Friday, May 5, 2017

I thought I loved my Mother...

Guest post from someone I am so thankful to call my friend!  I've known Jamie for less than 5 years, but she (and her family) have become more than friends to me and my family, they have become family.  She has a heart that beats for Jesus and hands that heal (she's also the best massage therapists I know!).  I'm excited to share this from her tonight!

I thought I loved my Mother. Growing up a child of divorce, I was raised primarily by my mother from the time I was 2. We had an amazing relationship as I grew up, and I always felt that Mom was everything I needed: provider, protector, nurturer, and best friend...we always got along very well. (Sure, there was a span in my teen years when I was probably more difficult to get along with...but for the most part, we’ve been a great team!) I couldn’t have asked for a better woman to bring me up in this world.

So, I thought I loved my mother as much as I possibly could, but I’ve learned recently that I was wrong.
You see, a few months ago, I gave birth to my first baby. His name is Levi, and he is my world. I laugh about it sometimes: how much you simply love this new little person in your life, when all they seem to do is spit up on you, pee and poop on you, and steal every possible opportunity you could have to sleep or enjoy quiet...and all while you’re still wading through a sea of hormones and emotions. It really is a miracle sometimes! But isn’t that what love is? A miracle? If we look, we see it every day: between husbands and wives, parents and children, and God and His creations. You are loving someone who isn’t perfect, doesn’t always act nice toward you, or some days, doesn’t seem to show you that they like you at all...and yet, your heart has them tattooed in it’s very core. We so easily forget that we are sometimes on the other end of that deal: that we have at times been ungrateful, taken others’ love for granted, or neglected to show someone how much they mean to us. Of course, it’s almost never intentional, but people aren’t perfect, and that’s just how it is. Thankfully, our shortcomings serve a purpose: they help to highlight the very nature of love, because within love, the gift of grace is tucked just beneath the surface. Remember, it’s easy to love the easy to love! The real test is loving people when they seem unlovable. We may not be capable of perfect, unconditional love, the way that God is...but we should always strive for it anyway!
What is the closest we can get? I now understand that it is parental love. And believe me, I have had plenty of people to try to love in an unconditional way! My parents and family were first, friends, and then came my husband, for whom I am supremely grateful. He is an amazing man, the answer to a thousand prayers, and already a beautiful example of a father. I try every day to extend my best love to him, as well as my friends and family. But now....oh wow...this tiny human in our house has taken up such a big place in my heart, it’s overwhelming! I know that it will not be easy every day, but I have no doubt that I will love this boy with my whole heart every day of my life, no matter what. So this revelation, this new life of mine, has opened my eyes to something I’ve been missing my whole life: THIS is love. And what my mother has felt for me every day of my life...and I’ve never been able to appreciate it until now.

I think back through my life, and although I think I was a pretty easy kid, there still had to be a million times when my mother was worried about me. I think of things that happened that she may never have even known about, and if I think of my child in those situations, my heart hurts! I think back through years of how hard she worked to single-handedly keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and even have a good bit of fun in between. It couldn’t have been easy...there were times I remember her working three jobs to make it all work. It occurred to me recently that we probably weren’t very wealthy...but I never would’ve known it: I grew up so happy, healthy, and surrounded by everything I needed. God certainly made sure that I was fully provided for, and He did it all in one amazing woman. Now that I know what it feels like to love me the way she does, maybe I can love her the with the capacity she deserved all these years. The words aren’t enough: “Thank you.” “I appreciate you.” “I love you.” They’re certainly true, and always have been. But now, the weight in their meanings are so much more, and the words themselves seem too hopefully, as she continues to love me as she always has, she will understand that they are now so much more...because she is and always has been loving me in that exact way: so much more!
My whole life, my mother has been my prime example of how to love people. Let me tell you, she’s done a great job: she is one of the most selfless, compassionate people I’ve ever known. Now that I have a baby of my own, I can look back and easily see the “more” that she has offered to me, as well as my cousins, our family, and friends and neighbors. She has loved like a mother, and although I was always the main recipient, she certainly offered that love to others too. If we imagine that love, multiplied by infinity, we can kind of understand how God loves us....and how He expects us to try to love each other. We were made in his image, and He commands us to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34.) So today, and every day, remember how a mother loves, how our Father loves, and do the same! Love like a mother. (And don’t forget to thank YOUR mother!)

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