I named this blog Unexpected Joy because that has been a theme in my life over the last couple years & something I want more of in this season of being a stay at home mom. Unexpected joy that comes from a life that is desperately dependent on Jesus. It’s seems counter-intuitive that desperate dependence would lead to joy and that’s why it’s unexpected. Joy that takes us by surprise because it springs up right alongside of pain and frustration and hardship and monotony. It transcends circumstance and keeps our eyes looking onward and upward.
Even just today as I watched the rain pouring down outside and looked at the clock…two more hours ’til lunch time…I felt a sense of heaviness as the day’s monotony weighed on me and my inner monologue turned negative. Is what I’m doing each day really purposeful? It’s easy to get discouraged when I look at my life through the lens of dishes…diapers…laundry…dinner…repeat. But then my eyes caught a glimpse of a verse I strategically placed in my kitchen for days like this: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Col 3:23)
And right then and there, my heaviness lifted when my eyes refocused from myself to my Savior. Unexpected joy sprang up right there when I remembered that the repetition of my days and my tasks all belong to Him and if I will offer them up with open hands, He will change me in the process. Most of all He gives me perspective and a freshness each day that helps my eyes to stay focused on obedience rather than outcome.
If my eyes will stay focused on obedience, one day at a time, my stay-at-home-mom syndrome will be transformed by thankfulness and joy. And just like any good parent, God’s rewards for my obedience are always so sweet! I got a real life visual of this last night as I was feeding Sam his dinner. I had already decided on a little treat for dessert if he ate well. I couldn’t wait to bust out the cookies he had been asking for for over a week! But things were not going good at first…he was resistant to eating the part of his dinner we were asking him to. I was bummed thinking I would have to hold out on the reward because he wasn’t obeying us. But then something clicked and he finished his meal like a little champ. Right after his last bite I excitedly busted out the cookies and let him know they were a reward for his obedience. It was fun to be able to give him that little gift and I’m pretty sure I was more excited about it than he was. The hubs and I dialogued about what a great picture of God that is. He is the perfect parent, wanting so desperately to bless us and for us to experience the reward of our obedience (even if that reward is not experienced in this life)…. if only we will choose to obey Him.
But how do I obey Him? Jesus shows me how.
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” (Heb 12:2).
If Jesus’ death had the final word, there would be no joy. But he looked forward and saw Heaven. And he rose from death, now interceding for us in Heaven so that we too can look forward and see Heaven. So that we too can experience joy, even in death. We have a Savior. He is victorious. Death has lost its sting. Today I can choose obedience for the joy set before me. Thank you Lord for your good gifts along the way that encourage me to keep my eyes heavenward. What a sweet parent you are!