Learning love

It was one of THOSE days.  You know, those days when there is too much laundry piled up, too many crusty dishes in the sink, too many children arguing about too many things.  And then a bare foot makes contact with a polly pocket or a lego or whatever else is laying on the floor.  Yes, one of those.

I felt it stretching thin, my patience and self-control.  I know how it all works to push me to the breaking.  I've been near the precipice too many times to not recognize how close my toes are to the edged.  I'm teetering, I know.  I try to balance, try to breathe, try to calm as I stuff another load into the dryer.  The whole room is hot.

And then I hear a vague slapping of limbs followed by a high pitched scream, and suddenly I'm diving over the edge.

In a fit of frustration and anger I search for the perpetrator.  I'm beyond the, "Please don't hit your sibling; that's not nice" stage.  I've shot up to the, "I don't care who did what, you all are in your rooms for the rest of the day.  You're driving me crazy!" stage.

The backlash comes from the crew, as it always does, in various forms of "That's not fair," and "I hate my life."  It's the littlest one who pulls me back to sanity.

Those big green eyes drip with tears.  Apparently an innocent one in the destruction of the moment.  She looks at me full sorrow, "Mommy?  Why are you being nasty?"

I slow.  I stop.  My words, not hers, are coming back to me.  It's the term I use to describe unkind behavior between my children.  She's been listening.

I feel the conviction of truth spoken to me.  I soften slightly.  I am sorry, and I pick her up to tell her so.  She wipes her nose on my shirt.

Days later I find myself searching for scripture that defines God's love.  I turn to 1 Corinthians, the famous love chapter, where it is all listed out.  Love is patient and kind (oops), not jealous, boastful, proud or rude.  It is not demanding or irritable (yikes!).  It doesn't keep track of wrong doings.  It rejoices in truth!  It doesn't give up (sigh) or lose faith.  It is hopeful and enduring.

I'm remembering my falling from the days before.  I'm feeling weakness and my daily need for grace.  I am a humbled, sorry heap answering to a Father who is always loving, patient, and forgiving.  The perfect parent is one who never teeters on the edge of insanity, and gives wayward children every opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  I'm not perfect, and neither are you.  God is.

1 John 4:8 says, "God is love."  I am just a shadow of this, but as a child and a parent, I am learning.


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