Posts tagged ‘Faith’

A lesson in contentment

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” Philippians 4:1

Are you content with the circumstances of your life?

Being content when things are going your way is easy, but being content in the midst of hardship or suffering is beyond difficult as I have learned. Thankfully, I have also learned that a relationship with Christ which allows for the right perspective makes it possible to be content in all things, even after losing your child, your father, and discovering a new life and purpose in the aftermath.

I’ve mentioned it before that I have learned to be content with what happened to Hailey and my family. This post is more about me learning to be content with how I am using my time and understanding who I am now and what my purpose is.

It’s about answering those questions that have been haunting me; the ones I hated people asking me only days after losing Hailey… you know the ones: what are you going to do now? are you going to teach again? and so on. I almost have let those questions eat away at me. As if what I was doing wasn’t good enough. They made me feel guilty at times for not running out and finding a job right away after my hopes of being a stay at home mom were taken from me and I buried my daughter.

I know some of those questions and related comments came out of genuine concern for me as some people didn’t want me just sitting at home all day being lonely and depressed, but not all of them came from that type of heart. Unfortunately I know too many people, family and friends, who frown upon stay at home moms and housewives in general. If you don’t have a full time career, they see you as less then them or something. They won’t admit openly that they think those things, but they do. I know it from their gossip and side comments about others.

Not only did the idea of what others thought of me for not working bother me, but so did several other related things. For instance, adjusting to a new way of life where I had more time than I knew what to do with was strange and hard. It was something that was foreign to me, and sometimes I let it bother me that I had nothing to do. At times I felt like I was living the life that I only thought possible when I’d be retired – doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted – and that made me feel guilty. As mentioned in earlier posts, I have been so used to being busy every second of the day and involved in too many things that suddenly I found myself not busy and not involved in much of anything. Even I defined who I was by my job title. Two years ago I was a teacher. A year ago I was going to be a stay at home mom. What was I now then? A housewife? Was that enough?

But yes it is enough. If that’s what God wants. And so I learned to be content being a housewife and taking care of our dog. But only because that’s what God wanted. My struggle in ‘doing nothing’ in the eyes of some isn’t because I’m disobeying or going against God’s plans for my life, it’s because I more with what others thought and not being good enough in there eyes. Too often I have based my contentment on what others think, not what God thinks.

My prayer since Hailey died has always been for God to use me according to His purposes for my life. If he wanted me to become a full time teacher again, I would. If he wanted me to find a part time job somewhere, I would. If he wanted me to volunteer somewhere, I would. But if God was telling me he wanted me to relax and enjoy life, for some reason I wouldn’t because society tells me that’s wrong. But it’s not and I’m finally realizing that God wanted me to do ‘nothing’ essentially for these past few months.

I needed the time for healing and to make it to the place where I am today – and God knew it. So I have learned to be content in taking time to heal instead of working. Those first few months were almost like a sabbatical for me that I’m only now realizing I took. It was a time of rest, healing, recovery… a time of drawing close to God, doing some soul searching, etc.

Then came the day in April when God put something new on my heart. When He told me it was time for something special for me to get involved in. When He put it on my heart to start a local project in memory of Hailey through Project Sweet Peas. I prayed for God to use my life according to His purposes, and this was the answer. He knew I was ready, and I needed it.

I’ve taken on Hailey’s Hope almost like it’s a full time job from home. But still, even after God continues to answer my prayers and use me, I battle with being discontent with my circumstances. Here I am, using my time wisely, serving others, doing something I really enjoy, yet I’m still discontent. Why? Because my mind constantly goes to my career path: teaching English full time.  And I think to myself, “What does donating gift bags have to do with teaching? shouldn’t I only be doing things that I can put on my resume for when I apply for a teaching position?” And here comes the struggle with trying to define myself and my life.

But couldn’t it be that God has plans other than teaching for me? And what about my ‘resume’ for God? After all, with Hailey’s Hope I’m still using my time, my skills, and my resources to serve Him and His kingdom. God  has blessed me with more than the ability to teach, so isn’t it possible that just maybe God doesn’t want me to teach right now?  That He has given me this new ‘task’ and opportunity for me to shine and serve? After all, my goal behind teaching is the same as my goal behind becoming involved with Project Sweet Peas: to use my time and talents to serve God and others. So isn’t it just possible that God has this in mind for me right now? Why is that so hard for me to accept?

I don’t have it on my heart to teach or sub or tutor. But I do have it on my heart to devote everything I have to Hailey’s Hope and helping others find hope during an experience that I have been through. With all of that said, I think I am finally learning to be content with what I’m doing with my life. For now this is where God wants me, and this is what I’m going to do.

So what am I doing now? Am I going back to teaching? I can comfortably and confidently answer those types of questions now:

I am a project leader for Hailey’s Hope with Project Sweet Peas. I am organizing the donation of over 20 bags to be delivered in June to over 20 families who have babies in NICUs so that they can be provided with a touch of comfort and hope during a difficult time. And I will continue to be organizing fundraisers, gathering donations, and delivering donated gift bags to families with babies in the NICUs. I am also happy to be extending my involvement with Project Sweet Peas by managing their blog. And now I do not plan on going back to teaching full time any time soon.

