I'm so glad that He who keeps me never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4). I'm glad He direct His love all day and sings songs over me at night (Psalm 42:8). I'm glad He isn't human like me, moody and affected by varying energy levels and hormones. I'm so very, very glad.
The truth is, it's a lot easier to love when it's, well, easy. When I feel like it at breakfast, not when I'm trying to keep sleeping at midnight instead of getting up with a little one who had a bad dream or who had an accident in their freshly laundered sheets. But that's when the rubber meets the road. My comfort at midnight is a lot more "agape" loving than the easy, coffee-induced positive words I speak in the morning. This morning I was reading 1 John 3, and verse 18 struck a chord. "Let us not love with tongue and words, but with deeds and truth." I looked up the Greek words involved, and LOVE in the Greek is "agape", which is continual, sacrificial, unconditional. DEEDS is "ergon" and it is once again continual. Work. Labor. Accumulated work. (When I read this I cringed at the remembrance of the words I actually spoke aloud the other day. . . "Geez! Isn't there ONE capable person around here? When are you all going to tie your own shoes????" Cringe. Yes, this love involves labor and work. It's not easy. It's not their fault that they can't physically tie their own shoes. It is my job for this season of life, it's one of those continual deeds). TRUTH is "aletheia". Reality. Manifestation. Veritable essence. It is the tangible reality of love. Action, not mere words. The clear reality that I love and I am showing it and it is obvious. I thought of friends who have shown up with food and help and hope and love when I have needed it. Oh, to be one of those friends. One of those wives. One of those moms. One who really doesn't have to say the words because they know it already. Even at midnight. Even when my bones are tired and they are incapable and I don't feel like it. Agape. "In agape, serve one another"-Galatians 5:13. "Forbearing one another in agape"-Ephesians 4:2. Walk in agape"- Ephesians 5:2. It is what we are to be rooted and grounded in as we parent, as we love, as we interact with our neighbors (Ephesians 5:17).
I've been reading a lot about what people call "gentle parenting". The premise is, showing gentleness and love and grace to our children is what we are called to do, not just control them by putting fear in them and reacting in anger. The goal is treating them with respect as human beings, not just little minions to control. And the more I read my Bible, the more I am convinced of this. The commands in Scripture to love and treat others with gentleness, aren't for everyone but our kids. I would even submit that they are primarily commands for the people within the very walls of our home. I'm not saying discipline and instruction aren't important- they are critical!- but that there is a way to discipline and guide and instruct that are still loving, kind, and gentle. And let me assure you, the way of gentle parenting is MUCH harder. MUCH more time consuming. MUCH more requiring of the fruits of the Spirit as all you want to do is scream at a child, not take time to love them. Agape love is hard.
My prayer today is this: Be agape in me when I can't do it on my own. Let only agape flow through me and out into everyone I see. Let all my words and all my deeds today be agape. Let it be a joy to show agape through the deeds and work and labor. Show me how to sing and to show agape all day long.