Nine Years of Joy

Last night, we had Joy’s very first sleepover. Generally, we don’t have “sleepovers.” I have reservations about them for several reasons, but I’m okay with a huge, raucous crowd of giggling, giddy girls for a party.

Joy took the initiative to create and mail her own invitations, plan her games and pick out a movie. She was working on her ideas for gift/goody bags when I stepped in and decided we would make tie-dye t-shirts.

Joy has some sweet friends. Yes, they’re eight …. nine …. and ten. They’re children. They’re impatient and unkind, at times.

But, for the most part, they are absolutely wonderful little girls. They are more often thoughtful, sweet and kindhearted.

These girls have mama’s like me. They seek the Lord for direction. They want to be incredible wives, wonderful moms and focused followers. They struggle with consistency. They doubt. They yearn. They hurt. But, keep their eyes on Him and pray fervently for their families and their children.

Last night, I watched the fruit from the labors of one faithful mama.

Girls were sprawled all over the floor, futon and chairs. They were on cots and an inflatable mattress. Skittles were rattling, M&M’s were munching and popcorn was crunching when a big bowl of popcorn was kicked off the edge of a chair. The girls were intently watching the movie, but after just a few moments, Danielle quietly got down on the floor and scooped up the popcorn that was splayed across the floor. Without prompting, without direction, she took the initiative to be thoughtful and helpful without expectation of reward. Most of the girls probably didn’t even hear the bowl hit the floor. Most were positioned so that they didn’t see it tip off the arm of the chair. But one did. And she acted.

In a world full of children too busy to say “excuse me,” too self-absorbed to use kind manners like “please” and “thank you” and too selfish to offer their own plenty, it is a rarity to see consideration and kindness. But, I saw it firsthand last night, in the simple act of cleaning up a spilled bowl of popcorn. It isn’t that the other girls didn’t offer help, it is that I saw one girl quickly, gently and quietly offer to do a kind act of service without expecting anything in return. Last night, firsthand, I saw a mother’s diligent teaching and the Holy Spirit’s prompting work hand in hand.

In a nearly sleepless night full of giggles, dye and pepperoni, I was blessed.

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