As for where I will be in a few more months, we’ll just have to wait and see where God takes me…could be the same thing, could be working as a part time substitute teacher, could be working on continuing our family… only God knows. And I am okay with that.

May 30, 2010 at 5:17 PM Leave a comment

From Fear to Freedom

I came upon an uplifting, somewhat surprising, maybe even life-changing, realization a few days ago: I have nothing to fear.

Think about that. Think of your life. Think of your greatest fear. Then remove that fear. Imagine it. How freeing is it?! Feel it!

So I am proclaiming that at this point in my life. I have nothing to fear. Why you ask? Because the thing I fear happening the most in my life happened.

If you were confronted with answering the question, what are you afraid of most in your life? What would you answer? For me it always has been and always will be the deaths of the people I love and living without them. Someone I love. Someone close to my heart.  (Yes we all deal with the deaths of loved ones, grandparents and other relatives, but I mean a close someone. Like a child, spouse, parent, best friend…someone you talk to every day, someone who impacts your life every day, someone you share your life with…)

(more…)

May 18, 2010 at 9:32 PM 1 comment

Cleansing ~ Part 1

First, I don’t know what it is about this month, but it has been very draining emotionally for me. I wonder where the strong woman rejoicing during her loss and trials went to… I want her back. Instead, the majority of this month I have felt tired, beaten down, defeated by life…and somehow my hope, amongst other things, seems to have disappeared. My negative thoughts overwhelm me, and my feelings linger towards hopelessness, anger, and bitterness. And a part of me has become angry that God has allowed so much pain and suffering in my life and seems to bless so many of my friends and family with the very things that were taken away from me and/or that I long for. (more…)

May 13, 2010 at 9:43 PM Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Reflections

Well… I survived last week (glad it is over), which also means I survived Mother’s Day. It was not as terrible as I anticipated or as it could have been, and I managed not to cry.

As I mentioned to my friend, it was as good of a Mother’s Day as I could have experienced without Hailey and I believe that was possible because of 2 things – 1. prayer and 2. perspective. I chose to focus on how proud and privileged I am to be Hailey’s mom. I was her mom before she was born, as she grew inside of me, I was her mom when she was born and graced us with 36 days of her life, and I am still her mom even though she is not here with me. Despite some of my fears and negative thinking, nothing can change the fact that I am her mother and she is my daughter, not even death. (more…)

May 10, 2010 at 2:04 PM Leave a comment

My book-loving soul rejoices over these books!

(I can’t believe that this post will make 7 days in a row! yikes! I hope you’re not getting tired of me yet!)

Can I tell you how hard it was for me to find a good book on grief and/or infant loss when Hailey passed? Very hard! No one knew of any. A pastor recommended a few – none of which I could find in a store around here anywhere! I found a few on my own at the library, but they were duds. And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of books on grief out there… but nothing was quite fitting what I was looking for …

Finally I ordered (and finally received after a huge ordeal with Borders) one of the books that was recommended to my by the pastor. Then I came across a devotional style book that looked encouraging on Amazon and ordered that with my Borders order (that again finally came after a big mix up over a month after I was supposed to receive it). And then, through a blog I came across and started following, I found another hopeful devotional written by the author of the blog.

Well, I am rejoicing over how wonderful these 3 books are! And I have to share them on here (and I will add them to my “Turn Mourning into Dancing” page later under my book resources).

(more…)

April 7, 2010 at 10:42 AM Leave a comment

Hailey’s 3 Month Heavenly Birthday, Finding Healing In the Midst of Grief

Three months ago today was probably the most devastating day of my entire life. Before it felt like time was speeding by and it didn’t feel real when 1 month passed, then 2 months… but now at 3 months… I really feel like it’s been a very long time since I last held Hailey in my arms… It feels so long ago. I feel like I’ve literally been to the end of the world and back. This journey has taken its toll on me. I feel aged beyond my 25 years. I once referenced someone referring to their journey through grief as a journey of expansion…an expansion of the soul…and boy do I feel that now. But it’s a good expansion.

I wrote one post about the day Hailey passed away and that is probably all I will ever write about it. I can remember the day, but I don’t like spending much time in that memory and dwelling on the details and feelings. Today is not a day of remembering what it was like the day she passed away.

(more…)

April 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM 2 comments

Grief and Spiritual Warfare

Well despite being hit with some severe allergies or a cold… I still haven’t decided which it is… I am doing pretty well still. I hit a few bumps on my journey out of grief and into peace in the last week. But thankfully I’ve ended up with my head above water.

As strange as it may sound, I can feel myself drifting away from God. Not intentionally, but I can feel it happening. I’ve never felt closer to God than in the months of December and January (when Hailey came into this world and when she left it).

But now as things seem to be going better for me, I don’t feel that closeness as strongly.

Why is it that when our lives are going well, we drift away from God? Why is it that when the floor drops out from under us and our lives collapse, we become closer to God than ever before?

I don’t like that tendency.  At least that’s how it seems for my life, I don’t know about yours.

(more…)

March 30, 2010 at 4:07 PM 1 comment

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"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." ~Job 1:21

In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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