Picture this. Your child or husband glances your way or walks in the door—and smiles just at you. It’s a moment, fleeting yet formative. We love our family most, so it makes sense that their smiles are of greatest value to us. So, this means that our smile is of greatest value to them.
It’s a moment, fleeting yet formative.
It is one way that we encourage and build one another up. Our facial expression carries influence to a child’s heart. Throughout the day, a child receives all sorts of messages – at school, among siblings, on the bus, among peers at an event, at a sleepover, or on social media. The warmth of our smile helps wash away the film of the other messages. We communicate value.
When we’re in a challenging season with a child, a smile says, “I love you no matter what.” It’s a tangible way to demonstrate and distinguish that our dislike is toward the challenging issue at hand, not the child. When we smile, God’s love shines through and stirs relief in a child. When we smile, we invite nearness. We extend grace. We love.
At different times God has gently shown me the absence of my smile
toward Terrell or our children. I’ve realized this mostly happens when I’m distracted by a circumstance or busyness. It’s so easy to unintentionally move through a day in our home without a smile, even though these are the very people we love most on this earth. Thankfully, God is our help in all things.
“A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face” (Proverbs 15.13, The Message)
The key to a cheerful heart is our personal relationship with Jesus. He knows that daily circumstances can give us emotional whiplash. In the Old Testament, David wrestled through hard relationship challenges, yet God was his focus and this relationship sustained him. His gladness was in God and his countenance displayed this.
“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel:
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices…”
Our desire to smile rides on the condition of our heart. It’s easy to smile when we’re happy, when good or encouraging things happen. But when disappointment, discouragement, or disobedience color the day, it’s hard to muster such desire. Our optimistic-tank is drained dry. God knows. Like David, we can “set the LORD always before” us. With God at our right hand, we will not be shaken. We can smile because God is good.
I want my relationship with you to be more. I want my gladness to be found in You—and then overflow to my family. Thank you for your love. Amen.