'MUM!' he exclaimed,' you are smiling!'
'What do you mean? I smile often'
'Yeah.. but not like that... not with you mouth open and your eyes happy'.
Those words tore at my heart.
I would have considered myself a happy person. I have been through enough loss and hardship to learn that circumstances cannot determine my happiness. Its been a battle hard won.
One I had refused to concede. But, it seems, unwittingly, I have.
Despite my very best intentions, I have become overwhelmed with the little things - the small stuff I know not to sweat.
The look of my home has become more important than the look of my heart. And thats not ok.
You see, too often I gauge my happiness on what's right in front of me, how stressful my situation is right now instead of looking at the big picture. I need to remember to step back, take a big breath and be thankful.
Yes... life sure is crazy hard at times. Sleepless nights, hormonal teenagers, grumpy children and a restless baby can be tough going.
I got a slap in the face reminder about what true happiness looks like and where it comes from
I can be happy regardless of my situation because I know that my happiness is centered on so much more than what happens to be staring at me from moment to moment.
Because my happiness is centered in my Father in Heaven.
He alone gives me all the security, joy and validation I need ~ when I am anxious, lonely, or overwhelmed I can fall on Him and find true honest joy in the safety of His arms.
Regardless of circumstance.
Psalm 61:2 says ...From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
There is Someone on who I can lean when life gets too much... too busy and stressful and hard.
This means that the true happiness I experience is not dictated to by the noise level of my children, the extent of my finances, how many friends I have, how tidy and clean my house is, how lovely my garden looks, or how many times my husband thinks to buy me flowers.... yadda, yadda, yadda
(don't get me wrong.. flowers are lovely and do help me feel pretty amazing! Tim... wink wink!!)
It means that in the absence of these things I can still be joyful and happy.
Because I know that everything that I am experiencing now is only temporary, life here on earth will pass by so quickly and the stuff that seemed so huge and overwhelming will suddenly appear so insignificant in the light of eternity.
A number of years ago I began a journal that recorded the loss of three of our babies. In it I made a deliberate effort to find the small moments of beauty I could be thankful for, when life constantly felt like a series of heartaches and agonies. It was amazing to me that there was still so much around me that was breathtaking in its goodness when it could have so easily been the opposite. It has been refreshing to read back through this and be reminded of how much joy there is in our day to day life if only we take the time out to find it.
This in essence is what true happiness looks like. It is evident in one who understands that life is so much more than the here and now. That the burdens of everyday - whether they are mammoth or somewhat smaller - are momentary. That it is the eternal purposes that are the only ones truly worth pursuing.