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Joy. ~Watching him, I realize – I’m witnessing joy in its purest form. His life is uncomplicated and uncluttered. He has nothing on his mind. Nothing but love in his heart. It’s all so simple to him. Watching the waves roll in, laughing and running from them. With squeals of excitement and a bright light in his eyes, I see freedom. Right now, at this moment, he is utterly free. And full of a joy so pure, it makes my eyes fill and my heart hurt.~

JoyThat moment in time happened three years ago. Yet their joy continues. They are joy-filled little people. Their sweet delight in all-the-things is more refreshing to me than almost anything. They squeal with absolute excitement at the sound of the ice cream truck. Seeing a fireworks display brings wonder and astonishment. Spotting a hot air balloon in the sky fills their eyes with awe. Flying on an airplane is a fantastic adventure. Announcing that today will be a “pool day” evokes screams and dancing. An afternoon at a museum equals “the best day ever.” Finding out that they’ll be having dinner at their favorite restaurant brings smiles and sparkly eyes. Add in ice cream after and, watch out, they are practically giddy. It’s so easy. They allow all things, even the smallest of things, to bring joy to their little hearts. They see the good. They don’t see dollar signs or long lines or rude employees. They don’t see the world in the same way that we’ve grown to see it. Sit back and watch your children … or most children for that matter. Watch how they effortlessly choose joy. Soak it all in. It’s so much more than just happiness. It’s joy. It’s peace surpassing understanding. It’s happiness that circumstances cannot change. It’s a choice. Day in, day out. It’s a choice. For my children, it’s an easy choice. It’s one that they are entirely unaware that they are even making. They delight in all of the little things as if life were a magical ride. The joy that I see so often on the faces of my sweet children, reminds me of the joy that is so often missing from our own lives. That joy. The joy disappeared long ago when we bought the lie presented to us. Our minds whisper, “You are not enough. You need to be more … do more … have more.” And the joy slowly seeped out.

If joy is a choice, than maybe it’s one that we make too complicated. The world is indeed full of tragedy and loss. Joy can seem so elusive, at times. But, watching my children, I feel like maybe that joy is already there, in all of our hearts – a gift from God, just waiting for us to accept it. Maybe it can be simple. Maybe it’s not about being happy all the time. Maybe it starts with looking up instead of down. Smiling instead of frowning. Showing kindness and patience. Holding a door open. Looking someone in the eye. Exercising self-control. Expressing love. Allowing yourself to believe that you ARE enough. Letting the joy seep back in again.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Summer (or track-out) is always a great time to do a few extra projects with your kiddos. This summer I plan to focus mainly on the fruits of the spirit with my own littles. Check Pinterest for tons of great worksheets, coloring sheets, activities, projects with actual fruit, etc. Join me as we attempt to be the LIGHT shining in a world that can often be much too dark. I’d love to hear back from you about how you are incorporating the fruits of the spirit into your own summer plans!

You can find this original article over to Raleigh Moms Blog!

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