I’m privileged to work with needy families who are in transitional seasons and are working toward independence and stability. I’ve only been doing this work for a short time, but I have already learned so much from these families as they traverse uncertain and difficult times.
One particular young woman, we’ll call her Joy, made a huge impression on me during the few weeks our paths crossed. In spite of her less than perfect circumstances, Joy always had a beautiful smile on her face and friendly attitude. It seemed as though she was genuinely happy! I can’t say that I would have possessed that happiness had I found myself in her shoes.
Joy and I were able to participate in special event where moms were invited to write lullabies for their babies with professional musicians and vocalists. I got to hear more about Joy’s story and I was completely blown away!
Joy is a married mother of two with one on the way and knew exactly what she wanted her lullaby to be about. When it was her turn to share her lullaby, she started by telling us about her past.
Joy is an immigrant and a victim of genocide that took place in her home country. When she was a young girl, her entire family was killed, and I’m sure many of her friends. She was left with no family at all. When I heard this, I thought my jaw would hit the floor!
Really? This happy, smiling, friendly lady was a victim of genocide? Not only were Joy’s current circumstances bad, her whole life had been colored by horrible experiences. Yet here she was, happy.
Then, Joy began to sing her lullaby. These words came straight from her heart and were the most important thing she felt she could pass on to her children.
Thank you, God
Thank you, God
You’ve always been there for me
You’ve always taken care of me
Thank you, God
What a powerful moment!
She explained that even though she experienced something horrible and lost her family, her faith has been her strength. Now, she was so thankful to have her husband and children. God had given her a new family. I was immediately convicted.
How many times have I justified my bad attitude over something so insignificant?
How many times have I treated others poorly because I was in a bad mood?
How many times have I acted like my world was falling a part because something didn’t go my way?
While I know I’m not alone, I’m embarrassed to say, too many times.
Looking at Joy reminded me that I have no excuse. There is no reason for me to be unhappy! There is no reason for me to go around with a frown on my face or be unfriendly to others.
God has done so much for me and been so good! And even if he took everything I had, He would still be my strength, my peace, my comfort, my joy and happiness.
James 5: 11 says, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Joy’s story reminds me of Job losing everything. Like Job, Joy endured and our merciful God has blessed her with a family of her own.
Galatians 5:22 tells us that love and joy are fruits of the Spirit. If I am a Christian, I should be walking in the Spirit and love and joy should be evident in my life no matter how I feel or what happens.
I learned so much from Joy’s story. I don’t want to frustrations or disappointments dictate how I act or treat others. I want to make a conscious effort to be kind and friendly to others, to smile, and to be thankful to God in the good times and the bad.
If we call ourselves Christians and have been saved by His amazing grace, we have much to be happy about.
I challenge to you to choose happiness.
Check out Brooklyn Scott’s tips for having a grateful heart. Starting each day with thankfulness is a great way to give you a proper perspective in life and keep God the center of your joy!