Friday, November 23, 2018

Domestic Happiness

Flowers at Mrs. White's Table

This year has been very difficult for my family, as well as for many others.  There have been deaths in our extended family, and the missing of those close ones who have been in Heaven some years. We all have trials and hardships we have to go through.  Sometimes stress from extended family, personal loss, or the worries and burdens we feel about family members, as they struggle in life, can make us miserable.   It is hard enough dealing with our own personal problems (such as chronic illness or paying bills), we have to learn not to take on the pain of those around us.   We will always care. We will always worry.  But we cannot let burdens take away our joy.

My husband has watched the movie "Fireproof" a couple of times this year, without me knowing.  It gave him some good ideas and he has been extra kind.  I have learned from him how important it is to be good and pleasant and to give to those we love, without conditions or expecting anything. It is a kindness based on personal contentment in the Lord.   This is part of being happy.

Some of us have grown children who are going through painful trials. This hurts our mother hearts.  It can overwhelm us with grief and cause us to always try to "help" or "fix it" for them.  But we have to learn to give the burden and the worry where it belongs, in the Hands of God through prayer!  He cares for the sparrows, takes care of His children, and He will surely take care of these trials.  There is a hymn that has been going through my mind over the last evening. It was a lesson to me on how to be happy, reminding me that burdens should be left at the foot of the cross, and I can walk away in peace and happiness. The song is "At the Cross" by Isaac Watts. The chorus is:

"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith,
I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day"

I have a little grandson whose parents are struggling through difficulties.  Whenever he would visit he loved to sing songs he learned in nursery school.   Because he loved music and singing, I would sing hymns to him and he loved them.  He loved the chorus of "Trust and Obey" where it says, "To be happy in Jesus."  He loved the word "happy" in a song.  In my car radio, I have a CD I always play of Elvis Presley Gospel music (from 1967).  When grandson rides in the car with me, his favorite song is "If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side," which has "happy" in the lyrics. Some of it is as follows:

"I don't know just what I'd do
If the Lord wasn't walking by my side
When I was drifting (when I was drifting on the sea of despair)
And I was wandering (I was wondering if Jehovah's up there)
When Jesus found me, (Jesus found me in my sinful life)
He heard me praying (he heard me praying on my knees at night)
Now I'm singing (Now I'm singing this happy song)
Because I'm happy (because I'm happy as I go along)
And I don't know (I don't know) just what I'd do
If the Lord wasn't walking by my side
What would I do, (What would I do when a tear fills my eyes)
What would I do (What would I do when it's my time to die)
Well I'd be lonely, discouraged
Burdened on the way
If the Lord wasn't walking by my side every day"

There are little common courtesies we do in a day that uplift one another in the home.  We can keep each other happy if we work at kindness.  But we must remember, it is impossible for us to exude joy if we do not strive to have it in our own hearts. We have to practice every single day to stay happy.  I love to sing hymns and read hymns because these stay in my mind and bring me peace. They are brought to my mind throughout the day to provide joy and contentment.  I am reminded of holy and godly things and this keeps me looking up instead of all around me.

When my husband goes out of his way to check on me in my homemaking, before he goes off to do a project in the garage, he is showing me kindness.  When he asked me if I wanted something special for my birthday this week (even though we don't have the money to waste), he is showing me kindness.  He is reminding me to always be happy.    In turn, I do the same for him and for my children and grandchildren. I serve them in love with sweet manners.  But we cannot do any of this in our own strength because trials can destroy our attitude very quickly!  We have to be slow and steady in the Lord - Bible reading, daily prayer, and the singing of hymns must be regular habits in the home to help keep us happy.

We can have joy in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. The key ingredient in this is TRUST.  If we trust the Lord with everything in our lives, and know His promises in the Bible, we will draw close to Him for comfort and guidance.  This is the greatest form of Happiness in life.  We show this by our sweet behavior (in manners and courtesy) to those in our home. This is the fruit of that trust in the Lord. 

