It would be foolish of me to act like I knew what I was doing when I became a mom at just 19.
I didn’t have a clue.
Sure, I knew how I wanted to mother. I had dreamed of it most of my young life. But mothering is a lot harder than it looks.
Anyone can issue commands …
Clean your plate.
Brush your teeth.
Bedtime is at 7.
But commands don’t translate to love.
I’ve spent many well meaning years trying to get the Mom thing right, like the time I made a list of rules called the 4 C’s, short for chores, conforming, cleaning, and caring. The list would eventually include car, curfew and courting.
Do you remember?
Like most moms, I wanted our kids to behave. I wanted them to use their manners and have a healthy respect for rules.
It turns out, what really mattered most about motherhood wasn’t written down on a list every day. It wasn’t in a spotless or well tended to house, in rigid unbending bed times, or in making our kids clean their plates spotless. I had it in my heart the moment I met our first child and it never stopped growing.
Love doesn’t appear like a line item on a chore chart. It’s not a word, it’s an action.
Love him. Love her.
I was told early on, if it wasn’t on the to-do list, it often wouldn’t get done.
Make the bed, brush the teeth ✔️
Why wasn’t love on the list?
I’m still learning and though they are grown, they are still teaching me about what they want (and need) the most.
Don’t get me wrong.
Nutrition is important.
Nap schedules are good.
Chore lists are helpful.
Dating rules are a must.
But what really makes a mother great and her kids great, too, is this one simple thing.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laughter.
It smiles at the fingerprints on a freshly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it cleans up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
⁃ Adapted from Jim Fowler
I’m still learning when it comes to mothering, but I know this.
Love works every time, as 1 Corinthians teaches.
Mom is patient, when she is waiting for her kids to finally “get it” and grow up.
Mom is kind when her children are not.
Mom does not envy when other moms seem to have it all together as she scrolls through Instagram.
She does not boast about how good her kids are when others are a disappointment.
She is never too proud to say I’m sorry.
Mom is not rude when her kids forget their manners, she is not self-seeking when meeting their needs. She is not easily angered when her kids think the world revolves around them, and she keeps no record of their wrongs.
Mom does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, that God loves and forgives her kids just as He does her.
Mom always protects her childs spirit, even when she has to discipline.
She always trusts God to do what she can not, always hopes for the best, always perseveres and prays through the hard times, through the inappropriately timed bodily functions, through the bad manners, through the eye rolling, through the messy rooms and through the forgotten chores.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Remember something, moms who are reading.
Love never fails.
There will be times when it feels like our children don’t love us back. They may humble us, humiliate us, reject us, and at times break our hearts … Jesus gave Himself for us because of love, even though we do all of the above (and then some).
At the end of the day, what matters most is that we love the way Jesus loves us, remembering that love. never. fails.