How Kids Help Us Learn to Love
My feet are resting under our chipped Ethan Allen coffee table. It’s near midnight and there is a stillness in the air. All the kids are asleep, and the day is drawing closer to a new day. My thoughts don’t rest, although the time is telling me to, as I try to eke out a few more minutes of this gift called “today”. So many good, hard and beautiful moments etched onto today’s page… written in sacrificial love. It’s effortless to walk in creek beds, receive hand drawn cards, and enjoy my kids because they truly are a gift. That’s easy love. Yet, the love of a child, goes beyond the easy, and allows you to love when it’s hard. Disregarding selfishness, and transforming your life so that you think of someone else’s needs above your own.
Dying to self (Galatians 2:20; 5:24) takes love. God’s love poured out to us, so we may pour it out to others. Our strong-willed desires have to be sledge hammered down, in order for us to see the light. God uses kids to be our flashlight, magnifying all the areas that have been hidden. I had NO idea how much baggage I clung onto, until I looked into my hurting child’s eyes and saw… that’s the results of MY choices. There sweet little frames trying to carry grown up pains, and I am overwhelmed. I rush to try to fix what I broke; say sorry quicker. Seek restoration in my own life, all while trying to parent another. My choices. My actions. They don’t just affect me.
But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers… if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob.
These revelations prod us to grow. Putting us in the position to love another with sacrifice. Our carnal nature calling for our subjection, yet God in His infinite wisdom knew how children would break down our walls of pain… and help us to love.
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.
What shows love?
A choice that can be so so hard… yet with children, forgiveness is a daily willful choice. Seventy times seven does not seem unfeasible after saying the same thing every day. Nothing… would ever separate my love for my kids. This is a parent attribute, the love goes too far to be shattered by trivial matters.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
There are not many situations in life where you’ll willingly put yourself in an environment that you know there will result in cold food, a lack of sleep, a lack of time for self, etc… All the things that seem like the basic necessities of life soon become bonus items, not assumed items, yet it’s OK. We get over it, because in the big scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal. Taking care of the ones we love… that is a big deal. I’m so thankful for kids who offer us this privilege of not focusing on ourselves, but focusing on someone we love.
You only love as much as you are willing to be inconvenienced.
Stand up for our values
You look over at your kid, their attentive eyes and ears, pondering, waiting to hear what is of value to you, because they care. Your thoughts and values matter to them. What a privilege! It stirs and compels the heart to have a higher standard, because the cost is so great. Kids looking for direction and guidance to help learn truth.
Love when tired
There is always one more dish, a basket of laundry that doesn’t have a bottom, food still on the floor even after you’ve swept, one more tuck in to ensure a good night’s rest. Are we tired? Yes! But tomorrow will come, and we will choose to do it all over again, because we love. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13) With this promise He has given us the strength for the hard task at hand. Though we are tired, we will continue pressing forward.
No matter what kids do or don’t do. Say or don’t say, it doesn’t alter our love for them. Because love does not change with our emotion for the day. Love is a long lasting choice, that even when we fail, or our kids fail, there is a thread of our heart that ties us together. I am thankful for God’s example of faithfulness that spans beyond what we will ever know, to show us the perfect example of unconditional love.
Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.