“Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3–5)

How about homeschooling? Don’t you just love it when people ask you, “What are you doing for  . . . ?” and you wish you had an articulate answer? You really don’t want to say again that Susie is struggling in math and that Johnny is still struggling with obedience and is having a hard time even getting as far as math. You don’t want to say that you don’t know what curriculum you are going to be using next year. You are not happy with the way things are going and you feel like a failure.

Here’s some perspective. What others may not see is the hours you’ve spent with Susie just trying to help her understand. They don’t see the many changes in curriculum and research you’ve tried in an attempt to help her succeed. They don’t see the hours of discipline, instruction, and admonition you’ve given Johnny. They don’t see the spiritual battle raging for the soul of Johnny. They don’t see the hours of tears and prayers for both Susie and Johnny. But what they don’t see, God does see. One of his names is “the God Who Sees.” And what He sees is a teacher’s heart that is soft toward her children, doing all she can to build them up and bring them up in righteousness. He sees a heart ready to obey Him by teaching and discipling and instructing these children. And what God sees, He rewards.

Your friends, family, and neighbors might not see anything but a slow Susie and a naughty Johnny, but God sees a mother being obedient to His commands, and He sees that Susie will one day not only be good at math but will even help teach her brother. He sees that one day Johnny will bow his knee in obedience to God because of his mother’s consistent efforts. He sees two children who have not been soiled by the world because of this mother. You can be blessed to know that since God has asked you to teach your children, He has also equipped you for the task. Take joy in this thought: if you are seeking Him, He sees a good teacher. 

Happiness Is Found in Having the Lord as Our God

"That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: That our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:12–15)

Am I a good friend or daughter or neighbor? What defines “good”? Do we define goodness by outward actions or by inward attitudes? I believe the latter defines the former. Do you feel you have relationships that are not thriving and are maybe even a little sick? This can make you very unhappy. There is a cure. Believe it or not, a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. What might be missing in these relationships is a merry heart. And the way to a merry heart is a heart of mercy. If the hearts of our friends or neighbors are broken and dried up, they have nothing to offer; they are, in a sense, poor. But if our hearts are full of mercy, then we are whole and fulfilled and even willing and able to pour that healing balm into their lives. We become a good friend or daughter or neighbor by offering the goodness and mercy of God to all those He’s placed around us. 

Showing Mercy Brings Happiness

“He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” (Proverbs 14:21)  

What I especially need to know is if I am a good Christian. So often I feel the opposite because I am not spending enough time chasing after God. I do not read my Bible for an hour a day; some days I barely get in one verse. I often don’t have any quiet time to really pray unless it’s after everyone is asleep, but by that time, as soon as my eyes are closed in prayer, I am asleep too. What I have realized is that God is not sitting around somewhere tapping his fingers waiting for me to come to Him. He never leaves me or forsakes me; He is always right beside me. If I could just stop long enough, I would see Him. If I would just be still and listen for a minute, I would realize that He is speaking. And His Word is powerful. Even that one verse can change me from the inside out from a person of frustration to a person of peace. One word from Him and the stormy waters of life are no longer threatening. Our Master calms all storms with His command: “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39)

One of my favorite prayers that echoes in my heart is by A.W. Tozer:

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more, I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (From The Pursuit of God)

Am I a good Christian? There is no one good, not one, not even me. But we can look to the One Who is Good and find our goodness in Him. I have heard it said that life in Christ is like a train in its tracks. The train can go anywhere the tracks will take it. But if the train comes off the tracks, it not only loses its way, but it loses its power and ends in a wreck. We must stay in Christ to have the power of Christ and the direction of Christ, so that we can truly say that we can do all things in Christ Who strengthens us. Where is our source of strength? Joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength, our source of power. Joy from the Lord is a powerful force to reckon with. Through the Spirit of God, that feeling of guilt can be replaced with the knowledge that our goodness is in Christ—in Christ alone. We can find fullness of joy in the forgiveness of God, in His presence, and in the knowledge that we are His. And because we are His, He has bestowed His goodness on us. That’s enough to stir up some long-lost joy!

Happiness Is Found in Forgiveness