Sunday, June 23, 2013

persistence in love

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a little leather-bound book of devotionals titled Jesus Calling. That was nearly a month ago, and I hadn't made time for it until today. There are a lot of things I don't make time for these days...not things that I really feel badly about, just things that would certainly enrich my life, for sure. Like devotional reading (although this is the one thing, along with reading my Bible, that I do feel badly about. This will change.)

This morning I sat outside on the patio with a cup of coffee as Sadie slept and Abigail danced around the yard peeking in rain buckets and smelling the flowers, and I opened this sweet little book to today's devotional. Here is the gist of what it said:

Let my love stream through you, washing away fear and distrust. A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. My continual Presence is a promise, guaranteeing that you never have to face anything alone...Gently bring your attention back to Me whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence - instead of perfection - in your walk with Me.

As I'm sure was God's incredible timing, this is exactly where my heart has been lately. In the persistence of love. Specifically with my girls, though truthfully in general I just want to be better at loving everyone. It's not that I don't love my kids - I'm not sure there even exists a word in all of creation that can fully describe the deep, all-encompassing love of a mother. Would agape love be appropriate? This is the word used to mean Christ's love for humankind. I suppose I can't compare my own love for my own children to that. But goodness, it must come pretty close.

We are not perfect. There lies the difference between our love as mothers, and God's love. He is perfect, His love is perfect. He never grows impatient with us, never loses His temper, never says things He doesn't mean. Why do we fall prey to these things? I say 'we' but I mean I. Why can't my love for my girls, which is so fathomless that simply looking at them makes me cry sometimes, be enough to make me a perfect mother? I can't count how many times I've thought back to the moment, the many moments, when Abby was a baby, and I would hold her and stare at her for hours, thinking, "My God. How could anyone get angry at this? How could anyone raise their voice?". So many people warned me that day would come, but my heart was in denial. I didn't want to imagine, couldn't imagine, being anything less than loving toward my child.

But it did happen. It does happen, still. And every single one of those times leaves me feeling cold, empty, and ashamed. I cry about it! What is wrong with me? I wonder. Where is my compassion? My patience? My grace? Where is that mother who held her newborn baby in her arms and whispered, "You will always be safe here, in my arms, forever"? Where is that safety now?

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Raising kids is the toughest job I've ever had; there is simply nothing in the world that can be likened to parenthood. And there are many days when I'm not very good at it. But God's promise, which was shared in my devotional today, is that He isn't interested in perfection. Only persistence. The willingness to admit that we do fall short, to take a step back, trust in God, and try again.

And again, and again, and again.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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me

My name is Audrey. I'm just a twentysomething learning how to master the arts of cooking, cleaning, working and being in a relationship, same as you.In between all that, I like to collect sea glass and salvaged furniture. Occasionally, I cut and paste scraps of paper together. In the end, I am hoping that all of these things together will somehow amount to something good. This blog is a journal of my efforts to get there.

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