Finding Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  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 this through him who gives me strength.”         Philippians 4:11-13

 IMG_2656

Recently, Jules sent me this picture with the message, “Don’t you wish you were me!”  I have to admit, I was a little envious when I saw this picture because this has been my view for much of the summer:

IMG_2607     I have spent a lot of time driving the girls to various activities and commitments this summer.  We are fairly conservative about the amount of activities they are involved in, but multiply the trips by two girls and it can add up(I feel for those of you with large families!).  I have been known to grumble about all of this driving from time to time, but I started thinking more about it and realized that although it may not always be the preferred way to spend my day, it is the season of life I am in right now.  I want to try to step back and be more thankful, and as the verse above states, find contentment no matter the circumstances.   Thankfully, I have not had to do without food or shelter, but sometimes I find myself  struggling to find contentment in the daily responsibilities that frankly are not the same as floating down a peaceful river in a kayak!

     These trips in the van may not be as serene as the kayak adventure, but I can find contentment in them.  I think it is all in how I look at things. If I focus on the positive, I think I will find more contentment.  As many wise people who have gone before me on this parenting road say,” These years go by too quickly, enjoy every minute!”

     While we are in the car, I am able to sneak in conversations with oldest daughter, who has to listen because she is trapped!  Some of our most interesting conversations happen in the car.  Little one also enjoys chatting up a storm, knowing I am available to listen. I am even able to make our little pup’s day when I let him enjoy the thrill of a car ride with the family!  I am thankful I have two healthy girls who find joy in extra-curricular activities and I am thankful we are able to provide them with these opportunities.  I know these times with the girls are fleeting and I am determined to make the most of them.  I have also discovered our local library has a great collection of books on CD that I listen to while driving around town.  I have read more books in five minute increments than I ever thought was possible!   It is even more relaxing when I include a hot cup of tea for the road!

     The last part of the this verse states, “…I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”  The challenges I am talking about in this post do not even come close to some of the hard times I have faced in the past or many of you are facing currently.  I think it is important to remember that no matter what circumstances you find yourself in right now, happy or challenging, you can do all things through our gracious Lord who will give you strength!

How about you?  Do you struggle to find contentment?  I would love to hear from you and how you deal with this in your daily life.

Blessings,

~Jen

Beach Boy Prayer

pray-before-eating prayer

One thing the Mister and I have always done as a family is pray before our meals.  We don’t have a “set” prayer we use, we usually thank God for our food and then include anything else that might relate to that particular day, such as people we know that need prayer or we give thanks for other blessings in our lives.  The girls will also take a turn and are actually quite good at spontaneous praying.  This is one tradition I never want to get too busy to take time  for.  Slowing down and and spending a couple of minutes to thank God for our food and to bring any concerns or thanks we have before Him helps us all put our focus where it needs to be.  We can be in the worst mood and this one small act helps re-center our family.

We have also decided to pray when we eat at restaurants.  At first it felt a little uncomfortable or self-conscious (It puzzles me why I had these feelings at first-praying and giving thanks to God is something I do every day, so why the hesitation in public?), but it was fine after the first few times and now it is just something we do.

Below is a video of Little One singing a prayer Jules taught her.  She learned this prayer from a special family friend, Pastor Don who called it The Beach Boy Prayer and it is a really fun way to pray.

Here are the words:

Bless this food,

Lord you’re so good,

We seek your presence at this table Lord,

We know you’re able,

Bless this food, Amen, Ah, Ah, Amen!

How about you?  Do you have any favorite mealtime prayers?  We would love to hear what they are!  Also, if praying before meals is not something you usually do, I challenge you to give it a try for just a week (even if just silently to yourself) and see if it doesn’t improve your day!

~Blessings,

Jen