Contentment {Lessons from my Amish Family}

 

My Amish Family, circa 1950 | www.lydiaglick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

Grandma, Grandpa and family, circa 1950’s

We’re presented with a choice every day. To be content, or to be unsatisfied with the life we’ve been given. My grandparents chose the first.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

What does it mean for one to be content? Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes it this way:

CONTENT, noun

1. Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.

A wise content his even soul secured; By want not shaken, nor by wealth allured.

My Amish Family - A Buggy Ride - circa 1950's

My Grandparents & their two oldest children (Uncle Manny & Aunt Rachel to me), in the 1950’s

I’ve spent time with people from both sides of that choice and seen the vast contrast between the two.  It is deeply saddening to see the torment, anguish and suffering on the face of a dissatisfied, discontented person, advanced in years. In comparison, there is the tranquil, peaceful and joyfully radiant face of a soul satisfied in Christ – a person who has worshipped Him with their whole life.

“Nothing makes God more supreme and more central in worship than when a people are utterly persuaded that nothing – not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends – nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their sinful, guilty, aching hearts besides God.” ~ John Piper

Grandma and Grandpa

My dear Grandma and Grandpa

In their old age my grandparents demonstrated a serenity and quiet strength that is not often seen in this world. It was a result of life spent seeking after the Kingdom of God, instead of material things. There was no lack of suffering in their lives. But they chose joy, and suffered well. They were deeply rooted in the love of their Savior, and it was evident to all.

Grandma's Bible Notes

From Grandma’s Notes – Isaiah 26:3 & Isaiah 43:2

I am eternally grateful for the lessons in character my grandparents gave to me. And my hope is that one day your grandchildren and mine, will be able to look to us as examples of faithful, contented lives, whose ambition it was to live for eternity.

Relaxing with Grandma

My little sister and I, resting with Grandma

May it be our desire to live a life filled with gratefulness, contentment and joy in Christ, such as my grandparents displayed. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

~ Justina Dee

This is post 14 of a 31 day series I’m sharing about my Amish family. Thank you for following along!

Links:

As my grandparents went through some incredibly challenging times with their health, this next article/video from Desiring God is a testimony similar to theirs: Learning Contentment In Marriage

Joy In the Simple Things {31 Days of Lessons From My Amish Family}

Amish Garden Wash Line | LydiaGlick.com #31ThingsILearnedFromMyAmishFamily

Amish Garden Wash Line – Photo by Julia Lea Waldron

I call her Grussmommy. She was my paternal Grandmother – the gentlest soul I’ve ever known. The preeminent lesson she instilled in me was to take joy in the simple things of life.

The normal Western world in which I live has precious few women who would be content to live without the things like electricity, telephones and television which we call essentials. I can’t even imagine the typical American woman carefully making and caring for every piece of clothing they own, rarely going shopping or visiting a restaurant for dinner. And to do without the “finer” things in life – such as jewelry, cars, a night out to see a movie, a trip to Starbucks, a glass of wine or a well-deserved, relaxing vacation? Most of us would consider such simplicity a massive sacrifice on our part.

Amish Wagon by Julia Lea Waldron

Amish Wagon – Photo by Julia Lea Waldron

But for my Grandmother, not even one of these things was considered essential. She didn’t need the latest appliances, magazine, shoes, smart phone or destination trip to bring to bring fulfillment or pleasure into her life. Instead, she found immense joy in modest matters.

Amish Garden

Amish Garden – Photo by Julia Lea Waldron

She loved songbirds, and knew them all by name. Her face beamed with quiet happiness as she pointed out something as tiny as a sparrow, or identified the call of an owl. She cared tenderly for these little creatures in God’s creation. I remember one day when she cleaned the hair from her brush, carefully placed it outside near the bushes, and explained to me how the birds would come take it to use as material for their nests.

Amish Grandparents Walking, by Julia Lea Waldron

Amish Grandparents Walking – Photo by Julia Lea Waldron

My grandfather was a cabinetmaker, and his woodworking shop was next to the house. I remember the contented smile on Grussmommy’s face as she made fresh squeezed lemonade and peanut butter crackers (just the way Grussdaudy liked them), and we carried them down the little walkway to the shop for my hardworking grandfather’s mid-morning snack. Once when we visited their home, she baked brownies from a new recipe. She was so excited to share the goodness with her family you would have thought she was making the most delectable of desserts for the Queen of England herself.

She delighted in the beauty of God’s creation, especially flowers. She planted them on the borders of her vegetable garden every spring, where their abundant, fragrant and vivid blooms brought color and joy to all who passed by. Her favorite room of the house was the sun porch, which housed her collection of violets, succulents and a myriad of other plants. I remember sharing her wonder when the Christmas cactus bloomed in December, and she pointed out the delicate blossoms to her family as they gathered around.

The Simple Things | LydiaGlick.com

The Simple Things – Photo by Julia Lea Waldron

Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House books) once said “I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” I believe my grandmother was well aware of this truth, and demonstrated it not only on a daily basis, but in every moment of her life. And I’m deeply grateful for her beautiful example of joy in the simplest of pleasures.

~ Justina Dee

This post is the second of 31 posts in a series about the Amish people. You can find the others by clicking here: 31 Days of Amish.

Special thanks to street photographer Julia Lea Waldron for the beautiful images from Amish Country, in Lancaster County, PA.