In summer-book-club

By Kate Andersen

 

 

“And where do you see yourself in, say, ten years?” I squirmed in my seat, disturbed at the nonchalant way this corporate recruiter was probing the depths of my soul. What are the chances I’ll land this job if I tell him that my life’s aspiration is to achieve the status of a 40-year-old mom friend?

My dear ones know I have long preferred the company of women in this category to my peers (because the aunties and grandmamas sipping wine in the kitchen always have more fun than rowdy cousins playing in the basement, right?) Or maybe it’s the close friendship with my own mama that moves me to seek out maternal kindred spirits who share her nurturance and affirmation. Either way, I’ve always believed 40-year-old moms to be steady souls with their business and beliefs quite in order. (Cue raised eyebrows from said audience members)….

In subsequent friendships with aforementioned women, it has come to my attention that appearances can be deceiving. Every soul in this world carries a cross. Forty-year-old mom friend or not, nobody escapes the trials and tribulations of this earthly pilgrimage.

We make a mighty mistake when we look at others and believe they have it easy. Her job is so glamorous and important. They make marriage look so simple and beautiful. She eats whatever she wants and still looks like a toothpick.  Suddenly, our best efforts, our brave cross-carrying, and our blessed mess aren’t enough. And just like that, we’re back in the Garden, facing the same tempting choice that started this crazy mess in the first place: Discontentment.

My friends, contentment is a brave choice we can make every moment of our lives. No, this isn’t the serenity and put-togetherness we imagine of every 40-year-old mom friend (or other desired demographic). Nor is it the pseudo-contentment we believe to be around the bend in the road after selling the house, finding a fella, getting that promotion, or raising those kids…. We were made for contentment now. Colleen Mitchell beautifully reminds us that this contentment is “not dependent on who we are but on who he is” (p. 68). And whether you’re a Martha or a Mary, this receptive gratitude is exactly what our Heavenly Dad desires for us.

He knows each one of his billions of children – their unique gifts, special preferences, hairs on heads. His relationship with each of us is differently suited to our inmost beings, so that He can invite us to love and be loved in the particular ways we need. Our Heavenly Father knows what He’s doing with our one-of-a-kind paths. And He can be trusted with every blessed and broken bit of our matchless missions.

Discontentment dies as we cease the furtive glances at what everyone else is doing. Contentment gently wraps around our souls when we simply look at Jesus and let Him love us. Wherever He speaks to you best—prayer, creation, scripture—Go there and just be. He loves you just as you are in this exact moment: Not for the girl you were or the lady you long to be. He cherishes your broken, beautiful, and blessed self, right here and right now.

Forty-year-old-mom friend graces are still a hopeful aspiration for me—But, hey, I did end up with that job! Peace of heart depends not on unfulfilled dreams of age, experience, or call to service. Our contentment comes from knowing where the Lord is calling us to love and be loved at this moment. Wherever you find yourself today, listen to the One who crafted your inimitable soul. Rest in the One who made you for contentment.

  1. Which unfulfilled milestone, relationship, or change in circumstance is keeping you from receiving contentment today? We don’t need to eat the fruit the Enemy tries to offer us! Which fruit of the Spirit will you reach for instead of discontentment? Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control, Chastity?
  2. Prayerfully consider which relationships or connections in your daily round are unique to your calling for this season. Give thanks for the special mission God offers you today!
  3. Where do you hear the Lord speak most clearly? Plan intentional time this week to sit there at His feet and let Him love you.

 

About the Author:

 

Kate Anderson is a young Catholic with an old soul who spends her days in the Twin Cities learning about banking. She enjoys playing the piano, conversing with kindred spirits over warm beverages, and reading spiritual books. Kate is a WINE Specialist assisting with the online aspect of the Summer Between the WINES Book Club.

Showing 10 comments
  • Audrey
    Reply

    This was beautifully written Katie. I feel contentment gently wrapping around my soul as I feel peace, patience,kindness and faithfulness as I comptemplate my future with the help of my Lord! I so enjoyed this post. Thank you!

    • Allison Gingras
      Reply

      Audrey – you explained Katie’s writing perfectly, and it is such an outpouring of who she is. A super gentle soul!! So happy you shared this synthesis of her reflection!!

    • Kate Anderson
      Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Audrey! May God continue to bless you on your journey 🙂

  • Allison Hinde
    Reply

    I enjoyed how this was worded. So many of us put the blame on how we feel on others especially when it is wrong when how we feel is within ourselves. I hope one day to be able see things clearly for myself. Thank you for showing me a way. I try to reach for peace and dont know why it wont come at times. So this is the one I need to look for the most.

    • Kate Anderson
      Reply

      I entirely relate, Allison! Even when we know contentment is the decision we ought to say yes to, it isn’t always easy. That’s why we need encouraging community around us to speak truth when it’s hard to lift our own drooping spirits. May Jesus draw you nearer to His loving heart each day we travel this narrow road! Blessings!

    • Allison Gingras
      Reply

      Allison, your comment reminded me of this quote from Our Blessed Mother to Juan Diego. He is worried about an ill Uncle, yet her words are clearly meant for each and every one of us!

      “Listen, put it into your heart, dearest one, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness of your uncle or any other sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you. Do not let your uncle’s illness worry you, because he will not die now. You may be certain that he is already well.”

  • Eileen
    Reply

    This chapter and this reflection have opened up a whole new mindset — one of contentment. Powerful message!

    • Kate Anderson
      Reply

      Contentment is a message that can change everything if we receive it with an open heart! Blessings to you, Eileen!

  • Lucy
    Reply

    Thank you Kate. I really enjoy your writing. Your insight is inspiring.

Leave a Comment

0