Adventure through Discontent

adventure discont

Seven years ago, my husband and I set out on an adventure of our lifetime. We packed up everything we owned into a moving van and hit the road cross-country to South Dakota. About a week later, dragging my beat-up Dodge Neon (that’s another story) behind, we pulled into our new home- a 1970s trailer that had been vacant for almost four years. After moving in and all our support had left, reality sunk in. We were in a “foreign” land all by ourselves, forced to carve out a new life and relationships.

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My husband quickly found a job. However, a fulltime job for a woman was harder to find unless you drove an hour or more away to bigger towns. A great distance was a great obstacle because we were an one car family, at the time. Reality hit like a ton of bricks. This adventure was going to be harder than I thought.

Starting on our journey

The First Winter

Our first winter was the worst the area had seen in a long time. Everyone kept telling us, “It usually isn’t like this. You picked a bad winter to start living here.” We  soon found out that our trailer apparently was not at all build for hard South Dakota winters. Staying warm meant wearing three to four layers of clothes INSIDE the house! Snow began to appear INSIDE our window and doors. An electric blanket was the best Christmas present we received that year.

First South Dakota winter

Needless to say, my adventure started to become very lonely. My husband worked anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a day. I very rarely left the house. My husband was beginning a church, so for the first few years we had very few participants at church services, mostly one adult at times and several children.

For many years, I lived in total discontentment. Yearning for vacations when we could return “home” to see family and friends became my only comfort. I missed the convenience and experiences of “home”. Happiness in this area seemed out of reach.

 

Journeying through Discontent

So I pose a question. How do you become content when you are clearly discontent?

Simply, for me, it has been a long process. A process seven years still in the making. Below are a few things that has helped me become more content.

  1. Finding contentment of “home” in God.  The reason that we moved to South Dakota was that the Lord called us here. He had and still has a plan for us. We are to find our joy in the presence of the Lord, despite our surroundings. Once I began digging deeper as to why I was so unhappy, God revealed to me  that I was trying to root my happiness and contentment in material and convenient things and not finding peace and joy in Him.  My contentment to form the day I total surrender all my unhappiness to Him.
  2. Finding contentment by embracing your surroundings. Have you ever felt that the place God was leading you was unlovable? I felt that way once. Not about the people, but about the area in which we lived.  I even prayed at one time that God would change my husband’s call to some more desirable place. Then, our family began to embrace the beauty that God created here. One way is through history and nature. We love history. So, we took that love and began to learn the history of the area. Taking one day trips to historic landmarks and culturally rich destinations has helped us loved South Dakota. Now living on an Indian reservation, the importance of the Lakota culture has become key in helping us understand and love the people around us. Our family also has discovered a love for camping and fishing. There are plenty of places here to carve out that love more.
  3. Finding contentment by making our house our “home.” In seminary, I heard a mk (missionary kid) once say that she always felt at home, no matter what country they were in, because her mother took time to make their home a safe and comfortable place for their family. Her mother would decorate for special occasions and create special traditions to help her family have a consistent and loving place to retreat from the outside world. I have always remembered this and try to implement this thought into our family’s home. I have created a nest where my husband and my children can feel safe, loved, and feel content.

Contentment is a state of mind and heart that derives from God. Our family has a motto, “thrive, not just survive.” To thrive, you have to battle discontentment on all levels -spiritually and physical. If you allow your discontented heart to stay that way, the enemy will try to guide to look for happiness outside of God and his ways. Start your pilgrimage today to thrive!

Check out more South Dakota pictures by clicking here.

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13 thoughts on “Adventure through Discontent

  1. We have made several big moves in the past few years… its so rough. The only place I could find contentment was in letting God into my hurt and let Him heal me. Thanks for sharing this encouraging post!

  2. Jennifer this is so thought provoking and offers excellent words of wisdom about go ding contentment even in the difficult. You made this lonely challenge into a spiritual practice. Ilwe face transition soon and your words help me in this uncomfortable time of not knowing what’s next.

  3. I am glad you are here. 🙂 Learning to be content in whatever place or situation we are in can be difficult. You have brought out some very good points to share. Thank you.

  4. As an MK myself, I love this post and totally understand the emotions behind it. It’s definitely true that home is wherever you make it. I’ll be sharing this post on social media. 🙂

  5. I think we’ve all had those seasons of discontent, it is amazing what God shows us in the midst of them, isn’t it? BTW, I love #3. What a precious gift that will be to your husband and children.

  6. Wow! Exciting and daunting at the same time but you have some awesome points on how to be content with the help of our Father in Heaven! How interesting to go out and study the rich history South Dakota has to offer too! God Bless!

  7. Great post! It is very hard to feel “at home” when you are lonely with no familiar faces around and unable to be out to get to know others. Believing in God and letting him help you through the process is a big help! Making your house a “home” is one of the best ways to quickly become content.

  8. Amen! Contentment is so often underestimated in today’s world. If only so many knew that contentment allows our hearts to feel a peace that surpasses all understanding – that so many crave now a days. Beautifully written.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story about discontentment. While my story is a little different, I’ve still heard the Lord tell me that I need to be happy where I am at. The Lord truly does want us seeking Him above all other things. Thank you for sharing at Salt & Light!

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