If I could have quoted the entire sermon from church today for you, that's what this post would be about. But doing that wouldn't have had my personal flare or beautiful throwback picture included so here we are.
Today we talked about love.
We talked about love in a way that really made me think on this Mother's Day. We talked about how the word love is typically used so often and out of context that it loses it's true meaning. It was quoted that a general definition of love is this: to will the good in others. Yes, to love others is to serve them. To help them shine to the best of their ability. To bring out the good in them. It's about them, not about you or your desires. To apply the emotion of love to objects doesn't serve the true purpose of willing the good. For example, I love caramel rolls but they don't will the good in me to sit down and eat three of them. Not that I *ahem* just did that or anything... Moving on.
It made me think of my little family: my husband and my son. Of course, I love them with all my heart, but how much of that love is applied to making sure that I am bringing the best out in them? Do I work towards cultivating their strengths? Do I practice giving thanks and praise for the wonderful things they do each day? Even though my heart swells with love for them, putting that into practice and helping them shine each day is something that I need to work on.
Being a wife that is grateful for her husband daily takes work. Stopping to recognize him for all of the good he has done for our family takes conscious effort. Letting him parent the way he needs to parent without stepping in takes some restraint. Being thankful rather than annoyed for all of the opposite characteristics he adds to your relationship is challenging. Knowing that those opposite characteristics probably keep you from living in a cardboard box, absolutely deserve some recognition and praise. It is the easy path to nitpick and nag your spouse. It is easy to let annoyances be more powerful than your love. But you were meant to love your spouse and that love means you are called to will the good in them, even when you don't always agree.
Willing the good in my son is a little different. As his mother, I feel that's part of the job description. We naturally love and nurture our children. Mothers are called to be cheerleaders for their children. We are their biggest fans. We might even be blinded to their true abilities because we are seeking to praise something that isn't there. I am constantly trying to help my son showcase his strengths and encourage him through his weaknesses. To teach him to try again when he fails. To push him to be a little bit better. To discipline him when he does wrong. To do all of it because it is only molding him into the man I pray that he becomes someday.
So on this Mother's Day, I challenge you to look at how you will the good into your loved ones. No mother even required.