How do I love my children?
Since we are exploring this morning:
My Responsibilities as a Wife, Biblically
2. Love my children (Titus 2:4) - they are his kids, after all
1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is. It's often read at weddings, or talked about in the context of marriage. But why not use it as a parenting guide? Let's look first at the text:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Before we dig in, I've got to be honest. This has been a rough parenting week. Rough two weeks. Yesterday, my oldest and I had a battle about what she was wearing to school. My youngest caught a cold, it turned into an ear infection, decided to pop some teeth and stop napping all at the same time. He's spent much of the day loudly complaining. Around 6pm, I literally locked myself in my bathroom and prayed to Jesus that I wouldn't do something I would regret!
8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Having patience is difficult, but a part of loving your children. We need patience to wait for them to learn to tie their shoes. We need patience when they ask for "just a little longer" snuggling. We need patience when they've spilled their sticky apple juice for the fourteenth time that week. We need patience when they ask for help picking out their outfit then choose something else to wear as soon as you walk out of the room. Or wet the bed. Again. I could go on. But this is just my kids. I imagine in other stages, we need patience for them to come back to the Lord. We need patience for them to make good choices with friends, or schoolwork, or to change the way they act towards you. We need patience to wait for them to find the right spouse, or give us grandbabies.
Patience may come easier to some personality types than others, but ultimately, its just a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we desire to love our children, we need to ask the Holy Spirit for patience. Its not going to come "naturally." In fact, this morning, I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit for patience. Because I do absolutely struggle with loving my children in this way. Case and point: getting 4 children to the bus stop on time; 2 on the bus, 2 along for the ride. Thats 4 pairs of shoes, 4 coats, 2 backpacks, 2 lunches, 1 bike, 1 helmet, 1 stroller, and one frazzled mom who is trying to feed them, teach them a Bible lesson, and get them out the door on time without yelling. I don't always accomlish it (both the on time part or the not yelling part). Only with the help of the Holy Spirit will I do this.
So how do I love my husband? Love my children. They are his kids, afterall.
Love is kind. Here's another way to love my children. Websters dictionary defines kind as "showing tenderness or goodness; disposed to do good and confer happiness; averse to hurting or paining; benevolent; benignant; gracious."
Kindness seems connected to goodness. Yet another fruit of the Spirit. There is a connection here... if I want to love my children, I need to ask for the Holy Spirit's help, and ask for Him to give me His fruit! Here's how I see this playing out, for example: With my daughter, I speak gently to her, and not harshly. I don't exasperate her with my expectations on her. I give her more hugs and hold her hand more, if she'll let me. I do little things for her that are unexpected that show her that I love her, like writing her little notes for her lunchbox, or giving her little gifts that she didn't ask for. I can't do this alone. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
More to come...