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

Amish and the Land

Farming is a profession of hope. | www.LydiaGlick.com #write31days #31AmishDays

Photo credit Julie Lea Walron

We’re all well aware of the disconnect our modern society has with the land. Our culture has created an epidemic of nature-starved children. But the Amish people have effectively and conscientiously conserved a lifestyle centered around agriculture.

In the Field | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

In the Field, Photo Credit Julia Lea Waldron

There are many reports and research studies to be found about the Amish farming success. Based on these, we know they have maintained a connection with the land, and that their farms produce some of the highest yields per acre with the least amount of resources. Today’s agricultural society can learn much from the Amish practices!

In the Fields with Dad | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Amish children grow up with an appreciation and understanding of the land. How to work the fields, enjoy playing outdoors in the fresh air , and most importantly, how to treasure and care for the creation around them.

Playing on the Farm | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

Playing on the Farm, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Some of my fondest childhood memories are those made in the great outdoors, on my Grandpa’s farmland.

My Grandpa's Farm | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

My Grandpa’s Farm in Morgantown, PA | circa 1960

My cousins and I spent hours cavorting in the meadow, pretending the large rocks on the land were our houses. We waded barefoot in the creek, catching crayfish and building dams. We rolled down the hillside, unwillingly gathering grass stains on our clothes as we laughed and raced to see who could reach the bottom of the green slopes first. We held up barbed wire fences for each other to climb through, looking for a new adventure in the pasture.

We lounged beside the pond, keeping watch for fish and turtles. We picked dandelions and blew them into the wind. We played on hay bales. We slid down massive piles of grain. And joy of all joys, I still remember how it felt when we stepped smack dab on the middle of a cow patty, just to feel it squish up through our toes. We walked down the cowpath as the sun set on the horizon of the beautiful fields.

Grandma loved her garden, and it was always fun to work alongside her. The earthy smell of tomatoes, the feel of the rich earth in my hands, the sounds of plants rustled by the soft breeze…being on that little plot of land with Grandma was a tantalizing experience for the senses. She showed us how to tell when the corn was ready to pick from its stalk, and when to dig up potatoes. I still remember the delightful experience of picking a pod of peas off the vine, opening it up, and eating those little green treasures, right there in the garden.

“These memories are part of my heritage, the fabric of my personality, and as real to me as the land itself.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, Farm Girl

Amish Boy and His Dog | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

A Boy & His Dog, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

I wish for my children and countless more to experience the outdoors in the way as I did. Technology isn’t the problem. The answer lies in the choices we make, and the way we decide to let today’s and tomorrow’s advances affect or control our lives.  There’s no better place to be than cultivating something meaningful together, whether it be the land or a mission close to a family’s heart! George Washington said it well;

“I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.” ― George Washington

Amish Farm Wagon | www.lydiaglick.com | #write31days #31Amish Days

Amish Farm Wagon, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Let’s be good stewards and caretakers of the precious land we’ve been given charge of. Whether it’s a few garden pots on the patio, some raised beds in the backyard, or 100 acres of fertile farmland. And for at least 20 minutes a day, let’s get outside and move as a family! It will make the world a better place for all of us, and even more importantly, for our children and the generations to come.

~ Justina Dee

This post is part of a series called 31 Lessons I Learned From My Amish Family. Click here to read more.

Heartfelt thanks to Julie Lea Waldron, street photographer from Lancaster County, PA for the beautiful snapshots of Amish life on the farm!

A few great quotes and links:

“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” – Wendell Berry

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” ― Wendell Berry

In Defense of the Family Farm by Wendall Berry

A New York Times article about Amish farming

Last Child in the Woods – A Children & Nature Movement