Monday, August 17, 2009

...Love Their Children...

" love their children..."

Once again, this phrase in the verse from Titus 2:3-5 seems a bit obvious, but after thinking about it I realized just how amazing our God is that He had the apostle Paul add this little phrase.

I don't know what type of home you came from, but I came from one where my mother was the ultimate example of a woman who loved the Lord first, then her husband and children. She would do anything for us, and she was willing to give up anything necessary for our well being. She went back to work soon after I was born for a couple of weeks, but then chose to stay home with me and then my sister. She felt that her place was at home, instead of out in the workplace, caring for her children and making the home a place of refuge and relaxation for my father when he came home from work. I can't tell you how many hugs, kisses, and "I love you" phrases I received growing up because they were as numerous as the stars in the sky (however, now I wish I could get a few more). My mother took her time to teach us God's Word everyday, up to the day that I got married, and then after that she would ask me if she could share something with me from God's Word (the answer was always yes). She and Dad had Children's Appreciation Day once a year (we never knew when that would be). The first time, she told us that we were having special guests for dinner. Faye and I tried guessing who it could be as Mom set out her best plates and glasses. We were told to dress up so that we looked nice when the guests arrived. When Dad came home from work, Mom pulled out handmade crowns and put them on our heads. She told Faye and me that we were the special guests, and I promptly burst into tears from feeling so special. My mother home schooled my sister and I, and we both went on to college (I graduated with honor, my sister graduated as valedictorian- number 1 in her class). Funny thing is, my mother did not have a college degree when she was teaching us. She earned it through a correspondence course as she was homeschooling us. Her degree was in Christian counseling not education, but anyone who had her as a teacher or counselor could tell you that what she had was a gift, not earned from a piece of paper. She would come into my room when it was time for bed, and she and I would sit and talk about anything that was on my mind and in my heart. When I got married, I would call her all the time, and she would drop everything to just chat about everything and nothing, just to talk to me. Up until her death, she was still putting the needs of her children above her own, making sure that I had everything that I needed to bring my baby home from the hospital.

That is how I learned to be a mother to my daughter. I have already begun the kisses and hugs (and she has begun giving them right back), teaching her, and having devotions. We talk all the time (even though she isn't using "real" words yet), and I make up the conversation as we go along so she knows that Mommy will listen to her talk anytime. For me, loving my child (and one day children) comes naturally because I have seen what a mother is and does and how she is to love my whole life. I had an amazing example, and my mother had an amazing example in her own mother.

However, not everyone has had an example to follow. We all come from different backgrounds, circumstances, places, cultures, and homes. Some mothers treated their children as if they were an inconvenience or punishment, while others treated them as the gift that God describes them to be. Some mothers treated their children as unimportant or less than human, while others treated them as a reward from God. Although I am sure that most mothers love their children (how could they not?), they may not know how to show that love. Why? Because it may not have been shown to them. The phrase "Do as I say, not as I do" does not hold true in any situation. It is more of a "Monkey see, monkey do". As we have seen and experienced, so we do and follow.

As you spend time with your children, teaching and training them, remember that the way you love and treat them is the way they will love and treat your grandchildren. Remember that everything you do with and for your children will set an example for your children to follow. I know of women who had abusive mothers but decided long before they became mothers that they would treat their children differently than they were treated. Their daughters are now loving mothers to their children because of the example of their mothers, who chose to make a conscious effort to love their children according to God's Word and not according to the poor example that they saw.

I would encourage you to look at 1 Corinthians 13 and do your own study on the love chapter. Look at the different actions of love (like we did with our husbands) and see in which you can show love to your children this week. Your children will appreciate it.


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