May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.-Romans 15:13
Discussion: How do you display the joy and peace that Christ has filled you with? How do you use the gifts that He has trusted you with to heap joy on those around you?
This week’s question is one I’ve had to put some serious thought in to. I am actually still thinking on it so forgive me if I ramble since I’m typing while I think!
Friday evening I took Joey to hockey practice. I wasn’t feeling all that well and I near skipped it. I had to really force myself to get out of my comfortable chair and my comfortable sweats to get the kids and myself bundled up, suited up, and out the door. On the way there it began to snow and the temperature dropped. I remember thinking, “lovely”. Yet we plodded along arriving at the rink a few minutes late. I always seem to be running late these days! After getting Joey’s skates on and seeing him “run” in his skates to the rink I was very grateful I’d decided to get up and get out. I started to feel better almost immediately! Just seeing him excited about getting on the ice was all it took! Once he was all settled I turned to Elizabeth to take her out of the “dreaded car seat” (that’s a story for another time). She was so bundled up in her purple Winnie the Pooh snow suit and her brand new snow cap Grandma Sallie knitted for her all you could see was her beautiful face! Her little rosy cheeks and her sparkling eyes peeking out of her get up were enough to lighten my mood even more! Finally we made our way to the bleachers and sat down. We were instantly swarmed with people wanting to ooh and ahh over her! Somehow this gift that is my daughter has the ability to brighten any room and lift any spirits! People are drawn to her as if she’s surrounded by a magnetic force, my angel. After the obligatory answers regarding her age, name, and allowing everyone to really get their Lizzie fix, I was able to focus on Joey on the ice. Soon after hitting the ice, Joey decided to come over to ask me to fix his helmet. This actually proved to be quite a challenge! I was faced with setting Elizabeth back in to her oh so dreaded car seat! Quietly I hear “may I help you there?” coming from somewhere to my left. I look over to see a lovely lady holding out her arms offering to hold Elizabeth so I can focus on Joey. I hesitated for a moment. I know that sounds awful, but Elizabeth is not overly comfortable with strangers (that includes family members she hasn’t seen in a day). She’s very much a mama’s girl and she really only enjoys strangers from the safety of my lap. For some reason though, I truly only hesitated for a moment before handing my daughter over to this kind stranger. I quickly fixed Joey’s helmet and sent him on his way. I turned to hold my hands out for Elizabeth and something gave me pause. She was contentedly sitting on this stranger’s lap enthralled with the action on the ice, but I realize now what made me pause wasn’t Elizabeth’s contentment but the look on the woman’s face. She just looked so sad and yet so at peace at the same time. I made the quick decision to let her hold Elizabeth until she decided to hand her back. That must have made her very comfortable because she began to chat with me. Pretty soon she was opening up to me, she began to tell me how her children are both grown and gone and she misses them dearly. She was sad because she wasn’t able to spend Thanksgiving with them and wouldn’t see them until January. I didn’t prod her, I just simply sat there and listened… She went on to tell me how she had 4 grandchildren, all infants and toddlers and she so missed them growing and changing. I could tell her heart was breaking as she was telling me this. This still isn’t the most amazing part to me though… After telling me all about her children and grandchildren she went on to tell me how adorable the kids were on the ice (they are very fun to watch I have to agree there!), she said this was her first visit and she’d been invited by her neighbor. Her neighbor is probably around my age. She said she very much enjoys her neighbor’s children and babysits them on occasion and that she was forever thankful for her neighbor sharing her children with her. You could tell that through her sadness she was truly grateful for the ability to love these neighbor children and to spend time with them while her own children and grandchildren are so far away. She was so very soft spoken and so gentle and I have to say through this entire conversation Elizabeth was more than happy to sit with her. I was touched by this woman’s story as it reminded me of how my own Grandma feels being so far away from all of us and so isolated. Finally, as the boys were coming off the ice she smiled a peaceful smile and said simply “thank you”. I am assuming she was thanking me for allowing her to love my daughter (and I truly believe she did). I also think she was thanking me for listening to her story. After she handed Elizabeth back to me I couldn’t help but reach over and give her a hug. Soon after that, Joey came bounding over ready to strip off his skates and visit the concession stand for what can only be described as colored sugar. It wasn’t until this evening that I started to reflect on that evening’s events, after reading this week’s topic and reflecting on it I realized my children are how I display the joy and peace Christ has blessed me with. Even if I myself am not feeling particularly joyful (as is the case lately for some unknown reason), they are almost always joyful and Joey is so very kind and loving (in most cases, he is after all only 6) and they have the ability to lift not only my mood but the mood of complete strangers. I’d like to think Christ and I both had a little something to do with that.
I would like to think by setting a good example for my children and hopefully teaching them to be kind and tolerant at all times I will be able to continue to use the gifts that are my children (and really I think Christ trusting us enough to raise our children in His place is the greatest gift of all) to spread joy.