If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever … In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.
~ John 14:15-21
What a gift it was to return to my home in Oxford and to have my precious grandchildren waiting for me. With all that I have on my plate, nothing was more important to me than soaking up every minute in the companionship of my precious littles who are growing up so quickly.
A sweet mom wrote me a letter this week and said that she and her friends had been reading through Ministry of Motherhood together. She said they really enjoyed it, but it was a little overwhelming because it felt like I was always so positive about my children and that I always loved them. Then she asked if I really always felt that way.
Of course not! We all go through seasons where we wonder if some of our children came from another planet. Sometimes we have feelings that suggest we are not really a good mom because we don’t even like our children in the gritty moments of life. And sometimes we just wish we could escape!
I learned very early in my Christian life about the concept of obedience. God asked me to obey Him with my heart and Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” So, obedience is out of love, not feelings. Many times, I would do the right thing, even though my feelings didn’t match my actions. In other words, I knew it was right to “act” in a loving, patient manner towards my children. Or I knew that God wanted me to “respect” Clay–even times when I did not feel like it! But because I wanted to love Jesus, I would obey. What I found out is that my feelings would usually follow my right actions. In other words, the more I obeyed the Lord in serving my children and encouraging them, the more of an investment they became to me, and the more I cherished them.
Growth is a long process. My deep love and reverence for these children have grown after many, many years of cherishing them–sometimes because I truly loved and enjoyed them–and sometimes purely out of faith. God has gentled my heart over time, and now I know how dear it is to cherish time with those you love because, age old truth is that it will indeed fly quickly. But, as I have said before, as in a garden, whatever you water and nourish the most is what will flourish. If you water the garden of family and children, patience and love and life-giving and beauty, it will grow and flourish–it is a long-term work.