The second of the Fruits of the Spirit is Joy. There is much joy to be found in parenting: baby smiles, the wonderful list of “firsts”, belly laughs, seeing children make the right choice, hearing them sing, their excitement over succeeding… far too many to list.
There are also experiences in parenting that are not very joyful: feeling like nothing more than a referee and maid, seeing your children hurt, seeing them hurt others, the defiance that comes with learning independence, that one same battle that you seem doomed to fight for the remainder of your existence… far too many to list.
I believe an important part of parenting is learning to choose joy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not joyful when I’m in the throes of dealing with a disrespectful child, or blatant defiance for no good reason. Then I have to choose calm. Or sometimes silence.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When I can’t find joy, I have to look to the Lord. He is my joy and He is my strength.
I don’t want us to miss this though. The JOY of the Lord is our STRENGTH. If we can choose joy, and look to God, we will have strength! Strength to tackle potty training again today. Strength to have that meeting with a teacher. Strength to not let our children’s attitudes dominate ours. Finding joy will give us strength.
I need joy, and I need strength. The key ingredient to BOTH of these is the Lord.