Several years ago, we went through a phase in time when our washer or dryer did not work. (I cannot even remember which one it was that was broken.) That is not a big deal at all, but to me, during that time, it was a huge ordeal. I really, really wanted to get rid of the set we had and replace it with the nice new and shiny front loaders (the matching ones, please, complete with the pedestal to sit on) that had just come out and that all my friends and family were buying.
I know. Shallow, right? But I was all about keeping up with the Joneses back then.
And just like the Lord always does for me, He led me to a passage of Scripture one day that totally changed my mindset and opened my eyes.
I had been griping and really giving my husband a hard time about these, and I don't know for sure if this is true, but I am pretty confident that I was not at all pleasant to live with.
I will also say this about this portion of Scripture I'm about to share: in it is probably the most overused and taken out of context verse that anyone has ever heard of, and we all know how I feel about reading the Bible and sharing about it in context.
(If you're not sure what I'm talking about, all I mean is that you cannot always look at just one verse of Scripture and read it as it was written just for you, you must also look at the verses before and after to see what the writer was addressing. Often times in our Bibles nowadays, these segments are broken up by subtitles to help us understand. The more I read the Bible, the more I see this and realize what is being talked about. Scripture is a great mystery to my brain, but the Lord is always so gracious to enlighten me in what I read, when I ask Him for wisdom and understanding.)
On that day that I'm talking about, the Lord led me to read Philippians 4. I was probably reading through that book at the time, but specifically, verses ten through twenty are the ones that seemed as through they were highlighted for me. I'll share a few with you now.
"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content-whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship." (Philippians 4:10-14)
Paul was not talking about a washing machine and dryer set. He was thanking the people who had taken care of him during his stay in Philippi. But as plain as day, the Lord immediately gave me perspective on my want of something I did not necessarily need. When I read the words, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am", I knew that was from the Lord, impressing on my heart to rid myself of something that was unwarranted.
It did not happen immediately. I read and re-read those verses, and I even took the time to write them on index cards and post them on the cabinets above the washer and dryer, so that I would read over and over that I needed to learn to be content. I also started praying and asking the Lord to show me how to be that way. And while I never experienced an overnight change, little by little, He started changing me. God is mighty and powerful, but sometimes He is so gentle that we don't even know that it's Him moving in our lives or hearts.
And that brings me to what I write about today. (All of that happened roughly eight years ago.) I love to have a pretty home. I am always here and I spend a lot of time on the inside. I love reading blogs about people's homes, I love to see inside of them and I used to love magazines that were for decorating. (I LOVE TO DECORATE.) Keep in mind that this is how the Lord worked in my life, and that I am not suggesting that this is what He will do for you. But slowly, I stopped reading the magazines that boasted beautiful and perfect living areas on their covers. (I still mourn the loss of Southern Living to this day.)
I think that He knew that my love for THINGS would sometimes take over my love for Him, if He didn't start to change and mold me. He totally took away my want of those things I used to think I had to have. I stopped buying magazines and don't even ever want them in my home. I stopped wanting new things and was content when things that were broken were repaired. Waste not, want not, right? And He used Todd in all of this. My husband is an amazing handyman and can fix just about anything. He did eventually end up buying us insurance that covered the appliances in our home, and we have had to use it many times. That's what happened with that washer or dryer that was broken that I started writing about. It was repaired and lasted several more years, until about a year and a half ago when it broke again and that insurance paid for us to have a new one because they could no longer fix the old.
It was a washing machine! Duh.
He taught me to be content in Him, not on what was on the inside of my home and what it was filled with. He changed me so much, in fact, that I have had a pressing urge to simplify things inside our home. I do not want extra of anything (except for food, because teenage boys), and I don't need a lot of tools and gadgets. We don't have a toaster anymore, because when our old toaster oven broke, I discovered that my oven made the best toast ever. He is always enlightening me and giving me wisdom, and it all comes from inside of His word.
This is why I love to repurpose things in my home. I am always moving things from room to room and changing things up. I hardly ever buy anything from a store, but when I do, I ask the Lord to help me be a good steward of our money. My sweet mom gives me a lot of things, too, because for years she worked in decorator type shops and accumulated way more than she needs. Also the things you see in my home are things the boys or someone else picked out for me as a gift.
The greatest compliment I ever got about my home was when we had a repairman out one time. He started asking us all sorts of questions about our faith and Todd asked him how he knew that we were believers. He said you could tell by looking around our home. There are Bible verses and crosses and open Bibles always laying around. And I think he also said it was a feeling he had when he walked in. That would be Jesus, y'all. He is faithful.
Yesterday I spent all morning cleaning off this desk that sits in our living room.
It's been here for years, but all the little nooks and crannies on it were filled with whatever I could find at the time. So I took everything off the shelves, gave it all a good cleaning and refilled the little nooks with books I'm reading or studying and my quiet time resources. My prayer notebook is now here, and the binder I keep all the Scripture I write, along with my Bible and journal. It makes sense that I would keep it all here in one location, since I often need my Bible when I write. It's not magazine cover worthy, I'm confident, but I love the way it looks and how useful the space is now.
That was a lot of writing before I got to that picture. I give God all the praise and glory for showing me that contentment is only found in Him. He has been showing me a lot lately, about that and about self-control. I just finished studying the fruit of the Spirit, and that whole chapter on self-control got me, but in a really good way. I pray that all of this encourages someone today. A lot of what I've learned over the years is from others, if not from the Bible. I am so privileged to have had people pour into me, and I always pray that God will use me in that same way, in the lives of others.
Thanks for reading all of this, it was quite long. Love to all!