Marva at Blessed Frugalness posed the question, "What is contentment to you." Go over and add your answer in her comment section. Here is my answer:
After 20 years of marriage and 5 kids I can tell you that Paul's words are becomming more and more real to me. He said he had learned to be content whether rich or poor and in whatever circumstance he was in. I feel that I have grown so much in that area and God has allowed things to come to strengthen my faith in Him. When we were using over 50% of our income and paying 2 house payments for 15 months when we moved I was truly stretched. Having $300 a month for food to feed 7+(two teens plus extra friends)- IF I STAYED VERY FRUGAL IN ALL OTHER AREAS and not having a back up really showed me just how much(or not) I was trusting God to provide. Contentment is not having everything in order. It is not having well behaved kids. It is not having money for everything. I don't think all of those things will ever fall in place at one time. If so, is God working in your life? We are constantly being trained and grown through our experiences to be more like Jesus. Every time something happens pray about it but also keep in rememberance that God uses each thing for a purpose of either training us or for others to see us and be drawn to Him- things may be for the benefit of others.
So, contentment for me is to be able to accept the struggles, to experience the pain while still believing, not allowing my thoughts to feel defeat. Contentment is enjoying the good with the bad. Not expecting perfection. Am I always "happy" to struggle? NO! But it is allowing yourself to walk in areas where you do not see God working or feel God's love and holding on to your faith of what His word says. Many times I don't feel truth at the moment but can just make the decision to believe anyway. You have to know God's word and hide it in your heart. When you are lied to and your thoughts go astray, you cannot rely on what you feel. You go back and remember what God's word says or dig into it for more. God never changes, you can count Him acting upon His promises. Contentment is knowing He is your saviour, your protector,and your provider.
She mentioned about contentment being knowing that your are raising your kids in the abmonition of the Lord. It reminds me that there is a contentment that comes when you realize that you can only guide and help to train your kids but ultimately God is the one that draws them and pricks their heart when they have done wrong or need to step up. I have struggled with feeling so much weight over my children. I am learning that I can only do my part and have to be able to let go enough for God to work in them. Not to blame myself for their decisions. To be content when they are not doing what I want them to do. To trust their lives to God. How many hours have we all spent worrying over mistakes we make when we see them struggle to live right and make wise decisions?
The tighter we hold to schedules and rules and expectations the less content we seem to be. It is when we learn to let go of the ropes that we can breathe again. If feels as if we are jumping off a cliff to let the ropes go, but when we begin to fall we feel the arms of God reach out and catch us. He gently whispers, "I have you. I am going to take care of this. Don't worry anymore."