Monday, September 13, 2010


In the last few months, I’ve come to a sad but true realization: it isn’t always best to do anything and everything to make my kids happy.  It’s sad because I L-O-V-E seeing my kids happy.  Deliriously happy.  And doing things that send them to pure bliss.  I might like to let them eat cookies and cookie dough all afternoon.  Or play video games for days on end.  I would like to take them to Disneyworld, let them swim in a sea of candy, go to the world’s largest water park and buy everything their little hearts desire.  Maybe even a whole litter of puppies.  That would make me happy (and broke).   

Happiness however does not always equal good or Godly.  In my own life for example, I am happy when I eat a whole six pack of Hershey bars out of the freezer while watching TV.  But it’s not good when my pants don’t fit and there is no chocolate for S’mores around the campfire.  It would make me happy to go on a credit card shopping spree.  But it wouldn’t be good or Godly when the bill came and I didn’t have the money to pay it.  Just because something makes you happy or feels good doesn’t make it right.  That’s common sense right? 

But that common sense doesn’t translate into my mommy mind and heart.  It just doesn’t add up.  I think I desire to make my kids happy because to me happy and fun and stuff gets substituted for  love and support and approval and all those other emotions I have for them but don’t know how to express. So I have to step back and think about what my goal is in parenting.  Is it to provide fun and happiness?  Well, some of the time, yes.  But mainly?  It’s to raise my kids to love and follow Jesus.  To value others.  To serve.  To give.  I want their lives to be a living testimony to Jesus Christ. 

So I must ask myself the painful and unfun question:  does living for happiness produce that?  Sadly, it does not.  There are things that we face in this world that are difficult.  There are times of suffering and sadness.  Those are times that God uses to mold us and shape us. 

Temporal and worldly happiness does not last.  When it falls flat, we are left to keep searching for the next big thing that will make us feel good again.  The joy we can have in Christ is eternal.  There is a difference between joy and happiness.  Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.  It’s why people that are held hostage can come out smiling and forgiving of their captors.  Their hearts are set on things above, not what is presently going on in their lives.

 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3


In a child’s life, it might mean not watching certain movie or listening to certain music no matter how popular it is.  It might mean choosing to sit with a child that has no friends even if they’d rather be with others.  It means not having everything we want so we can give to others or learn to rely on Christ more fully.  It might mean we are not accepted or don’t fit in at times.  Those aren’t thing to run away from, those are sacrifices to embrace. 

In my own life some of the hardest times both as a child and an adult was when I learned really important lessons.  I learned to trust Jesus in a deeper way.  I wanted Jesus more than the things in this world. Those lessons don’t come easily and yet there is nothing I want more for my kids.  They usually don’t come through rainbows and unicorns but more likely through blood, sweat and tears. 

It’s essential for my kids to learn that this earth and life is not where our joy is.  We have joy because Jesus died for us and is waiting for us in heaven.  When we have that perspective we realize that the things in this life don’t matter.  Our happiness, comfort, desires pale in comparison to the joy set before us. 

The greek word for joy in the bible is chara.  Here’s how Beth Moore describes chara, “the supernatural result which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord and Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find Him.”  (Living Beyond Yourself, page 79).  She goes on to say, “Whether we have one eternal thing over which to rejoice, it is enough that we are born again!”  (Living Beyond Yourself, page 75).

Jesus is the ultimate example.  Hebrews 12:1-3 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (emphasis mine)

I hope God blesses us with times of happiness as a family.  But more importantly I hope he blesses us with Godliness and holiness.  It may not always be easy, but those things lead to the ultimate happiness; joy and peace in Christ.   That’s what it’s all about. 


“You have made known to me the path of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11

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