anthem of the seas Photo copyright (2016) Kelly Guest. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


"The Lord loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).

Sometimes, though, it is just hard to give cheerfully. Like, after the half hour or more bedtime routine and kissing all the kids good-night, when I finally settle down to finish folding that last load of laundry, or better still, cuddle next to my hubby on the sofa to watch a movie or even the NBA finals, only to hear, "Mommmy, I need a drink of water!" Worse still is the one that creeps down the stairs to declare she had a nightmare. "You weren't even in bed long enough to fall asleep!"

More so, I'm not very cheerful when my morning quiet time with the Lord and a cup of coffee is interrupted by an early-riser with their own book in hand wanting it to be read. Yep, that's enough to throw me off for the rest of the day. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, but sometimes it seems so hard to give a cup of water, take a walk back upstairs, offer a comforting word, or read a story  cheerfully.

It is good for mommy, every once in a while, to have a little getaway time to rejuvenate and reflect. With a knowing, loving and generous heart, my mother blessed me with just such an opportunity. She took me, my sister and my sister-in-law along on a cruise last week, a 5-day trip to Bermuda and back. It was beautiful. The crystal clear waters and pink sand beaches were a breath-taking reflection of God's bounteous beauty. Equally wonderful was being able to kick back and recreate, to sit back and relax, to be away and miss my family.

I also met some beautiful people on this trip. Fellow passengers were friendly and the Bermudian natives were wonderfully welcoming. Still, the people that impressed me most were the employees on board the ship, especially the ones that dealt with us every day - the housekeeping and wait staff. These employees work 12-16 hours a day, 7 days a week for 9-10 months straight! Pretty darn close to a mommy shift, no? And you know what, they are always smiling. They want to make sure our trip is a pleasurable one. They will do anything you ask of them, serving you in anyway they can, happy to do so. They inspired me.

My experience with them make me realize that I should serve like that. If they are so attentive to my needs - I who am a stranger, how much more should I be attentive to the needs of my family? It may be their job, but it is my vocation. I have been called to serve.

[Tweet "If strangers are so attentive to my needs, how much more should I be attentive to my family's needs?"]

I am not saying that I should give in to every whim of my children. Indeed, we need to teach them self-control and discipline. They need to hear "No" from us because sometimes God will say "No" to them. They must learn to accept no as an answer.

It wasn't so much what the employees did for me and the other passengers, it was how. Always with a cheerful heart.

If I can do something for my children, if I can tell them "Yes," then I should say "Yes!" and do it with a joyful heart, happy to serve. If the answer has to be "No," then so be it, but it can be said with a compassionate heart. I am still serving them.

The goal of every employee on board that ship was that we have the best vacation ever. I have a similar goal for my family. I want us to have the best life ever - eternal life with God Himself, the source of all our happiness.

So I thank God for the time away to recollect and enjoy myself. I thank Him for the example He placed before me. I thank Him for my beautiful family that I am privileged to serve. I ask Him for the acceptance of the grace to do so to the best of my ability. I pray that I will always be a cheerful giver.

Copyright 2016 Kelly Guest