… I am all for slow smiles!!! Hope you have a fabulous week… grab all the sunshine you can!!!

  • 13 Kim Allen // Jun 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    oh my goodness did I need to hear this today. It has come at just the right time! Thank you for putting things in perspective!! We live in a society where we are fed “pictures” of how things should or should not be. It takes courage to just be satified with where you are at.
    xxx Kim

  • 14 3Goatmom // Jun 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I soooooo needed this reminder right now – wish I could get the hubby to ingest this. Bookmarking the passages this evening.
    Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do – you are the drop in the bucket that keeps me going up out of my hole with my nose just above the water.

  • 15 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Kim… Sometimes we all need to just stop and take a look at what we have rather than what we are told we haven’t got!!! I hope you have a lovely day!!!

  • 16 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Dearest 3Goatmom… I love being the drop in your bucket… thank you so much for appreciating what I write!!! Thanks, I am having such a chuckle at your comment!!! Have a great day!!!

  • 17 Karyn // Jun 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Such heartwarming writing – I so agree. Thank you for writing from your heart and for encouraging us to see things the way God sees them. So glad you are so blessed! love, Karyn
    Karyn´s last blog post ..TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen

  • 18 se7en // Jun 29, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Thank-you Karyn!!! Hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  • 19 Cheryl // Jun 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    This is a wonderful post. I had to smile at the perfect house and manicured lawns. So easy to look at a snap shot of someone’s life and see it as the whole story. As I get older, I find it easier not to attempt living up to this ideal scenario. I have so many blessings to count! A heartfelt thank you for sharing.
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..Yarn Along (end of June)

  • 20 se7en // Jul 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Hi Cheryl… Manicured lawns – faint!!! I used to spend hours of my life keeping everything perfect – who for really!!! It just isn’t what’s important is it! Have a great day!!!

  • 21 Kiasa // Jul 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Great post! I have been working on not comparing myself to others. Especially when moms around me complain they just don’t have time to get stuff done (when they have kids in school, nannies and house cleaners!). But that’s not my place to judge and compare. I’m so much happier (and my family is too) when I focus on he wonderful things in my life.

  • 22 se7en // Jul 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Hi Kiasa, You are so right about avoiding the great comparison study!!! Not to mention how it just so happens that we moms are happy it tends to domino down the line and everyone seems so much happier!!!

  • 23 Marcia (123 blog) // Jul 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Aaawww, what a beautiful post! I just love it.

    About that book, we need to have a skype session – I have PLENTY of ideas for you :)

  • 24 se7en // Jul 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    So glad you liked this Marcia!!! You have plenty of ideas!!! I should ask for a list… just to see if anything gets me rolling!!! Hope you have a brilliant week!!!

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