My husband and I will often say to each other with a gentle, prodding smile, "Are you happy?" or we will say, "Be happy." This is how we remind each other what is truly important.  We instantly stop worrying for the moment. It gives us a time of respite to think on the word "happiness!" We know it has everything in the world to do with our level of gratitude to God for our very lives.

Be happy.  Be blessed.

- Mrs. White

P.S. Next week I will share with you the special thing we did for my birthday, which always falls on the week of Thanksgiving.

From the Archives -

Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

Joyful Days - Gracious Homemaking.

Financial Adventure - Living in Reduced Circumstances

- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 


Karla said...

Mrs. White,
God Bless you, your message really touched my heart. It could have been taken from my own life this year..Thank you for everything you do to touch the lives of others with love, kindness and the grace of God's peace in your life. A very blessed and happy birthday to you dear lady, I sure am thankful you're here. Prayers you can all Stay warm and safe in the frigid cold up your way. Have seen on the news the weather and pray the Lord keeps you in His warm and loving embrace. Love to you, Karla

Janine said...

I'm sorry to hear about the hardships and deaths. That is so sad. I know sometimes when family members have hardships that we can't solve I just want to curl up in bed. Then I have to remind myself that only prayer can help.

That is so sweet about your husband! I hope you had a wonderful birthday day. I loved this post, talking about the songs, from hymns to Elvis gospel songs. We are definitely kindred spirits.

I'm doing something new and honestly I don't know if I have the flu or if it is just nerves! Hot and cold, and then shaky, but when a problem gets solved I feel better... Then a new problem and more illness! It was nice to read this post just when I needed it. I sang with my son all the time when he was younger and he still breaks out in chorus at unexpected times...I'm so glad the verses are in his heart and mind! Many hymns have such good theology.

Mama Said No said...

One of the many things I am truly thankful for, it you, Mrs. White. You always have a sweet word of wisdom to share. Happy Thanksgiving weekend, and God Bless you and your family.

Homemaker' said...

Mrs. White - I've enjoyed your posts over the years, but I don't think I've ever commented. Thank you for this post especially. I SO understand - we've experienced painful situations during the past couple of years - it seemed like we thought we worked through one thing and another came in from behind. Thank you for your encouragement and your insight and ideas. God bless your day.

Billie Jo said...

This is such a meaningful message, and one I will refer to often. Thank you for sharing. Have a cozy weekend!

Cathy said...

I love your hymn singing, and I agree with you about singing those grace -giving, truth-bearing hymns.This morning I sang all stanzas of" Blessed Assurance" and it was glorious to sing it to the LORD in praise and thanksgiving.
Blessings to you!

Raleyfamilysfarm said...

I have gone through some severe trials this year. Just a bit ago, they threatened to overwhelm me. I got up, and took a long walk, and sang hymns all the way. I feel an amazingly lot better now! :)

patsy said...

Dear Mrs. White,

I am a regular reader of your blog and visit often. Just wanted to say my condolences to you during this difficult time. Nothing is more difficult to handle then the illness and or death of a loved one. You are not alone because I lost both My Momma and my Dad, and miss them terribly. I wrote this simple little poem for you and those who are hurting.
God Bless,
It is so nice to know that we will see them again, someday.
When we lose a loved one near and dear
time stands still, and life, unclear
Day after day, week after week
much of the time
it's just peace that we seek
to those who are hurting, I'm sure there's a few
God knows your hearts, and cares about you
Give it to God, he alone has the key
to the door of heaven ,
where someday we'll be.

Blessed Homemaking said...

This is such a wise post, Mrs. White--to find joy & contentment in the Lord, & to TRUST Him. How we must have that childlike faith! What can we do without it? Without it we are lost & miserable.

Isaac Watts has so many beautiful hymns. He is my husband's favorite hymn writer. We are blessed to go to a church where all they sing are hymns (with an organ). I am thankful for this.

I hope your trials can be alleviated soon. Praying for you & your family & thinking of you. I'm so thankful for you & your friendship over the years.

Ashley said...

Thank you for what you shared here. It was an encouragement to me today. :)