A couple weeks ago, we had one of our worst homeschooling days ever. I am withholding most of the details of this out of respect for my children, but let’s just say it was bad. The plan actually had been to take the day off of school and go to the doctor (prenatal appointment) and shop for items for Aidan and Jonathan’s new shared bedroom. But before we could get out the door, we had brothers fighting and a toddler into mischief, and I ended up making the decision to scrap all the plans and stay home. (The doctor’s appointment wasn’t vital, and sometimes character training needs to take first priority. This was one of those days.)
I knew when we started our Kindness in Action devotions that the hardest part was going to be working on loving each other sacrificially. It’s easy to love each other when we’re being lovable. Anyone can do that! But to be able to overlook a rude comment, a selfish action, or yet another interruption out of a desire to love someone else… that’s hard.
And not just for kids – it’s hard for moms too.
In Titus 2:4-5, the older women are commanded to encourage the younger women to love their husbands and children. Have you ever thought about the implications of that? Why do we need to be encouraged in love? I mean, they’re our kids – don’t we love them automatically?
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized that it’s easy to serve my children, but harder to love them. Every day, despite being 7 months pregnant, I haul laundry up and down the stairs and put meals on the table and dress people and wipe up peanut butter faces and take diapers out to the trash. I’m tired, but I just do it because I know that at this stage in my life, my time is going to be primarily consumed with taking care of people. In fact, I honestly wasn’t frustrated the other week when we had to give up our plans to get out of the house and shop for bedroom items. I know that character training comes first.
But I didn’t exactly approach the day with a loving spirit.
One of the passages that we have studied this month is 1 Corinthians 13. The first three verses say, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Paul is discussing all sorts of ministry opportunities that are worthless if performed apart from love. As moms our primary ministry is in our homes as we love and serve our husbands and children. As I thought about this passage, I realized that it really can be applied like this…
“If I teach math and how to read and how to behave and how to get along with people, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of organization and put meals on the table and clean clothes in the drawers and finish most of my checklist by the end of the day, but do not have love, I am nothing…”
Kind of a sobering thought, huh?
So what is the solution? Choosing to do all things in love. Praying for help and then taking a step toward obedience. Moving from being task-oriented to people-oriented. And making the choice to actually love the unlovable, not just remind him to feed his pet or pick up his shoes off the floor yet again. After all, love involves action, and not just feeling! I’ve been discovering that when I choose to hug the contrary child that the feelings actually do follow. It becomes easier to love when I just make the choice to start doing it, and often, the unlovable transforms into quite a different child.
After all, God does exactly the same thing for me, except that He does it perfectly. I don’t deserve to be His beloved child, and yet I am by His grace.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5:1-2, emphasis added
How about you? Do you sometimes find yourself going through the tasks of the day without showing love? Please tell me I’m not the only one!
P.S. – We did the Kindness in Action devotions for the month of February to go with the Valentine’s Day theme, but there is nothing inherently “Valentines” about them. If you and your family would enjoy doing a study of what God has to say about loving Him and loving others, be sure to check them out!