rainy, melancholy morning...

just yesterday, i sat at the kitchen table while asher was finishing his breakfast and was overjoyed at the fact that the sun has been shining earlier and earlier as spring draws near.  as the sunshine poured into our windows,  i felt hopeful for all things.  it helped that 'counting stars' was playing in the background and i had a good cup of coffee in my hands...
well, this morning the sky is gray and raindrops are pouring down those same windows.  it's all making me feel a bit more melancholy.
i'm a feeler, melancholy and prone to constant nostalgia.  i've always been this way and if i don't watch where my thoughts and feelings go, i can spend a good portion of a day in a sea of "missing things."  i tend to natually want to live in the past (minus my high school years) unless there's something huge and tangible that i'm looking ahead to in the future...and having a good memory of details down to exact colors, scents, sounds and feelings only increases this all-too-easy "missing." 
any of you who know me, know i particularly miss freiburg often.  no matter how long time stretches since we've been there, i still miss it the same.  it never goes away.  i just love that city and the people i knew there and will always miss it and them. i've given up trying not to miss it because that just doesn't work. 
so, a few weeks ago, matt and i sat down to see if we might be able to plan a trip back to germany (we'd always wanted to do this after moving back to the states).  as we sat and tried to work it out, it seemed evident that it wasn't going to work and that it just wasn't the right time.  needless to say, i was really sad and have missed freiburg even more lately, as a result. 
but, in this journey of growth in contentment i've been on, God has been gracefully teaching me to receive the gifts he gives me in the moment.  he keeps reminding me that contentment and learning to be content is completely against the grain of our culture, that it takes time and effort and that it is of great value. 
just the other day, while asher and i were playing outside, i heard church bells ringing from a catholic church close by.  the sound immediately took me back to the sound of church bells i'd heard ringing in freiburg.  i could hear the Lord saying, "this is a gift from me - listen to the sound of these bells, enjoy remembering, know i see your heart and receive this gift."  i was so aware in that moment that i could receive the gift he was giving me, acknowledge his grace to me and the truth that he sees and knows me and delights in giving me good things, or i could dismiss it, thinking, "that's not the same as being there." 
the first choice is the better one and it is worth the effort it takes to choose it because more than the gift of hearing the bells and ever having lived and ministered in freiburg at all,  was the gift of God himself, intimately working in my heart.  in 1 timothy 6:6 it says, "but godliness with contentment is great gain."  in many ways, this "great gain" that contentment contributes to still seems such a mystery to me.  i have so much room to grow and learn.  but, i want to know it, rainy, gray, melancholy days and all.