On my worst days, when I’m sleep-deprived with no coffee and overwhelmed by tasks that mock, its power is the antidote needed to release me from the grips of a goal-oriented trance and breathe.

The laughter of my children.

No one can stay tightly-wound with the high-pitch belly laugh of a toddler, the giggles of a preschooler and the guffaws of a cool first grader in the background.

It is the single-most thing that has the power to jolt me out of my reverie, the uncanny ability to lend a moment of perspective, the reassurance that though I sometimes lose it and have to pray that the light of Jesus would cover any wounds I’ve inflicted during the day, that maybe, just maybe they will have a few happy memories of their childhood.

And there’s just something in that laughter when it’s shared as siblings, a salve to my soul that perhaps, despite the inevitable squabbles over whose stuff is whose and whose turn it is to do what,  maybe they are one day going to really love each other with an unfailing love that can only be shared with God and our family.

We’re a tribe – five very imperfect humans bound by the flesh, living together under one roof.

There are moments when no one is laughing.

Yet despite the storm that might rage in our souls and within our walls, despite the anger between siblings and a sometimes-impatient and tired mother, despite the long hours of a daddy who works his own business, and despite a dog that has lingering “green smoke” as we affectionately call the byproduct of Ellie’s sketchy digestive system, we are a family that also makes a joyful noise.

And knowing that joy does indeed come in the morning, we are able to walk straighter down a path formed by Him, making those joyful noises.

Behind a cloud of green smoke.

Yes, we have trained Ellie to wink on cue.  OK, not really –  I just got lucky on this shot.

And yes, I was standing in a cloud of green smoke when this photo was taken.

Joining in with the awesome Internet Cafe Devotions for “Word-Filled Wednesday”


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