I am a loving mother. Tender and warm impulses towards my children are very common. I love them with a passionate love. I cherish their distinct personalities, unique physiognomy and even the smell that is unique to each of them. Sometimes I even smell a favorite "blanket" or pooch of one of them, just to memorize its scent. My heart is filled with joy and affection towards them every day. I often tell them how happy and privileged I am that God has found it good to grant me the grace to be their mom. Most women can easily relate to these feelings because this kind of love for our children comes naturally to us. This passionate love that most mothers feel for their children is probably one of the facets God created in them to be more like Him.
But my love is not entirely like God's. Even my best times are tainted with sin. The love I have for my children is not only deficient, it is also divided. In truth, the tender and warm impulses towards my children are sometimes even far from my heart. Needless to say, motherhood isn't all about sweet, tender and warm moments! His demands, which are sometimes tireless, are often very trying. I compare the intensity of some of his trying moments to that of a pressure cooker. The pot is very revealing! When it's on fire, it brings up the other loves of my heart to the surface. Results? The fight breaks out between my passions (Jacques chapter 4). What are those moments in the pressure cooker like in my life as a mom? Let me give you the picture with some examples of situations.
- I had worked hard to protect my family from the germs causing gastroenteritis and all its inconveniences, at least those that were not yet affected by the plague, to eventually discovered that my youngest, two years old, was drinking from the toilet bowl with a shaving cream bottle stopper. It was the first time he had done this, and to make it worse, he chose the toilet that I had quarantined and reserved for the still sick family members.
- My big girl was going to be late for school and I was struggling to dress everyone and get them in the car on time. As I had just finished dressing one, I noticed that another had in the meantime taken off his shoes. Once in the car, one of my children screams in panic, because the seams of his clothes are bothering him. In addition, I have to take twice the time to buckle the seatbelt of my two "toddlers" who are determined to fasten it themselves when they are unable to do so and are ready for any fight to prevent me from it. do!
- I try to make supper while one of the children hangs himself after my leg and another asks me every 5 minutes to put him on the pot, all this while remotely setting a baffle between the two older. After having passed all these obstacles, supper arrives on the table. It is received with criticisms and complaints.
- After a particularly tough day, I was about to have a good time, but the thought that my husband was going through the door at any moment had kept me resisting until then. Then the phone rang. He was still in the office and wouldn't be arriving until much later, around bedtime for the kids.
- All morning I had been hopefully anticipating the children's nap time to listen to the latest episode of "Grey's Anatomy."I felt that this was my well-deserved reward for the hard work in the morning. Today, more than any other day, the time of the nap is a total fiasco.
Times of pressure come when something else I love is threatened. Brent Bounds wrote in his article Parenthood: The Lab of Gospel Growth : “ I only realized that I was self-centered only when I got married. I only really experienced the depth of my self-centeredness when I had children. "Oh, how I identify with that! Being a mother unearthed idols in my heart that I never suspected. It exposed desires that I had underestimated the importance of hold on my heart. Even my children, at times, occupied the shelves cluttered with idols on the shelves of my heart. One of the things that strikes me as I navigate the troubled waters of parenting young children is this: As I bring up my children, God is at work in my heart to raise me up as his child. God uses these frequent times of pressure to let me know the many allegiances of my heart and the shallow depth of my love for him.
Paul writes in Titus 2: 3-4: “Say that old women should also have exterior suitable for holiness, not be backbiting or addicted to excess of wine; that they must give good instructions, in order to teach young women to love their husbands and children ... "
Paul urges older women to teach younger women how to love their children. This verse is not directed at women who lack a natural affection for their children. He does not speak of the kind of love so common, so natural, to women towards their children. The kind of love that needs to be taught goes deeper than the simple tender, warm surges that fill our hearts as we watch our children sleep. The kind of love that needs to be taught is self-sacrificing love, sacrificial love. He passes the test of times of pressure. This kind of love is also totally impossible for us to live without the grace of God at work in our hearts.
Here is a verse that I have already written on my window over my kitchen sink: Proverbs 14.1: "A wise woman builds her house, and a foolish woman knocks it down with her own hands. I placed it there to serve as a reminder to me of the important impact a woman has on her household. Women are naturally good at setting the tone in the home. They have the capacity to create a safe haven for their family or to destroy it. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I did these two things at different times. I have sometimes been the woman who demolishes her own house. So I kept this verse in front of me to encourage me to build for the good of my family; to love my children and my husband and to create the haven of peace that I dream of… But the truth is that I can meditate on this verse with all my strength, until I turn purple, if my love for Jesus does not grow not, the kind of love that withstands pressure and that I want to love my children with will not grow either.
If I want the love for my children to grow, and to be free from the self-centeredness that has often plagued my family, it is first and foremost a growing love for Jesus that needs to be cultivated!
I like the way C.S. Lewis puts it: When I have learned to love God more than all those who are dear to me, I will be able, better than now, to love those who are dear to me.As long as I love my loved ones at the expense of God or instead of God, I will not be able to love my loved ones at all When the things that should be put first are first, secondary things are not removed, but are intensified “Letters of CS Lewis”.
I am unable to muster my strength on my own to let go of the idols that have charmed my heart for so many years. The list of my failures bears witness to this. These failures humiliate me and bring me back to the gospel regularly. I am unable to obey the first commandment! What hope is there for me? The Gospel! The gospel has not taken away the struggle against my idols, but it has created in me a burning desire that God will come and occupy more and more space in my heart. He also created sad loathing for my sins. I long for the day of deliverance, but until then my hope rests in the transformative power of the gospel, which creates in me a burning desire for more of it and much less of me..