The Secret to Contentment

I remember the realization like it was yesterday.

My husband and I were emerging out of a long, difficult period into a promising new venture. I was walking high and so excited for what this adventure might bring our way. I was determined and hopeful that this new pathway was going to usher in our new normal.

When all of a sudden, from out of nowhere came a discouraging and bewildering setback. We were still headed for our new exciting opportunity, but we were also facing some confusing resistance—even persecution—that didn’t make much sense to either of us.

Back to my realization …

My son, Graham, high on a “mountaintop”

I realized that even in the midst of my mountaintop experience, I was going to also experience someone or something pushing me off the mountainside. There was (or is) no spiritual, relational, or emotional nirvana on this side of heaven. Life would always be a mixed bag of blessings and curses.

I didn’t want to believe this new realization back then. I was probably in my early 30’s at the time, but over the years since then (and let’s just say it’s been a while), I’ve not been able to shake it … because it is truth—God’s truth.

You may be feeling as if your messy marriage is going to crush you and the only way out is to divorce and start over.
You may have already begun to dream of better days with someone you think might be a better match for you.

Or you may have just given up on ever finding any satisfaction in your marriage, resigning yourself to gloom and doom the rest of your marital days.

But I beg you to realize that life is not going to get better until you become more grateful and more yielded to God. And then it’s really not about “life getting better,” but about you growing more deeply in love with and trusting in God.

Changing our focus to what is good in our lives and surrendering to the work God wants to do in our hearts while we go through the bad in our lives is what makes the difference. That little difference is called “choosing joy” because joy is dependent on God and not on our circumstances.

I don’t know about you, but I want to choose joy today and every day of this mixed bag life!

So today I’m thankful and joyful for a husband who remembered our first kiss—which was on St. Patrick’s Day many moons ago—and gave me this cute little green memento to honor our special day!

 
” … When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 (NLT)

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  • love the title and the real of your blog …

    Thanks for splashing me with God’s goodness today. I hope you don’t mind if I wade around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into all good things.

    Splashin’
    Sarah

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/

  • You have shared truth beautifully here… “Life would always be a mixed bag of blessings and curses. ” and thank you for encouraging us that our marriage is worth fighting for…

    Blessings to you..

  • messymarriage

    Yes, marriages are worth fighting for. You’ve summed it up well! Thanks so much for stopping by, Michele-Lyn.

  • I’m so glad I found your blog today through a mutual blogging friend, Kendal. What a great site filled with gracious and direct truth. A timely resource as well.

  • Shcopple

    Not only is divorce not the answer, but starting over with someone else just leads to more of the same. This will only change when God is in control of your life. So put God first and work on the marriage you have. It will get better.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks, Melody! I’m glad you found us too! I’ll have to check out your blog too! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, it’s really like the old saying – “out of the frying pan and into the fire!” Thanks for coming by and weighing in, Heather!

  • That resistance, persecution on the path – it surprises, about takes your breath away. If you trust, hope and believe in your spouse – it makes a huge difference – it gets you through those messy life times that try to shake you off that path! So glad I have a guy who lives and walks faithfulness!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it does. I’m not sure that I made it clear in my post. The resistance and persecution came from the outside and wasn’t from my husband. It was a tough time that we both faced together. I just wanted to emphasize that we can feel as if life and marriage “should” run smoothly. But, I believe, those are the times that define us as a couple. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I’ve been on the edge of that decision before and thankfully came to understand in time, that while he had made some (big) mistakes, I had made my share, too. It was painful to admit that, but once I did I could start walking in Christ’s footsteps and learning to live by his example. Do that changed me. It changed my heart. It changed the path of my life. And it was worth it. The hubby and I will celebrate 28 years of marriage this year. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.

  • soulstops

    How sweet that your husband remembered 🙂 So true…life is a mixed bag, and it is good to learn to give thanks…wonderful post 🙂

  • Ro elliott

    Oh Beth…this is so true… if only woman could understand this early in the marriage…so wonderful that you can turn and help others…great post…blessings~

  • messymarriage

    Thanks for sharing, Stacy. It truly is an epidemic problem–at least as far as what I’ve witnessed. Thanks so much for coming by!

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, he’s a keeper! And the mixed bag is hard but so worth it when Christ is there to get us through! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Dolly!

  • messymarriage

    I’m in to “recycling,” Ro! I think you are too! 😉

  • “Life would always be a mixed bag of blessings and curses.” The sooner I accept that realization, the more content I can be. Thanks, Beth.

    Love the picture of Graham on the mountaintop!

  • rboerner

    Being “yielded to God” is the key in making sure divorce is not an option. I’ve had many days where divorce seemed like the easy way out and I know my husband has, BUT I meant my vows when I said them “for better or WORSE”! I have a few friends in this painful situation right now and some have chosen divorce as the out. They don’t personally know Christ and I pray for them daily that they would choose another way because I believe with all my heart that divorce is NOT the answer(even if I can understand their reasoning). It is not an easy thing to let God step in because honestly it’s been a long journey but I have to say He has blessed me in my marriage more than I ever could have imagined. The JOY is finally outshining all the pain! GOD IS BIG! To all other MM friends….Keep fighting because it is worth it!