June / July 2016 - Vol. 86

 rading with contentment
Content in All Things

  by Miriam Holmes

Contentment. I would love to say this article will solve all your problems and head you towards a simple and stress-free life. Unfortunately I donít have that kind of power but I do know someone who does.

In my life I have had ups and downs. Like most I have struggled with my faith and even questioned if God actually exists. I have lost friends, seen people close to me suffer and felt helpless. But I have found myself to have more Joy now than I could have experienced without the pain.

So far, I would say Iíve had a pretty good life! I am doing a job that I love, I have an amazing family, incredible friends and a faith that grows stronger by the day. However I also fear, I have doubt and I struggle with many things. I want to share some of my experiences with you, in the hope that I can help you understand how I have learned to become content in all circumstances.

When I was 17 years old I lost a friend who I had grown up with and been very close to. It was a sudden, unexpected death and as a teenager who thought she had just found her faith in a most personal way, I was devastated. But more than this; I was angry. I couldnít understand why this had happened and most of all I didnít want to Ė God was wrong and did not act in love for me or my friendís family. I became quite a hardened person, I did not ever want to talk about what I was feeling and after many tears I did not want to cry again. So I shut myself off from emotion and from love.

It took a long time and some very patient, loving peopleís help but I eventually found my way back to speaking to God. One of the big game changers for me was the Bible. I began reading it again and used it to understand Godís plan for me.

The first bible passage I let mould me after the death of my friend was this:

ďTherefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faithÖĒ (Hebrew 12: 1 -2)

Clinging to the death of my friend, the injustice of it, was my weight. I felt justified in my grief and at times even enjoyed wallowing in it. God could have stormed in, given me a good talking to and sent me on my way but He knew me and loved me so much that instead He waited with expectant faith that I would find my way back to His love. Joyfully I can say that I did!

Sisters, God is not a tyrant in the sky who will get angry as we do and turn His back on us. He is a Father who loves us so intentionally and so practically. He will not love everyone in the same way because we all need love in different ways. But He has no favourites and He does not look at our sin. He looks at our hearts and He loves them. I am a sinful person and I always will be but God has forgiven me and always will. I will never understand the love of God, I will never understand why good people are taken from us and I will never understand why, even though I love God, I will continue to sin against Him. What God has taught me is that I donít need to understand, I simply need to know that His love for me will never end and He will never give up on me.

For me, this is contentment. It is being willing to accept that I do not understand. There are things that I will never understand but that is ok because God loves me and He loves you. God won victory when Jesus rose from the dead and opened the gates of heaven.

My goal is heaven, therefore nothing on this earth can shake me, not even death.

But friends, I did not get to this place by myself. It has taken many years for me to allow God into my life. I encourage you to find someone that has a faith like my friends and family do and let that person inspire you in it. But most of all donít be afraid to be honest with God Ė he knows what is in your heart but will never force himself into that area. He is waiting for you to let Him in and you do this by being honest and talking to Him.

My challenge to you is this: lay aside whatever sin you have, lay aside the suffering and pain that clings to you. Give them to Jesus and accept Him as your loving Father who waits in anticipation for the day He can welcome you home. If you can do this and free yourself from fear; you will know what contentment is.

ďI have learned to be content with whatever I have. I have learned the secret of living in every situation.Ē Philippians 4: 11-12

My name is Miriam Holmes and I am 24 years old. I have been a qualified teacher now for two years. I absolutely love my job and feel very lucky to be doing something that I am passionate about. I am part of the Community of the Risen Christ in Glasgow, Scotland where I grew up. This community calls me on in my faith every day and I love being a part of it. 

This article by Miriam first appeared in The Lovely Commission, a new publishing venture and brand of Kairos North America. It is is run by Molly Kilpatrick and Mary Rose Jordan and a team of contributors from various Christian communities in North America and beyond. Together they are working to build a culture of radical love, femininity, modesty of heart, mind, and body amongst young women.

Their aim is to inspire and equip young women to embrace and promote a culture of Godly femininity in which we live out our rich identity as daughters of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

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