Boy, did I get this wrong. Loving is so hard.
When motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks, I thought I just needed to enjoyed the moment and cherished them. That somehow just smiling through it would be enough. But it’s not. Because love is not the sweet moments, giggles under a blanket fort, splashing in April puddles, or a tender kiss goodnight. Those ideal days are few and far between with two little stones; what’s real is the mundane, the endless teaching, their constant needs, and my own selfishness.
The idea of love is so simple, but the act is hard. It requires intentional surrender of self, long hours, and unwavering devotion. Giving your life, expecting nothing in return. A mostly thankless job.
Love is put to the test inside the fractured human heart. The tendency is to self-seek. To lean towards what is easy, cultural, and safe. The world’s love is lazy. Be happy, patient, and nice, but only when it’s easy. But true love pursues what deep down we all know is right–the mindfulness of motive, a pure attitude within the heart. Will we conveniently ignore the call to love, slacking off and abdicating? Justifying our worldly love in our own crafty ways? Or will we drop to our knees, praying for a mighty work to restore our pathetic hearts for this enormous task?
We will fail in our humanness. Depraved and warped, our hearts will stumble. But, weary soul, there is grace.
There is grace when we set a horrible example.
There is grace when we lose it and scream in their little faces.
There is grace for when he walks out the door and doesn’t come home for seven days. There is grace if he walks out the door and doesn’t come home at all.
Grace for when you spend more time bouncing nine pounds up and down a hallway than you do sleeping.
There is grace when the furnace breaks down and there is no paycheck that month. There is grace when the car refuses to start a day later.
There is grace when they mess it all up . . . again. Grace when I mess it all up again. Grace for brokenness. There is grace for the mundane; grace for the chaos. Grace when there is loss, and grace when there is change. Grace for when you just cannot do it anymore.
Because I will fail every day. My love is terribly broken and incomplete. An utter disgrace.
“But grow in grace . . .” 2 Peter 3:18
Grow. An active pursuit; a reaching upward for more life. Development of a mature heart. Love does not try, mess up, and apathetically accept grace. True love seeks to grow in that grace. It soaks up the Light and pushes higher the next day. Love is not passive acceptance for the way things are; love is the active changing of the heart, thriving in the grace God planted us in at the foot of cross.
Love works, love endures, and love sacrifices. But perhaps best of all, love grows.