So I considered how I could love my kids. I knew it wasn't to be a general act of love, but an individual one. Loving them specifically takes more thought usually. It has dawned on the husband lately, that when he buys me flowers, I usually thank him, and then put them on the table. He then does what needs to happen to flowers so they don't die, and I find them in a vase. But when the husband buys me earrings, ooh that's different, then they go straight in and I mention them all the time. I'm definitely more of an earrings girl than a flowers girl. So I know the husband has thought about me when he's picked up a pair for me!
I started with the one who had actually taken himself to bed, probably in an attempt to rid himself of boredom, and maybe even with the hope that his mum would chill out a bit. Now this particular boy got a couple of balls of string for Christmas! Yep, big spenders in this house. He loves string. I think it's a boy thing; string brings out the survival instinct. He can tie stuff up and set traps. Perfect if you have brothers. Anyway £1.99 always well spent, with a ball of string.
I found a cheap bar of white chocolate in the snack drawer and attached some string to it. At the other end of the piece of string, I added a note saying, "pull this string". I snuck the note over his door, and then unravelled the string round the top of the house. Another son came up and asked what I was doing. I quietly explained, and then had to deal with the grumpy face and crossed arms of a child who didn't think it was fair for him to not have his own bar of white chocolate, attached to his own piece of string. I hoped that the gentle reminder that 'we don't do fair in this house', would be a wonderful prompt for him, to be delighted for his brother, but alas, the grumpy one was not delighted in the slightest. And of course, in making his undelightedness clear to me, my string loving boy woke up.
I ignored the grumpy one for a moment and watched the other one pull at the note. His smile as he received his treasure, was worth the scowls from the other one. I told him I had been a bit grumpy with him, and that I wanted to show my love to him. He appreciated it and scoffed his chocolate, with an offer of a square to the heavy eyebrowed one.
As I went back downstairs, one of my boys was looking through the Lego, in search of the tiny round, single colourful bits. He had no reason for his search, but he wanted them. So in an attempt to actively love him, I tipped the whole box of Lego out, to his surprise and possible concern, and we looked together. Well, I say together, but after about 3 minutes he had found something else in the Lego box and he was off. I pointed out to him that I had lovingly tipped the whole box out in order to help him, and after having a bit of a whinge at him, about how loving I had been, I proceeded to find the bits on my own, and scoop all the Lego back in the box.
Humbled again by my mixed motives, my expectations, and the reality of life as a mum, I pondered on God's love for me. His amazing act of love; sending His son Jesus, to die on the cross, was a general act. He did that for every single person. He did it for us all. He also loved every single person enough to let them choose or reject His son and the cross. But yet I know it was also an individual act of love for me. He knows that we 'all' need His love and forgiveness. But He knows that I need it too. He knows how to individually love me, as if I am His child, because of course, I am His child. He knows if we like string or Lego. He knows when we think it's unfair. He knows what it is to do it all for us. He knows what flavour chocolate we like. He knows how to love me, because He is my Father. I am His child. His love for me is specific. I need to dwell in it more.
“As the Father has loved me, so I (Jesus) have loved you. Now remain in my love."