Chin deep into our homeschooling day I teach and put myself in His class, repetition of what I know to melt my priorities into His.
"Oh God, help me, teach me..."
The Baby bangs happily on her stainless steel pot, stirring her spoon into a blissful, silver blur. Her toothy grin stops my "stop it!!", I inhale deep her sweet happiness. It takes the edge off for a fleeting moment. Big Sister uses her loud-speaker voice to trump the volume of the clanging. All the ugly in me has been clawing to get out all this tired, hungry day.
I pause from giving instruction, correction, and He whispers application.
"If you teach her grammar and scripture, but have not love, you are only an obnoxious loud noise..."
I wring hands and rub forehead and try to focus on the barrage of good, God-focused questions that spill from curious girl-lips. For the life of me I can't figure out when or where she is even taking a breath. "What will heaven be like? Can you see the earth if you're in heaven? We get to come back to the earth after God makes it new, right?..."
And I want to be wise about not being legalistic in sticking to our school schedule, I want to answer good questions and encourage curiosity. Experience has also taught me there are an endless string of answers that birth more questions and learning to stay focused on the task at hand is God-honoring, too. The verbal onslaught continues and I dare not open my mouth lest the monster in me comes out. Impatience roars behind taunt lips and I close my eyes to the frustration that this moment, this whole day, I am nothing like the mom I desire to be.
I silent-beg and His answer echos in the deep down places. It surfaces and I think it over and over "... even if I had the gift of knowing the future and could understand all these mysteries and impart all knowledge to her, and if I had faith that could move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing..."
We talk, and read, and write. We organize rooms and discuss what should be donated to those who have less, those in need heavy on my mind, my full hands feeling empty of any real help. Our daily bread too, piling higher on credit cards, piercing my pride and filling my prayers.
I look long at the example of child-like faith that dances around me in song, her joy a sharp contrast to my anxious thought-full-ness. I learn as I pray while picking up layers of all that clutters "... if I give all I have to the poor, and martyr myself for the cleanliness of this house and burn out trying to make the best choices for our finances, but have not love, I gain nothing."
She has long had this memorized, one of her favorites, we recite it together, both wanting to pass the test before us. The double-edged sword revealing the thoughts and attitudes of my heart, pin-pointing my shortcomings: "Love is patient, love is kind... it is not rude... it is not easily angered... it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
He shifts my focus now onto Himself, He alone Who wears this perfectly "Love never fails."
He never does. He is patient and kind with me. He gives me His Spirit of love, and teaches me to recognize what is not. He is my solid Hope to be a good mother. I invite Him to fill me every minute, fill this space, fill my ache, my questions. I know that when Perfection comes, and He will, imperfection disappears.
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13