Happy mamas are not a vanishing species

Who among us hasn't heard or seen this folksy saying:

"If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."                                                        Blog. If mama aint happy. 1.15

We may squirm, we may argue, we may scream, "That's not fair!" 

Still, these words are true and most of us who are or have been married, know it. Our moods affect our husbands and children.

It sounds too simple, I know, but almost always, the way we feel about life is the way they feel about life.

Years ago I heard someone talk about his childhood. It went something like this: "Growing up, my siblings and I all thought our parents must be rich and have everything they could want.

"Otherwise why would Mom and Dad laugh so often? And why on earth would all our friends want to come to our house? 

"It sure wasn't because we had so many toys. All along my parents told us that was because they believed kids should make our own fun. Now here's the thing: Our friends all had way more stuff and we wanted to go to their houses!

"If we asked those kids why they liked coming to our house, they would say, 'Because your place is the best. P-l-e-a-s-e, can we come home with you?'

"When we all trooped in my mom would smile and say, 'Hi, Everybody! Does anyone want a cookie?' 

"Really, I think it was mostly my mom that kept our family happy, maybe because she kept smiling." 

Like it or not, we wives are the barometer of our homes

Our Creator wired male and female differently. Let's call the difference what it is: A blessing. A privilege.

Whatever our personality strengths and weaknesses may be and whatever our financial situation may be, we are people of influence. 

However we spend our days, if we have children, God calls us to give out the love and encouragement that will bless our family. Calls us to be who He made us to be. 

Yes, I know very well that sounds like too much--and often feels like too much. After all, we're only human. 

So here's the good news: None of us are expected to go it alone and every day we get a fresh start.  

The Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.   Psalm 42:8

Looking for personal space

Even when our lives are happy we can get stuck on needing "space to breathe." How often don't we hear someone on TV say, "This is not fair! I need to stand up for myself!"

When we drag the mindset around with us we can grow blind to blessings we already have. 

I've done the same. Too many times I proved that feeling sorry for myself could turn a sunny day into gloom in no time. Those times I got stuck in thinking I always ended up doing the most and giving the most.

One day I wailed into the blue sky, "Why me?" and it was as if a voice asked me back, "Why not you?"

That left me speechless.

I took a long look at the facts of my life. By God's grace a good man loved me and I loved him back. Our marriage was solid. We had four healthy kids, enough to eat and a safe place to live. Any fool would say I was blessed. Even me.

So why would I allow myself to be dragged down by issues that had no more substance than a gnat?

Getting back to center

Since that day I've learned a lot. Now I know that each of us creates "the world" we--and our families--live in. 

Our children read us and look at life through our eyes. Our outlook becomes their outlook.

We parents have it within our power to give our kids a great gift: the in-their-bones conviction that life is good and they have what it takes to succeed. That God loves them and watches over them.

We can give that gift or not. We get to choose. 

Making the shift 

My outlook started changing the day I promised myself--and God--I absolutely would not give in to self-pity anymore. No matter what, I would act as if life was good.

At first that felt almost dishonest.

I had no proof this would work, so I looked for reinforcement in the Bible. I found Paul's letters, like Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians a good place to start. 

Verses like this helped me immensely:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12  

I took that to mean I was to put on those qualities like a garment every morning. That meant I did not need to already possess those qualities. Yippee!

(Do I need to tell you I'm still growing in this one?)

Hang onto what helps

I wrote down verses that spoke to my heart as well as quotes from good books in a spiral notebook. I especially searched out verses about living, such as Colossians 3:13-14:

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Today I dig through that old notebook like a gold miner working a claim and find riches every time. Riches that have stood firm through the centuries, despite assaults from all sides.

So if that folksy saying rankles you, I'm sorry. Nevertheless, I birthed and raised four children and I learned these words are true: When Mama lives happy, everyone is happier. Even Mama!

And when we slip up? If we need to, we ask forgiveness and move on. Tomorrow is a new day. A new start on living and loving. And learning.

Passing this on with love, 

Lenore


April 28, 2021

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