If anyone had to ask me who have I learned the most from over the last few years, there are a few people that I could mention. I love to read and would much rather spend time at night reading a book than watching TV. I love reading biographies. The stories of what others have journeyed through teaches me so much about life, faith and the utter resilience of the human spirit. And recently–after a discussion with a sweet young couple who we love were horrified at our techno illiteracy–I discovered the world of podcasts. Yeah, I know, I know. I’m a little late to the party. I tell my kids that I really should still be living in the 90’s. I’m super slow to care about new technology. Most of it I could not be bothered with. But it has been fun discovering new teachers and fascinating people when I’m driving.
But honestly? My greatest teachers—the ones who teach me daily about what truly matters–they live right here in my home.
Raising children who have special needs has taught me more than I could ever have learned from listening to even the most renowned podcast host or best-selling book.
Some days, when it feels like the world has gone mad and a sense fear or hopelessness wants to creep in, I still my heart, breathe deep and watch my children.
The joy! Oh, the joy they have! No, not all the time. They are human and go through all of the emotions just like any of us do. But there is such a special, unexpected joy that bubbles forth in them when I least expect it.
Moments when Hailee will start giggling for no apparent reason. She has the best laugh ever!
Moments when Haven will burst out laughing until she gets tears in her eyes.
Moments when they almost lose their breath laughing when Anthony tickles them.
Moments when Harper and Hunter will play for hours and laugh at the silly things they each do.
Moments when Kael and Hasya smile their big, beautiful smiles that remind me of the power, the grace and the mercy of a Father in heaven who reached down and rescued them from unimaginable pain and suffering. Miraculously, joy always comes in the morning.
Moments that remind me on a daily basis that no matter what life brings, no matter what comes our way, we can choose joy indescribable.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. ~ Psalm 5.11
Last weekend I sat on our deck watching Harper swinging in a new hammock that Kellan gave us. It has become her new most favorite place to be. For a long time, she lay there. Singing and humming and chatting away to no one in sight. Just content to simply be.
To be still.
To be quiet.
To find contentment and joy in the simple act of swaying back and forth and enjoying her surroundings. A couple of times I asked her if she was okay or wanted to come inside. And as she always does when she’s where she wants to be, she looked at me and said, “I okay, Mom.”
Watching Harper that day was such a beautiful reminder to my heart. I am learning daily from these most precious children of ours. They don’t need a whole lot of stuff to bring them joy. They don’t need their world to be perfect to be able to laugh and giggle. They don’t care how long quarantine will last nor is their joy determined by the latest news. They find joy in the simplest of things—the moments that I so often just take for granted or simply rush right past in my daily hustle.
I don’t know about you, but for me, some days it is so hard to find joy in the midst of the hard. Some days my soul feels weary from the weight of the world. But joy is a choice, isn’t it?
The kind of joy that is unshakable.
The kind of joy that pushes back the darkness and declares with unwavering faith in the good times and the bad…
It. Is. Well.
The kind of joy that Job taught us in the midst of ridiculous pain and hardship when he declared, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” ( Job 8:21).
I long for that kind of joy.
Joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).
The joy that can look at any situation and any trial and declare it with everything that is within me…
“I okay, Lord!”