don't have to affect our heart in a negative way and cause hardness.
While I had a 2-1/2 year old son and was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, my mom died of cancer. It was a terrible time, very emotional as you can imagine. I was very close to my mom, and our relationship meant a lot to me. I was really looking forward to her meeting my little girl and sharing in the joy of my time as a young mom with kids. I had hoped for her love, encouragement and advise during these years. I wasn't ready to lose her. When she passed, I had every reason to have feelings of depression, despair, sorrow, pity, and grief, and of course naturally I felt all these emotions and have allowed (and still do at times) myself moments to process these feelings. However, having a little one at home who didn't understand what was going on and an innocent child in the womb, I realized I had to somehow gaurd myself from sinking into and staying in a bad place emotionally for their sakes.
For me, waking up in the mornings after my mom passed started with immediate feelings of "this can't be real" type grief. So, I decided we would start our days declaring the joy and strength of God to begin.
Sometimes our emotions are going to feel the complete opposite of the truths we declare in the Bible, but I chose that with everything in me, for the sake of my children we would say every day "The Joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10) and "This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24) And I have to honestly say- choosing to declare these verses every day made all the difference in how I was able to start my day and get through those difficult mornings. My heart shifted and in the midst of sorrow I was able to experience joy and peace!
Although I still miss my mom terribly and feel sadness at times, I want to give my beautiful children the gift of a happy mom. I was blessed with a wonderful mom and I want to bless my children with that as well. I know my mom is in a happy place and when I think of that, I draw from that joy too, and feel we are rejoicing together through our faith in God. Oh, and a little side benefit, as I declared these verses, not only did my own emotions and countenance change for the better, but my 3 year old son now knows those verses by heart. I can start saying them, and he will finish!
I decided to create a little painting with the words "The Joy of the Lord is my strength" which is found in Nehemiah 8:10. It's a beautiful reminder of His joy, and I promise, if you take this by faith, it truly will become your strength.