It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I clued into the difference between joy and happiness. So often I, like many other people, used those two words interchangeably. But through a long process, I discovered that happiness is fleeting. It changes with my mood and my circumstance. It leaves me without any substance that can affect my outlook.
Joy, on the other hand, has weight. It's strong enough to build on, anchor to and get me through the rough patches of life. Once I tasted the strength of true joy, nothing else would satisfy me.
Fast forward to my parenting years. I noticed early on that my kids relied more on fleeting happiness than foundational joy. That's where this prayer comes in. Today I want to share this heartfelt plea as I cried out for God to show my boys the true meaning of joy.
Dear Lord, what an amazing Father you are. You provide us with such bounty to make it through each day. But you know I wasn't always able to see Your provision. Now, I see that blindness in my child, and I'm begging for Your help.
Give my son eyes to see the strength found only in Your joy. Help him to focus on the things that last, instead of the fleeting changeability of emotions. Teach him the limitless blessings of Your love, Your company and Your salvation.
Show him that joy can be found in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Open his eyes and his heart to all the good things You've placed in his path. Don't let him fall into the trap of what he doesn't have. Instead, give him Your perspective on all he encounters.
You've taught me the foundation of joy, and I'm asking you to do the same for him. You are my joy, and I look forward to the day when he also experiences that same truth in his life. Amen.
Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent, While My Child is Away. Married to her high school sweetheart, Kirk, she and her husband live in the upstate of South Carolina and have raised three sons. Connect with her on EdieMelson.com, Twitter and Facebook.
This article originally appeared at just18summers.com.
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