I asked my friend’s permission to share this picture of her, her mom, daughter and grand-daughter. Four generations of beautiful women with delightful smiles. Behind the smiles is a wealth of experience, stories of grace, hope, love, redemption and restoration.
Recently, I spoke with the youngest lady in the group on the phone. I asked her about her day. She gleefully shouted – ‘Good. I ate and ate and ate!’ She is already in a safer place than millions of children in America. Statistics on child hunger in America indicates that nearly 17 million children are struggling with hunger. Behind her smile is the knowledge that she is loved, safe and cared for. She is blessed with the space to flourish. Some of us never started in this space. Today, many are still trying to rise from the ashes of childhood trauma. Know that there is hope. We get a say in how the story ends.
Sometime ago my friend’s daughter shared how she never gets tired of hearing her mom’s story. Her story of strength, grace, renewal and regeneration. How she found herself when she found the the Lover of Her Soul. Behind this daughter’s smile is a legacy of hope and a treasure box of lessons learned. She now knows that whatever life throws at her, she can do this. Her mom did it with much less tools. She is already steps ahead of where her mom was at her age. She smiles though the storms may be raging. She knows Who can calm the storms. She uses the winds to propel her growth, smiling with expectancy. Though the pieces might be out of place at times, her story will be beautiful. So, she smiles.
The grey-haired matriarch smiles quietly. I’ve been privy to some of her stories- often times when she’s in my car. I am amazed that she’s not an angry black woman. She smiles as she as she wears the ribbon of a survivor. What was designed to take her out, failed. She lived to see the seeds that were in her, blossom and prosper. Generations of her bloodline are now blooming, so she smiles.
Behind the smile of my friend is the peace in knowing that she has a faithful Heavenly Father. He finishes everything He starts. Her story is marked with trails of pain, rejection, grace, forgiveness and the freedom that comes with releasing those who probably deserved her wrath. She doesn’t smile because life is perfect. She smiles because the One who loves Her best, is perfect. Her story will have a different ending from the beginning and the middle. Like a cactus – life is prickly but beautiful, so she smiles.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…[Deuteronomy. 7:9]
So, what’s behind your smile?
*** Thanks for reading – ‘Smile’.