“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

I sat down next to her. We had been pew partners before, although I often sat behind her. Usually her young daughter was all smiles and very friendly. Today this child had her back facing her mom, arms crossed in defiance, and a frown hiding that beautiful smile.

Mom leaned over and whispered, “Bad morning. Someone is mad at me.” I smiled to myself. Every parent has been there. Our children don’t always “like” us! Sometimes they even go as far as to say they “hate” us.

I whispered back, “Been there. They do get over it…eventually.” I told her that it made me smile, how obvious it was. Her pre-teen had the whole body language thing going on. Mom said it had been a tough week.

When you’re in the middle of one of those weeks, it can be hard to see the other side. I’m sure it hadn’t been an easy morning for this young mom and her daughter. But they were here, in church. And I sensed that by the end of the service, her daughter’s posture had softened. I wondered if the Holy Spirit had gently nudged this child towards her mom.

Mom’s obedience this morning was intentional. She could have stayed home and given up. But she was here, with a smile on her face. I hope she left church encouraged. I hope she felt strength in knowing that she wasn’t alone. I hope she realized that little girls filled with drama turn into young women filled with faith when you bring them to a place of worship and expose them to God’s Word. I admire this mom. She made the choice to be right where she needed to be. I’m sure God smiled on their little family this morning with joy! And his joy will be her strength.

Lord, thank you for your strength. Thank you for giving us the courage to face each situation. Thank you for your promises that stand ever faithful and ever true. When we choose you, we find strength. Love you, Lord!