We love, God loved first + Valentine’s Printable
“If I don’t have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 NIRV
Without love, nothing? Really?
The chapter goes on to teach us what love is and what it is not — love is patient, kind, not rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, or easily angered
These last few weeks I’ve struggled with my determined child. In the height of emotion and frustration, anger words I can never regain — were released. And my actions and my words were contrary to the “is and nots” of love defined by His Word, by His life. I wonder how a child has the ability to press me and push me to the edge of myself, and my default may be to blame the child. Yet, as the reflection of my own heart is revealed in God’s word, I know the child is not the problem.
God is using the child and child-rearing to expose the mess in me. It’s His love and the way He parents, He’s desiring for me to learn His way of grace.
Christ showed us the way. We love because He first loved us.
In those moments when I may want to push the still maturing child away, I remember how God loves, and the innumerable times He’s accepted me despite all that is wrong with me, despite all the times I missed the mark, despite all my faults and failings. And I don’t have to fear losing His love when the process of transformation gets too messy.
As a mama I have the greatest opportunity I may ever get to demonstrate His love and grace — by loving and accepting the child in the very moment when loving that child is the hardest.
And follow His leading — grace is the way.
Like Jesus, I am to present to my family the grace of God. What kind of Jesus am I to my kids? As a parent am I the kind of Jesus who sends out verbal and nonverbal messages –“Not good enough; something’s wrong with you; try harder” — or do I mirror a Jesus whose stance toward them is one of unconditional love, who reminds them of their profound worth, who offers the support they need in order to live? God loves me with a love that went all the way to the cross.” — Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff Vanvonderen
I do need to be honest with my children, correct, discipline and tell them the truth of what they need to hear, but it’s how I choose to temper my honesty with grace of edification and encouragement — making certain my children know there is nothing they can do that will make me love them any less. That is most important.
And maybe this Valentine’s Day is a perfect day, and any day, everyday perhaps the better way would be to focus on the best and not the worst, the beautiful and not the ugly, and all that’s lovely about my children — those unique, God-given qualities I can magnify, report, and praise.
I created this printable, and perhaps you’d like to use it, too?
Fill in, cut out, whole punch and tie a string to hold them together.