Thursday, December 10, 2015


I want to have Joy. Experience Joy. BE Joy.

A theme I've noticed in my life and in motherhood for longer than I can remember is my lack of patience, even to the point of anger. I'm constantly afraid of how this will affect my girls and my family.

Recently my husband (fairly) cautioned me in my responses to my oldest daughter. I had been snarky and passive-aggressive. My tone of voice was frustrated and even bordered on manipulative in my attempts to get her to do what I want. It scared me as a Momma. I don't want my relationship with my children to be full of threats and frustrated side remarks. She's already learning to tune out our nagging, and I don't blame her. She is so unique and is so many ways exactly like me. People tell me she's my mini-me because she looks like me. But most people have no idea just how much she's like me personality and otherwise.
Hanging on my fridge as a gentle reminder
At our recent team retreat I found myself thinking about JOY. I'm often so focused on the details, or the environment (too loud, too messy...I'm a huge sensory person) that I don't experience Joy in the moment. I just find myself frustrated and mad, and I routinely take that out on the girls by being snippy and short.

Granted, three whining, needy girls don't contribute to a state of blissful thankfulness in all things. But I think if I can look for Joy, if I push myself to find Joy amidst the chaos, if I can seek Joy in the frustrated moments, I'll be more at peace and less angry. I'll be more the mom and person I want to be.

I can choose to see Joy in my girls silliness instead of hearing loud screams.

I can choose to see Joy in the toys strewn all over the floors and the paint dried to the table, because it means they are content.

I can choose Joy in my own reactions when they want to help me cook or work on a project, even if it makes a bigger mess than necessary.

I don't have to be SuperMom. Yet another December is flying by and I feel the weight of my inadequacy. I'm not a Pinterest Mom that pulls off dazzling surprises and projects and meaningful moments every day of Advent. I have some Advent cards with activities I made a few years ago, but we haven't done anything intentional with them this year. I haven't done anything super spiritual to teach them about the true meaning of Christmas. There's still time, of course, but I want to do it with joy, and without the pressure to have a perfect Christmas. I want to be together as a family, full of joy, focused on giving and thinking of others.

This morning I dusted off a devotional book I haven't picked up in weeks, and the theme of Joy jumped out at me in today's reading:

Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them pure joy.

I choose to see my stressors and my problems with a lens of joy. My 10-month old is still waking me up in the night, and I can see joy because she's healthy and happy and I have the ability and means to soothe her. 

My birthday was two days ago, and I spent the majority of the day like any other, at home, with my girls. We crafted, went on a bike ride picnic, and just spent time together. I chose to be thankful and joyful, in awe of the blessing that is three beautiful, loving, energetic girls. 
A birthday project with my girls

Simple moments make the best memories
Maybe it was easier because it was my birthday, but I chose to be more OK with the chaos, and I felt more free to enjoy my girls and just "be." May we all choose to find more joy in this season.

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