The Big Happiness

The struggle with being content is life-long, it seems. Why do others always seem to be successful when we struggle to just break even every month? I tend to look at what others are doing and what they have, but really, I don’t know their whole story. Maybe they are losing the small joys in pursuit of the ‘big happiness’. My ‘little’ that God has given me may be really all I can handle and is quite possibly just right for my life.

At the time I originally wrote this post on my former blog,  I was working through a Scripture Writing Plan. I liked this way of studying and would like to get back into it, I just haven’t yet. It gave me time to think about a concept and apply as I was writing out each passage of Scripture I was studying. The study theme at the time had been about contentment and what is actually ‘enough’ for me. And I’m not talking about basic needs but more about wants that I really don’t need. What is my motivation? To keep up with friends and family? To make it seem that I am super successful? What defines success anyway? Here are my study notes from “The Big Happiness” I wrote originally in January.

Content → (n) power of containing, holding capacity; (adj) satisfied with what one has or is; agreeing, consenting [Synonyms: comfortable, gratified, at ease]

“Holding capacity” caught my attention as did the word, “agreeing”. I’m connecting the dots here that I’m needing to agree with God that I am at my holding capacity least for this moment, this day–which brings to mind the verse in Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Give me Lord, what is best and what only You know I can manage or contain. And my ‘holding capacity’ may change in the future..but that’s in the future. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34. So if the evil in this world is enough for one day, so are the blessings, I would think.

“A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked”, Psalm 37:16. Not all wicked are rich and not all rich are wicked, I know. But when my heart is right, no matter what my possessions are, I am able to see that they are still better than anyone else’s because they are divinely given by God who knows me, loves me, and wants what’s best for me. To not take for granted the small joys in every day and in what God has given me, is the start of living life contented. To be assured that God, indeed, is in control, He knows my ‘power of containing’ for some things and lack of for others. God made us each unique in our talents, appearances, spiritual gifts, so why wouldn’t He tailor His blessings to each individual? What works for someone else, may be entirely wrong for me and vice versa. Sure, it’s good to have goals and dreams, but I need to evaluate and be willing to be ‘at ease’ in how God made me and in His provisions. To be at ease→ that’s what just about everyone wants anyway, yet it’s our level of appeasement that makes or breaks us when it comes to contentment.

At ease→ (n) tranquil rest; freedom from concern, anxiety, solicitude; freedom from constraint

To ease→ (v) to free from anxiety or care; to lighten or lessen; to move or shift with great care

And in my evaluation of what is enough for this moment, it’s quite possible the small joys in every day are the big happiness after all. To agree with God that where He has me today is where I need to be whether it be my location, my possessions, my ‘status’ in life, and that my ‘holding capacity’ for all that, is sufficient for today. God wishes to ease with great care so that I may be at ease with Him and His plan for my life – blessings and trials alike. The ‘big happiness’? Well, maybe I need to change my definition of what that means. The ‘small joys’ of being free from concern and anxiety because I’m trusting in the One who is the Great Reliever is really one big happiness.

Grace Comes Along

“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along
and straightens me out.”-D.L. Moody

Hey there! So glad you stopped by! I hope to be an encouragement and a blessing in sharing here on the blog. I had started another blog site years ago, but am having some issues with it, so it was time for a change. I will be rewriting former posts and ‘freshening’ things up a bit. I am starting from “Point A” of why I write, why I share Scripture and encouragement.

Why the name, “A Record of Graces”? Well, for one, that’s been my life, although I haven’t always known it. I have been going through a ‘journey’ of sorts and it just seemed fitting to name the blog I started in 2012, ‘A Record of Graces.’ I started to write about my journey to trust God’s heart when I couldn’t see His hand for two very life changing moments. The first life changing moment was when I lost my mother when I was 3 years old and forever lost a part of me. She died of hepatitis when we were missionaries in Lima, Peru. This was my identity for as long as I can remember; I was always the little girl of that missionary who lost his wife. It was part of my dad’s testimony in every church he preached in. I was “Jean’s daughter” to all who knew, loved, and remembered her. As a teenager when we would be on furlough visiting supporting churches, I would hear all the time, “I know exactly who you are! You look just like your mother!” –from complete strangers to me. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to know more about her. My dad never really wanted to talk about her for he’s never one to dwell on things very long. He remarried soon after my mother’s death, we went back to Peru and continued on with ministry. I am told by family who loved to share memories of her with me that I am a lot like her. Knowing my mother through the eyes and hearts of the ones who loved her put some missing pieces of me back together and I am forever grateful for the bond I have with my mother’s family. A balm to my soul, truly. But the shadow of being ‘Jean’s daughter’ haunted my step-mother and me from the beginning. I believe she tried to fill the gap, but I was never ‘hers’. When others would comment on how wonderful my mother was, it just caused the wound to widen. When others would make mention of me being “Jean’s daughter”, it was just difficult to move forward in a relationship with my step-mother. I know that was not the intention of others, but the words left a mark. Through time and **grace**, I can have compassion for her whereas in my younger years, I was resentful. It wasn’t until after my son Jonathan was born that we found some common ground and built a bridge…it was shaky..but it was a bridge, nonetheless. While our relationship was strained, she was a wonderful grandmother to Jonathan and I believe if she were alive today, she and my son would be the best of friends.

The second life changing moment was when we buried our stillborn youngest son 14 years ago.

Of course I’ve asked God why He allowed these things to happen. But then I have to ask why I think I should be exempt from heartache when I was never promised a perfect life. No one is. I was promised, however, a Comforter, an ever present help in times of trouble… I am coming to a place where I realize that by grace and through faith, I will be ok.  Whether I am to know His mind or not..God has His reasons. I have wished many times to be able to rewrite my story. Yet, maybe..just maybe, I don’t want to change the end, because I don’t know what a different ending holds. There’s a reason why God wrote my story and I didn’t. It is easy to get distracted and to look away from what He has promised; that He always gives new grace I’ve not needed before for anything and everything I face. So I write about how grace comes along in every day. I write about things that will bring me to notice Him and how I am to respond. I will close with these verses which sum up the reason I record the graces.

{Psalm 77:8-12} “Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”