The other day I was walking through a furniture store with my three boys (not something I do very often, but I was inspired on this particular day – call me crazy!) when an older man passed by me. He smiled, looked at my three boys and said, “That is a full time job.” I looked at him, smiled back, then replied “Yes, but I love it.”
I do love it. There is no other job in the world that I would trade for being the mother of my three little guys. But if I were to be completely honest, there have been many days in my short career as a mother when those “I love it” thoughts were replaced with “If only…” thoughts or “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts.
It’s on those particularly tough days—when the boys arguing seems constant, when juice spills all over my freshly mopped floors and laundry is piled high—that I find myself fighting for a biblical perspective, fighting to love the season the Lord has me in, fighting to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:11).
Recently I read the article “Learning Contentment in All Your Circumstances” by Robert D. Jones in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, which I highly recommend. In this article, he describes the attitude of contentment that I should have every day:
“What is contentment? It is having a satisfied mind in any situation. It is finding inner satisfaction in God alone and in His provision for you. It is experiencing His peace and confidence in difficult times. It is consciously enjoying the fact that God is good, even when your circumstances are not.”
So what do I do when my circumstances in mothering seem “not good”? I know I am supposed to be content, but how do I get there? The answer, says Mr. Jones, is in the verses that come before Philippians 4:11 which he’s arranged into a helpful acronym, “PTO”:
-Pray (vv. 6-7)
-Think godly thoughts (v. 8)
-Obey God’s truth (v. 90)
These three simple steps offer a clear path out of discontent, regardless of whether my circumstances change or not. As Mr. Jones points out, “If you seek God’s face, renewing your mind with His truth and walking in His ways will produce inner peace amid circumstantial problems.”