Friday, February 1, 2013


(my littlest love for a few weeks more)

Today was of the bitter cold variety. The children and I had to venture out though, so we bundled up and made the best of it. When we came to a break in our day, I agreed to let them run off their energy at the mall play place while I sipped a hot chai tea (you can do these relaxing sort of things when you have an eight year old who is willing to be boss). While I sat and sipped, I observed the other families that were there to play.

There was the distracted mother, whose eyes never left her cell phone, while her child ran frantically in circles and lept like a mad man from structure to structure. There was the tired mother who barked orders at her children while never leaving her seat. There was the sweet grandmother who did her best to keep up with her granddaughter, but no matter how hard she tried she was no match for the little one in her care. And then there was the loving mother who obviously took great delight in her tiny twin daughters. She disciplined firmly (when one daughter hit the other) without ever raising her voice. She constantly touched her children, a loving stroke on the back, a pat on the head. It was clear that mothering was her joy.

And I wondered as I watched, what do people see when they observe me?

I have certainly been the distracted mother. In fact, fighting the pull of the screen is a daily battle, one I am ashamed to admit I don't always win. Most days I feel the tired mother's pain, and while it is my goal to never raise my voice in anger (a gentle answer turns away wrath), I don't always succeed in that area, either. And even though it is my deepest hearts desire to be more like the loving mother that I witnessed today (though I am certain had I asked her, seeing as she is human, she would have rattled off her own list of things she was working on, too!), the honest truth is that so often I fall short.

Because the loving is easy. It's the living of that love on a daily basis that can suck the strength right up on out of you. Love is the laying down of yourself for the good of another, and who of us wants to lay anything down? We cling to our screens, our seats, our anger, and we don't want to let go. Not realizing that the letting go is what leads us to the love.

And didn't God let go, let go of his only son, so that He could show us a radical love? Didn't Christ lay down his life in order to lead us into a loving relationship with our Father? And shouldn't we be willing to do the same? For our husbands? For our children? For the man on the corner? Lay down ourselves, so that others might see our love?

It's February now. The very first day of the month of love (as I call it). And I want to think on these thoughts as I go throughout my days. What love really is and how I can show love to others. Love is what I want people to see when they see me. Not my screen in my face, not my tiredness, not the frustration that life with little ones can bring.

Just love in spite of all of those things.

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