Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Strength to Love

I woke up this morning with this prayer on my mind - LORD, give me the strength to love.

What does that mean?  Does it take strength to love?

Hollywood would have you believe that it does not take strength to love.  That love is the most natural thing there is. You fall in love and live happily ever after.  Maybe that's why there's so many divorces among celebrities.  They think that love should be easy. And when it stops being easy, they bail out.

But that's not real life.  God never promises us a life of ease.  The apostle Paul certainly does not model a life of ease for us.  He is beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned for love.  He loved people so completely that he was willing to do the hard things God called him to do.  Living in community with people is hard work, sometimes.  It requires all kinds of love.

As a parent, one of the ways I show love it to hold my boys accountable to certain standards.  They need to maintain their grades, they need to keep their rooms relatively clean, they need to treat themselves and others a certain way.

I'm sure sometimes my 'love' seems like nagging and nitpicking to them.  They want to do things one way and I want it done another.  Usually, they want the easy way and I want the right way.  I often say to them "is it done your way or the momma way?" The momma way is a pain in the butt for them sometimes.  It requires more of both of us.  I have to set my expectation, model it and hold them accountable.  They have to work to meet that expectation.  It's much easier to let them do what they want. But then I'm not teaching them to work hard and strive for a standard of excellence.  God has not called me to raise happy kids.  He's called me create strong adults who love Him, themselves and others.  That takes effort. It doesn't just happen.

And, to be honest, some days, I'm too tired to put in the effort.  I'd rather just lay on the couch and read.  But then we both suffer.  Last week, I let B spend the evenings creating and building.  We never studied his spelling words.  Consequently, he got a 58 on his spelling test.  I didn't do my job.  It's my job to teach him good study habits.  This is the first year he's had spelling tests.  I can't expect him to remember to study and to take care of it himself, yet.  I have to do my part to emphasize the importance of good study habits.  I have to teach him to balance his projects/creation with his school responsibilities.

With the older boys it's not as hands on but it is just as constant.  I don't have to sit down and study with them anymore. It's more asking them questions about their school work.  It's helping them get and stay organized. I've already but in the some of work, they know the drill, they just need a push or reminder.

Yes, I do need the strength the love.  I need the strength to put forth the effort to pour into relationships.  I need the strength to lead, ask questions and maintain certain standards.  I need strength to do the things that God has called me to do.

The wonderful silver lining is that God is always willing to give me that strength.  I need only ask.

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