My love language (according to the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) is Words of Affirmation. I think I cling to words because at an early age I realized how the words we speak to one another are really the true gifts of life. No one or no circumstance can ever take them away. When my house burned to the ground on Christmas Eve in 1975 I will always remember my Dad’s first words that night, “Everything we have is gone but nothing we need has been lost – we still have each other.” When my house exploded in 1983 after a gas leak, I will always remember my Dad’s words, “Here we go again, it’s just stuff, we still have everything we need – each other.” When all we owned was the clothes on our backs, we still had everything we needed. Stuff is not eternal – Lesson learned. Words of life. I have clung to those words when things have not gone my way, when I wanted more than I had or when I lost something I thought I could not live without. Coming back to those words always reminds me of what is really important.
Yesterday for my 44th birthday my family gave me words. They each wrote me letters and notes and all day long I read new thoughts and messages of love. These are the treasures of my life and I hide them away in my heart. I need nothing more. No one or no circumstance can take them away.
Words have power. In the beginning God opened his mouth, spoke and things came to be (Genesis 1:3). Words have power in our lives. The bible tells us our words both bless and curse but this should not be (James 3:9-10). We are spiritual beings, created for eternity and God speaks to us through his Word. The Word of God has the power to increase our faith just by hearing it (Romans 10:17). Words have power to give life. Jesus came and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Putting your trust in Christ and the Word of God will change you forever (2 Cor. 5:17) and once that happens, no one or no circumstance can take that away.
Words…. I love them.
When I first wanted to become a mom, it was for mostly the wrong reasons: everyone else my age was having kids, it seemed like the next logical step, my marriage was in trouble and maybe a kid would ‘fix’ it…. the list goes on but the bottom line was it was about ME. As I saw it, the kids were going to fill my life and bring me joy and happiness. They do. They definitely do! They also can bring you to your knees.
My perception of parenting has changed significantly over the past 16 years and what I have learned along the way is that being a mom has taught me more about me than I care to confess. Like how selfish I can be when at the end of a long day I snap at my kid because ‘I’ deserve to sit down. Like how impatient I can be when I have to say “please take your plate to the sink” 4 times before it actually gets done. Like how unforgiving I can be when I remind my kid of past mistakes as an excuse not to trust them today.
About 10 years ago, I decided to let Jesus show me how to parent. An incredible burden was lifted when I realized I was not on my own as a mom. But if I am being honest, more often than not I have come face to face with the way I have treated my Heavenly Father in my own life: how I have been quick to be angry with Him when things don’t work out MY way; how I neglected to OBEY when He tells me to do something; how I have REJECTED my need for forgiveness because I was too proud to admit something in me was wrong. I could go on and on.
Yesterday, I lost it emotionally. It started out as a typically day of serving my family and going to work. Triplet #2 needed to get off to practice in the am, I needed to attend a funeral for a friend’s mom, some work at the office, then there was the visit to an elderly woman from church and finally off to get the oldest from sports practice. I managed to only get 2 hours of work accomplished when I had to pick up my oldest only to have her get in the car and let me know the next thing I needed to drive her to. My brain about to explode with information trying to figure out how and when I was going to get my work done, she then showed me a rash on her back and I realized I would need to take her to the doctors, at which point I realized my work day was spent. I was spent. The tears just ran down my cheeks and I thought, I can’t keep up! Poor kid had no idea what to say. Ever have days like that as a mom? (If you said no – you’re lying.)
I am not sure how God feels about me when I get overwhelmed like that. I know He loves me and He wants to help and all I need to do is ask, but I wonder if He thinks about the day He sent His son to earth from Heaven to show His love. I wonder if he thinks about the day He watched the crowds turn on him, about the day He watched as they hung him on a cross and the moment He had to look away so His son could bare my sin (our sin) so I wouldn’t have to. Jesus never once pulled out his “Hey I’m God” trump card. He never once leveraged his power for his benefit or because He deserved better. Jesus came to serve (Mark 10:45). To serve me and you. He lost his life in order that we may have eternal life. Being a mom is a great privilege – a chance to lose my life a little everyday. I have my good days, my bad days and my very bad days. I am not sure I am cut out to manage these lives God has entrusted to me. But this I know today: along the way I am learning to be like my Jesus – more of you and less of me.