“I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:11-13 NLT
As a young girl, our family of 5 kids was a fairly typical one. My Mom was a stay-home Mom and my Dad worked. We didn’t live in a fancy home and my Mom cooked all our meals. We did go out occasionally, but it was very rare and it usually included a casual trip to McDonalds. My Teen years were another story. My Father left his job as a Nuclear Physicist for the government and began a life of crime. It began with smoking pot, then growing pot, and then ultimately with manufacturing meth for the Hells Angels. I was just 15 years old. We had zero food to eat and I had to get myself back and forth to school which was at least an hour walk one way. Life was hard and this was certainly one of my most difficult hard roads I’ve experienced to date. I slept in a metal shed in the backyard with no windows or heat. I often came home from school to find one of the Hells Angels in my room/shed with a woman and his motorcycle inside! It is by God’s grace and an absolute miracle that I was preserved and not raped or something worse. My Father was eventually arrested and that’s when I got my first job so that my Mom, little Brother and I could eat. We didn’t have much, but it was way more than when my Dad was home! I guess you can say I know what it means to have little and especially an empty stomach. To this day I still catch myself over buying food in fear of not being able to provide for my 3 kids. I have no doubt that stems from my experience as a Teen. I accepted Jesus into my heart at 16 when I was invited to a Christian Summer Camp. I went to find boys and found Jesus!
I have had numerous hard roads since. With each hard road, I’ve been able to get back up and keep going. I’ve learned to lean on my Rock and Savior. I’ve cried, grown, learned so much and then relearned.
Recently, I’ve found myself on yet another very hard road. I am broken, sad, and hurting. I’ve been thrown back into to being a single Mom which is something that I never imagined I would have to experience again. This time, I don’t feel the same resilience. I am tired…just tired.
Truth is everyone single person on the face of the earth will find themselves on hard roads. It’s a fact of life. It doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, race, whether you’re a “good” person or “bad” person. If you have breath, you will find yourself on a hard road at some point and most likely it won’t just be once.
The verse above touched me a month ago. Life was already very difficult and I realized when I read this verse that I was focusing on my misery instead of being content with my now. It’s easy to do that don’t you think? Don’t you sometimes wish that life would pause and give you time to heal and gather more strength? If I’ve learned anything in my 50 years it is that life goes on… despite the fact that our world around us is falling apart.
What do we do? How do we get the strength to take another step much less find contentment in our now? We have NO choice but to stay connected to our Life source – our awesome God and to dive into His Word and live in constant prayer. It’s here that we find how to be content in our now and enjoy the kind of Peace that only He can give. It’s easy to use other vices like food, alcohol, etc. But, that will only make our hard road that much harder.
I’ve been praying hard and diving into His Word for mere survival! Worship music is also a huge blessing. He’s been so faithful just as the Word says, if we seek Him, we will find Him. He’s also surrounded me with incredible godly Friends who are faithfully lifting me up in prayer and are an amazing source of strength and comfort.
What He’s been showing me on this hard road is that I have to choose. I can choose to fall victim to my circumstances or I can choose Him and to be content in my now. We always have a choice…what we choose to think about and focus on…how we choose to react… Moment by moment, I am choosing to focus on Him and the many blessings He’s put in my path, despite my hard road. It’s in this choice that I can be content in my now. It’s not a one time choice, but literally minute by minute. I choose to trust and believe that He is IN control and that He has a plan, which certainly is far better than anything I could even imagine or dream up myself.
In the scripture I quoted above, we often hear verse 13, but we don’t hear too often the verses that precede it. They’re crucial because it is once we can be content in our now that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!
Keep Choosing & Believing.