The meaning and value of children...
Oh I wish I had a better understanding of how God views my kids. Chris asked me a striking question the other day. The context of our conversation (and many of our conversations) was this: Do we have Anibel's heart? Not her obedience, behavior. But her heart? At the time the answer was no.
Now here was his question:
But does she have our hearts? Ouch.
I have pondered this question often since that conversation weeks ago. The truth is that she often doesn't. She has my time, but often grudgingly given. She has my attention, but usually tinged with frustration. She has my devotion, but laced with duty. And I have concluded that within my principal goal of shepherding my childs heart (see Shepherding a Childs Heart, by Ted Tripp) is an even greater need to first shepherd my own heart.
There is a real part of our culture that says mothering is natural. That the first time you see your child after they are born you will be forever changed into the perfect mother for them. (That even things like nursing just happen out of instinct and are easy...NOT!) Let us just say my emotional responce was more like, "Are you sure this is mine? Now what do I do?" I've spent so much energy berating myself for not being 'the natural mother'. I have assumed that it should all come easily and that something was desperately wrong with me since it wasn't. A wise woman shared this with me: "...then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children. " (Titus 2:4) Her thought being: if loving our kids comes naturally why does the bible say we need to be trained in how to do it?
So now I am attempting to set aside my self-berating ways and shepherd my own heart into loving my kids. I believe a popular children's book captures this kind of love well...
"I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as your living my baby you'll be..."
See in one sense it is easy to love your kids, in the cheap way our world defines love nowadays. But it is harder to like them when they wake you up 4 times a night, or like them when they talk back to you, or like (ie. enjoy, be fond of, admire, cheerish, esteem) them when they laugh at your tears, embarrass you in the grocery store, decide throwing cups water all over the kitchen is a constructive pastime, throw a toy at their baby sister's head, or interupt you 5 times in 2 minutes. And that is what I want to strive to do. Even in the hard times. To always like my children.