Have you ever been that crazy mom that is frantically yelling behind the camera “say cheese!”?
A few weeks ago, I took my kids to get their passport photos. It was my oldest daughter’s turn and , for whatever reason, she refused to smile. I kept saying; Emilee say cheese, smile, you’re going to regret this. But Emilee did not listen. I don’t know if she was tired, unhappy, trying too hard, or stressed; but she never smiled.
Fast forward to the day their passports arrived. Sure enough, Emilee HATES her passport. Even though I warned her that it was something she would have to live with for the next 5 years, she failed to heed my warnings.
As much as I hate to admit it, this blog post is written for myself. I constantly fail to heed the warnings of my Father: Be content, be happy, Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!
Many things zap the joy from our lives: stress, financial problems, loneliness , fear, tragedy, medical issues, anger or bitterness. Personally, my current joy zappers are: worry about the cost of moving, stress about packing, sadness about leaving so many people I love so much, fear of the unknown, concern for the well-being of my children etc..
I hear at least weekly, “I bet you are so excited!” At first, and still at times, I cringe when hearing it. My flesh wants to scream: “No I’m scared to death,” or ” No, I’m not excited to be leaving my friends and family,” but truth be told I can be excited! God’s Word has given so many good secrets to keeping positive and staying content.
1. Think on the Right things – Phil 4:8
I recently wrote a blog post on the good which really helped me resist dwelling on things that would get me down. It is so true: if you think on the good things and don’t dwell on the not so good things, your whole outlook can change!
2. Count your blessings – Psalms 100:5
The honest truth is God is good! It is a shame that we often get so consumed with ourselves that we forget what a good, sweet heavenly Father we have. ( Just a warning, I’m about to quote Winnie the pooh):
I do disagree with Pooh though. I am not lucky; I am blessed! When we find ourselves in those times where it feels impossible to smile, we can remember that we are blessed and that we have a good God!
3. Hang around positive People – Prov 13:20
This is a simple statement, and , if remembered, can be helpful to anyone. If you hang around a grumbler and complainer you will start to feel the grouchiness becoming contagious, but if you are constantly around an upbeat person you, too, will catch the happiness bug.
FOR THE MISSIONARY WIFE: It is very important that when moving to your new country that you try to be around those who speak positively of that country.
4. Remember others are watching you- Matthew 5:16
Before you pitch a royal fit or go out of the house with a depressed look on your face , remember that you are influencing others today. For me, I don’t even have to leave my house. I have 5 precious kids watching my every move. I have been asked numerous times if I am nervous about moving. I am but not in the way many would think. I am not really nervous about the plane ride, the safety in South Africa, or even language school (at least not yet). My biggest fear is that my children will not see God’s strength and grace all over me as we make this transition in our lives.
My friend recently moved to India and has been such an inspiration to me. Her oldest son loves it and has such a sweet and Godly outlook on his new life. I know this attitude was caught from his parents ( Read about this story).
FOR THE MISSIONARY WIFE: Remember that you WANT to recruit to your mission field, not put up a flag that screams, “If you come here, you will HATE your life!
5. Don’t give Satan room – Psalms 119:105
Stay close to God. Give Satan just an inch, and he will overtake you. Stay in God’s Word daily. Listen to other Christians via books, blogs or podcasts. If you know you are going through a rocky patch, don’t neglect time with God. He loves us and wants to help us, but often, when we are depressed, sad, or stressed, the last thing we want to do is fellowship with the One that can help us.
6. Trust the Lord – Prov 3:5-6
We have all heard the verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. It is so easy to know, yet often we find it hard to apply. We are about to embark on a journey, an exciting, awesome, yet overwhelming expensive journey for our family of 7. I fight daily with worrying, but I know that when I worry I am screaming to God, ” I do not trust You; you will not take care of us.” It is amazing the freedom we feel, and the joy we receive when we put our lives 100% in His hands.
7. Don’t make Comparisons – 2 Corinthians 10:12
Don’t compare your husband, home, financial situation, ministry,country, etc. to what others have. It may cause you to be discontent with what God has given you. Be thankful for what you have.
FOR THE MISSIONARY WIFE: I would imagine that during certain times of the years, especially holidays, facebook will cause a lot of undesired comparisons to creep in. This may be something you will have to monitor.
8. Be Determined- James 4:17
As moms, it is amazing when we put our minds to do something that involves our children, we can accomplish it. The same applies to living with joy. You have to be determined that whatever obstacles come, you can be happy. It helps me to remember that it is disobeying my Father if I do not rejoice always. I have met many that have just given up on happiness, and it is apparent in every aspect of their lives. I want to be determined so that when others see me, they are not going to doubt the goodness of God.
So, unlike the way my daughter heeded to my warning, and unlike what I have done many days by not heeding to my Father’s wishes for me, I now DETERMINE to be content and to rejoice always!