All three of my children have almost completed another grade. They have each found new hobbies, and acquired new skills. My husband has learned how to farm and start a farming business. We have another year of parenting and marriage under our belts, which includes so much!
But truly, this year has been about learning to be content. And, much to my dismay, I often feel like I am no closer today than I was 365 days ago. This year has not only been about learning contentment, but also about learning to compromise, understanding myself better, learning how to give deeply of myself , how to draw boundaries when I am stretched too far, and learning how to deal with my own anger. I have never been so angry in my life as I have been while working through the areas listed above. It's hard, confusing, and frustrating trying to fight my flesh and listen to God. I love Frederick Buechner's words on anger and find them to be perfectly true:
"Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past...to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back- in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you."
from Wishful Thinking
I have learned that waiting on God can be absolutely infuriating if I mean for it to be. And I think in the throws of helplessness, I have often been "the skeleton at the feast." I have learned that although sometimes decisions and actions need to be made, often my fretting over the future is unnecessary and paralyzing. And I often do not have the discernment to know when to act (my tendency) and when to wait (my husband's). I hope I will have more understanding in this area on our second anniversary of farm living!
I have learned one more thing, which may be the most important, or at least the most beautiful. I have learned that God has gifted me with an undying love for my husband. I knew this before, but I know it on a deeper level as it has been put to the test. Like no one else on earth, I long for restoration when we are at odds, affection when we are apart, and compassion when I feel sad or defeated. Even in the midst of utter disagreement, there is this unwavering pull or connection that triumphs. It is unfathomable how God has so closely knit together two hearts, especially when our personalities and interests are polar opposites. I am so thankful to experience this type of intimacy with my Andy.
Even though I am not where I want to be, by a long stretch, I feel differently now than I did a year ago. This beautiful, stinking farm, with the loud chickens, messy yard, always-dirty floors, endless work, and inconvenient location has made me feel more desperate for Christ. I am so small and He is so big. Maybe a larger view of one's own weakness and frailty is often a good thing.
"Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me...unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love."
Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat