I always find it so fascinating how God can use the simplest things to get my attention. I pray and pray and pray about something and, when I don't get instant results, I wonder why nothing is changing. Then He speaks to me (not in an audible voice, but I know it's Him orchestrating things in a way that only He can) and teaches me something profound--in a way that I'm sure to remember...
And that brings me to the duck...
Much to our surprise and delight, a momma duck made a nest in our back flower bed. She has nestled herself right up in the corner near our house.
(My mother-in-law likes to joke that the duck must be deaf...
The Shoe homestead is not exactly a sanctuary for calm, quiet nesting:)
Anyway, the children and I have been keeping close watch on this momma duck and her 12 eggs.
Throughout the past several months I've been praying about contentment. To be content with life just as it is. Five children, lots of messes, sickness often, piles of laundry, not traveling out much, toilets to scrub, papers to sort, fussing to calm, fighting to stop, looking for peace...not wishing things to be different or trying to hurry through the days. Just contentment. It's been a constant struggle.
Then one day, I was watching the momma duck. She was sitting on her beautiful nest of eggs. Peacefully. Patiently.
Then all of a sudden, she flew away. I stood there thinking, "What in the world is she doing?! Her job is to sit on her eggs. What could possibly be more important?" Then it struck me. I am the duck.
I AM the duck.
My job is to "sit on my eggs". To take care of my family. To be content just keeping my "nest" in order and to take care of my delicate, beautiful "eggs". I know, a little nutty, but in that moment...I was REALLY identifying with the job of a Momma Duck.
Had it only been that moment (when I realized that I AM the duck), you could write it off as pure coincidence but as usual, God revealed Himself to me by taking it one step further.
I'd been hearing all kinds of buzz online about this new book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I was super interested in reading the book because every review I read was talking about how wonderfully perspective changing the book is. But I wasn't really justifying spending the money on a new book. So a few days after the "duck revelation", I decided to visit the blog of Ann Voskamp, to read the first chapter of the book online. And as I was reading around on her site...
I stumbled upon a post she wrote called What A Mother Must Sacrifice. As she was teaching her six children a homeschool lesson about ducks, she discovered that the Momma duck actually lines her nest with feathers that she plucks from her own chest. She had thought that the nest was lined with stray feathers and other things that were found around to build the nest but, no, the duck actually sacrifices her own feathers to make a warm, comfortable, safe place for her offspring, She pondered all the times she resisted "plucking her own feathers" as a mother of six children. Click on the title What A Mother Must Sacrifice and go read it for yourself...I dare you. Of course, I have tears just streaming down my face as I read her words and had to explain the whole story to my husband as he found me bawling like a baby in front of our computer screen.
The next day, I printed out a picture of the duck and posted on a kitchen cabinet, right next to where I spend hours of life preparing meals and washing dishes. A little reminder to be content, hanging where it will be often seen.
Well, after reading Ann Voskamp's writings and relating to so much of what I found on her blog...I HAD to get the book.
But I'll leave the rest of the story for another post...
The definition of contentment from a biblical perspective is: “An internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances”—Holman Bible Dictionary.
The Macquarie Dictionary says that ‘Contentment is the act of having one’s desires limited to what one has.’
contented: feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation
Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version, ©2011)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
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