Contentment Perspective
By: Christine Bullock

Recently on the phone I had a conversation with a mom whose family farm responsibilities were keeping them from going on vacation. They needed more than a mere house sitter; they needed a farm sitter. As she shared, I was reminded of our dream to move to the country. Isn’t the grass always greener in the country? Living in the suburbs has its disadvantages. There are great sidewalks to bike and rollerblade on, but it is confined to city blocks and fenced lots.

Much of my childhood took place on an Alaskan island in the Bering Sea. It was stark, rugged and open. The island was my playground not the city park. There were cliffs to climb, rivers to ford and hills to roam. I look at my kids all cooped up in a suburban neighborhood and I dream of wide open spaces. But right now the Lord has us in the “burbs.” Striving to be content in all things, I was talking to God about this need for more space for four growing children. The bigger boys can now leap across the yard in a matter of seconds. Not much range to roam.

“Well, Lord,” said I, “we will make the best of it, but if You could work something out for us this summer I would appreciate it.” We dreamed up schemes of putting a tree house in the straight old oak in the backyard but structurally it wasn’t sound enough to hold itself and up to 8 giggling cousins. Not deterred from fort building the kids designed tents from poles, sheets, and old shower curtains I had provided. Yet it wasn’t quite right.

Then Daddy opened up our ‘80s tent trailer to air it out for a family excursion. It sat comfortably under the oak tree shaded for most of the day. The little ones discovered the door first. They trooped in and sighed. At last! This was the play space they had been looking for. It was semi-private, cool and completely theirs for the time being. And so the story goes. Great games of Boxcar Children, and Knights of the Round Table, center around this slightly rusty, well loved tent trailer. Leave it to my Lord to use the common elements of my life to bless me over and over.

As I was washing dishes, listening to the sound of my children’s laughter, I was caught again by the grace of God. My yard had not grown but my children’s world was expanded by this simple solution. God provided perfectly what was wanted with a thing I already had. God’s provision is always more than enough. I just need to put on my God goggles to see it. When I have the proper perspective I can completely trust God with my contentment. I do not have to force my hand and try to wring a blessing out the air. I can patiently wait on His timing and His plan.

Like every other area of my life, discontent can easily slip into homeschooling. There is always another reading program boasting to be better, another science kit claiming to make learning really happen. Suddenly the duct taped spine of a book we successfully used with several children no longer seems good enough. We are bombarded with new items we could buy. Isn’t the grass always greener in a new homeschool catalog? I warn new homeschoolers that this is something to be aware of. Don’t let worry and discontent set in. Stay the course! Trust that our God is enough. Remember that He delights in giving good gifts to His children

Our God did not call us to a journey He did not plan to provide for. Praying for guidance even in curriculum choices is a wise start. Ask Him first to show you what to teach and how to teach it. Then browse the catalogs and Internet. By seeking God’s perspective first we are less likely to miss the common everyday blessings that God provides in what we already have. He can open our eyes to see things in a new way, give us creativity and ingenuity to transform common household items into amazing teaching tools.

Circumstances prevented trailer trips this summer. Our old trailer however, got more use than any summer before. I found myself thanking God for its age and worn down state. What harm could it really do? It was beat up already. What simple things, slightly rusty or worn, in your life is God using to bless you?

© 2006 by Christine Bullock.

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