I started a blog post about this early last week. It was almost finished, then I deleted it.
Here’s the truth about loving your kids when they’re unlovable.
It’s hard. It hurts. Sometimes there are lots of tears. Sometimes there’s anger at yourself-your kids. Love doesn’t come naturally. When do we ever want to hug the person who rolls their eyes at us? When do we ever want to chase after the heart of a person who consistently reminds us of our mistakes? Does it ever become easy to love your child when they throw that temper tantrum in the middle of Target?
I’m not having a light conversation here, this is real stuff.
The stuff of motherhood often makes us want to run to our bed and cry. Cry because we’re lost and we have no idea what we’re doing. How do you do this? How do you love them when you don’t even know if your doing this mom thing right?
Well, I could give you a list of how-to’s to deal with them. In fact, my first draft was just that. It was a how to guide-but seriously, how can you write a how-to guide for every mother in the universe. We all have our stories. We’re inside our lives struggling through things like the terrible twos, depression, wondering if we’re enough- all while trying to raise these tiny humans.
We have our stories. You have your story.
Maybe you’re at the end. Maybe you don’t know what’s next. You read your story and feel hopeless because motherhood is hard. You’re wondering what in the world to do. How do you do this mom thing? How do you love these kids when they aren’t lovable? And even when they are lovable, how do you do it? How?
As I write the question, I’m screaming it out in my soul. “God, write it on the sky!? Please, God I beg you. I can’t do this alone.”
Then a quietness suddenly fills me, and I realize something.
The inaudible voice says something like a whisper in my heart, he says, ” It’s impossible to know how to love your children unless you first experience God’s love for you.”
Have you ever experienced God’s love? This isn’t a touchy feely kind of love. It’s the real thing. Tangible. Life-changing. Turn your world upside down kind of love.
Recently, I’ve been reminded of his love.
There’s this story in the Bible-it’s one of my favorites. It’s about a woman caught in adultery. Yeah, that’s right. She’s caught having sex. And she’s brought out in front of the people-the people who have been judging her for her whole life -and they all pick up their stones. They snarl at her. Look at her like she’s worth less than the dirt they’re standing on. Disgust. Loathing. Condemnation fills them. And there she is in the middle. Maybe she has a sheet wrapped around her body. She’s shaking. Her shame evident to the entire world.
And the people look at Jesus and they ask him, “What are you going to do with this sinner?!”
As if Jesus should be taking up his stone. But he bends down and randomly starts writing in the sand. The Bible doesn’t say what he wrote. But finally, Jesus looked up into the eyes of the people who surrounded this woman and said, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”
Can you imagine the woman? Her head down in shame afraid to look at anyone. But then suddenly she hears something drop to the ground. She glances carefully over to the sound and sees a rock. One by one, the stones fall to the ground and finally no one is left but Jesus. He is the only one who can throw the stone. But he didn’t.
He doesn’t throw stones at you either.
No, Mama, you aren’t perfect. And sometimes it feels like everyone is throwing stones at you. But take heart, the One who matters doesn’t throw the stone. He looks at you and says, “I forgive you. Now go and sin no more.” He forgives you. He loves you more completely than anyone else in the world.
Instead of crying on your bed at night wondering what to do, go to the One who never throws stones.
When you are in rapture over His love, you’ll be more ready to love your children.
When you understand God’s love, you see your child’s hunger for sin as a longing to fill himself with something other than God. You’ll begin to see them as searching souls who desperately want to fill themselves up with emptiness.
But here comes the most beautiful part of motherhood.
Mama, you get to show your children how much God’s love has changed you.
You get to tell them why you do right. You get to show them how beautiful it is to be forgiven and loved no matter what you do.
So, Mama, if I could tell you how to love an unlovable child? This is what I’d say-
Fall in love with Jesus everyday. We can’t do this without him. And no matter what your story is, He’ll lead you to love them just the way they need you to.