How to find contentment in difficult circumstances

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[A note from Wendy: Today I'm lending this space to Kelli McIntosh. A woman who understands the difference hope can make.]
Contentment Philippians 4:11
{A guest devotional by Kelli McIntosh}

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11 – 13 (NIV)

I wish you could hear the sound of Kyle’s laughter when he wakes up most days. 

I do much of my writing in the morning, directly below his bedroom. He just woke up minutes ago and he’s doing his usual morning routine: he’s laughing and giggling and the sound is music to my ears. 

As I sit here listening to his laughter and thinking of his contentment, I realize that for quite some time now, I have been truly content with my circumstances. 

A few years ago, I never imagined I would get to this point; I never thought it possible. 

I was angry at God for allowing Kyle to be born with special needs (especially after specifically praying for him every single day of my pregnancy). 

I was angry that the life I had planned was not turning out the way I thought it would (thinking of a future in which one of my children would need my help into adulthood). 

I questioned my faith. I questioned hope and joy and purpose. 

I was depressed and in the midst of all the stages of grief that come before the last stage: “acceptance.” 

But here I am this morning, completely accepting of the way Kyle was born, of my life as the mother of a child with special needs. 

I am content.

Paul said in Philippians that he had learned the secret to being content in any and every situation: that we can do everything through God who gives us strength. 

And recently, I completed Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer. She wrote, “I believe that totally trusting God is the pathway to contentment.” 

So, the secret to contentment is to rely on God’s power for our strength and to trust Him. 

Contentment does not say, “When I get that job, everything will be better. When I have children, my life will be complete. When I make more money, things will be easier. When healing comes, I will have faith and believe in God. When I….” 

It is well with my soul
What about now? 

To be content is to be genuinely happy and satisfied with our present circumstances. 

It is not settling for less than best. 
It is not giving up hope of healing or easier days.

Contentment is looking at life from God’s perspective and realizing that there is a greater purpose in our present circumstances, even if they do not seem ideal to us at the time. 

How is my life today any different than a few years ago when I was not content? My circumstances have not changed drastically. Kyle still has special needs. What has changed is my perspective. What has changed is that I have placed my trust in God. 

Not long ago, Kyle sat next to me in the pew at church. The congregation began singing the familiar hymn, “It is Well With My Soul.” Kyle crawled up on my lap and wrapped his arms around my neck. He rocked the two of us to the music and in the middle of the chorus, he looked into my eyes and smiled so sweetly as if to say, “See, Mom? It is well. I have you. You have me.”

We are content.

Ponder: Think about your present circumstances. How might God be using what you are going through to glorify Him? 

Pray: Jesus, help me to look at my present circumstances from Your perspective. I want to trust You and rely on Your strength to find contentment.

{More about the author of this guest devotional}
Kelli McIntosh is a wife and the mother of two children.  Her 7-year old son, Kyle, has special needs and as a result, Kelli has been on a journey the last 7 years that she never would have imagined.  She blogs at Not Just Anyone in order to share her experiences and how she has learned to accept her son's diagnosis while still holding on to faith and hope. She encourages her readers to focus on life circumstances with a positive perspective.

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Photo Credit (Creative Commons): Children laughing: BMiz Fabric: TNEmily | Design: Wendy van Eyck 

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