It’s been almost ten years since my oldest daughter passed away.
I remember one of her friends asking me how we had such a close relationship when she was growing up. He had a young daughter and wanted to ensure he was intentionally creating actions that would give him a better chance of developing a lasting relationship with her.
The best answer I could give in that moment was “joy.”
I thought back to the special moments in our life; the moments we shared laughter and inside jokes. I remembered the times we had disagreements. I felt that the one constant I could claim was that I tried to show her joy in my eyes and body language when she entered a room.
It’s the same practice I use with my second set of children, my adult son, and his young son.
One of the best messages, the best feeling, that we can convey to others, especially those we care deeply for, is to show them that they matter.
If we express joy when loved ones come into our presence, we are allowing them to be cherished without a word. If eyes are the windows to our soul, what we show them through the way we look at them, will last. We will draw them near to us or push them away.
James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
How we allow our inner thoughts and emotions to construct our actions, especially in times of stress or worry, affects every bit of our lives. As we control our mind through our relationship with the Lord (allowing Him to work through us), we are able to identify areas in which we need to grow and mature.
Through trials, our faith grows and deepens, if we allow it to. When our faith has deepened and matured, we are able to focus on others more than ourselves. Joy will reside in us despite circumstances. We are able to release it to flow out to others.
James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When we are not lacking, those around us will not be lacking, either.
James 1:5 continues, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Our children and our loved ones are precious to God. He loved them first. He created them. He knew they would be in our family. He knew the temperaments and disagreements we would have. He knew the love and laughter, the fun and similarities we would share.
Because I homeschool my second set of children, I understood even more clearly why I need to be on my knees daily. It is so immensely important to me to teach each child the way God created them to learn. It is imperative that I foster love and joy as we work together to draw them to Him and to myself so that we create and maintain lasting relationships in both areas.
Without wisdom, I cannot do any of the things I desire. Through prayer and studying God’s word, I can ask for and receive the wisdom I need to guide and strengthen me and keep me focused and ready to allow God to carry the load and enable me to shine joy.
Everything begins with my desire and intentional actions to include and honor God and seek His wisdom. It gives me joy. Enough to spread.
Tonight I asked one of my daughters how she knows I love her. The first answer she gave was, “I know you love me by the way you look at me.”
May it always be so.