(Picture above is of our daughter-in-law, Melanie, with her four children. This beautiful picture is a reminder of the blessing and power of a smile!)
I remember the time years ago, in the midst of my season of homeschooling that my husband, Steve, looked at me one day and said, “Honey, I think you should smile more.” I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I am sure it was not one of my more stellar days, and I didn’t receive his encouragement very well. I went off by myself into my bathroom and did a little experiment.
I looked at myself in the mirror and evaluated how I looked. Then I pretended to be unhappy with a child while correcting that child with that attitude. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Wow, Lord, if You had put little mirrors on my children’s foreheads so that I could see what they are seeing when I am displeased with their behavior, perhaps I would have more quickly come to the meek and quiet spirit that I long for.”
Finally I smiled at myself in the mirror. The difference was astonishing. It was beyond amazing. There was no doubt in my mind which image I preferred looking at, and I could readily see why Steve would suggest that I smile more. Truly, the smiling face was the one I desired for my family to see.
When a mom writes to me with struggles with her children, the first thing I usually ask her to do is to look each child in the eye at least once every day, smile at him, and tell him you love him. We get busy with life. We work with our children. We talk to them. We play with them. We do school with them. We disciple them. We are with them a great deal of time each day. Sometimes, though, we forget to simply quiet ourselves enough to catch their eye, smile into their face, and express the words that fill our hearts—”I love you!” We might say, “I love you” as we hug them during the day or tuck them in at night, but what about looking them in the eye when we say it?
There isn’t a verse in Scripture that says there is power in a smile, but this verse is pretty close: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). Here the smile comes from the heart. For me there were times when my heart was not merry, but I chose to put a smile on my face. From that I discovered that the decision to smile could also cheer up my heart.
I was amazed a few months ago to read of a secular study that showed that simply having people smile changed their attitudes to become more positive. It really didn’t surprise me because I had that experience myself.
A smile is a blessing to my family. They like to see a wife and a mommy who is happy. A smile is a blessing to me. It expresses my feelings for my family, and it causes me to feel happier. A smile is also a blessing to my Lord because it says to Him that I am content in Him with whatever circumstances He has given to me. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
Could I challenge you to take the mirror test yourself? What kind of mommy do your want your children looking at—the one who is smiling, the one who is serious, or the one whose brow is furled and frowning? I would like to remind you to smile more. I would like to remind myself to smile more. There is blessing in your smile. Don’t lose those precious blessings!
Trusting in Jesus,