I could write a book on the things my kids teach me, and my 4-year-old’s latest lesson is a big one.

KK, like her mama, bounces back and forth between emotional extremes. She might be happily singing one minute, and then (literally) kickin’ mad the next.

It causes some intense moments between the two of us.

Last week, The Daddy was out of town for a few days, and my wonderful children (including the new puppy) did their best to test me on a few occasions. On one of those, during which my voice was escalting in volume as I provided, for the 100th time, a set of instructions that were not being followed, KK said with no small degree of urgency:

Mommy! I want you to SMILE at me!

She caught me in my tracks. What a manipulative/clever little thing, was probably my first thought. Try not to laugh, Mama, was likely my second. But my deep thought in response to this was:

This kid is on to something. When I smiled at her, it paused the negative action. It calmed us both. And without compromising the directions I was giving her, it showed her my love.

She continued making that “plea” several times over the next few days, usually resulting in one of these from me:


and then took a break from it.

Yesterday, the girls and I had a hurried stop at home in between their school and their swim lessons. We had just enough time for me to feed them dinner, get their swim stuff together, and get them changed, with just a little playtime cushion built in. (As a family, we are always hurrying, and yet we’re not so good at it).

Again, during one of my, “C’mon! Can you PLEASE just PUT your PANTS on?!” tirades, she asked me to smile at her. I paused, and thought about it for a second, and then I said:

If you want me to smile at you, why don’t YOU smile at ME first?

{The end of that story is: she complied, and the rest of the night into today, we have been intentionally smiling at and for each other when we don’t feel like it, at least 80% of the time}.

Now, I ask:
When is the last time you prayed this prayer?
Lord, make Your face shine on me.

I looked it up, and it’s in the Bible more times than I thought. A version of this prayer or thought can be found in Numbers 6:25, Psalm 119:135, Psalm 31:16, Psalm 80:3, Psalm 80:7, and Daniel 9:17, to name a few.

To me, when I picture that prayer (it was said at our wedding, and Rod and I sang “Shine On Us” at my brother’s wedding), I picture God’s version of a smile… a ray of light, a warm breeze, mayve some abstract version of an actual grin. Whatever it is, I know I want it.

And I know sometimes, be it in my thoughts, my words to others, or even, in my dark moments, my own prayers, I say:

God! I want You to SMILE at me!…why aren’t You?

So maybe yesterday, I answered that question for my own self as I answered my little girl. If I want God to smile, shouldn’t I start it first? Shouldn’t I show some love, some joy, some behavior to cause Him to want to smile?

I’m still stuck in Psalm 119, and I see a few pieces of advice there on how to “make God smile”~

seek His precepts
have a blameless heart
do not be ashamed of Him
meditate on His testimonies
offer praise to Him
follow His commandments
delight in His law
speak His Word

That is not a small order, but, but, but…
like this smile is to me:


I think God’s smile on me is totally worth the effort.