Dear Mom of many, and Dear Mom of one,
Are you happy?
I'm not asking about joy here, that deep, abiding joy that comes from Christ. Because if you're not joyful down deep in your heart, then you need to go have a meeting at the feet of Jesus before we can continue.
If you need to go take that time to worship at Jesus' feet, go do it. I'll wait right here for as long as you need me to.
Today I want your honest answer, are you happy?
Happiness differs from joy in that joy comes straight from the heart of God, and happiness comes from our reaction to the circumstances God allows in our lives.
We are not always happy.
If we are honest here with ourselves, we could be happy a lot more often than we are!
So often we choose to hold onto some idea or feeling that keeps us from being happy, instead of focusing on our blessings and finding our contentment in all that God has already done for us.
I am guilty of choosing to NOT be happy, when I could choose to be. Perhaps you are too.
Do your circumstances drag you down? Mine have in the past, and I'll let you in on a secret - it was my own fault I was not happy! I chose to hold on to a perceived grievance, or a bad attitude. I chose to hold onto my anger when God has clearly commanded us to let go of our anger. He reminds us over and over again that the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. (See James 1.)
I have chosen to not be happy so many times in the past, but God is so faithful to pull me from the miry clay and restore my joy, even my happiness - when I focus on my blessings.
Today Arlene and I were doing some repair work on the walls of one of our bedrooms. As we worked we were listening to music. Nothing too profoundly deep - just a playlist of songs from musicals.
As I was listening, I had a new thought about a song I've heard since I was a child. In Mary Poppins, her friend Bert the chimney sweep sings a song: Chim Chim Cher-ee.
Here are the lyrics from the song that struck me:
Bert was happy as a chimney sweep because he chose to be. He chose to be happy, to find contentment in his work, and although many people might look down on his work, or his position in life, he chose to be happy.
Dear Mom, are you happy? Can you choose today to find contentment in your life's work? Can you find the happiness that comes with knowing you are choosing to follow God's plan for your family, no matter the circumstances?
Families will soon gather for Christmas. Perhaps you've harbored some unhappiness from past gatherings, or you're unhappy about the hours your husband is working. Maybe you're just unhappy because you wanted white lights and someone else chose blue ones for the tree. Give your family the grace and forgiveness that you know you will one day need for yourself. Choose to make the very best of the circumstances God has placed you in. Find contentment in your position as a Mom.
Choose to be happy, and when you find yourself struggling again...remember that Jesus is right there waiting for you, to give you abiding joy and to help you forgive again and be happy.
May this Christmas find you joyful and happy!