Sometimes it's easier to show love to others outside of our family. Why is that?
Is it because we might receive the praise of others for our "acts of love"?
Is it because we just don't spend as much time with people outside of our home so it's easier to "put on love" for shorter amounts of time?
I admit, it is much harder to consistently love those we live with (although they are the ones I love the most!!) It is hard to love consistently when I'm really, really tired. Or, not feeling well. Or, feeling unappreciated. Or, irritated by the constant interruptions while I'm trying to
Recently I was reading I Corinthians 13. It's the familiar "Love Chapter" and I was convicted.
Oftentimes, I find it's the way I say something to one of my family members that really isn't a testimony of how much I truly love them. This can be really hard for me. But, I'm working on implementing healthier communication. After all, if I "knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be?" (I Corinthians 13:2)
When I read this familiar chapter, I was convicted about continuously loving my sweet children and husband.
Verse 3 says, "If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever."
If I am more willing to serve in glorious positions in the public eye than I am down in the trenches (laundry, cleaning toilets, etc.) then are my priorities where they should be?
It's something to evaluate and pray about, isn't it? If I "serve" so that others see what I do, can I really call that service? Obviously, I can still accomplish good things, but I need to check my motives.
Maybe I am serving for the right reasons, but those ministries get to be too much for me to handle as I balance my responsibilities at home. Honestly, this has been a bit of a struggle for me. I enjoy being involved in things and it is nice to "belong" to something. But, I've had to cut back on a lot of those commitments because it didn't mesh well with what my husband and I were trying to accomplish in our home.
You have to know your limits. I'm the type of person that really needs 8-9 hours of sleep a night, can't handle being "on the go" all the time and I need down time in order to get things done around the house.
I learned early on I'd better stop saying "yes" to so many commitments if it was going to turn me into a stressed out, yelling mom. Sometimes we have to say no to a good thing in order to say yes to a great thing.
I have to remember, this is only a season! It won't be long and the majority of my time won't be spent at home with four little ones. I'm sure I'll look back at this time with bittersweet memories.
So, this is how I apply I Corinthians 13 to my life as a Mom:
Love is patient and kind (even when I have to explain something 5 times before one of my children "gets it")
Love is not jealous (of the other moms I see who seem to be so stylish!)
Love is not boastful (on the off chance I have it "all together")
Love is not proud (taking credit for something good in the life of my kids when "every good and perfect gift" is given by God)
Love is not rude (cutting my kids off because I think I know what they're going to say)
Love does not demand its own way (wanting to always do things my way)
Love is not irritable (even when I haven't had much sleep)
Love keeps no record of when it has been wronged (like when a child is disrespectful...I will not keep reminding them of how ungrateful they are. I will instruct, forgive and press on.)
Love is never glad about injustice (having an "I told you so" attitude towards my kids)
Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out (a heart or rejoicing when I see my kids make the right choice even when it's hard)
Love never gives up (like wanting to call someone else...anyone??.. to be the mom when my kids won't stop fighting, whining or complaining. Rather, I will ask for help from my Heavenly Father and then continue to give them grace and truth)
Love never loses faith (that God can change my heart, my husband's heart or the hearts of my children)
Love is always hopeful (even in spite of difficult circumstances)
Love endures through every circumstance (no matter how big and bad the storms of life are)
Love will last forever
Love has some pretty high expectations doesn't it? But, thankfully I have the grace of God to patiently help me do what He has called me to do. Oh, how I long for God's grace to be worked out in my life as I interact with the precious souls I live with. May He continue to give me strength for the battle!
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