My children get as excited over a good rain as they do over snow—maybe because in West Texas sometimes they both seem about equally rare. Today as soon as schoolwork was done the younger two rushed into rain boots and jackets and danced outside to play in the rain.
I was sitting inside with our oldest finishing up our spelling lesson and looked out the window to check on them. They were still dancing. In a mud puddle. Naked. My hair ruffled in the breeze as the dream of empty laundry baskets and clean floors flew away. In its wake I heard a gentle whisper: choose joy.
This motherhood thing has its ups and downs. Like yesterday. The day started with a bottle of purple nail polish breaking all over my bathroom floor. It ended with a bottle of syrup falling over in the pantry and leaving a sticky waterfall cascading over the shelves. In between were a five-year old who thought his father’s sermon was the cue for a wrestling match, three incredibly cranky children, a serious case of writers block, and two glass bowls that spontaneously fell out of a closed cabinet and shattered on the kitchen floor.
So today I needed the Lord’s soft reminder: choose joy. When you can either laugh or cry, laughter is almost always a good choice. Joy comes from the presence of the Lord. When we learn to cultivate his peace and presence, we can respond out of his presence with joy. Joy is a fruit; it’s the natural result of being connected to the vine.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God’s will for us is joy. Joy, prayer, thankfulness—all these things are part of our inheritance in Christ. They are available to us when we remain united to him.
So today, with the voice of the Lord ringing in my ears, I met my son’s eyes as I looked out the window. I laughed. Mischief danced in his eyes as he laughed too. His little sister peeked out from around the tree and did a jig in the mud with her hands lifted to the sky. They squealed with laughter as I washed them with a water hose and ran shivering down the hall to jump in the tub. I gave them a good scrubbing and wrapped them up with towels and hugs to get warm.
My arms full of towels and babies, the Lord whispered to me again:
In my presence is fullness of joy.
So be it, Lord.
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