On my dining room wall hangs a plaque that contains three words: Live. Laugh. Love. To those who read the plaque when they visit my home, the verb trio might sound like a cozy cliché. But I see it as a three-word mission statement that helps me stay focused on what matters most amidst the noise and mess of normal, everyday family life.
For instance, when tight schedules send stress levels soaring, the message on the plaque reminds me to slow down and lighten up. When I’m tempted to raise my voice to make a point, it encourages me to press pause lest I say something I’ll later regret. When I feel as though family members are disregarding my perceived rights, it helps me be okay with laying aside those rights in lieu of serving those persons.
Live. Laugh. Love. They’re three simple words, but they’ve become game changers for me as a wife, mom, and even as a grandma to six of the world’s cutest kids. Here’s how:
The word “live” impacts me in several ways as a wife and mom. First, I want to live each day without regrets. This means keeping short accounts with my husband and kids. If my words, actions, or attitudes hurt someone, I ask for forgiveness asap and do whatever’s in my power to set things right. Anything less isn’t an option if I hope to live free of regrets.
Next, I want to live in the moment. How easy it is to forget what matters most when the tyranny of the urgent rules. And how easy it is to miss the joy found in the present because we’re longing for the future. When my kids were in their early teen years, I looked forward to them earning their driver’s license so I wouldn’t have to spend hours chauffeuring them to and from extra-curricular activities. In retrospect, I wish I’d regarded that driving time as opportunity for meaningful conversations rather than as just another task that needed to be done.
Last, I want to live for others as Jesus did. He poured out His life for others’ sake and did so without complaining about personal cost or inconvenience (Philippians 2). May we reflect His selfless attitude as we serve our husband and kids—even when we’re tired or they forget to say thank you.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength,” says Proverbs 17:22 (NLT). If that’s true, then we ought to inject laughs—and lots of ‘em—into our marriage and family to keep things healthy and strong.
Laughter happens when we sit around the living room with our kids and try to outdo each other’s silly jokes, or when we watch or make goofy videos together. Laughter comes naturally when we play table games or kick around a soccer ball together. It’s born when we recall funny things that happened in our childhood, or when we talk about embarrassing things that have happened to us in the recent past.
One of my sweetest memories took place on a road trip through California when our kids were between the ages of four and seven. My husband and I drove through the night to cover mega miles as the children slept. They woke hours later with whines: “Are we almost there yet?” Their whines morphed into fits of laughter after we drove into a rest stop, pulled out water pistols, and challenged them to an all-out soaking war. .
Laughter’s good. It eases stress, heals hurting hearts, and makes our home a happy place to live. Let’s apply it liberally.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Let’s face it—sometimes, in the mess of everyday family life, it’s downright difficult to fulfill that second commandment. Jesus knows the challenges we face, and He welcomes our cries for His help.
Seeing the word “love” on my plaque reminds me to demonstrate love to others even when it seems they don’t deserve it. After all, that’s what God did for mankind, yes? (Romans 5:8). How can we do less for those with whom we live?
It also reminds me that love speaks every language to every age group. Whether parenting newborns or adult children, we communicate through actions and attitudes more clearly than through spoken words. We might keep the tidiest house on the block and post the most impressive recipes or kids’ crafts on Pinterest and cook the most nutritious meals in town, but if we do these things without love, we’re no more than a noisy gong or clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). Love matters, so let’s put it into action.
I bought the plaque to fill a blank space on my dining room wall. I would never have guessed that, over time, its simple but powerful message would fill and change my heart.
How about you? How do the three words on my plaque impact you in your role as wife and mom?
Grace Fox is an author and international speaker whose passion is to connect the dots between faith and real life for her audiences.
Grace has written eight books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation and its accompanying DVD-based Bible study for small groups. She’s a contributor to Guidepost’s annual devotional Mornings With Jesus, and a regular columnist for “Just 18 Summers.” Media including “100 Huntley Street” and “The Leon Fontaine Show” consider her a trusted guest.
Grace is also founder of the all-new “RADIANT: Creating a Deeper Life” one-day women’s conferences and national co-director of International Messengers Canada, a non-profit building God’s kingdom in 20 countries. Together with her husband Gene, she trains and leads short-term missions teams to Eastern Europe annually. She also teaches missionaries-in-training in the Middle East.
Aspiring Woman magazine recently named her one of Canada’s top 10 female Christian entrepreneurs.
Grace lives in Abbotsford, BC. She and Gene were married in 1982 and have three married children and six grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys babysitting, boating, and motorbiking.
Learn more about her and subscribe to her devotional blog at www.gracefox.com.