First You Die – Finding Contentment and Joy In Difficult Places

How do you find contentment and joy in difficult places?

Over the past year, as David’s Dystonia has gotten worse and other life situations have become more challenging, I find myself asking this question more.

I guess it’s in how we let ourselves see things. We all have our own set of “difficult” circumstances – my dear friend from high school being the soul caregiver for her husband ill with the late stages of  alzheimer’s (he is only about 53) and now having to make some very hard decisions, my friend up north whose son is manic depressed and is a danger to himself and others, my mother-in-law in her 70′s taking care of her husband and getting up sometimes 7 times a night with him, our sweet friend who is suffering so severely with Dystonia that she is now in the hospital on a feeding tube and who knows what else attached to her to keep her stable until the doctors can find the right setting for her stimulator.  I could go on. The Lord has brought many people across my path in very difficult circumstances,

It sure is easy to wallow  in self pity with a complaining attitude.  But that only makes it worse and we end up feeling more miserable and making life miserable for those around us.

I cry out often, ” Lord, help me to be content and joyful!”

As long as I’ve know her, my mother-in-law has  said, “It’s a chance to die.” whenever a situation was difficult. I would often cringe and think to myself, “but that is such a negative way to look at things. I’d much prefer to think on the positive and say it’s a chance to be grateful.” But lately, I’m coming into a better understanding of this “negative” concept.

“A chance to die.”

Jesus said, “Unless the kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die, it will bear no fruit.” Joy, contentment and a heart of gratitude is fruit.

Death brings life. What a strange concept. Jesus had to die in order to rise again and so that we might “live”. How beautiful!

We live our lives so naturally seeking our own pleasures. Not all of life is difficult and challenging. There were many years when the children were young and we were homeschooling and David seemed a little slow and mom was still living. I remember thinking, “Life is so perfect! When is it going to hit?” and then feeling guilty for those thoughts because it seemed like I wasn’t trusting in the sovereign loving Father that I know.

But when challenging times come we realize just how self-centered we are. And we grasp at anything to bring joy and happiness. But now I’m seeing it. Death brings life. I feel like I know more. I feel like I know and trust our Father more deeply than before. I feel like I have a deeper sympathy and understanding for others going through deep waters. That is life, isn’t it. Death brings life.

So as I learn daily to die to my own selfishness by the grace of God, I am finding a deeper contentment and a deeper joy in Him. I am learning to joyfully receive and delight in the challenges in life.

May you be blessed as you find your contentment and joy in Him!






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