“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22 NLT
One of the greatest gifts that God has given us as mothers is the ability to find joy in the midst of chaos. If you think about it, we have many opportunities throughout the day where we could choose joy and laughter over frustration, irritation and anger. We can laugh with our kids, many times at them. We can laugh at our husbands taking care of our kids. We should also take the opportunity to laugh at ourselves and the ludicrous things that motherhood can sometimes make us do! It is not only uplifting and healing to laugh, but sometimes it is all we can do in a certain situation. There are days that are so overwhelming, the last thing you feel is joyful. On days such as this, I encourage you, laughter truly is the best medicine, and our children seem to instinctively know that! Like I said earlier; God presents us with many opportunities to choose joy, and most of those come through our children. The question is do we see them, and do we choose well?
God promises that we will go through trials, we will faces challenges, however they are balanced and outweighed by His tremendous blessings, encouragement and love.
As a Christian family, going to church on Sunday has always been a priority for us. As parents we have instilled in our children the importance of giving our Sundays to God, and being together as a family. This being said it doesn’t change that fact that when Sunday rolls around, I am never excited about the prospect of getting everyone up and ready for church in the morning. I’ve often wondered if it’s just us, or if there are other families that experience something similar to World War III on Sunday mornings. You are fighting to get breakfast eaten quickly, trying to explain to a three-year-old why he cannot wear his Cars swimming shorts or Incredible Hulk pajamas to church, and scrambling to find a pair of shoes that match.
I am always the last one in the shower, which gives me approximately six minutes to somehow make myself look somewhat presentable. Then there is my husband struggling to put on little girl tights, (on our daughter, not himself!) When we finally manage to corral everyone into the van we are met by pushing and shoving and daughter pulling her ponytail out.
We eventually arrive at church, always a few minutes late. We are hot, sweaty and more often than not, annoyed. However, somehow a truly miraculous transformation takes place as we step out of the car and walk into the church building. We are now the Cleaver Family; happy, all smiles, put together, not a trouble in the world! Often times I smile to myself as we find our seats. I wonder how many of the other ‘happy’ looking couples walking into church with their families drove there in complete silence, because of the big fight that occurred over little Johnny’s shoes moments before leaving the house. Let me tell you about one of those particular Sundays.
…….’It was Sunday morning in 2008. I had four children ages, 7, 5 & 3 year old twins. We were visiting my parents in Florida. Unfortunately my husband was not with us on the trip, but I figured I could handle things! We could do church! Right?!
I had just come out of the shower after enjoying a fairly relaxing fifteen minutes void of anyone banging on the door with a near 911 emergency. Daring to pat myself on the back in satisfaction, I reached for my hairdryer. Alas, my peace was short lived. I heard commotion outside the door. “Oh dear”, I had ‘atta boyed; myself a little too soon. “Mama!” Came a little voice through the door, “Evan pooped on the floor!” “Great” I said under my breath, “I just sat him on the potty minutes before my shower.” I quickly wrapped my hair and headed out to survey the damage.
As I approached the bedroom I hung my head; there standing in the middle of the room surrounded by poo was my sweet Evan. “Went poopy Mommy” he says with a panicked look on his face. “Oh Evan! It was truly all I could say! Thank goodness for my oldest, Jaden, who jumped in and grabbed the wipes, the Resolve, and wet rag. I wiped down Evan’s foot, then my own. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we both stepped in a pile!
After the Operation Poo clean-up, the rest of the morning went pretty smoothly. We actually arrived at church on time. We enjoyed about 10 minutes of the service and then decided I should either head to the nursery or risk being thrown out for disturbing the peace. Snacks, plastic animals and crayons spread everywhere, our pew closely resembled a daycare floor. The deciding factor was when the offering plate was passed and one of the children knocked it on the floor spilling pennies, nickels & dimes everywhere; leaving my mom and a very irritated parishioner on their hands and knees retrieving the coins!
As I sat in the nursery alone that day watching my kids play, a realization came to me. You could call it an “aha moment” I prefer to see it as God speaking clearly into my cluttered, overwhelmed heart. Rather than sitting there feeling like I was missing out on ‘me time’ at church, and seeing my nursery duty as an inconvenience, I started to see it as a blessing. I started to choose joy!
Observing Leah conquer a new shape sorter. Watching Evan take complete delight in Homer Simpson plowing down The Beast with a cool red sports car, then in the next breath seeing him tenderly tuck in a baby rabbit into bed, “nite, nite, cute bunny” he says. My heart melts. As he looked at me with a sweet smile, “I love nursery Mama” said a contented Evan, who then immediately runs off to find something else to satisfy his need for activity. It struck me that day more than ever before, life is all play and fun for my little ones, that’s all they care about right now, and let’s face it, that is all they should have to care about.’
How many times do we miss out on cherished moments because we are so focused on our own wants, needs and desires. We choose to wallow in our ‘poor me’ pity party and fail to see what God is trying to teach us. I realized that day that I have the rest of my life to sit in church, but only a small window of opportunity to watch my children grow. A window that once closed, will never reopen. May we look for, recognize and gather those many blessings and be thankful. May we laugh and choose JOY!
God’s word promises us everything we need to live joyfully and succeed in what He has called us to do, in your case it’s being a mother to those he specifically chose to bless you with.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.3 He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Precious Mama, as you are faced with the day to day, seemingly mundane tasks that seem to fill your life remember to look to Jesus. He has promised not to let you fall. He does not sleep and is in complete control. He will not allow harm to come to you, He loves you. We will often times have to make the conscious choice to look to Him, just as we have to make the choice to be thankful. Remember that your children are sponges, everything you pour over them they will soak in. Cover them in joy and thankfulness and watch the fruits of you motherly labor grow and flourish.