As a girl, I remember my mother touching my hands gently, a reminder to sit still and stop nibbling my fingernails. She also calmed me down when I twirled and cart wheeled across the living room floor. I was an active, high-strung child, maybe a bit too active for her. As I grew older I settled down and nearly went into hiding. I was afraid to be too noisy, too showy, too much!
By the time I got to high school I was a shadow of my former self––fearful, anxious, lacking in self-confidence. College life presented new possibilities away from home and the watchful eyes of my parents and I welcomed each experience. I performed well in my studies, appeared in school plays, and even attracted a boyfriend. But still I felt discontent. Something always seemed to be missing.
Two weeks after graduation I married my sweetheart and within five years I was a mother to three children and the wife of a man who spent most of his hours working or studying toward a degree in law. I felt alone and restless even though my son and two daughters brought me many joyful hours. I continued to live on this plane until the year I turned 41—the year I met Jesus Christ, following a painful divorce and a health crisis.
At that point I opened the Bible for the first time in my life, at the urging of a friend, unaware that it was the beginning of my personal journey toward contentment. My teachers and companions were writers who lived hundreds of years before I was born—but their wisdom in the Scriptures led the way, and it is with me still. I share their words here. Perhaps they will speak to you too, or encourage you to find the wisdom God has for you on your journey.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This verse was the first one to capture my attention as I sat attentively in a bible study class on the Gospel according to John. I leaned forward, realizing in that moment that the personal relationship people had talked about and that I had no knowledge of or experience with, was now possible for me if I turned to Christ as my Lord and Savior and gave him my life.
My purpose is to give you life in all its fullness.
Today when I read these words I’m filled with peace—knowing that God has a full life for each of his children, so I shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed with any of it. He will be with me through each experience, teaching me what I need to know and leading me on the right path. I will never be alone––ever. I now have this verse in a frame on my desk and I read it several times each day.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
This verse has seen me through many anxious moments—when my son lived apart from our family for two years, when my second husband lost his job unexpectedly, when my father was diagnosed with a long-term illness, and when a book I’d written was suddenly cancelled before the publication date.
With these words to guide me, I put my hope in the Lord, not in doctors or publishers or employers. I could not control illness, jobs, the result of my writing or my son’s choices. But God said he’d be present in all these situations and bring them together for the good of all concerned. (Romans 8:28).
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you . . .
Now that I’m an older woman with gray hair (and plenty of white, too) I know with certainty that God is still with me, holding on to me and keeping me close. I am one of his own. He made me and he will sustain me and even carry me if harm threatens me.
My journey toward contentment is still in progress. It’s a day-to-day walk, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, with plenty of pauses along the way for conversations with God, for praise and prayer, for smiles and tears, but always with a deep knowing that I am not alone, never have been, and never will be as long as I stay close to God through Jesus Christ.
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).
Where are you in your journey? I’d love to hear from you.