Meet our Guest
I’m so excited to bring you today’s guest post, written by Amber Durgen who blogs at Embrace this Joyful Life. Amber is writing to us from her home in Montana. Mother to an active toddler boy, Amber spends her days doing her best to embrace the “grand adventure” of life. Her blogging mission is to inspire others to live a more passionate and joy-filled life, centered around the true Source of happiness, Jesus Christ. I know you are going to love Amber’s post below and encourage you to visit her website for more uplifting and inspiring pieces.
Have you ever thought about what your goals and aspirations are for motherhood and of your children? What is it that you want to accomplish on this journey and what do you most desire for your children to know and become? There is a fairly new practice on social media of using the hashtag #parentinggoals when people comment on a relevant picture. A picture of a sweet moment between mother and her child or an image of a daddy rocking his baby to sleep might elicit such a comment. Yet when we make this comment, are we looking more at the perceived ‘perfection’ of the shot or the heart of the moment?
Forgetting “Picture Perfect” and Embracing the Reality of Motherhood
Yet while it is important to have goals for our motherhood, it is equally important to remember that snapshots are a second in time; a second that usually shows us at our best – not the every day “in the trench” life we live. It seems to be true – especially on social media – that people post all their best in order to prove self-worth. Let’s look instead at our everyday moments and how we can truly turn them into times of abundant joy. We have all heard many times that life is not picture perfect and while that is true, we can be deliberate about finding light and joy in our daily life. What would it look like if – instead of trying to shoot perfect pictures to hide behind – we stepped into a life of true joy, let down our guard and chose to live every moment abundantly?
Give Way to the Fullness of Joy
You may be asking yourself why this is such an important goal to have. I believe God calls Christians to live set apart in this life. He calls us to follow after Him with all that we are, and we cannot know fullness of joy if we are half-hearted about life, God goes as far as telling us (Revelation 3:16) that He will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth, it is not something He wants us to be. Even though our time spent on this earth will not be perfect, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ and live a life that may lead others to Him. Living in true joy not only blesses us but is a light to those we encounter. If you have not been living this way and you are living for Jesus, I suggest you start by releasing your preconceived notions of how life is meant to be. Sometimes we can build over-romanticized ideas in our minds of how we want life to look and when it doesn’t end up looking that way, we lose track of the blessings God has placed before us. If we are to live our life abundantly we cannot allow this to be so.
How to become Models of Joy to our Little Ones
Live in Abundance
As mommas, it is so important for us to model joy to our children; this truly should be one of our largest parenting goals. It must be an intentional decision to walk in the fullness of joy and to live the abundant life that God promises us. We must also teach our children to embrace a joyful life. Children need us to lead by example. If we are not living in abundance, they will never learn to do so. For us mommas, that often looks like finding God (and therefore joy) in the ordinary. We live a life of seemingly predictable chaos and if we are not careful we can soon become run down by our emotions. In order to really have moments we would aspire to as #pareninggoals we must not let our feelings take control of us. Living in abundance means we seek Jesus first.
2. Let it Go
In our culture, there are so many demands placed on us about how we and our children are supposed to exist. Let go of these cultural ideals and take up the yoke of Jesus instead. Let Jesus be your joy and your guide. Rejoice in the seemingly small, a smile, a rock handed to you by your child, a flower blooming, the rainbow after the storm and realize that all of these are ways that God adds joy to our lives. He uses the big and the small; we must have an open heart to see all of His blessings. It is a daily decision to walk in the blessings the Lord has surrounded us with; a daily counting of our gifts, if you will.
3. Beauty of Creation
One of the best ways to teach our children about God’s blessings is through creation. We can show them the sunset God painted for us that day, talk about the shapes of the clouds, plant a garden and care for the flowers God has created. Children often learn best through our example and through doing things with their hands. Point out to them the blessings you are noticing in your personal life and they will be more apt to start looking for blessings God has placed in their life too.
It’s in the everyday moments that we choose to see joy, choose to rejoice in the abundance of God’s blessings. These moments are going to be messy and imperfect. They may even appear broken. But if we learn to embrace them we will soon see the blessings God has hidden in our everyday, ordinary moments. We don’t have to look hard to find these blessings, but we must change our mindset in order to find them.
I challenge you, to start today. Be an ambassador of joy – live in abundance!