Smile at Me

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  Mother Teresa

Lost in my thoughts, I moved from counter to table and table to counter as I was hurrying to get dinner on the table.  I wasn’t mad or happy.  I was simply in a state of action.  Dinner.  I came to a complete halt when I noticed my 3-year-old intensely watching my every move.  My fast, hurried, frazzled moves.  Moves that sent a message of stress rather than control.  Our eyes locked momentarily.  I tried to pull away, but I couldn’t.  His look was so intense I had to say something.  “What is it?”

“Mommy, are you happy or mad?”

“I’m happy.  Why?”

“Then why is your face doing this?”  He made a most serious facial expression that I must say was one fine mad face.

“Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m not mad at all.  I was just busy making dinner.  I’m very happy.”

His shoulders relaxed, his face broke out into a smile that covered his face, and he hugged me.

He needed to know I was happy.  His sense of security seemed to be tied to the state of my emotions.

Later the same night, I was in the same state of preparation for bedtime.  Clothes were being gathered for the morning, rooms tidied, children prepped for bed.  This time it was my 7-year-old.

“Mom, are you mad about something?”

“No, honey, why would you think I’m mad.”

“Because your face looks mad.  I wondered if I had done something to make you mad.”

“Not at all.  Sometimes I guess I just am not really thinking of anything and my relaxed facial expression just might not look happy.  But I am!”

I reflected on their comments later that evening.  I thought about what a smile does to me.  When a stranger shoots me a little smile, my spirit is immediately lifted.  When my children walk in the door with a smile on their face, my heart is warmed.  A smile encourages us.  A smile sends a message to our children of love and acceptance.  A smile says ‘I am pleased with you’.  A smile says ‘You can do this’.  A smile says ‘I’m on your side’.  A smile carries a thousand messages.

If our little ones could write us a little message, would it go something like this…

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m watching you all the time.  Even when you don’t notice.  I love to study your facial expressions.  What things make you mad and what things make you happy.  I love when you are happy.  I love to see you smile at me.  When you are smiling, I feel safe.  I can relax when I see you smile because I know you have it all under control.  When you smile I know you are pleased with me.  

I can’t control my emotions very well, and I have tantrums that embarrass you.  Please forgive me.  I’m a child in training.  Model to me how to control my emotions.  If you yell at me, I might think that is how I am to handle my frustrations with you.

You are the center of my world.  My comfort comes from you and I desperately want to make you happy.  I will make so many mistakes every single day.  Please be patient with me.  I really want to do what is right, but I need help in figuring it out.  Please speak gently with me.  It scares me when you yell.

And please don’t ever give up on me.  Even when you think I don’t want you.  I will always want you and need you.

When you smile at me and speak with a gentle voice, I feel loved by you.  I love you.


Smile even when you don’t feel like it.  It will make you feel better.  And the little ones watching too.

A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way

“Jacob, you will be the best dad one day,”  my Zachary said to his older brother.  With a sheepish smile, Jacob looked back at him and asked, “Why would you say that?”  Zachary’s reply, so sweet and genuine, “Because you are so responsible.”  Zachary was referring to how his older brother, cautious by his first-borne nature, seems always to keep an eye out for anyone around him.  Just like a father.  Just like both their earthly and their Heavenly Father does for them.

When Jacob sees his brothers in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to speak up or warn them away from their folly.  On this particular day, Jacob was very concerned about Zachary’s safety and felt compelled to warn and explain to him why he was in danger.

Zachary spoke a simple statement to his brother.  “You will be the best dad one day.”  How easy was it for Zachary to speak those words?  Words that are true.   Words from the heart.

How often do we think encouraging thoughts yet fail to speak them?  What power do we have to lift the spirits of someone we love?

Words have power.

Words of encouragement can take us from a state of withering away….

to a state of renewed life and energy.

I saw an immediate spark in Jacob’s eye.  He actually looked taller.  I realized he was proudly standing taller.  Something good he holds inside was recognized by someone he loves and respects.  And it was spoken out loud.  It built him up.  It edified him.

Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

As a parent we often become parched without realizing it.  When someone we care about takes the time to encourage us, it makes all the difference in the world.  We are renewed.

Several weeks ago I received the sweetest gift of encouragement from one of my closest friends.  A friend I adore, respect, and love to pieces.

This is what she made me

and these are the words she wrote that renewed my wearied heart

 She had no idea that on that particular day that her gift arrived in the mail, I was in need of encouraging words.  I wasn’t feeling like a great mom.  I was tired, overloaded, spread thin, and wondering if anything I was doing was making a difference at all.  She saw a different picture in me and took the time to tell me.  And it made all the difference in the world.  I went to my boys, hugged them, and that day I was the best mom I could be.  My parched soul had been watered.  I had renewed strength to grab hold of the moments in front of me that day and cherish every second, making the most of what God had blessed me with.

Encourage someone today.  They need it as much as you do.  Encouraging them will create a moment that will in turn create multiple moments down the road.

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