There are so many ways I see their understanding and growth at a younger level mirroring my spiritual growth at an older level.
And sometimes, their simple statements wipe the dust of ‘life’ off of gospel truths I’ve allowed to become dimmed over time.
I remember a great example from a few years ago: I was with my youngest daughter, Phoebe. We needed to pick up two quick items from the grocery section of Wal-Mart – time was short and money was tight. As we did a quick tour of the snacks there was a sale rack filled with little girl bathing suits.
Phoebe gasped. Low and behold there was a Little Mermaid bathing suit ON SALE and just her size. She oohed and ahhed over it for a moment and then asked the inevitable question: “Can I have that one, Mommy?”
It was a cute swimsuit. A GREAT price.
We were in a hurry. I had to get to work. She had to get to school. Things at work were tense. Things at home were busy. And the budget was ultra-tight.
I had to say ‘no’.
Her smile faded, but she didn’t say anything until we’d paid for our two items and walked out the door.
As I placed her in her carseat, she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, even if I don’t have that Little Mermaid swimming suit, God has given me a happy heart. Because God gives us happy hearts, doesn’t he?”
I almost melted in a pile of tears on the pavement.
God spoke to me through my daughter and reminded me of a simple, yet profound truth. Joy is a God-given constant – regardless of the circumstances.
Happiness changes based on the circumstances and disappointments. The trials or heartaches.
But joy is from God – and God’s love doesn’t change.
The point is this: Gratitude is wearing God-colored glasses to view our lives.
It doesn’t mean we’ll always be happy with our circumstances, but it does mean that at the heart of who we are there is solid peace and hope beyond our circumstances.
There is a certainty of being loved far greater than our human minds can ever comprehend.
There is knowledge that even though we can’t understand the situation, it had to sift through the fingers of a loving Father before it reached our lives.
I’ll leave you with two fabulous quotes by author Charlotte Bronte, whose life was certainly not what anyone would call ‘happy’ or ‘easy’.
She lost her mother at a young age, suffered from poor health her entire life, and watched all of her siblings die at young ages before her. The only Bronte
to marry, she at the age of 38, along with her unborn child.
Here are two of her quotes:
“Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within, as the state of things without and around us.”
“I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.”
Words to remember.