The Ninja Turtle valentines have been sent to Kindergarten. The candlelit spaghetti dinner is planned. The 20 oz. soda was purchased for the husband (because what doesn’t say “I Love You” like a cold Cherry Vanilla Pepsi?) I’m ready for Valentine’s Day!
Today’s post is not titled “How to Save Money on Valentine’s Candy” (although I could tell you how I used coupons to purchase ours this year). No, today I’m writing for the heart and the mind instead of the pocket book. I’m bringing you into a different book: the Bible.
Lately, because of Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about love. *smooch* I’ve been praying that God would help me love my children. Like seriously LOVE my children. There is no reason for you to get worried about me and call with concerns. I’ve just been realizing that God’s calling to love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 is a huge undertaking… Especially with toddlers! Today, I was reading the passage again and found that certain attributes seemed to be yelling out of the pages… “Love is PATIENT”…”Love is NOT IRRITABLE”…”Love ENDURES ALL things.” Now do you see why I need God’s help concerning loving my children?
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 “The Way of Love”
- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
- Do you ever teach your child how to love and then struggle to show that love yourself? For the last week and a half, I have been a noisy gong. “It’s time to make more Valentines. Why? Because we want to show our love to others by remembering them on Valentine’s Day.” So we have been coloring, cutting, pasting, peeling and sticking foam hearts, tearing perforated edges of princess and ninja cards, taping candy to cards, writing names, mailing packages…all for love. BUT, today it occurred to me…I did not make anything for my own children or my husband! The loves of my life! Should they get my leftover energy? I think not. Time to get busy.
- And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
- Mom’s are powerful beings. We know a lot. We have eyes in the back of our heads. We have faith that fevers can break in the middle of the night. We control a lot. I’m getting comfortable with that power. The only problem is, I need to be cognitive about the purpose of the boundaries I place. For example: Did I tell my son that he can’t watch YouTube for Kids longer than 25 minutes because I’m the mom and I simply have the power over the timer? That is how he views it. No, rather, I explained to him that I love him and I want him to be a boy that can enjoy many different activities and not just one. I also want him to enjoy the family that loves him instead of watching a screen all night. I’m pretty sure he still viewed me as a “mean mom” for shutting it off, but maybe he’ll thank me one day? Ha!
- If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
- So…it must be love that makes me smile as I hand over the last muffin, that I already took a bite out of, to the blue-eyed hopeful toddler reaching and saying, “Mine?”
- I’d also surmise that it was out of love that I “delivered my body” to be ever changed 4 times!
- Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
- Am I the only one laughing out loud at this verse when it comes to loving my children? This verse is so convicting! Some people who know me, are wondering what I’m freaking out about. I’m actually known to be quite patient with children (or so many co-workers have told me), but when it comes to my own children, whom I am training in the way they should go, I struggle with this. It is hard to be patient with a whiny voice that knows better because my husband and I taught him/her better. It is also hard to be patient when my arm is falling off. Have you ever been there? Carrying the infant car seat on one arm, 12 bags on the other arm, a coffee mug in one hand, and the car keys in the other hand? And then…the child walking daintily in front of you just…stops. So you internally sing, “Love is patient, love is kind…love is patient, love is kind…” and gently tell the child to keep walking. And then…the child bends over. To poke something. You try to go around, just as the child stands back up and hits his/her head on the infant carrier causing the child to cry, the baby to fuss, the coffee to spill and the arms to throb. “Love is patient and kind.”
- So what about envy and boasting? Any mommies out there wish their child was “easier” or, on the flip-side, wishes everyone else’s child was “easier?”
- Love is NOT considering your parenting better than others and letting others know it.
- It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
- Have you ever said, “Because I said so.” to end an argument? “Love does not insist on it’s own way.” It takes time to teach our little ones how to solve problems and we can easily squelch that problem solving confidence when we don’t allow them to respectfully challenge us or when we don’t listen when they offer their own ideas.
- My kids really aren’t that irritating. They are pretty awesome, actually. Oh but I can be irrationally irritable and resentful towards them when I get interrupted. Let’s be real here: our kids needs are more important than FaceBook, texting, NetFlix, a hot cup of coffee, etc. I’m not saying that you should drop everything when they make a peep, but I am saying that we should check our reactions to those interruptions and irritations.
- It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
- I can’t imagine rejoicing in the wrongdoings of my kids. I spend all my waking hours guiding them to do right!! However, do I ever make light of their mistakes? Do I laugh and joke about their sinful ways? I think because kids are cute, we think their behaviors are cute, even the wrong ones. As they get older, those same actions are not so cute because they know better. This verse is challenging me to remember to teach them the truth of their ways and to be careful to not poke fun at their sin. For example: When my toddler shoves several pieces of expensive, organic, dry cereal into a tiny hole under a cabinet, I will teach him the truth of his ways and giggle in private so that he doesn’t see me laughing at the situation?! Did I get that right?! 😉
- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- We carry a lot for our kids. I’m not talking about all of the bags and bags loaded with baby, toddler, and preschooler essentials. We deeply love them so we carry their sadness and pain. When they hurt, we hurt and just want to make it better.
- We hope that our kids will take what we teach them to heart and put those actions into practice. We believe that they will succeed.
- Because we love, we endure so much:
- food allergies
- potty training
- special needs
- picky eaters
- the list goes on and on and on…to include all things
- Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
- Oh how true this is. No matter the length or level of difficulty of each stage and phase our children pass through, love prevails. For those who have lost a child, whether in the womb or beyond, the love never ends.
- For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
- but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
- When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
- For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
- At the births of my children, I was in awe of the power of God. How could he entrust this little person to us? How can I describe the love that I have for the tiny human that I just met? Verses 9-12 describe that this love we feel here and now, is only a dim reality of the love we will know in the presence of Christ. Some days my love for my husband and my kids is so real that I am awestruck with emotion and other days I struggle to find it. It is an imperfect love, unlike that of our God who IS love. That is why I ask Him for help.
- So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- All of these things waiver:
- Faith: Sometimes I have doubts. The strength of my faith is circumstantial.
- Hope: My hope is in Christ. He is unchanging, but sometimes I feel as though I have no hope to get out of wordly circumstances. I easily forget the hope of heaven.
- Love: As the great DC Talk once sang, “Love is a verb.” Because I have to do it, I am not great at it. The great thing about love is (compared to faith and hope): it has not only been demonstrated to me, but also is bestowed upon me. God does not put His faith in me (yikes!) or rest His hope in me (double yikes!), but He does love me.
- All of these things waiver:
Thankfully, we have God’s word to guide us in our loving. Thankfully, kids grow. Thankfully, we have one day every year that the people we love give us candy…that helps too.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mamas!