Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Life Lesson on Love

"Noah and Anna Grace, get in the car."

I load Deacon, a tray of cupcakes, and a few more things. They still haven't gotten in the car.

"Hey, y'all, I said get in the car."

 I set my purse and diaper bag in the front seat, and then head to put the stroller up. Still not in the car.

"Hey, you two. Get in the car!"

Once again, I am totally ignored.

"I have a prize that Memie bought you, but I'm not going to give it to you until you get in the car."

Immediately, they get in the car.

"What is it?" they ask.

"Buckle up and I will tell you."

"What is it? What is it? Mom, what is it?"

When I see that they are buckled, I hand them each a heart-shaped PEZ dispenser that my grandma gave me to give each of them. Thinking they will be excited, I grab my phone so they can call to tell her thank you.

"That's it?" Anna Grace asks.

Noah follows her with, "Yeah, is there anything else?"

I reached in the backseat and snatched them right back out of their little hands.  You see, typically at this moment, I would have probably lost my cool, and gone off on each one of them about how unappreciative they are and that they should be thankful that they got anything.  However, we were leaving church, and I was in a totally different state of mind. So I just calmly told them how much it hurt my heart that they would say that and they would expect more and not be grateful for what they were given.  My prayer lately has been, "Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours." Each song that we sang in worship tonight brought tears to my eyes.

"Where you go, I'll go.
Where you stay, I'll stay.
Where you move, I'll move.
How you serve, I'll serve.
If this life I lose, I will follow you." 

"You gave, You gave Your life away.
You gave, You gave Your life away.
You gave, You gave Your life away for me."

These words hit me like a ton of bricks tonight.  I'm pretty sure He's answering my prayer. I have prayed for a long time for God to take away my selfishness, but I think I have half-heartedly prayed that prayer not really wanting to let go of it quite yet.  So when those words came out of my kids' mouths tonight, all I could do was cry.  What have I done? I have made them this way. I have given them way more than they deserve or need to be given.  I have spoiled them. Made them greedy. Made them unappreciative. Made them take things for granted. Made them be everything that I am trying so hard not to be.  It is MY fault. It's not all of theirs.

I mean, after-all, I spent the entire day planning and purchasing things for them for Valentine's Day tomorrow.  I bought a heart-shaped pancake mold with red-velvet pancake mix, purchased them each a special lunch, made each one a bag full of stuff....DVDs, shoes, magic pens, shirts, candy, cookies, etc, bought heart-shaped pasta for our special dinner and chocolate for dessert with everything I could possibly think of to dip in it. 


I may be showing them that Valentine's Day is about love, but I am doing it all wrong. All I am doing is showing them how to love things and themselves, when what I need to be doing is showing them how to love others.  It has to stop. It has to stop now. If I don't teach them, who will?  I have to lead by example.  God is really working on me right now.  He is laying things on my heart that I know are not me.  They are way out of my comfort zone.  They are scary, and they require sacrifice. I want to be willing to sacrifice. I want to follow Him. I need to.  Lord, please help me to.

The rest of the ride home was silent other than the little sniffles coming from the back seat, and the big ones coming from the front. No arguing, no fighting, no wild, rambunctious children like usual...just tears running down all three of our faces.  Now I am sure that Anna Grace's tears were a direct result of having her unappreciated prize taken away, but I am hoping that a little bit of what I said and what took place sunk in with them and made them think.  

We get home and both of them come sit in my lap.  All of us still crying...Sister heaving and not really knowing why, Noah with genuinely regretful tears running down his face, and me trying to choke up some words to explain what I am feeling and attempt to teach them a lesson.  And in the midst of our cry-fest, Noah (in mid-cry) busts out with, "This is so dramatic!" It was all I could do to not burst into laughter. He was right. It was. But it was needed.  

I've got a lot of teaching, leading, and molding to do, and it starts tomorrow.  Will I still get up early and make them heart-shaped pancakes? Yes. And we will still have our dinner and enjoy the evening together as a family, but I will not be giving them a bag full of expectations. It's going to be hard, but I have to start somewhere. 

And I can't think of a better day to begin doing a better job of teaching them the true meaning of love.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. I am at a loss for how to respond... other than:
    "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." III John 1:4
    That verse pretty much sums up one of the greatest blessings I will ever receive in this life. My life is full of God's blessings, but few compare to watching my children raise their children to walk in truth. It is what matters. I love you!

  2. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for you and Dad. If I can be half the mom you were/are, I will be doing pretty good. Love you!