How it grieves me to hear that! I know my heart. I am a fulfilled woman.
So why doesn't my happiness convey?
Because in the course of a day I become irritated by all that is demanded of me--the constant messes, the dishes, the laundry, the discipline and training of imperfect children. I may have joy at my core, but outwardly my circumstances get the best of me, to my shame.
What I most want is to be the face of Jesus in the lives of these children, this husband.
I think I've found my answer, again--I've found it before and lost it!--in My Utmost For His Highest, a devotional by Oswald Chambers.
"....you may be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter1:4)
May 18 entry, text as follows:
We are made "partakers of the divine nature," receiving and sharing God's own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God's provision for us. We say, however, "Oh, I can't afford it." One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of our true humility to say at the end of the day, "Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle." And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn't they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God's riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges--always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives. (bold text my emphasis)
Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, "All my springs are in You" (Psalm 87:7) If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you......may have an abundance..." (2 Corinthians 9:8)--then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God's nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.
As soon as I let self-pity out of the box, I cannot be the face of Christ, even for a moment. He has paved the way for me to partake of his divine nature. All of the Almighty God is mine in the Lord Jesus!
Self-pity is my enemy. Raising young children is a life of physical service. There's no question that it's exhausting, but as time passes their emotional needs will far exceed their physical ones, and I'll no longer feel like Cinderella.
In the meantime, I need to recognize God's provision for me, letting his divine nature flow through me, as I wipe up oatmeal and peach juice off the floor, glue and peanut butter and jelly off the table, while kissing boo boos, changing diapers, feeding bellies, teaching, and maintaining the steady hum of the washer and dryer and dishwasher.
I need not sink into self-pity by 10:00 a.m., because God has provided for me!