Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy Heart

A happy heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. -Proverbs 17:22

Because meditating on a few ancient words from the lips of God will do more for me, today, than any parenting book ever written.

Teaching and learning is the constant cycle at our house. All day I'm teaching, teaching, teaching these little ones.

Don't run around with a mouthful of Skittles, you'll get choked. 

It's easier to take your socks off if you are sitting down.

We don't touch the garbage can. 

Don't drink bath water.

Say you're sorry.

Let's pray.

In this role as parent its easy to see yourself as a teacher, perhaps even one who knows everything and has all of the answers. Then your child turns 2 or becomes more independent or refuses to say sorry or just can't help himself from hurting others no matter what you have tried to teach him.

You realize you don't have all of the answers, in fact, by the time bedtime finally draws near you feel like you have no answers. Everything is a challenge, a battle, a test, a problem.

Then Hallelujah!
Its bedtime, he sleeps and you can prepare to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

We're in an interesting time with Jay. He is so sweet and loving, so thoughtful and well spoken. But then, out of nowhere some of the darnedest things come out of his sweet mouth and Joseph and I just look at each other, stunned.

I know we aren't the only parents who are going through this phase. I pray it is short lived for us and that he only acts out in this way in front of us and not in front of others.

We have been thinking that he simply does it for the reaction he gets, so we're being proactive by trying to give him lots of positive attention in the hopes that he will not seek out negative attention. But, he is in fact three and logic does not necessarily apply when you are three.

God showed me these words in Proverbs one recent morning and with all 5 members of this household being sick (yes, even the dog kept us up the night before) this verse stuck with me as I managed to pray and read a bit while following Lizzy toddle around the house and cooking breakfast.

I'm so thankful God speaks to us the words we need to hear.

I'm thankful that I could share these words with Jay that morning and Joseph and I can think about this message as we combat some of the surprises, challenges and frustrations life can throw at us.

A happy heart is good medicine.


We have much to be happy about. Its our job to reflect God's love and the joy that comes with it to others.

Even when it's hard. Even when I don't have any of the answers. Even when my job so clearly is not teaching, but learning.

A happy heart is good medicine.

I've been using this verse for weeks now. Repeating to myself. Speaking it to Jay. Explaining that happy words come from happy hearts. Happy hearts like to make others' hearts happy. Happy hearts make smiles and fun.

The night before his first day back at school I dug a heart shaped foam sticker out of our craft supplies and sharpi-ed a happy face onto it. Before bed, I showed that "happy heart" to Jay and together we put it on the inside of his lunchbox. We talked about it again in the morning in carpool .

Just this evening Joseph told me that he heard Jay telling his grandmother about his happy heart in his lunchbox. It was so good to hear that he was talking about it.

Today's Build 'Em Up topic is Creative Correction. At our house we use time-out for Jay and set a timer. It is effective in that it gives him a chance to think and us a chance to calmly discuss inappropriate behavior and sincere apologies. It isn't creative, but it gets the job done.

My only other "tactic" is what I've referred to as "filling in the blanks with Jesus". If we have time throughout the day where the kids are just playing around the house-I press play on their kids' worship cd. If we're reading books or just pulling them all off of the shelf, I will pick our Bible or one of our new prayer or devotional books or the Jesus Calling Storybook version and read a short story from it.

A happy heart is good medicine.

If we are having a particularly grumpy, ill-tempered, testing-the-boundaries kind of day I am reminded of this verse and try to turn it around by making sure my joy is visible and tangible. I will openly discuss things we are happy about and thankful for. A distraction of attitude if you will. What I'm learning is that this type of distraction is what we are called to do daily-whether we are adults or little adults in training. 



It doesn't always keep bad behavior at bay, but it's been a simple way to remind a three year old (and thirty three year old) about being the person God has called us to be and changing our hearts to reflect love and joy rather than becoming mired in frustration and what isn't going our way.

A happy heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 

I've linked up with the Build 'Em Up Series today and want to say thank you for stopping by and sharing your stories. I'm praying you are encouraged and lifted up daily by the wonderful work of raising little people. While we know it isn't easy it is important to show our children the joy we want them to know through Christ. Its vital that we change our hearts when necessary to reflect God's love, joy and peace to our children. I'm praying for you and that your love, joy and peace shine brightly, in all ways, at all times. 

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  1. Some days you just have to push through to bedtime! I know all the work will be worth it in the end!!

  2. this is great stuff and an amazing reminder. i am so often the MOOD dictator. if i choose a happy heart - the entire tone of the house shifts. so glad you linked up with us!