Love, dear sweet l.o.v.e. is a topic I’ve written about often because God continually brings love to my attention. It’s that “thing” in my life that chases me around and isn’t going to relent until I have learned its ways. Much like red-heads. Everyone declares by a certain year, red-heads will be extinct. Having a child with red hair, I notice strawberry tresses e.v.e.r.y.w.e.h.e.r.e….I can assure you, there isn’t a shortage. When we zero-in on something, whatever it is, we find it all around us. For me, the past three years, love has shown up; joyfully, painfully, shamefully, reassuringly, love is tracking me down.
I do not suggest that parents are solely responsible for their child’s behavior, but my children’s behavior has been a larger-than-life mirror to my soul. Recently, watching my kids interact with each other, I saw the reflection of my abruptness with my husband, of my selfish tendency to put my priorities ahead of his, of his desires.
There are those of us wives and husbands alike, that are too absorbed in the practical duties (laundry, returning calls, responding to emails, preparing meals) to receive a hug or tender shoulder rub, to have that five-minute face-to-face eye-to-eye conversation. Worse yet, we can be so absorbed in our own world that we fail to see the heart of a spouse or child who needs the practical world to pause so loving reassurance can be extended. We pursue a mythical balance instead of forthright smack-in-front-of-us life as, gritty as it may be.
Somehow, all of this reality brings me to a place of humble tears and joy alike. Much like after Peter wept bitterly after denying Christ three times as Jesus foretold, the sadness and shame I deeply feel is absorbed by my Savior every moment I repent and surrender. Not that the consequences are gone and life is easier, but I’m refreshed in my resolve to rely on God knowing He cares for me and wants to help me.
Not that I intentionally am looking to create practice opportunities in grace and forgiveness for my kids, but I’m always struck at their before-I-can-complete-my-sentence extension of forgiveness. Beautifully, lovingly, my family is eager to embrace me after I’ve failed.
Now it’s my turn to create love that persists when life or behavior get messy. Love that has go-go Gadget length arms that will extend, bend and sway with the crazy turns those we love are bound to dish up.
Heart Check: What’s eating you up right now? What current circumstances will you turn to God’s strength to show rugged patience?
Up Next: The Reality of Longsuffering With Small Children