"Some days a candle and a cup of tea is all you need...." (Contentment and joy)
photo by: Tammy Smith Holt
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” William Arthur Ward
After giving birth to her second child, Josie Robinson became depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. To numb the pain, she started drinking, and drinking heavily. She hated her life and she hated that she hated it. One day, she dropped to her knees and prayed to God. She asked for help.
Three days later, Robinson's sister Emma came for a visit. She gave her a Christmas gift. A gift that set into motion a life filled with contentment and joy.
The gift was a free session with a spiritual healer, Maleah. After the first session, Robinson’s life started to change. She quit drinking. She said she read a book called, “The easy way to quit drinking’ by Alan Carr and she stopped. Without the alcohol, Robinson had more energy, a lighter mood, and decreased anxiety. Without the booze she could think more clearly, make better decisions, and when needed...ask for help.
Before the intervention, every morning Robinson would awaken with a deep, dark sadness. Everyday was the same; laundry, meals, diapers, and dishes. There was nothing to look forward to. Maleah shared with Robinson a bit of wisdom, “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything." She suggested certain changes be implemented to help with the drudgery of the daily routine.
If there were chores to do around the house, crank up the music. Instead of doing laundry everyday of the week, choose one day a week to do all the laundry. Even if it piled up, crank up the 80’s music and celebrate until it was all washed, dried, folded, and put away.
Life was looking up. Robinson was feeling good. She had more energy. The days were brighter. Maleah asked, “Are you writing all of these good things down?” In Robinson’s mind, this was journaling and it sounded like work. Maleah then suggested she start a gratitude jar for these good and positive things. She said to ‘put down all your blessings on little slips of paper and put them in the jar.’ This was doable, thought Robinson.
Since Robinson was just getting started, Maleah said there would be ‘yin’ days. Days when Maleah wasn’t ‘feeling it’. Then, she could pull blessings out of the jar to remind herself that she’s supported, that she’s got this. On these little scraps of paper, would be blessings, gifts, little gratitude's or just a ‘win’.
There were a lot of positives happening in Robinson’s life. Her life was working. She had quit drinking. House chores were getting done. Kitchen, closets, life was getting organized. She would ask husband Sean for help when feeling overwhelmed. The only missing link was her connection with the children. Since baby Davis was born, Robinson hadn’t spent much time with her four year old son Lucas and she could sense the disconnect.
Robinson spoke to Maleah about doing the gratitude jar with Lucas. Maleah thought about it and said, “That’s brilliant.” She suggested recording the conversations with Lucas and writing those conversations down on paper for 30 days. So it began, 30 days of gratitude with a four year old.
The 30 days of gratitude started with simple blessings. Lucas would say he was thankful for his blanket, stuffed animals, or mom, dad, and baby Davis. As the days turned into weeks, Lucas gave thanks for his heart because ‘it keeps him going and holds love in it.’ As Robinson began giving thanks and gratitude, she started noticing the world around her. For instance, the sun didn’t provide only light but warmth, sustenance, and energy. She began to go through her day in a completely different way.
Little by little, Robinson noticed a bounce in her step. Even friends and Sean described her mood as joyous and content. Robinson said those two words had never been used to describe her before the gratitude jar. The grass had always looked greener on the other side. But now, “I had everything I needed.” said Robinson.
One day, around day 17 of the gratitude jar, Robinson was in the car with her two boys. Out of the blue, Lucas said, “I like my life.” A four year old said, “I like my life”. How amazing is that? Robinson was completely taken off guard by his comment. That evening, she and Lucas shared the gratitude jar with Sean and baby Davis. Their love, joy, contentment was spilling over and they wanted to share the feeling.
How many of us can say, “I like my life?” Can we admit we are content? Do we feel joy?
The Bible has a lot to say about being satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we’re going. In today’s world, many are displeased with their jobs, their marriage, finances, a whole host of issues that many of us could say was less than optimal. When feeling overwhelmed, trapped, or unhappy, apply these verses to your routine.
Bible verses for contentment:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” First Timothy 6: 6-8
“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.” Philippians 4:12-13
Bible verses for joy:
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
As we consider the gratitude jar and continue this journey retelling Robinson’s story, take a moment to envision how it feels to be content and joyful.
Contentment is one of those feelings that completely envelopes your mind, body, and spirit. It can make you feel like you’re in a bubble, you're own little world. A bubble that can never be popped as long as we have Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds. And then there’s joy. Joy to appreciate and enjoy the simple things in life.
We’ll continue next week with more chapters from the book, “The Gratitude Jar” by Josie Robinson. Look around and see all things lovely.