Loving Little L, and enjoying her personality, is something our whole family enjoys. Interacting with her is so much fun -- blowing kisses, giving hugs and kisses, winking, playing patty cake and peek-a-boo. She loves to mimic us. And she loves to entertain us.
If I'm winking at her and she's blinking back at me, we soon have several faces all winking at her and calling for her to wink back at them. If one sister is tickling her, and she's laughing, soon everyone else is trying to tickle her, too. My 6 yo son, who delights in pestering his siblings (especially his older sisters), just loves Little L and often tells me how sweet or cute she is.
It blesses me to see that loving tenderness in my children. I love watching them interact with Little L. One of our church's Sunday School teachers has told me several times that she enjoys seeing how much my children love each other. I need that reminder sometimes, because they bicker and squabble, and occasionally have all-out physical fights ... and it wears me down. Some days I feel like they have nothing in common and will grow up to never speak to each other again. I lose my perspective.
And then there are those other moments where the 10 yo is reading to the 7, 6, and 3 yo; those moments when they're all playing an imaginative game together; those moments where they lovingly care for Little L; those moments that I see them enjoying time with their best friends -- each other! Thank you, Lord, for those moments! They just melt my heart with their love for each other, at times.
Sometimes, my children aren't so enamored of Little L, either. She messes up their Duplo or Lego creation, she steals their crayon, she cries when they're trying to do math, she wants held while we're all trying to get different tasks done. Life isn't perfect here, and neither are we. The older children are still struggling to learn patience, self-control, and sacrificial love. We're all growing in these areas as we learn to get along with each other.
It's my job as their mother, to teach them how to get along with each other. And the best way to teach that is to model it. But I have to confess that there are days that I get sucked right into their arguing, and days when I act emotionally instead of rationally.
I need to keep my focus on God, and fill myself up with His Word, so that I can model to my children how to love sacrificially, control your temper, and have patience. I need to stay in His Word so I can keep my perspective and not become discouraged. And yet, I find myself trying (and failing) to do it on my own far too often.
The lessons my children are learning at home about relationships, and God, are lessons that they will carry with them into their adult lives. The type of spouse, parent, co-worker, employee, and general citizen that they will grow up to be starts in the lessons I teach them at home. It starts in what I model to them in the way that I live.
Lord, help me to model the fruit of the Spirit to my children. Help me to be filled with your grace and love, and let it flow through our home. Lord, please help me to have the right word or action to defuse tense and angry moments between the children, and to restore the loving relationships between them. Lord, give me the wisdom I need to raise up these children for you. Amen.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19b-20
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a