Living the Joy (it’s contagious)

Gold Brush Stroke

As parents, teaching our children is just part of the job description. But have you noticed how many lessons you learn from them?

Rachel in lakeToday my daughter Rachel taught me an important one.

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We walked down the sterile, stainless steel–trimmed hall. Me in my surgical gown, booties, cap and mask, Rachel adorned in her little hospital gown, robe, and slippers. She was on her way to oral surgery.

Staff let me accompany her to the surgical room, making this as non-threatening for my little girl as possible. It was a rather long walk and the anesthetist who escorted us thought it may be quicker to push Rach on a cart. She wanted none of that, insisting she walk.

Surprisingly, Rachel had handled the morning’s strange schedule and lack of food and drink with great resilience. Periodically, she expressed some apprehension, but mostly, she was near bouncy with joy.

Her giddiness continued as we strolled down the corridor. Racing us, knocking our hands together, squealing with laughter; we soon reached the surgical area.

Everyone in eyesight received a sprightly “hi” and a big grin.

Down another hall, and we arrived at her room. Rach loved that everyone was there for her.

Momentary resistance to laying on the gurney and the gas mask gave way to more goofiness as she imitated a pig’s snort in her attempt to breathe deeply. And those beautiful brown eyes slowly disappeared behind heavy eyelids, laughing the entire time.

As I was being escorted to the waiting room, the nurse commented on how Rachel’s infectious joy had made her day.

It wasn’t an unusual comment, people mention her encouraging smile often. But hearing it this day, affected me differently. It made me reflect on the impact I have on people.

Here is a little girl who can’t fully dress herself, can’t speak more than a dozen coherent words, and can’t even write her name. Yet everywhere she goes she makes people smile.

She brightens up the darkest room. In her wake she leaves joy.

And I can’t help wondering, what remains when I leave a room? Does my presence make a positive difference in someone else’s life? I strive to be polite, but do I exude joy like my daughter does? Do I brighten a room or contribute to its darkness?

Most importantly, am I a witness to the joy I find in Christ?

Important questions to ask ourselves: What am I leaving in my wake? Is it love, joy or something far less desirable? Share on X

Rachel doesn’t analyze a situation to see if she should be happy. She is, so she is happy! And she unselfishly shares that joy and contentment with anyone who cares to notice.

I am a daughter of the King. I have hope in the promise of His saving grace. Am I sharing that grace, hope and joy with others? Are you?

“Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Reflections: Does joyful living come easy to you, or do you need to ask God’s help in cultivating it? Do you know someone who brightens up the room when they enter? Let’s honor them in the comments to this post.

By His Grace,



  1. Kim Nealson on July 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    What a wonderful post! I too have learned this lesson from my daughter…don’t our special girls just amaze you some times? They face some of the toughest challenges and yet they happily march forth!

    • juliesunne on July 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      So nice to hear from you, Kim! I’ll take that as a sign you are getting settled. Someday, I’d love to visit with you about what you’ve learned from Kinsey. Enjoy a blessed weekend.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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