Wreathed in Contentment

A toddler-sized pair of skates wired to an evergreen spray and adorned with a bow — that’s the best I can do!  But not everyone is craft-challenged like I am, and Sarah O. Maddox has made a practice of hanging a beautiful wreath on the door of her home no matter what the season as a symbol of contentment, a sign that her heart has said yes to the gift of that particular house in that particular location — a sign that her heart has said yes to God.

In You Can Learn to be Content, a book that incorporates both memoir and devotional inspiration, Sarah describes her discovery that she had an uneasy relationship with contentment, and then shares her journey toward living in the light that Isaiah speaks of:

Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
    and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on his God.  (Isaiah 50:10)

Hebrews 10:35-38 reminds believers that the root of discontent is a mindset of doubt and fear, admonishing us not to “cast away our confidence” in Him.

While there’s nothing wrong with having an eye for improvement, Sarah shares three common obstacles to contentment that steal our joy:

  1.  Unmet expectations lead to disappointment, frustration, and regret, and “when the circle of regret becomes [our] resting place, contentment flees out the door.”
  2. My response to others gives them power over me.  Poet Fran McDaniel shares this wisdom:  “Choose not to be offended; rather, seek to understand.”
  3. The truth is that “what’s down in the well may come up in the bucket!”  When under pressure and plagued with uncertainty, walking in the way of contentment has to be a conscious choice that comes from within.

From Jehoshaphat’s prayer in the midst of what looked to be a losing battle, Sarah encourages her readers that even when we feel powerless in the battle for contentment, the answer is to look to God for guidance.  Peppered with examples of her own struggles through perplexing circumstances, she shares homely wisdom from her museum of memories:

  • “Because God wants you to trust Him, He will see to it that you have to.”
  • “God:  Vacate and let me occupy.”
  • “A contented woman is not dependent on anyone else for her satisfaction.  She has not made her house, her financial situation, her husband, her children, or her friends slaves of her expectations.”

Psalm 62:5 gives words for the heart of the woman who desires contentment in her bones:

“My soul,
Wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him . . .”

With this wisdom, even in the midst of changing circumstances, the woman who believingly follows Jesus Christ can live with a heart that is wreathed in contentment.

//

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

50 thoughts on “Wreathed in Contentment”

  1. Hmmm. I’ve been struggling with contentment these last few weeks because it seems like nothing has gone according to “plan”…my plan of course. Something about reading these words helped me to breath easier again.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful book Michele. I have never really understood my mother’s desire to always have some type of a wreath on the front door. She gets so much joy; I give her a new one when I can. Finding contentment in Christ is something that grows as we spend time with our Savior. We begin to understand He is in control of every circumstance and we trust Him. Jehoshaphat’s prayer is one of my favorites in the bible as He calls on God and prays His promises. Such a prayer of faith! I really enjoyed this review; especially contentment is a choice. May we focus to find our contentment in Christ as we seek Him. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and yours!

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  3. Thank you, Michele, for sharing this review!
    And, I definitely think you should put a wreath on your door! What a great idea!
    Sure do appreciate you and way that you share the love of Jesus with so many others!
    You BLESS me!
    Melanie

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  4. I love the idea behind the hanging of the wreaths. Being content can be learned and I’m living proof. This sounds like a great book, Michele. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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  5. Just visiting you here, after being introduced to you through dear Cheryl and her Homespun Devotions interview with you! So happy to meet you, what a refreshing place you have here in blogland! The book you shared today and the quotes you shared from it are truly inspiring… find a place of contentment here in life is truly the secret to abundant joyful living! In one of Cheryl’s recent posts she highlighted this favorite scripture of mine: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. ” And truly, when our hearts are stayed on Him, peace and contentment can be ours.

    So happy to meet you today Michele, and I am looking forward to getting to know you better. Many hugs and blessings to you today! 🙂

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  6. Dear Michele, I read your review of my book on contentment for the first time this afternoon. Please know that it was “exceedingly abundantly above all I could have asked.” You did such a wonderful job of conveying to your readers so many things I wanted to convey.
    Thank you for your thoughtful insights. Thank you for the particular parts you highlighted. It was such a blessing to read your assessment of my book. You expressed my heart without knowing me personally. That is truly of the Lord.
    I am so happy my daughter has a friend like you! May God continue to bless you as you write for His glory. Thank you again.
    In Christ,
    Sarah O. Maddox
    Jeremiah 32:17

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    1. When I review a book, there is something so satisfying to me about an author’s assurance that I “got it.” Thanks so much for giving me that gift today. May God continue to seed ideas into your mind and heart so that you will be blessed with the opportunity to encourage others with your words.

