“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
Today marks the one week countdown to Baby Noack coming into this world. (Or at last her due date.) Some of you are probably pretty excited to be hearing what that name is by now. Honestly I’m surprised I’ve kept it a secret this long. I’m pretty proud of myself right about now.
If we’re being completely honest, this pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. We’ve both wanted a baby so bad for so long, I just never expected she would come in circumstances that were so shaky.
We found out we were pregnant the day before I was supposed to sign a one year contract to teach on a Native American Reservation halfway across the United States. We were at the school visiting the area when I got the phone call from the doctor and it literally flipped my whole world upside down. I had no idea what I was going to do. I remember sitting on the bed in the room we were staying in crying when Ryan walked in and asked me what was wrong. I explained the test came back positive and I didn’t know what we were going to do about this job opportunity. I would have to leave Michigan (where I was born and raised). That would mean leaving my family when we were going to have our first child. We would be in the middle of nowhere working in a completely different environment, and it would be my first year of teaching added on to that. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of firsts for one person.
Ryan looked at me and told me that he had a strong feeling that this was where God was leading us. “Maybe the baby is a sign that this is the best place for us,” he said. There were so many people here around our age who have children and who would be able to help us through the pregnancy that it really was a good place to be through it. Back in Plymouth we didn’t have anybody who was our age, married and recently had children. It would have been harder to get through it there without that solid support system. So hesitantly, I said, ok, I’ll sign the contract.
At the end of July we made the move. One big UHaul, all our belongings, a nauseous pregnant lady, her husband and a bulky cage in the middle with two terrified cats making the great voyage across the United States. It was very difficult indeed, but we finally made it. Thank you mom and dad for the hotel rooms by the way, that would have been silly if we would have followed our plans of sleeping in the UHaul (Yes, you were right again.) We finally made it three days later to the little reservation, and the beautiful blessing of a brand new duplex that we were going to live in. It was all exciting and new at first. But then the reality of being so far away from the familiar sunk in. We didn’t have a car, so we had to either car pool or borrow vehicles to go anywhere. Ryan didn’t have a job, and living in a village, 40 minutes away from anything, and being white, it was kind of difficult to find something for him to do that was paid.
The first three months were probably the worst for me. I was extremely homesick, not to mention really sick. I never throw up, but I guess having a little human inside of you will make those things change. I thought I was the worst person in the world because I had constant thoughts that I didn’t even want to be pregnant, I just wanted the baby to go away. I didn’t want to talk about that with anyone because I thought that it was just me being a bad person and a bad mom. I finally got the courage to talk to my pastor’s wife about it, and much to my surprise, her gracious self told me that it was completely normal and everything was going to be ok.
By the time I got out of my first trimester, I could eat more than a couple bites here and there again. It was WONDERFUL! But over the next four or so months I struggled so much with being in New Mexico. I wanted so bad to just give it all up and move back home. I went back for my first visit in October when my grandpa passed away, and it was extremely hard driving back to the airport at the end of the trip. It was equally hard when we traveled home to Canada in November and then again at Christmas time. I missed everything about the North. The snow, the fall colors, family, WATER. The list can go on and on. I just wanted to buy a house in Michigan or Canada and set up camp there. On top of all that, I found out my home church/school put up an announcement that they were looking for a teacher for next year, so of course I jumped at that opportunity. I put my name in the hat and started talking with the principal about it. But something (or someone) was pulling at my heart in a different direction and I was trying so hard to ignore it.
Around January or the beginning of February, God finally got through my thick head about His desires for Ryan, the baby, and me. Contentment has always been a huge struggle for me, and I knew that moving somewhere else was not going to fix it. I was just going to struggle with contentment in the new place unless I could learn to overcome it. But I finally figured out what God was trying to tell me. He said very clearly that He didn’t need me. He didn’t need me to be here in New Mexico, working with these kids or these people, and I could leave if I wanted to. He would just accomplish what He wanted to accomplish without me, and because He’s God, He can do that. “But,” He said, “If you choose to stay here and work with the children I have placed in your care, I will make you blessed, and make you a blessing.”
I remember begging Him to send me somewhere to be used by Him when I was back in Michigan. I told Him I would go anywhere and do anything He wanted me to, I just wanted to be used by Him in a big way. But then He finally sends me here, and all I can do is complain about not being back where I was. Isn’t it funny how we beg and beg and beg for something different, and then once things get a little uncomfortable for us, we beg and beg and beg for what is familiar? Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12,
“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.”
Dear Paul, I think I am just beginning to gain the wisdom that you have been blessed with, contentment in all circumstances. No matter what I may be going through, or what I may want, I know that God is still God and He is always with me. In that knowledge, I can be content where I am, and can be content to wait upon the Lord to direct my life in the way that He so chooses. It is not my life, but His.
*Credits to Beth Scheeres for being used by God to plant the seed of the knowledge of contentment in my mind. You are a beautiful expression of how our Big God uses us to speak to His children.