Have you ever heard that old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”? I used to laugh at this quirky phrase, but now that I’m a mother, I’ve found that it has a lot of truth to it! I have learned that my attitude affects the spirit and atmosphere of my home, husband, and children in a dramatic way. If I am tense, stressed-out, and frazzled, then the entire household seems to follow suit. If I am peaceful, joyful, and constant of soul, then our home feels peaceful as well – even if things are a mess and the kids are acting a bit wild. It all comes down to attitude. Is my attitude right with God? Is my perspective in alignment with His Truth? If it is, I am fully equipped and ready to manage my home, minister to my husband, and disciple my children by the grace of God. But if it is not, I’m in for a very long, frustrating, and exhausting day where I try to be a great wife and mother in my own strength and usually fail.
I have found that commanding my attitude to align with the Word of God first thing in the morning is key. To immediately wake with a song in my heart and the perspective, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” makes a world of difference in how the rest of the day flows. But this time of year, that’s not so easy to do. Rising early with a song in my heart, when I can hear birds chirping merrily outside my window and see the warm light of the sun flooding in, isn’t really too hard. But rising early with a happy attitude in the dead of winter when it’s pitch dark and below zero is a bit of a different story.
It takes supernatural grace. Instead of waking up and immediately consulting my emotions by asking, “How am I feeling right now?” or “What do I want to get out of today?” or “How can I avoid the discomfort of getting out of bed right now?”, I have to call on the grace of God to ask an entirely new question first thing in the morning: “Lord, how can I live for Your glory alone today?” It’s amazing what God can do when I begin my day with this joyfully surrendered attitude.
One of my greatest inspirations is a woman named Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker woman who lived several centuries ago. Though she had a husband, numerous children, and an active, comfortable life, she began asking that question every morning upon rising. Soon, God led her to a women’s prison in her community where the inmates were being treated like animals. She began to visit the prison, bringing food, care, comfort, love, and hope to women who had lost their desire to live. The prison was completely transformed. Elizabeth became a powerful tool in the hand of God to deliver the Gospel to the poor and discarded. Women’s lives were forever changed. New legislation for prison standards was adopted. And soon, God used Elizabeth to transform the entire prison system in all of Europe. She became one of the most influential Christian women who has ever lived – all from beginning each morning by asking the question, “How can I bring you glory today, Lord Jesus?”
Tomorrow morning when you wake up, try something new. Instead of asking yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” (i.e. tired, groggy, grumpy, unmotivated, cold, etc.), try asking a different question – “Lord, how can I live for Your glory alone today?” And then rely upon His supernatural grace to give you a spring in your step and a song in your heart as you surrender to Him, even in the midst of a dark, cold, dreary winter morning. Whether you are a busy mother, a missionary, a student, or just a simple daughter of the King, the lives around you will be eternally impacted by your heavenly attitude!*