You my friends, are kind, letting me take a month to share so many things about our little home. I am ready to move on after my last post and get back to posting about life again, but I do appreciate your feedback and all of the ways you've encouraged me over this month. There is something about the discipline of writing on a single topic and feeling like you've been able to really explore it inside and out. In many ways, I feel like I don't have anything else to say on this topic, but actually there are treasures yet to be mined in this area and someday maybe I'll go digging again.
However, if there is a single thing this home has taught me that I'd be remiss not to share, it's the virtue of contentment. I'm not sure I would have said that was a struggle for me 10 years ago but as I've grown up and my own sin has become more ugly to me, I see how often my heart strays and envy rears its' nasty head. I feel it when I drive around my community, I feel it when I spend time in bigger homes, I feel it when my kids are climbing the walls, and I feel it when I start daydreaming and I realize I'm always dreaming about more. And it's disappointing. I don't want to be a slave to envy, there's no joy in that and it leads nowhere good. This condo has really been a gift from the Lord because it's been a six-year refinement factory. It's been the one thing that just won't go away, a piece of the puzzle that feels off, a headache that only grows with time.
I don't regret the heartache and the journey. I know God saw my struggle with envy and He wanted more for me. Not in the way of square footage as I would have preferred, but in the way of putting off my old sin nature and putting on my new life in Christ. He wanted me to trade in the longings and instead choose contentment in Him. He wasn't satisfied to leave me in my former way of thinking, He wanted to help me see that there is a better way and that way isn't dependent on circumstance or want. He is the better way and He is all I really need. Living in this condo year after year, season after season, without kids and with them, has helped me flesh out my faith in real time. I can talk contentment all day long but until I live it, it doesn't mean much. And here, within the confines of these walls, He's helped me live it. I've cut my teeth here, somedays limping through and other days victorious.
I am able to say that I am richly blessed because I am and that's the truth, not because I have everything I've ever wanted. I have peace, I have joy, I have endurance, I have patience, I have hope and not because of me or any effort I put forth, but simply because I have Jesus. Because of WHO He is and what He did on the cross and in the grave, He's already given me everything I need in Him and He's even given me his Holy Spirit to live within me, giving me counsel and helping me all day long. I'm human and my sin still rears its' head and it will until the day I die, but I'm not powerless and I'm not without hope. I have to turn to Christ to remind me that there is more to life than houses and bank accounts. I have to turn to Christ to believe that His ways are higher than mine and that His plans are good. I have to turn to Christ to remember that He's already given me everything I need and certainly more than I ever deserve.
And it's hard. Don't misunderstand me, I have to fight for contentment, it doesn't come naturally. I have to choose to live with a heart that is settled in Christ or I'll die from defeat. I'm just as worldly as the next girl apart from Him and there are days that I don't respond well to the challenge. But He is gracious and I know that our time here? It's really a gift to us. It's working out hard things in us, refining our character and building maturity in our faith. And that is a worthy pursuit. Contentment rarely comes when everything is well and overflowing. It's pretty easy to be content when you want for nothing, right? Contentment is the opposite of envy and it's born out of a struggle for less when all you crave is more. I am a work in progress for sure, but truly I am thankful for this big lesson we are learning and for the grace of God who is allowing us to learn it one day at a time.
And that is what I love most about this little house and what I want you to know as I wind this series down.
"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. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Paul- Phillippians 4:12-13