Thursday, May 7, 2015

What My Mom Taught Me: Happiness is a Choice

Between Clark's graduation and Mother's Day...the past couple of weeks have been a time of reflection.

And thankfulness.

My Mom taught me many things...sometimes it was by the things she said or did. And sometimes, it was by the things she DIDN'T say or do.

I'm convinced that how we're raised, for good or not-so-good, plays a huge role in how we develop our thoughts and convictions, and the attitude we have in life.

I don't remember my Mom ever saying this in actual words, but she taught me that happiness is a choice. And, when I say, "happiness," I mean, JOY.

Because, in Christ, it is possible to have JOY in our circumstances.

And, in Christ, it's possible to have JOY...even when we aren't really that happy.

I'm sure my Mom had many trying and stressful times. As an Air Force wife, she had to leave a life and friendships and a community...and build a new life and make new friends and find a new community...every time we moved. And we moved a LOT.

While my Dad went to work, my Mom was responsible for finding/decorating the house, finding/enrolling us in school, finding a pediatrician, a dentist, and keeping all 6 of us fed and clothed. I'm sure there were times when she was frustrated, overwhelmed...and lonely. But she got up and chose to be JOYful every day, and her positive attitude toward life made a huge difference in mine.

I think my Mom's example is probably why I pretty much have a good attitude most of the time. And why I get frustrated when my kids let the least little thing ruin their entire day. They aren't too bad about that now that they are young adults.

And, yes, I know there are some hard things people are dealing with in life. Listen, I hear ya. Death, loss, cancer, a child with intellectual challenges...I've been there. I am there. I'm not saying that we should be "happy" about those things, or "happy" about the bad things or evil people in our world. Not at all. I think it's normal to experience sadness and anger and grief. Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't share a very serious burden or prayer request with me. Sometimes, my heart feels heavy with the sadness of this world.

I can't remember if it was Logan or Clark, but one of them...when they were little...came home from church singing this little song they learned in Sunday School: "the joy of the Lord is my string."

Simple, but true.

"...the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

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