I love how God is such an “in the moment” teacher. Last night I had the sweetest little bedtimes with my two littlest girls and my youngest son. I prayed with them, tucked them in and kissed them goodnight. 1 1/2 hours later – that sweet little bedtime became oh so very different…let’s just say I HOPE I’m hormonal because otherwise I’m losing the rest of my mind. (The first half is long gone.) After hollering at my children who were chatting and messing around instead of quietly snoring under their comfy blankets, I picked up a book I’m reading that challenged me to find joy in all my circumstances. It seems that most of the things I’m studying right now have to do with gratitude. Dang it! I don’t feel grateful half the time — I want things to be different. I know that different isn’t always better, sometimes its just different.
I’m re-learning that joy isn’t about how I feel or how well my life is going (thank goodness!). It’s about being in the presence of God. Abiding in Christ. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one. I know to some degree what that means but I’m still a little shaky on its application. Is it being aware of Him all the time? Seeing everything through His eyes – having His perspective. Is it simply trusting Him to work mightly through all the crud of my life? And through all the wonderful too? Is it allowing myself to sense His sovereignty in everything? Is it being thankful in all circumstances? Having an eternal perspective? As I ask those questions I think I’m beginning to understand that maybe it is all of those things. A God-awareness that gives me peace, perspective and joy. Peace, perspective and joy are definitely things to be thankful for.
So, I was sitting in my room…feeling terrible because a relatively good day had deteriorated into disobedience by all of us. They were absolute stinkers and I was one big one. My speech was not gracious nor encouraging. It was all fussy, mean and loud. I needed to go back into their bedrooms and ask forgiveness, but I didn’t want them to start talking again. Ugh. And then low and behold, three little people sheepishly appeared at my bedroom door. “Mama, we are so sorry.” Humbled doesn’t begin to describe me. Thankful and apologetic, I welcomed them all into my arms and harmony was restored.
I’m so thankful that God can turn my gross into good – because hugging my kids in reconciliation is something so very good and filled with joy. I’m learning that joy comes from gratitude. Gratitude because I know that God is working through everything – EVERYTHING. He can even use my children’s inability to go to bed and my inability to be quiet when stressed to show me I have so much to be grateful for and therefore I have joy.