Prompted by Love

I’m thankful for one of Maria Bell’s journal prompts in the April/May/June Common Place Quarterly.  Through it, she prompted me to look at these verses from the eyes of mother-teacher and caused me to note changes that I need to make in these special roles.

1 Corinthians 13

The Excellence of Love

“IF I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

I wonder just how often my kids have thought of me as a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal…ugh!  I can be a grouch.  Not very angelic of me.  Barking orders and fussing at them for unfinished chores, or schoolwork isn’t the most loving way to encourage the development of good daily habits.  I’m resolving to change my tone to a more loving form of guidance.

“And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

Prophecy is a gift…’if this, then that’ predictions come out of my mouth with alarming swiftness from time to time.  I could be less negative in these situations.  And, it’s most likely not my job to remove all mountains from my children’s paths anyway.  It would be more loving to encourage them to climb than to try to make the path as easy as possible for them to skip along.  Especially for boys who become men, a definite challenge is an adventure.  I need to remember to just be encouraging when my kids come up against obstacles.  Come to think of it, it’s extremely challenging to be a wife/mother/teacher, so I’m not going to neglect encouraging our daughters through their own challenges.

“And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”

Feeding the poor while complaining about them wouldn’t be a loving example.  We try to pass out water and snacks to those in need when we see them.  I need to add wipes to that list.  It’s always nice to have a wipe when you could really use one.  Delivering my body to be burned….that’s something to ponder.  It makes me think of martyrdom.  Over extending myself usually makes me feel like a martyr.  It’s no one’s fault, but my own in this situation.  I don’t tend to behave in a loving matter when I’ve over extended myself.  So, delivering myself to be burned needs to stop when it causes me to be unloving.

“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant,”

SIGH!  Work on patience.  Study and demonstrate kindness.  End jealousy.  Keep my mouth shut about what I’ve done, or intend to do.  Don’t look down at others, or make comparisons, especially where my kids are concerned.

“does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,”

The word ‘snark’ comes to mind.  It’s acerbic!  Though it seems to be a popular behavior at this point in history, it is clearly not biblical.  I need to tone down the sarcasm.  Hopefully, I don’t always demand my own way, but I do tend to be provoked from time to time, mostly in political situations.  Staying calm is a better way to demonstrate to my children how these types of provocations can be handled lovingly.  Forgiving wrongs right away ends the self-inflicted slavery that comes from holding grudges.  What an excellent life lesson to live out in front of each of our children.

“does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;”

Helping the kids know how to put a stop to gossip and search for the positive in every situation are important goals.

“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Struggles happen while raising a family.  I hope that I’m demonstrating how to be hopeful and how to build up endurance in good times and bad.

“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

LOVE NEVER FAILS!  It seems to me that the words that are emphasized in the verse above demand the reader to understand that these statements are true.  There are gifts of prophecy, there are tongues, and there is knowledge.  It’s so important to pass these truths onto our children.  These will all pass away though because they will no longer be needed, as LOVE NEVER FAILS!

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;”

I can only glimpse into the future.  I need to remember that my kids catch glimpses, too. None of us can see everything, good, or bad.

“but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”

Yup.  Again the realization that this stuff will pass away when it’s no longer needed…so, love them through everything in the meantime!

“When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child;  when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

I’d like to think that I’ve grown up, so I’m hopeful that all of my kids will continue to demonstrate growth, too.  I just need to applaud them when they choose to behave as adults and not be so harsh and judgmental when they slip in this area.  PATIENCE!

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

As my eyes age, I’m learning more and more what this means.  It’s like looking at an Impressionist’s painting.  A little blurry, but still beautiful.  I need to keep my favorite painter’s works in mind as I watch my children grow.  They are a beauty behold.  (The paintings, too.)  We can only know all the beautiful details about ourselves and our children in Heaven, but I’m certain we will be completely distracted away from each other as our faces will be permanently turned toward Our Creator’s Face.

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I’ve been determined to raise my children to be faithful and hopeful, but the most important lesson I can teach them is to love.

 

Home

According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the word ‘home’ means “a dwelling house; the house or place in which one resides.”  Webster also reminds us that “HOME is the sacred refuge of our life.”  I like the sound of that…”sacred refuge”.  It reminds me that every day is sacred here at our refuge.  That makes it so much more than a house.

When I think of making a house into a sacred refuge, a home, I think of examples from my childhood.  Most of my childhood was spent in a two-story, brick, Spanish style house.  My parents made it a home by teaching us about God throughout the days, weeks, and years.  They told us of His mighty faithfulness on holidays, but mostly on plain ol’ ordinary days.  We studied the Bible together, went to church weekly, if not more often, and had friends over for Bible studies.  It was truly a sacred refuge for our family and for friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers from time to time.  Meals were simple, the garden was abundant, the windows were usually open, and there were frequent bedtime stories.

My brother and I also learned about home life from some of the examples we watched on television.  We didn’t spend much time in front of the tube, but I do remember that we made it a point to watch “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie”.  The parents on those two shows also devoted their “lives” to creating homes that were “sacred refuges” for their families.  Rarely seen in modern television series anymore, these imaginary families influenced many real lives with their love of God, their devotion to their children, and their willingness to open their sacred refuges to others.  They left a lasting impression on me and my children have also enjoyed gleaning thoughtful ways to care for others by watching these episodes in syndication, or on dvds.

“Home is the nicest word there is.”

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Someday, I’d like to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum.

I’m hopeful that the way we have lived our lives with our children and others is a  tangible demonstration of creating a sacred refuge from a dwelling house.

Matthew 7:25 says, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”  And, I love reading “Now be please to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” 2 Samuel 7:29

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Unto Thousands

When we perceive that God uses men and women, parents above all others, as vehicles for the transmission of His gifts, and that it is in the keeping of His law He is honoured–rather than in the attitude of the courtier waiting for exceptional favours–then we shall take the trouble to comprehend the law written not only upon tables of stone and rolls of parchment, but upon the fleshly tablets of the living organisms of the children; and, understanding the law, we shall see with thanksgiving and enlargement of heart in what natural ways God does indeed show mercy unto thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments.

-Charlotte Mason in Parents and Children