Stirring Up the Spirit of Joy for Our Kids

by Blythe Daniel April 25, 2022
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
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When I was growing up, my mom modeled joy to me. It was written all over her face and still is. It wasn’t because things always went her way. In fact, it was often quite the opposite.

Because of her mom’s sharp words and anger outbursts due to anxiety and addiction, my mom didn’t fully experience joy in the way that a child longs to experience joy in their home. She learned over time that her mother’s approval and words over her did not dictate her level of joy. She discovered that joy is what you choose to focus on.

When my mom became a mom, she brought joy from above for my brother and me. It was as if she grabbed hold of a balloon that had temporarily lost its way in the sky, bringing delight and celebration back to us.

My mom brought me joy in the hardest moments. When girls whispered around me but didn’t talk to me, I felt left out, but Mom consoled me and showed me that my heart was worth much more. Mom helped me to see what I could be thankful for as she spoke to me. I needed to possess joy and not allow others to diminish the joy the Lord put in my heart.

Now, with my children, I’m passing down what I hope is a handful of hope and joy on days where balloons seem to have escaped in their childhood. I get to show them how to invite joy into their lives. Children don’t always have the skills to overcome defeat, but they can take hold of joy.

We know that children can’t follow what they don’t see. As moms, we need to give them something bigger to rejoice in — not their friends, not their activities or successes, but the very goodness of Christ, who defines joy from the Father.

Recently I experienced the joy shown by two elementary-aged sisters at church — one blind, using a white cane, and the other with eyesight, walking with forearm crutches — who leaned into each other to get to the front of the room to worship God. It undid me. They showed joy in spite of their circumstances. It made me think about their mom and the joy she possessed to raise them in love. The girls carried the joy that Christ offers and held on to His love as they held on to each other.

How I daily grasp joy and bring it fully into our home sets the tone for how my children pivot their joy. As women, we are joy-setters in our homes. If it doesn’t start with us, it will not trickle down to our children. I hope you’ll join me in grabbing hold of joy through the following ways:

  1. Invite joy into your life. It is an outward expression of our inward hope in God. Make it your mission! Joy comes when we invite it in, when we see it way off in the distance and call it home.
  2. Model the spirit of joy for the people in your life, especially your children. Joy isn’t something we decide to wear on a particular day, putting it on, and taking it off when things don’t go well. Rather, joy is a firm place in our hearts that flows through every area of our lives — what we say, what we do and how we act.
  3. Every day, remember to make the spirit of joy the center that you frequently revisit. No one can shake your joy without your permission. Joy is rooted in rejoicing. So when we choose to rejoice in God and with God, even in short sentences, alone or with our children, the gifts of joy find their place in our hearts and minds.
  4. Don’t wait for joy to come knocking on your door — open your heart and home to it always. It is hard for children to anticipate having joy even in disappointment. But if we are strong role models of joy, our children will see that we can welcome joy and sadness in the same breath and bless our children with words that point them to the only One who will not disappoint.

Paul wrote to the church of Thessalonica, saying to respect each other, encourage the timid, help the weak and be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15) He shared this right before the verse that says we are always to be joyful and thankful, and we are never to stop praying: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

When our children can wake up and find us on our knees or with our Bibles open, may they know that this is indeed where our joy comes from.

Lord, help me always to be joyful. Help me to laugh with my kids. Help them see that joy is contagious. Help me to remember to smile, especially on days when I am weighed down with life’s problems and worries. Help me to choose joy even in the hardest of situations. Even when life seems impossible, help me to find and live my life with great joy. Help me to make joy my mission so that I can reflect that joy to my kids. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


To celebrate and thank the mom in your life for all she does, pick up a copy of I Love You, Mom! Cherished Word Gifts from My Heart to Yours. Mother-daughter authors Dr. Helen McIntosh and Blythe Daniel created this beautifully designed gift book/devotional to help moms know how much they are valued and appreciated. Written for moms of young or adult children, I Love You, Mom! gives a voice to the feelings many have about the moms in their lives. Going beyond a traditional greeting card, this beautifully packaged book with colorful artwork contains 25 word gifts, each focused on a character quality and scripture designed to express affirmation and encouragement that moms dream of hearing.


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Enter to WIN your very own copy of I Love You, Mom! by Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh. To celebrate this book, Blythe will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, May 2, 2022.}


Luke 6:45, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (NIV)

What would you like to tell your mom, or the motherly figure in your life, today so that she knows how you see and appreciate her?

Is there anything you haven’t been able to say that God is prompting you to share with her while it’s on your heart?

© 2022 by Blythe Daniel. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Blythe Daniel for her sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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