Head down, I barreled up the church sidewalk, each foot planted a bit more firmly than normal.
I had had all the meltdowns I could take for a Sunday morning, so I passed the screaming three year old to my husband and stormed off.
The other two in tow, I marched through the doors with a plastered on smile where we were greeted pleasantly by everyone we saw.
Comments of “beautiful family”, “glad to see you”, and “when are you bringing those cinnamon rolls again?” soon changed my tight lips and furrowed brow into something more humanly recognizable.
It’s amazing how frustrating Sunday mornings can be.
Getting mini-me’s stuffed into matching outfits,
hair tucked, tugged and sprayed into place,
and orders barked out a mile before church:
Mind your manners!
Don’t pinch your sister!
Don’t give everyone your life story when they ask how you are!
Don’t holler out your sister’s latest transgression, either. You have the right to remain silent about that!
Be a blessing!
Do you understand?
Then somehow at the doors of the church we transform into the sweet loving parent who says please and thank you, would seemingly never tell her child they “have the right to remain silent” about something, because now she cheerfully deems her child “sweetie”, as she herds everyone into the sanctuary.
Anyone? Is this real for anyone else?
As we sat waiting for service to start, my brood behaving as ordered, I watched other parents with a string of littles in tow, and I saw unfold exactly what I had just done.
Everything and everybody looked in order, ready for a great morning at church, yet if you looked at the parents, one or both still had a hint of a bugged out morning in their eyes.
It isn’t the most pleasant adornment a parent can wear.
I know that’s what people saw when I marched through the church doors.
I also know they understand because they have experienced the same, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, love is an action.
And when we don’t act it out, we can’t fake it out, either.
As I looked at my family, I knew apologies were in order. One by one, I whispered to them my regret for being such a bear. One by one, their eyes and faces revealed forgiveness and joy.
Now I attack mornings with a prepared state of mind. On Sunday mornings, and all other mornings, I choose to love instead of stress. I choose to live instead of pretend.
Take a few moments to really soak up the following version of 1 Corinthians 13 for parents. Somewhere in there, make a note of what you need to work on.
Mine is patience and not trying to protect my reputation by dictating my children’s actions and behaviors.
Be honest. Be brave. Share yours in the comments.
1 Corinthians 13 for Parents
If I speak the truisms of generations of parents,
but do not have love for my children,
I am but a nag or a screamer.
If I know all the mysteries of parents,
and have all the knowledge of Dr. Spock and Dr. Dobson combined,
and have the faith that these techniques cannot fail,
but I do not love my children,
I am a parental failure.
If I give myself sacrificially,
giving all my time and all my money,
and become a parental martyr,
but do not have love for my children through it all,
It all adds up to a total loss.
Loving my children involves being patient to let God work in their lives,
being sensitive to their feelings,
and aware of their hurts and concerns.
Loving my children means not comparing them to me or any other,
not being envious of their successes,
not trying to protect my reputation by governing their activities.
Love for my children is not irritable, agitated or moody.
It does not hold grudges and refuse to forgive.
It does not expect them to be perfect or rejoice in punishment,
but rejoices when they learn to walk with God.
The love of a parent is not condescending,
does not demand conformity to projected expectations,
is willing to admit personal failure,
and is unconditional no matter what they do.
All the parenting theories will pass away.
All the lectures will blow in the wind.
All the tears and concerns will overcome.
What remains is my faith in God,
and my hope for my children,
but the greatest asset of parenting is the love
which only God can produce in my heart for my children.
P.S. You can find 1 Corinthians 13 versions for Teachers and Students here.
P.S.S. While you’re there, grab my latest FREE Ebook: The Big Book of Scriptures to Pray Over Children.