To Be More Joyful

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A red barn on the side of a road.

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Photo source: Per Ola Wiberg

Motherhood. Home Management. Family Life. They comprise my life’s path. A path I love. A path I would gladly choose over and over again. A path that I thank God for the privelege of walking.

Yet, it’s not a path without its challenges. While I may think that I know the route ahead, bumps in the road surprise me. Twists and turns show me that motherhood — and life — don’t always go according to my plan.

Yet no road block or detour surprises God.

He knows the hairs on my head and the days of my life. And really, He’s the best one to handle the travel arrangements. Quite honestly, if I was the one in charge, I would mess it up. So thankful am I that He is mapping my course.

I love these verses from Ecclesisastes:

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
— Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

I don’t have to know all that God knows. The best for me to do is “to be joyful and to do good” as long as I live. Easier said than done, I know. But, I am encouraged. Eat, drink, and take pleasure in all my toil? That sounds good to me!

Reminders for the Road

As I enter my 14th year of motherhood, I remind myself that

  • it’s a journey – I will never “arrive” in the sense that there is some destination called “ideal motherhood.” Life changes as does the seasons of my marriage, my kids’ stages of development, and the state of our home and budget. I need to be ready to go with the changes.
  • I’m not the navigator – I can make great plans, but life doesn’t always follow them. There are multiple personalities that comprise my family life, and while I’m called to be a leader, I can’t control every little aspect of my life. But, God is in control, and that is a very good thing.
  • the road is so much more pleasant when I have a good attitude.

A close up of a busy city street filled with lots of traffic.

Photo source: realSmiley

You know this, too, probably. Think about the times when you’ve been stuck in traffic. You have a choice in that moment. You can rail at the cars ahead of you, the bozo who is trying to weasel his way in front of you, the kid, spouse or silly self who prevented you from leaving earlier.

OR ….

You can turn on the radio or a book on tape or a favorite CD and enjoy the moment. You can talk to your spouse and kids about what you’d like to do when you get to your destination. You can laugh at yourself and realize that unless this is a medical emergency, your urgency will not matter a month from now.

Choices Along the Path

And having a good attitude — in all of life, not just traffic — is a choice. Sure, there are physical and hormonal circumstances that can derail us. I don’t dismiss those. And I don’t pretend that Pollyanna never had a tough moment. But, many times when I don’t have a good attitude, it occurs at moments when I do have a choice to be impatient, to respond in anger, to raise my voice, or to feel sorry for myself. I want to be a woman who makes better choices. I want to make the days count.

I want to be joyful instead.

And that’s my prayer for me and for you as we celebrate this Mother’s Day. After all, no one wants a crabby mom. And I certainly don’t want to be one.

To that end, I’ll be presenting a new series in the coming months: 14 Ways to Be More Joyful

A close up of a flower with text overlay: 14 Ways to Be More Joyful.

I hope you’ll join the conversation as we discuss ways to cultivate more joy on this journey called motherhood. More joy for you = More joy for those you love.

  1. Get a Reality Check
  2. Watch Your Words
  3. Simplify Your Life
  4. Count Your Blessings
  5. Be All There
  6. Get Outside
  7. Get Out of the Kitchen
  8. Be a Yes MOM
  9. Take a Time Out
  10. Live in the Now
  11. Read a Good Book
  12. Encourage Others
  13. Get Thicker Skin
  14. Lean on God

How do you want to grow in this area? What are stumbling blocks toward your good attitude? When are you a crabby mom and how can we help each other?

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  1. Balance…. How to keep the house clean, cook 3 meals a day, work part-time, connect with my husband and spend quality time with my two young children (1 and 4!). I don’t feel like I do a good job balancing everything. Notice I didn’t mention anything about myself… I neglect myself like most moms! I really look forward to this!

  2. Love this….I have been a mom for 16 years now, I call my boys (3 of them) the wisemen. I guess my biggest struggle is the crabby mom. Homeschooling and carpooling and all the other things that come in our day drag me down, so I always need to take a step back and thank God for where I am at that moment, it helps keep me grounded. There is years between our wisemen, 16,8.5 and 3.5 so its a fine balance since they are all at different stages of life and school. Looking up to God is always where I want their eyes to be so I need to walk and look that way myself. Looking forward to the series. Tracy

    1. Mine are at different stages, too. I have to remind myself that the littles haven’t had the same experiences as my bigger ones and to make sure we do them again.

  3. I needed to read this today. I too am entering my 14th year of being a momma. It has been one of those days…no weeks. Your posts are well worth the read. Thank you.

    1. Blessings! The days are long, but the years are short. Hang in there!

  4. Some days I get so caught up in the stress of life I forget how to be joyful. I learned the hard way that you never know what tomorrow may bring. Having children I have learned what fights to pick and for the most none is usually the answer. Somethings become so much larger than they need to be especially with teenage girls. I find a smile and a cuddle can difuse the biggest of explosions. It’s not easy but I want a life full of joy as each day is a gift so we should truly cherish them xxx

  5. Hi Happy Mothers day to you. You have used my sentiments from my P blog I mentioned about an unseen path but God knows the way through and will reveal to us when we are ready God Bless

  6. Beautiful. Thanks for the reminder. I have had fun trying to be more of a “yes” mom lately and look forward to hearing about ways to intentionally be more joyful as well. Thanks for inspiring all of us who are on the same road.

  7. What a great idea for series! I’ll definitely be following. I’ve been a mom for 26 years. My 3 youngest (18, 13 & 12) are still at home. It’s been an awesome experience! My best advice is “carpe diem”–seize the day! Relax and enjoy the present! Happy Mother’s Day!

  8. Even though I am not a mom, I am looking forward to this series! I hope to be a mother someday and I want to be one that is godly and will be a good example of Christ’s servant to them. Learning how to be more joyful is something that will help me today and in the future! Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

  9. I’ll be following this series. Such a great topic and one that I’m sure all mother’s can benefit from. I’m in my 17th year of motherhood. Two teenage girls at the moment and honestly, the journey just keeps getting better and better. I find that the experience is more enjoyable when I relax….not trying to create the “perfect” life….let the schedule be a bit flexible….enjoy the moment….live in the moment….celebrate the moment.

  10. I truly struggle in this area and I am so looking forward to this series. I need all the help I can get. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  11. Happy Mothers Day!When I feel rushed is when I get crabby & when I have neglected the Bible.When I realize I have not been nice I pray & have devotion time with the children.We all feel better after having time with the Lord.I have been a Mother for 18 years and still have a lot to learn.I am looking forward to this series.