Along with her husband and children, Ella worked as a missionary with tribes in Central Africa for fifty-two years. She had left her country, her family, and all that was familiar. Challenging didn’t begin to describe her living conditions in the scorching heat of the African bush. Electricity, air-conditioning, and other modern conveniences were only a dream. Some days it was so unbearably hot that she had to bring the thermometer inside because it couldn’t register past 120 degrees without breaking.
Ella’s daughter, Mimi, is my friend. Mimi wondered how her mother had done it–how she had lived a life of contentment when her circumstances would have caused the hardiest to complain. Recently Mimi unearthed a treasure, a much more significant find than gold or silver. In an old diary of her mother’s, she discovered Ella’s prescription for contentment:
Never allow yourself to complain about anything–not even the weather.
Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
Never compare your lot with another’s.
Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
Never dwell on tomorrow–remember that is God’s, not ours.
The secret is in Ella’s last statement. Her eyes were fixed on eternity. Her tomorrows belonged to God. She had given them to Him. And because all her tomorrows were nestled in God’s strong arms, she was free to live today.
And because all her tomorrows were nestled in God’s strong arms, she was free to live today.
One day at a time she could make the right choices and grow to possess the holy habit of contentment. Ella’s focus was eternal, and her focus lead to an eternal contentment.
| An excerpt from “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow, Chapter 1, p.3-4 |
ABOVE / “Pencil, Please” / Colored pencil on paper