It seems appropriate to continue my joy-writing on my mother's birthday. She was a person of joy even though she had a difficult life and didn't get what she really wanted. In some ways I think she got more.
She so wanted an education. They couldn't afford it. She needed to work to help the family. It was still the Depression.
She wanted to become an artist and a writer--she had dreams and ambition--she was a strong woman. But not strong enough to withstand my father's advances. She got married at 19.
She has duplicated herself six times over. She put her strength into her children. And her strength was a desire to know God's love, experience it, and share it. I believe everyone of her children achieved that before death, or are still achieving it as the highest priority of their lives (my two brothers preceded her in death).
That is quite an accomplishment. In my mind, it is the highest. Is their anything that matters more than giving your kids the most important foundation in life? Anything more important than knowing and being loved by God?
Health is important because without it your mind and body will find it harder to make those chemical-electrical connections in your brain that lead to good choices. But it only makes all the important things in life easier, it's not the thing.
Knowing how to receive love and give it is important. But again, that is only harder without getting it first from parents and then from God.
Being able to choose your perspective is very important because that forms healthy (constructive) or unhealthy (destructive) beliefs and choices. (Poor Robin Williams--who felt he had no more good choices! And we are amazed that one with so much could feel and think that.)
Scripture says that joy is in the presence of God. If you don't know that--never learned it--you are definitely handicapped, life is harder.
Do you know how to go into God's presence? Do you know how to experience His love?
My devotional this morning says, "I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My Presence... The more you focus on My Presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy your life." This is Jesus speaking (Jesus Calling, 2008)
But what if you have never done that? Don't even know God or Jesus?
An easy place to start is a choice. Set aside ten minutes to be with Him. Tell Him you want to meet with Him every day and have His joy, then go to "God in your Face" (facebook) OR http://Godhelps.net/Godinabox and read the day's short reading on Jesus' life. He was our clearest picture of God. While reading, breathe in seven seconds and out seven and keep breathing rhythmically while trying to imagine being there. (This is meditation and 12 minutes a day for 30 days has been shown to change physical numbers.)
Make that a habit and you will have a great start on knowing God and experiencing Joy. And my mother's legacy will reach you, and who knows, maybe even your children! It is the best legacy you can give.
My mother didn't miss out. She will have eternity to create art. She already created six masterpieces. I know that because they will last through eternity. What great artist can say that?