Do you struggle with experiencing joy and contentment when life doesn’t turn out as you expect? Today I am happy to have guest writer, Martha, from GrittyGrace.com. She shares with us two stories of young women who found joy and contentment in the midst of their circumstances!
These are some of the things I have observed by watching happy and miserable singles and marrieds… and from reading God’s Word.
The absolutely true things are written in Scripture. Often however, we interpret Scripture through the lens of experience instead of the other way around. Scripture is true! Experiences of people can often be misleading.
God’s Word says:
“…for I have learned
in whatever situation I am
to be content.
I know how to be brought low,
and I know how to abound.
In any and every circumstance,
I have learned the secret of
facing plenty and hunger,
abundance and need.
I can do all things
who strengthens me.”
Let me tell you about some people I know.
Eileen, a peer from college, graduated and started work. As time went on, she realized that men were not knocking her door down to marry her. She also realized that God had gifted her in counseling and she needed to get more training for a lifetime career in this field.
She moved to a larger city to get graduate training and at about age 38, she stopped praying for a husband. She felt it was adding to her dissatisfaction. God knew what she wanted. During that year, she met a man who was in seminary and by the age of 39, she was married. It turns out, God had been working all along on this desire of hers. But He had to move the “man of her dreams” to the same country she was in. That took awhile.
That really isn’t the happy ending. They have served together in a few churches since and have had 2 children, one by blood and one by adoption, who are now grown.
Or meet Dawn. She was committed to marrying a Christian man when the time came. In college, she had guys who were good friends, but no one seriously dating her. She went on to get a job out of college in her professional field, but never met anyone that was a mutually serious match.
As a teen, she had a number of single female teachers and friends at her church who made a point to get to know her, and they encouraged her to enjoy her single years. Through the lives of her friends she saw that they enjoyed their season of singleness. In their cases, they eventually married, but of course that doesn’t always happen.
As time went on, she realized she didn’t want to pursue her career in the US when there were so many needs overseas. She worked hard to get her college loans paid off and started looking into options for short term service in her professional field. After looking at the options in the two or three available fields where she applied, Ukraine seemed to be the one that best suited her.
Her two years in Kiev, Ukraine were wonderful, not perfect, but truly wonderful. They needed her skills. She was able to function well on the team. And she learned to speak Russian. Once again, she wasn’t meeting people who were mutually interested in marriage, but God had other plans. She gradually felt God leading her to serve in a more permanent capacity and applied for career status with the mission. Again, God provided and she stayed in Kiev.
As a young woman, she had prayed for a husband for a time, but found more dissatisfaction when that prayer wasn’t answered, so she left it with God and moved on. The year she turned 36, she felt God leading her to begin praying for a husband again. She felt more of a desire for a husband at that point than she had before.
Within a month after she started praying, a young man came to Ukraine on a mission trip. They met and the attraction was almost immediate! He was different from a lot of the other guys she had known in some ways, but over the next few months, it was obvious that they were meant to get married. Her furlough was due. She sold her things in Ukraine, moved back to the US and got married!
Now, she is married with a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn, and they have returned to Ukraine to finish a three year short term assignment.
Is the happy ending the fact that these women got married? Not really. The happy ending is that they learned to be content in their situation long before they ever met their husbands!
This is a life skill everyone needs to learn from in every stage of life. They had people to whom they ministered to joyfully. They knew how to be hospitable in many ways and in many circumstances. They had friends and many relationships. They led full and happy lives.
It wasn’t that “all of a sudden” they got married andhad a full and happy life for the first time! They had to learn to be content in their circumstances just like all of us do, single or married. Contentment is a habit, a way of thinking.
They learned to be joyful in their present circumstances whether they were single or married, whether they had children or not, whether things were going well in other areas or not.
They learned to rest in God’s sovereign plan for their lives when they were single and now that they are married as well.
Have you learned to be content, even happy in the situation where you are, even though it may not be one you would have chosen for yourself?
For some, this is learned in the context of marriage, often because they marry young. For others, it is learned before marriage. But it must be learned in life in many contexts.
What is your biggest struggle with being content in all circumstances?
Share with us in the comments!
I am a pastor’s wife, mom of 3 daughters, grandmother of 7 grandchildren and oh yes, an RN and blog writer of GrittyGrace.com. We have lived in various parts of Florida, Jamaica, near Peoria, IL, and Tyler, TX, our home for now. We were often moving and being uprooted during our early and middle years of marriage. Our firstborn was stillborn followed by our move to Jamaica for 7 years where I learned much about people and life while my husband taught at Jamaica Bible College. Our three daughters were born then too. Those were years of high stress when life was passionate, volatile and unstable. At times, I was dissatisfied with the husband I had. In the days before I wasn’t married, I craved a husband Once I had a spouse, then I wanted a child. When my desires for a child where blocked for awhile, I was angry and upset. Dissatisfaction ruled my life.