With a distance of over 700 miles normally between us, I was thrilled to get to attend my only granddaughter’s third birthday party. With every year that passes, I marvel at the differences between our six “super hero” grandsons and our funny little grandgirl! Eliana is fond of pigs so her clever Mama put together a “Piggy Princess Party” for her and her guests (Ellie called them “my girls”.) Ellie and her girls entered into the party festivities with happy abandon as they decorated their “piggy crowns” with crayons, played “Ring-Around-the-Piggy” and listened to the story of “Olivia” (one of Ellie’s favorite pigs.) Ellie’s Nana made an amazing cake that was the head of a blue-eyed Princess Pig complete with jeweled crown, dangling earrings, red lips and curled eyelashes. I crocheted a pink “pig purse” for Ellie with teal button “eyes” in the shape of two flowers and loaded it with a small mirror, comb and little girl lipstick and gloss (I kid you not!) The party was everything I had anticipated, PURE DELIGHT for this Grammie to have the opportunity to dote on our female wonder!
As I flew home I thought about a myriad of sweet memories made with our children and grandchildren over the years. We have been so very blessed! However, contemplating the wisdom of John the Apostle this morning reminded me of the broader scope of my desires for Eliana and the rest of our family. John wrote, “I have NO GREATER JOY than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4.) Part of me would like for those I love to live out their lives in a sort of protective “bubble” as they naturally choose to serve Christ. But as I contemplated John’s wisdom I also thought about the words of James that once terrified my heart, “Consider it PURE JOY my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . . . “ Rarely, even as a counselor, could I see heartache and trials as opportunity for anything good were it not for the wisdom of James. I have learned that the JOY referred to by James is not in suffering trials. No, I believe the PURE JOY referred to, is in learning to trust God by giving thanks to Him for His love and mercy through those challenges. It is God who accomplishes the work of spiritual maturity and completion He desires in each of our hearts, as we in humility give thanks to Him for His faithfulness.
Re-framing James 1:2-4 I adjusted my desires for my children and grandchildren to the wisdom of eternity, “Consider it PURE JOY, Kathie, whenever THEY face trials of many kinds, for you know the testing of THEIR faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that THEY will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“No greater joy” than to witness those I love to learn to trust God through the challenges that will come? Yep, that about sums it up . . . the gold standard of PURE JOY!
All to His Glory!
I did a devotional in my class with that exact verse this week. I told them about the wonderful goal of being mature. I tried to explain “mature” to my 7 year olds. I went with; not feeling the need to be first in line is kind of what mature means. And wouldn’t you be happier if you were mature?
Your students are blessed to have a teacher like you! What a great definition of “mature” not just for your students but for us all! ( :