Looking for a beautiful gift for Christmas? Liz Carter’s ‘Catching Contentment’ has been one of the best books I have read in such a long time. She writes from the heart of what it means to be contented, even when all of our circumstances can be screaming at us to be the opposite. Liz has a chronic illness – a rare lung disease – which often leaves her with fatigue, breathlessness and chest infections, bringing her into hospital or confined at home. Even on the publication day of this magnificent book, Liz was once again taken ill and missed the launch of her book and all of the immediate celebrations of her well-deserved success. If Liz can find contentment in all of this, then can she help me? The answer is – yes.
‘Catching Contentment’ explores what contentment actually is and taking hold of it. It is based on Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12:
‘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.’
Liz explores contentment through the four C’s that she discovered through her own life, by examining the Scriptures as well as the experiences of other Christians throughout history. There is confident contentment – what it means to be confident in our faith, identity, hope and future; courageous contentment in waiting, in brokenness, in disappointment and in perseverance; captivated contentment through worship, satisfaction, darkness and surrender and contagious contentment that looks outward rather than inward and transfers this to others, rather than discontentment.
The prayers at the end of each chapter were written with such beauty and powerful imagery that it could have been my own heart’s cry. The questions for reflection help to bring the reader into further engagement with contentment by thinking of what was discussed in light of their own circumstances. This made it feel like I was journeying alongside Liz as we explored what it means to be content together.
This is a book that I will be reading over and over again because of the wisdom, insight and honesty that it brings. It is an exploration of what contentment looks like when it can be so easy to fall into patterns of discontentment. We can probably all relate to that feeling of discontent, but after reading this book, you will be challenged and hopefully changed in what you understand it means to be content – right where you are.
The love that Liz has for the Lord and how she clearly feels held and loved by Him is felt through every line in the book. She does not shy away from her struggles, but her relationship with Christ is the strand that weaves through and holds each chapter together. When an author can bring me closer to Jesus, I know that I have come across a true gem of a writer. Liz is one of those precious gems who I want to read more from. She will bring more people to know Jesus even in the hardest moments of life – I am confident of that.
Liz Carter has first-hand experience of a chronic degenerative disease and a first-class degree in theology, a combination which uniquely qualifies her to write this potentially life-changing book. A former teacher married to a church minister, she helps lead services in Telford, England and speaks at New Wine. She has touched hearts with her searingly honest sharing, teaching and writing on subjects like suffering and contentment.