It has been a very busy few weeks. My husband and I were looking forward to a few days together on his business trip. The babysitter was lined up, the meals prepared, the kids’ schedules written out – I was SO READY! Just over an hour into the drive, my phone rang. Our 7 year got sick at school. For the next 30 min, I made phone calls, arranged pick up, scheduled a doctor’s appt and asked a close friend to get off work to take her in. When I called home to check on Abigail, her lips were blue and her temperature was extremely low. Not having any clue what that might mean, I called the doctor’s office to report the new symptoms and was told to take her to the ER. And that is when the panic set in. We had turned around, but were still over an hour away. My friend took Abigail to the hospital just as Joel and I found ourselves driving through a terrible rainstorm. REALLY?!! Because THAT was all my nerves needed at that moment.
I started crying.
You know when you start imagining the worst scenarios possible? All the “What if’s” start consuming your thoughts and you feel so stupid for getting angry over trivial things. Just a few days earlier, I had been upset with Abigail over lost library books and frustrated by how long it was taking her to empty the dishwasher. But now she was in the ER. I had no clue if there was something seriously wrong and I was not there with her. Suddenly I had a HUGE shift in my perspective. I started confessing to Joel about what a bad job I been doing loving Abigail well.
Do you ever do that?
It is easy to get caught up in how our younger children behave and lose focus on who they are and whose they are.
Loving our “littles” well is one of the hardest things for a mom to do consistently. In the day to day grind of cleaning up messes, tidying up toys, washing their clothes, cooking their meals and focusing on doing a thousand other tasks that are all part of caring for them, is it really all that surprising that moms have trouble LOVING them? Perhaps that sounds like an absurd question, so let me explain what I mean.
Moms can easily get caught up in the task of mothering.
The natural extension of that is to focus on the behaviors of our children.
We then react to their behavior with our attitudes towards them.
If that is the case (raising my hand here), we are not loving our littles well.
Wondering if this is you? There is an easy way to know.
Does your child ever check on your mood?
How often do you hear, “Mommy, are you happy?” or “Mommy, are you mad?” This is a sign that your child knows that your attitude will affect the way you love them at the moment. How affectionate, how patient, how forgiving, how understanding will you be? I am ashamed to say this was not uncommon in my house for years (and still pops up from time to time even now). So how do we change this?
How do we go about loving our littles WELL?! The answer is actually pretty simple…
We love them the way Jesus loves us – not because of what we do, but because of who we are and who we belong to.
- We show them grace when they mess up because He shows us grace.
- We show them compassion when they are hurting because He shows us compassion.
- We discipline them when they need correction because He disciplines us. (read more about how to discipline here)
- Most of all, because we are not perfect like Jesus, we apologize and ask for forgiveness when we don’t love them well.
It just so happens, that the day before Joel and I were to leave for our trip, Abigail had a really bad day with listening carefully and doing what she was supposed to do. It is a battle that we face daily and I was just SO frustrated with her! I had gotten on to her because I felt I could not trust that she would follow even the most basic instructions. She walked away looking, and no doubt feeling, completely dejected. Later that evening, I called Abigail over to the couch, wrapped my arms around her and told her that I loved her. I loved her compassion for others, her incredible imagination and the way her chatter and cheerful attitude made people smile.
But more than that, no matter what her strengths or flaws may be, I love her because she is MINE.
It’s been just a few days since that little hospital scare. That 1 hour drive home was full of emotions. While I know the Lord is always in control, I don’t always know what He is preparing me to walk through. That is why He reminds us that every day is a gift. So today, be sure to love your littles well. Tell them you love them for WHO they are and who the BELONG to.
For more encouragement on loving your littles well, here is a great Focus on the Family broadcast to check out, Loving Your Kids for Who They Are.
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