Joy…It is one of the Fruits of the Spirit, but what do we really know about this thing called joy? In his book “Surprised by Joy”, C.S. Lewis embarks on a lifelong journey to discover the facts behind the word. He says, “The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting” (C.S. Lewis). I asked my Youth Group teens if they had experienced joy today, this week, this month or any time in their lives thus far. Two of the teens could not say that they had. In discussing how parents refer to their children as their “pride and joy,” one of the young teens said she knows her parents don’t think of her that way. Her dad favors her sister and her mom favors the other sister, but neither show any pride in her. I was heartbroken for this girl and had no idea what to say to her. I made sure at the very least she knew I appreciated her, but still, somehow her joy had been robbed.
I began to analyze my own utterances to my children and how I view them. Have I told them they are my pride and joy? I tell them I love them often, but do they need more? Am I stealing their joy somehow?
Nehemiah 8:10 in The Message says: “He continued, ‘Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don't have anything: This day is holy to God. Don't feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!’” When I speak these words that the joy of the Lord is their strength, I’m empowering my kids and blessing them with esteeming joy. I am adding to their joy every time I say those words. Today, I would encourage you to tell your children how proud you are of them, how they are your joy and esteem them for who they are and whose they are.