Seven Ways to Find Joy

This week’s post for the Greeley Moms was inspired by a good friend who made the best of a tough situation. This is something I’m working on daily. Thanks for reading and letting me share from the heart! What would you add to the list?

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/12234909-113/yourself-camper-friend-joy

A Mama’s Heart on Fire: Making Today the Best Day Ever

The cold seemed never ending.  Sub-zero temps for days on end, and too much snow on the ground to go to the park even when the temperatures started to creep back up toward freezing.

Then my sweet girls both caught some kind of little cold.  Nothing serious, but enough snot and germy-ness to warrant cancelling our play dates and keeping us inside the house for a week.

It was a recipe for major crankiness and tension, and it made me question very seriously why in the world I wanted to be a stay-at-home mama.  Everything, from dishes to laundry to diapers to vacuuming, seemed to make me angry.

In the midst of a bitter moment, I thought, “Who wants to live this way? No one wants to be grouchy for the next 50 (hopefully longer!) years, and no one wants to be around someone who is always in a terrible mood.”

I prayed with a heavy heart for some way to help with my attitude, for me to find a way to make peace with every day life.

God was listening. The first moment of clarity came only 12 hours after my prayer for a change of heart.

The next morning, we pulled up to the grocery store, and I was dreading the trip.  I was cranky (imagine that?!) and resenting the fact that I had to take both kids to shop again because I wasn’t organized enough to go alone this past weekend.

“Look, Mama, isn’t the grocery store beautiful?” one of my munchkins piped up from the backseat.  “The grocery store is SO beautiful!”

Silence.

Her words gripped my heart as I smiled and agreed with her and fought back tears.  Of course the grocery store was beautiful–why couldn’t I see it? Isn’t everything around us, no matter how bland and boring, truly beautiful simply because we are alive to see it?

I felt the sunshine immediately start to break through the angry clouds in my mind as her childlike joy rubbed off on me.  My bitterness started to melt as I realized how it’s all about perspective and choosing to see life’s chores and drudgeries with a joyful heart.  We are SURROUNDED by beauty, breath-taking, awe-inspiring beauty, every day, but we have to look for it with a genuine heart on fire to see what God has put in our lives.

“Thank you, Lord,” I thought as we walked into the store.

Then He did it AGAIN.

“This is the best day EVER!” my sweet munchkin yelled out in the grocery cart as we went down the first aisle.  She was beaming, smiling from ear to ear, and she yelled it out again.  This time her twin sister joined her.

“This is the best day EVER!” they squealed with giggles and smiles.

This time, I choked back the tears and watched with amazement at the sight of God answering my prayers through my two precious babies.

“You’re right, girls.  This is the best day ever!”  I said with a smile, and I’ll tell you, those words are impossible to say without wanting to skip, laugh and dance around.  A grocery store trip with my girls which started as a chore turned into a truly joyful moment with my kids.

It’s all about perspective and choice. If we choose to find beauty and true joy every day by looking at life with a pure, fire-filled heart, God is putting it out there for us.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalms 51:10-19

This is going on a post-it in my kitchen where I can see it every evening when I do the last of the picking up and dishes for the day, the time when I am most vulnerable to bitterness and anger.

So here’s to being given another day, no matter what ups and downs it brings. Embrace it, look for the beauty God has placed before you, and make it the best day ever.