My heart’s desire is for my daughters to know Jesus. Whatever else I do or don’t teach them, I want them to have Him. It’s not enough just to pray for their salvation and hope for the best; schools no longer have Bible Education as a subject and Sunday School once a week isn’t going to equip them for a world that tells them Jesus isn’t real and the gospel is outdated. My oldest is three-and-a-half, so inquisitive, so ready to learn anything, everything. I have realised that if she is old enough to remember song lyrics and lines from her favourite movies, then she is old enough to learn memory verses.
I’ve started a study on the Fruit of the Spirit with her. Nothing fancy, just a couple of discussion questions each day, followed by an activity and memory verses. To make it special for her, I bought a notebook, let her choose wrapping paper, and covered it in plastic to keep it in good condition. She calls it her “workbook” and proudly shows off the work we’ve done so far. She also enjoys saying her memory verses; I was worried that two at a time might be too much for her, but she knew them both by day three.
We’ve just finished doing “Love”. As the week progressed, I heard myself saying things like, “Well done for showing love to your sister,” and asking, “Was that a very loving thing to do?” It makes a change from, “Good girl,” or, “That’s naughty!”
I have also found myself thinking about whether I am showing love in my parenting – and I wish I could say that, yes, I am always a loving mother. I love my girls, so much that sometimes I wonder how it is possible for my heart to be so full, but I must confess that my words are not always patient or kind. Sometimes, more often than I like, I am easily angered and I remind my girls that they have done wrong.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Maybe this Fruit of the Spirit study isn’t only for my daughter’s benefit. She’s learning the basics, but God is speaking truths to me, showing me love, gently shaping me to be a mother more like the Father. Testing me too, because I’ve found that as I ask Him for patience, He puts me in situations which require me to practice patience.
Love never fails. Divine love, that is. The Father’s love. Agape.