Content in the Kingdom

I logged onto my blog after months of silence to find it gone. All of the content. Gone. This feels like my life right now so I have to chuckle. It’s a theme currently.

I look around at my home in surprise. We moved in a couple of months before our son was born. Hard to believe that was nearly two years ago now. In the first year I managed to paint the deep golden walls of the kitchen a bright teal. It makes me happy, plain and simple. Not much else has changed though. Finances have been tight and there have been numerous frustrations that haven’t allowed a whole lot of wiggle room in the budget.

This home has meant more than painted walls and family photos hanging. Our living room windows are large and flood the space with light. We peek out on the hill behind our home and deer trod the ridge line. Friends come over and they comment on the peacefulness of our little plot of land, a peace I am surprised it reflects because I find my own heart to be full of landmines. A mom-friend texts on a Tuesday afternoon to ask if she can share a cup of tea and a shoulder for a bit because the two year old hasn’t napped and life is pressing in hard. I get it and she comes over. My space has become a place for peace.

I find myself worrying ahead of time about what I might have to give up or about never getting to go anywhere again. When will we have to move? When will we have to walk away from relationships? What if we never go anywhere again? We did it for so long and it was second nature to us. It felt odd, like a baby giraffe learning to walk for the first time, to put down even shallow roots. It’s been 20 months and I live in this limbo of wanting to run and wanting to stay forever.

It is the rub of what is, what may be and what will never be again. I long for all of those things simultaneously and my heart is a restless beast. I know Jesus wasn’t discontent. He was fully accepting of His Father’s will, but when people pressed hard against him with their questioning and their we-just-don’t-get-you attitude don’t you think He looked forward to Kingdom come? He looked ahead to all their questions being answered once and for all. For the Gospel to come to full fruition. Maybe Kingdom come was all He thought about?

I find my hands clenched. Fearful of all the could be taken away and all that can’t stay forever. If I believe, I mean really believe deep in my bones, that every bit of this is for my good and the Father’s glory, why can’t I just open my white knuckles a bit? Can’t I trust the unexpected and even the unwanted, as a locomotive for good in my life; a moving forward into all that God wants to do in me and through me?

Maybe our discontent is a call to be content in one thing: Kingdom come. God is making all things new. He is taking the broken bits and one day, not so far off to an eternal God, He will restore, and all the heartbreaking and soul bursting bad and good of this world will come down to one thing. Jesus.

In the midst of all of this discontent I can say one thing. I have fallen in love with Jesus afresh. He is tender and gentle with this rough around the edges heart of mine. He is an arrow of truth that speaks to the deep places. He is a lover who claims me as His own and ravishes me with love. This is not a story that has an end.

Some day we will move. These teal walls will be painted over in lieu of a more broadly appealing neutral because the realtor said to do it. Maybe that is near or perhaps years and years from now when my daughter is in the midst of picking out prom dresses and my son has finished his last year of little league and I no longer wear skinny jeans and flannel shirts. Wherever on the timeline it falls I know Jesus will be there infusing His radical Kingdom into my common-place day. In that I am sure and in that I dare to be content.

Do you find it hard to be content with where God has you? 

6 Comments

  1. Lily November 23, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing! Oh my goodness, I am in a different place and yet your post so resonated with me. I’m still single at 36, longing to be a wife and mom, in my third year back in the US after living abroad for 9, looking for a husband and also asking God what’s next if I’m still single by next summer because this apartment and this income are too small to really host others for long or to foster on my own. I do want to connect and build community here, not close myself off from it in the expectation of leaving, and I have pushed my introverted self to do that – at least that’s easier for me than finding ways to meet single men! I also want to dream of whatever’s next. But without knowing what’s next, so many things flash through my view day by day and then fade again – a friend at an MK school in Indonesia asking for prayer for more teachers, a course for online ESL teachers, a compelling profile on a dating site but it turns out he feels a few hundred miles is too long a distance, photos of school children celebrating their passport cultures in Tanzania, someone with my old school system in China moving on to teach in the Middle East, knitting a baby sweater for a friend’s hopefully-soon single adoption… Dreams and ideas but without anything solid. Yes, I need to cling to the Kingdom come, the contentment in that. I know it’s there to hold onto, this kingdom that is in us and yet is still to come. How to keep washing my mind and spirit with this truth, day by day – tea and Christmas lights, curling up by the radiator with the Bible and prayer… This week He spoke to me through 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

  2. Jennifer Shaw November 23, 2016

    I remember having thoughts along these lines 2 years ago when we moved overseas: how leaving so many pieces of lifeas we know ot helps point us to the fact that this world is not our home! I too struggle with the “what if it’s never this great again” 2 years, and my husband’s assignment in this beautiful place that’s become home to us and our 2 little boys is over and we’re heading back to the US. So many of the things we bought at the beginning or brought with us have broken or decreased in value or just gotten worn or gnawed at… reminds me that everything on earth is temporary and decays. There’s an anxiety over what we lost by coming, and will we be able to afford being back in the US…even though the Voice in my heart whispers He will always take care of us. “The Lord will watch over your coming and going now and forevermore” Psalm 121

  3. Kim November 24, 2016

    Oh my goodness, this spoke to me so much….”I live in this limbo of wanting to run and wanting to stay forever….” I love the thoughts on the Kingdom, such truth that is needed to go deep and be a place a live out of! Great words! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Elizabeth November 24, 2016

    Wow, Jessica, this is some of your best work. Simultaneously full of solid-rock Truth and heart-rending personal truth. And I love it. 🙂

    And I’m really sorry about the blog. 🙁 I literally gasped when I read those words.

    1. Ashley Felder December 6, 2016

      (Catching up a bit..) Yes, this was beautiful. Blessed by your words today. I hope as mysteriously as your blog disappeared, it will just as mysteriously reappear. Miracles happen, even in blog world!

  5. Shelly November 27, 2016

    “It is the rub of what is, what may be and what will never be again. I long for all of those things simultaneously and my heart is a restless beast.”
    This tag line used in the summary for the week got my attention. This week has been hard – a deep missing of my mom, who passed away this summer before I returned to the US for a short holiday. So many things I anticipated for the summer. With her. Unfulfilled. And here we are, at Thanksgiving and my birthday week, the things that would have happened if she were still here – not happening. And the pain that lives on both sides of the ocean as my dad and brother figure out how to “celebrate” holidays without the one who really made them happen. I want what will never be – to have her back – even as I trust that what may be is better than I can imagine, while I’m living in the what is of student assignments to score, reports to write and file, Advent to enter more fully without feeling cheated by the many other things on my plate.
    I spent this morning looking back at a year that seems marked by loss and pain, asking God to help me notice gifts He gave in the midst of the grief. His generous love in others’ generosity; His comfort; His faithfulness (even when I was ornery about how I thought He was treating me); provision, protection and places to rest and be restored; tears, hugs, gentle words, kindnesses, and space to grieve; His strong embrace holding me together as I serve and care for others on the field. The offering of thanksgiving might not curb the tears of my grief, but it opens my heart to receive Him and His kingdom.

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