Life is a funny old thing.
It is easy to become lost in the busyness of it all, that somehow we wake up one day, and the joy that once resided in us, seems lost, and i want to tell you it's not ok. I pray you find a way to get your joy back.
There are so many aspects to happiness, but key in it all is true contentment. Being content NOW, with whatever is going on in our life.
I think we have a warped sense of entitlement when it comes to how life should pan out for us.. and when it isn't going so well, we get down about it.
We have just spent a week in ward 27b in Starship. This is the oncology / haemotology ward for children.
There are teens there trying to cope with the seriousness of a diagnosis of cancer. There are parents trying to hold it together. There are babies, and toddlers hooked up to chemo, and when they are well enough, they wander in to the playroom, drips and all.
What i see there - are seasons of trials for families, at different stages, staring death in the face at times.
But what i see above all else... is hope.
I see the gentle precious love of parents, taking in each moment of joy, laughing when they can, making the very best, of a situation none would wish to be in. Something we have taken on board. There is no such thing as 'make up' time, you need to make the most of the day you are given - today.
Really love the ones you love, and spend time with them doing things together, with little kids it can be hard to do something 'everyone' enjoys.
By everyone - i mean all the children in the family... i found it hard to go to the skate park with my kids when they were little (with all those teenagers on skateboards looking cool) - my husband on the other hand was in his element... but, now i get so much joy hanging out with them, watching them scoot around, and when i am not pregnant, i even scoot myself!
My husband would never have thought himself as someone who could paint cool designs on his daughters nails, nor do i think he would have found that 'fun' - and yet the look on his face when he sees his little girls eyes light up is priceless.
Joy is found not only in the things we know we enjoy, but in sacrificing our pride, and stepping outside our 'comfort zone' (in the little things) for the joy of someone else.
Some 'little' things we find joy in and do a lot:
* sucking the kids hair in to the vaccum cleaner to make cool 'dos' (such fun!)
* build lego houses
* visit skate park/ petting zoo/ beach/ basin or playground
* go to a cafe/ restaurant as a family
* always eat dinner together at the table
*dress the kids up in matching outfits (ok maybe this is just my thing) and get nice family photos - or awful ones that we laugh about later on!
* Go carting down our own little 'home made' go cart track
* face painting (and prego belly painting at the moment)
* toasting marshmallows on the patio heater
* the neighbours kiddies come over and they all dress up and do a show that they make up among themselves.
*My husband plays the uke and we all sing along to our favorite songs
I am sure there are other things too, but without a little bit of effort, and taking the time to just stop, and be with the children, the day would be gone, and our potential moments of joy would be over. It is not always easy, but we have found that with the stress of IV access and now port access, with trips to hospital, and times away, we need to choose to embrace the times of joy, however small they may seem.
Lord, i am thankful for the times of health, and the moments of joy. I am thankful also for the journey we are on, and for the people who walk it with us, for in it, we too have hope.