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  7. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love that she uses the wreaths as a symbol and reminder that she has chosen to be content in the Lord.

    Visiting from Glimpses – have a lovely week!

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  8. Michele- I love how the wreath is a visual aid to remind of contentment! It’s action packed with purpose. Getting the wreath, the act of displaying it and then the reminder to choose contentment.
    What an example of faith! I display a wreath on the door, but only because I enjoy the decorating part! But I’m walking away with new purpose in that wreath. I do battle contentment also, so I’m definitely going to try this!
    Great post and reminder to put faith into action!
    Your #InspireMeMonday neighbor,
    Julie

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  9. I struggle with contentment when I focus on all the stuff that’s wrong with my house, etc., but when I put my eyes back on Christ, I gain a better perspective. This quote really stuck with me: “Because God wants you to trust Him, He will see to it that you have to.” This is true, isn’t it?

    This sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing it. Blessings to you, dear Michele!

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    1. Hi, Gayl! Hope you and other Carolina girls had a wonderful gathering! My house is also my biggest source of frustration when it comes to discontent. Let’s trust together for grace to be thankful for all the beauty that our house contains that has nothing to do with decorations or furniture!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We did have a wonderful gathering and need to to it again. Yes, we can encourage each other to look for and be thankful for the beauty that is there instead of focusing on what is not. 🙂

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  10. Hi Michele! I’m coming over from Barbie’s Embracing Every Day.
    It’s such a great thing to know we can truly change. We can learn to be contented. I think it’s all about trust, don’t you? If we trust in the Lord, then our attitude will follow. I now I have to work on that all the time. I like to trust in myself way too much.
    What a beautiful wreath! (I’m DIY challenged too.) But even better is the idea behind it.
    Monday blessings,
    Ceil

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  11. I love being creative and have taken the time for some crafty endeavors over the years but not recently. How wonderful to know a wreath is so much more than something we hang on our door. I love how she ties in contentment with hanging a wreath on her front door.

    It is good to ponder whether we invite contentment into our own lives. God is the source of the peace. Love these words… “With this wisdom, even in the midst of changing circumstances, the woman who believingly follows Jesus Christ can live with a heart that is wreathed in contentment.” That’s who I want to be!

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  12. My best friend always hangs a wreath on her door, it makes me smile! Contentment can be difficult to capture in our society, but it is such a treasure to learn how to be content. I’ve come a long way on my personal journey to contentment, and I hope to keep on trekking down that road for years to come. This looks like a lovely book, I will have to add it to my reading list.

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  13. Oh, I truly believe that what is held in does come out and how beautiful to express it in a wreath – the doorway to our home and heart – as if to say “JESUS, You are LORD, here!” I love this! May my heart be “wreathed in contentment” today and everyday! I don’t think I will ever look at my wreaths the same way. Thank you for sharing!

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  14. Ah, contentment where God calls us. A timely reminder for me. I also needed to hear, “Choose not to offended; rather, seek to understand.” Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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  15. That ever present battle within ourselves of moving toward goals and dreams but not letting them overtake our embrace of God’s version of those dreams! I think its something, as humans, we struggle with all through life. Even when we think we are doing well and keeping God’s plan above our own, discontent sneaks in and we realize we’d one again elevated our dreams above His plan! Sounds like a great book, Michele! Thanks so much for joking me at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Thank you for affirming the truth that contentment is not complacency — that we are called to a gritty faith that perseveres and presses forward, but, as you say, within the will of God. Such an important distinction, and I’m glad you were here to make it!

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  16. This sounds like a great book, Michele! I particularly appreciated this quote, “Because God wants you to trust Him, He will see to it that you have to.” I love that! And it is so true! Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing this book review with us at Wednesday Wisdom Searching, and I like the bit about our contentment not being connected to anyone else, God is where our contentment comes from. Bless you Michele for sharing this with us.

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