Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Compared to Who?

When we bought this farm in 2004, the house (and all buildings for that matter) needed lots of help.  We did a lot of work in the house, but any project that involved anything with the cows was priority due to the fact that they provided our income.  I have shared some of the projects we did do on past blog posts, but that is not what I want to focus on.  I want to talk about contentment, for it is an area that God has been truly working at in my life.  For those of you who have been to visit us, you know what our home looks like.  The outside is not very attractive,

The basement is dirt, our first floor consists of a porch that we made into office, mudroom and pantry.  It is the place where everyone enters, and they will more than likely be greeted with the wonderful smell of "barny" chore clothes.  The kitchen and dining room (which is also our school room) are not very big and I  get claustrophobic when 6 males decide to stand around visiting in the kitchen while I am trying to work.
The living room is the most unfinished room with drywall that needs to be finished off.  The ceilings are the floor of the upstairs and when the shower is running upstairs, it sounds like it is raining downstairs.  A door needs to be put in where the window is and little not-so-noticable things need to be repaired or finished.
 The playroom/laundry is where the boys play the most and it always seems to be in disarray.  The floors (especially in the kitchen/dining) are old hardwood with large enough cracks between them that, when I sweep with a broom, the dirt gets lost in the cracks or even falls down into the basement.  When we walk or if someone sits and jiggles his leg up and down, the whole floor shakes.  This is the first floor.....
Our bathroom is upstairs with a separate shower stall.....neither are quite up to the latest styles....

Over time, I had become more and more ashamed and embarrassed of our home, even though I do my best to make it as warm and welcoming as possible.  Don't ask Dave about it, because he feels worse than I do about our home's condition, but to have it just right takes both time and money and neither are readily available on this farmstead.  It had gotten to the point where I did not want anybody to come over to visit and if they did I would make excuses for our home.  All I could see were all the "undone" things and not the good things about it.  God started to speak to me about this.  I Tim. 6:6-8 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."   He does not say that we need a nice house or new car or farm or whatever to be content.  No, just two things - food and clothing.  Discontentment breeds envy, jealousy, bitterness, unhappiness.  It is unthankfulness!  I realized that my discontentment and embarrassment of my home were like slapping God in the face.  It was telling Him that what He gave me just was not good enough.  Discontentment and comparing walk hand in hand.  The question always is "Who do you want to compare yourself to?"  First of all, we should not do the comparing game at all, but we do, don't we?  I can compare my home to the home down the road that is big, spacious, new and beautiful.  Mine would fall way short and discontentment would set in.  Or I could compare my home with the rickety huts that the Haitians have to live in and mine would look like a mansion!  They would be oh so happy with the bouncy floors, the leaky windows, the barny smell, cramped quarters and an indoor toilet and shower.  They would think they were in heaven!   Blessings of peace and contentment come when I truly, from the bottom of my heart, pour out my thankfulness for what God has given me and not wish for anything more.  I can be thankful for the cracks in the floor, for they enable the heat from the wood stove in the basement to warm the upstairs more easily, I can be thankful for the small spaces and the claustrophobic feelings for it forces my dear family to be "close" together.  I can be thankful for the barny smell that penetrates the whole porch for it is a sign we are healthy enough to work.  I can be thankful for my simple bathroom, for hey! I don't need to run outside in the cold to an outhouse!  The times when comparing and discontentment come knocking at my door, (and they knock quite loudly), instead of answering I thank God for what He has given me, and for meeting my needs in a way that He feels best.  My little imperfect abode is my earthly mansion and it is a gift from my Heavenly Father.  He has seen fit to give me more than food and clothing and I am so very thankful!   I will no longer be ashamed of this gift and will welcome any visitor.  Want to come over?  Please, just remember to sit still so the floor don't shake and really!  that's not rain - it's just the shower and don't it sound relaxing?

Until next time. . . . . . .


Twila Henry said...

Your home LOOKS cozy!!
But I can so easily identify with you! We have a little house and the carpets are really ugly and stained, the windows leak, etc. But, God has provided so much for us and I am truly grateful!
I can also identify with shaky floors. We have no basement, and with this house being moved, I think the floors are not real strong. If the kids run through the living room to go outside, I sometimes wonder if the floor might just fall out! ;)
Thanks for sharing!

elaine said...

Like Twila said your home does look very cozy and inviting.I have already played the"comparing game"and I agree with you that it does seem like a slap in God's face when I am not satisfied with what I have.Because I have so much more than many,many people in our world.Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

LOL your last sentence cracks me up!! I happen to love your home Brenda. I always felt at home and relaxed. Besides yours is the only home including mine Ive been in that has real character and a old fashioned family feeling.

Gail @ http://biblelovenotes.com said...

Brenda, You home looks like a home that's comfortable and livable. The "feel" of a home is really more important than the looks.

I have lived in so many homes in my life, and one of my favorites was a very old single-wide trailer that we lived in about 10 years ago.

If we hadn't bought our current home as a pre-foreclosure, we couldn't have afforded it, so I'm more than content.

But I've found that I can sometimes be discontent in the best of circumstances. I need to constantly work on my gratitude attitude.

I love reading your posts.