The boy’s attitude ballooned up bigger than our doorway as we rushed out for school this morning.
Teenage troubles, loss of a cell phone, Homecoming drama and hard decisions? They all coalesced to create a simmering heat beneath his normally unfettered surface.
I couldn’t wait for the boy to exit the car in the carpool line. Loving him was not the first thing on my mind.
I had my own bubbling mess of irritation threatening to destroy the quiet I envisioned for this day.
I knew I needed to go to the Lord with all of this . . . mess . . . inside me. I wanted to vent to a friend, to paint my son’s attitudes in the most vibrant hues of frustration. To calm some of the writhing inside with words to a sympathetic ear.
God’s imprint upon my heart was that I needed to bring it to Him and Him alone. It’s kind of hard to feel sympathy when the Listener doesn’t often respond verbally. As I prayed and read the Bible, my Father—the best Listener—untangled some of those knots tightening within me.
He reminded me I had a choice in how I spent my day. I could remain knotted up and hindered to the work of the day . . .
Or, I could release the hot emotion and let God’s love soothe the smarting places in my heart.
And then, I read a post about simple lives.
We all have choices on how we live out our days. What will I color that twenty-four hour period with?
Am I going to let my boys’—and others’—emotions elicit a reaction from me? Or, am I going to choose to respond in love?
The quote from the post that stopped me hard is this:
“Because every moment in what some might consider a small life was a moment painted with great love.” (Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small things)
I may never become famous—probably won’t. But does that mean my life can’t be significant in the lives of those around me?
If I choose to respond to my teen’s anger with love, what will that speak to him? Over him?
I love the visual of painting every moment with love. I don’t know how many days I have to walk this earth. I will not be remembered by a lot of people for doing something famous-making.
But if I paint each moment with love . . .
. . . if I show grace rather than irritation to my teen who’s trying to figure things out
. . . If I respond calmly and with kind tones to a boy who’s sporting a ‘tude the size of Colorado
. . . If I offer a gentle answer to another who just snapped at me rather than snapping back
. . . If I give a helping hand to someone who doesn’t say “thank you,” and I choose to be grateful for the opportunity to help . . .
How does that reflect Jesus’ love for them?
When I choose to brush love over every moment of my days, I have a feeling I will be the biggest beneficiary. When we love others the way Jesus does, we know His pleasure.
I’ve determined to begin praying now. The next time one of my teens gets snappish, I want to paint over the moment with love. When they disagree with a decision, I don’t have to react in anger or get all stirred up inside.
When I’ve prayed for God’s wisdom and I share the hard words with gentleness, eventually our boys will see the love that painted over those choices.
What about you? How do you pour love into your moments? How do you work through your own emotions to love others well?