I gave birth to each and every one of them. I nursed them. I changed their diapers. I sang them lullabies. I rocked them to sleep.
As they’ve grown older, I’ve taught them. Read to them. Cooked for them. Prayed over them. Washed and mended their clothes. Bandaged their wounds. Wiped their tears. Corrected their misbehavior. Laughed at their jokes.
My heart is full to bursting with love for my children, both collectively and individually.
But my children — especially the younger ones — aren’t always attuned to the demonstrations of love I just listed. They often take full tummies and clean clothes and Band-Aids for granted. Of course I tend to those needs: That’s my job.
Someone once said that children spell love T-I-M-E, but as a homeschool mom who is with her kids 24/7, I know it’s possible to spend tons of time with your children and still fall short on communicating LOVE.
This fact was driven home a few years ago when one of my children told me, “Mom, I don’t know which of us kids is your favorite, but I’m pretty sure it’s not me.”
Though it broke my mother-heart to hear it, I immediately knew what prompted the statement. I had spoken to this child in an irritated, impatient tone, not just once, but several times that week. And that sort of annoyed impatience has a way of driving from our children’s minds all the other wonderful things we do for them.
I think it’s interesting that in 1 Corinthians 13, when Paul enumerates all the various characteristics and visible evidences of love, he starts with “Love is patient, Love is kind….”
It’s a great starting place for us, as well.
Yes, I love my children. Absolutely I do. (I love my husband, as well). But if I want them to feel loved, I’ve got to wrap it up in plenty of patience and tender kindness — because that’s how my kids spell love.