It’s the Christmas season again, and I find myself wondering: Just how joyful of a person am I? Joy to the World! The Lord has come! We sing the words and love the way they sound— but I wonder, are we living out the joy that God intended for us to live out when He sent Jesus into the world?
I find that I have a hard time being joyful. I’m a list-maker. I’m a serious “git ‘er don’er.” With several children to care for, the everyday “stuff” seems to easily steal my joyful attitude. Can you relate? Have you ever wished that you were more joyful? A more joyful mother? Someone who was just a joy and delight to be around?
Well, I’m here to tell you that’s what God wants for you, too.
There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about joy. I love Google—and as I sit here, I can see that there are dozens and dozens of references to joy in the Bible! In fact, there are too many to quote to you, but my favorite one is found in Nehemiah 8:10(b),
“…For the joy of the Lord is my strength.”
I love that! It reminds me that true strength is only found in the Lord … and it’s found in His joy!
Not convinced? There’s so much more! In Philippians 4:4, the Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Then, in Galatians 5:22, we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control…”The fruit of the Spirit is evidence that the Spirit is at work in our lives. Look closely: the first two fruits are love and joy.
How serious are we about being joyful mothers? I can tell you, our kids need us to be serious about being joyful.
A couple years ago, my kids had a meeting. They sent up a representative (now, whenever your kids have to send a representative, you know you’re in trouble and should start waving a white flag.) I think our oldest was only in 6th grade at the time, but anyway, she came up the stairs and said, “Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?” I said, “Sure, what’s on your mind, honey?”
Her reply was tenuous at best. “Well, I’ve been sent to tell you something.” I was like, great…they’ve ganged up on me and she’s here to tell me something. I quickly learned that I wasn’t too far off as she continued, “The kids and I have been talking and we’ve decided that you’re no fun anymore.”
It was like a jolt to my little mother heart. Kids know exactly how to get you where you live don’t they? This kid knew exactly how to get me. I’d love to tell you that I had this godly response to her, but I was just mad. I looked her right in the eye, and said, “Well, right back at ya. I don’t think you’re very much fun either.”
You know what? The more I talked to her, the more I realized she was right. I wasn’t very much fun anymore, I didn’t have the joy that I had so many years ago when I was a new mom. Instead the crazy idea of the perfect parent in my head taunted me. All the things that I wanted to be, and wasn’t had me in knots.
At that moment, I realized something: this joy thing, it’s not easy.
C.S. Lewis said that ”joy is the serious business of heaven.” When I think of heaven, I always think of joy. I think of being reunited with loved ones who have gone on to heaven before me. I think of sitting at the feet of Jesus. I think of Him wrapping His arms around me and saying, “Well done,” and I thought, we don’t often do that for our kids, do we?
So, I want to challenge you this week in the middle of all the Christmas hustle and bustle. If you’re struggling to have joy, try taking the time to play with your kids. Let yourself get involved in childhood things that would make your children be joyful, like those little walks you can take to the neighborhood park, making cookies with your kids, or letting your twelve year old telling you all his ridiculous jokes and actually laughing at them. Let yourself enjoy it.
Joy is good for you! The joy of the Lord is your strength, busy mom.
Joy is the serious business of heaven, so let’s get to it.