“I can read bedtime stories till the cow jumps over the moon and sing “Ten Little Monkeys” until I want to call the doctor—but if I don’t have love, I’m as annoying as a ringing phone.
I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and listening to my voice mail, I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the neighborhood, and I can tell a sick child’s temperature with one touch of my finger, but if I don’t have love, I am nothing.
If I live in the house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.
If I scream at my children for every infraction, and fault them for every mess they make, but have not love, my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window. Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk. Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is patient when my child chooses to show their artistic talent with crayons on the wall for the third time.
Love is kind when my child says, “I don’t like you anymore!”
It does not envy the neighbors’ swimming pool or their brand-new mini van, but trusts the Lord to provide every need.
Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and insecurities and love rejoices when other families succeed.
It doesn’t boast, even when I’ve multi-tasked all day long and my husband can’t do more than one thing at a time.
Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks, “What have you done today?”
It does not immediately seek after glory when we see talent in our children, but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.
It is not easily angered, even when my child acts like the world revolves around her.
It does not delight in evil, is not self-righteous, but rejoices in the truth. Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present “mommy,” the taxi-driver to every childhood event, the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.
Love does not give up hope. It always protects our children’s self-esteem and spirit, even while handing out discipline.
It always trusts God to protect our children when we cannot. It always perseveres, through blue nail polish, rolled eyes and crossed arms, messy rooms and sleepovers.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child and then, stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.
All the projections I had for my house and my children have faded away into insignificance, and what remains are the memories of my kids.
Love never fails.
But where there are memories of thousands of diaper changes and painful labor, they will fade away.
Where there is talking back, it will (eventually) cease.
Where there is a child who thinks she knows everything, there will one day be an adult who knows you did your best.
When we were children, we needed a parent to love and protect us. Now that we’re parents ourselves, we have a heavenly Father who adores us, shelters us, and holds us when we need to cry.
Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture, dishes with missing place settings, and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings, but the greatest of all is the Love that permeates my relationships with my children.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Written by Darcy Kimmel
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