Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11 (NIV)
My first pregnancy was full of surprises as I ventured into territory that was completely new. Words of encouragement and counsel poured in from friends and family and, yet, all of the preparation did not hinder the bountiful moments of astonishment. Everyone told me I would have cravings, yet that late night moment of desperation for ice cream took me by unexpected surprise. The unwarranted tears should not have shocked me, yet they did. My complete and utter disappointment in the lack of flattering clothing should have been a no brainer.
Again, the image in the mirror threw me a real curveball. None was more surprising than the moment my first born was placed in my arms. Every important person in my life had prepared me for the emotions that I would feel for this little human; however, the flood of love and devotion took my breath away. This love for my child was the most natural, innate emotion I had ever experienced. That same wonderment was present with the birth of the other two of my children as well.
It truly should be no surprise that God never has to command us to love our children. God knew we would need the encouragement to love husbands, friends, and enemies; yet, he understood we would by our very nature love these little beings with which he gifts us.
While this love is so very easy, so very intuitive, demonstrating that love has posed its challenges for me along the way. Hugs, words of encouragement, smiles, gifts, and superficial acts have come easy, yet determining what actions prove to my children that I so deeply love them and desire God’s greatest plans for them has stumped me at times.
My oldest is now twenty-two. I almost cannot speak those words, twenty-two, out loud. As I am preparing for the moment I let go of the hand that has grasped mine so many times, reflection has encompassed many a moment. That reflection has led me to understand more clearly those actions that truly demonstrated unconditional love to my children.
Teaching my children about the Jesus of the Bible was a win. In my reflection, I do recognize that there were times that I taught of a Jesus that is not reflected in his written love letter to us. In regret, I know that so many times I taught of a Jesus that condemns, rejects, and only accepts those who are good and righteous. But, oh those moments, those grace moments, when I partnered with Jesus to share of his grace, mercy, lovingkindness, holiness and, yes, even his judgment all wrapped into one God. Those were the teachable moments of sharing God's word, the real slam dunks. Love demonstrated the gifts of God to my three children through the teaching of this Savior…..AH, what a blessed memory!
During this love month, I do not encourage you to love your children, as I recognize that the love a mother has for her children is completely innate. I do, however, encourage you to evaluate your demonstration of love. I implore you, as one who has loved superficially at times, to teach them about this Savior, Jesus. Teach them about his love and grace. Teach them of his plans and his righteousness. Teach them all of Jesus. And yes, at twenty-two years old, they will look to those moments and know you deeply love them.
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Action Items |
Ask yourself how you are demonstrating love to your children. Make a list of ways that you can teach your children about the Jesus of the Bible.
Dear Jesus, thank you so much for gifting me with my children. Loving them is so very easy. Thank you for creating in me a natural, innate love for them. Help me as I seek to demonstrate my love for them. Give me wisdom as I seek to teach them all about you. Amen.
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