Choosing joy. What does it mean? A labor of love. Have you ever heard that expression? What meaning does it have for you? To me, joy is a choice in attitude and a labor of love is pouring out my own effort and hard work to express my love to someone. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and it has me thinking about how I show love to my family. I’m not the Mom that puts love notes in her kid’s lunchbox or my hubby’s briefcase. (We homeschool and work from home. Our kitchen IS the school cafeteria and drive-thru restaurant.)
I have looked back over the years in how my attitude has changed over being a wife, mom, and home maker. I used to work a full-time job. House chores were the last thing I wanted to do in my time off. But since they had to be done, I did them. Very begrudgingly. Making dinner every night seemed like an overwhelming task. Laundry piled up. Toilets needed to be scrubbed. I was exhausted. I look back and wonder if my family could tell that I begrudgingly made that dinner. There was no secret ingredient. No pinch of love. It was a box of Hamburger Helper sloppily dumped into a pot with hopes that it would nourish their bodies.
Fast forward a few years, my hubby asked me to quit my job to help with our family business. Even though it was terrifying, it has been such a blessing to our family in many areas. I never thought I would enjoy being a stay at home mama, but it has brought me so much peace and happiness.
You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.C.H. Spurgeon
I realize now that I have found joy in things I never thought possible. A tidy house, laundry, meal planning, and teaching my son- just to name a few. Even scrubbing the toilet can be satisfying and bring joy if you do it with the right mindset. That nightly dinner I used to dread? That’s right, I now have JOY when I spend time in the kitchen preparing a meal for my family. I love knowing that the hard work and effort that I am pouring into a meal lets them know that I love them and am doing the hard work because I care about all of our health. Did I mention I’m a stay at home mom and we homeschool? And my hubby works from home? That’s right. We are all home about 90% of the time. The majority of our meals are prepared by my two little hands. I get up every morning and make breakfast, I pull out leftovers or piece together some sort of lunch, I make everyone’s snacks, and dinner is always on me (unless we grill, then it’s a team effort). That is four meals a day- give or take (in the chance we eat out)- seven days a week. I have an opportunity to pour out a labor of love over my family TWENTY-EIGHT times a week just in the meals I prepare for them.
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
I’m not sure how I got here. I don’t know when I decided to look for the joy in it all. I don’t know the exact day or time that I went from despising kitchen time to loving it. All I know is somewhere along the way, I had a change of heart. (Hence, my blog name.) I decided to start doing everything with a joyful heart for the glory of God. I started seeing the little things as ways to offer a service that expresses love to my family. I could choose to view the little things as a chore or as an outpouring of love. I enjoy providing them with meals and snacks, even though they are capable of getting their own. It makes them feel cared for and nurtured. Something as simple as making sure their favorite snack is in the fridge or pantry makes their day. They know I want the best for them, even if it comes in the form of a cheese stick and apple or a freshly baked THM approved cupcake. My son saw that I bought his favorite yogurt and gave me a big hug and said, “Thanks, Mommy!”
If nurturing my family is a labor of love and glorifying to God, is taking care of myself the same? YES!! If I’m a grumpy mama, I know it can set the tone for the entire day for each of us. By taking care of myself and making sure I feel good, I am a happier mama and wife. I am showing my family that not only is it important to put good things in, but it is also important that good things come out. But, I’m not perfect. Sometimes, I’m a stressed out Mama. Sometimes, I am tired. Sometimes, I am really really grumpy. I struggle to choose to find the joy in all the things. It is a sanctifying process. Listening to the poddy has helped tremendously. If you get a chance, check out some of the episodes on joy or slowing down. Or you can binge listen, like I do! They really are so encouraging!
Valentine’s Day used to mean a long wait time to eat out at a restaurant because that’s what people do. But for my first Valentine’s Day as a Trim Healthy Mama, I am so looking forward to making a special meal and dessert for my guys. We can even light a candle or two to make it extra special. They will see the time and effort I put into making the meal special and they will feel loved in return. What are some of the little things you do to show your family you love them while glorifying God?
I decided to make this cute little 4×6 printable so we can hang it on the fridge as a daily reminder that in all the small things, we are really doing BIG things. Choose to do it with a joyful heart and you will glorify God in doing so. You can download this cutie by simply clicking on the picture. If you would like access to the rest of my free printables, you can get them by subscribing to my mailing list. I promise not to spam you 🙂