Evie, over at Life in Grace, is writing once a month on living with intention. I'm joining her.
And this month the focus is love.
I feel extremely blessed in that love has never been something I have not known.
For my thirty-three years, I have watched an amazing love between my parents. I have seen that their love is strong not because of each other but because of their own love for the Lord and His grace in their lives.
I have experienced their love for me and my brothers and sister...and now their love of the men and woman who love their own children. And their grandchildren.
In the years when many girls wanted as much distance from their mothers as possible, I did not. She gained my love and my trust and my confidence. And as I grew older, I gained hers. I remember as I grew that my hope was to be MORE like my mother. Not less.
And in entering motherhood, this desire only strengthened.
I love this picture of my Mom and my firstborn, taken the morning after Hadleigh was born.
I found those early years of motherhood to be sweet ones. The balance of life was a learning curve, but oh, to have a day that was just me and one little baby and a small home. It was a blissful time...and in hindsight, I'd even say easy.
But babies grow and new ones are added and life continues. And I would find myself weary. Wondering how to do it all and still love well. Love my Lord. Love my husband. Love my children. Love my friends and neighbors.
In those young years, I think I spoke daily with my Mom. Asking her advice. Seeking her wisdom. Soaking in her encouragement.
One thing she said long ago (and more than once) has stuck with me these years.
She told me that she desired to be more like Jesus. And He was a Servant. So she would imitate Him, the Servant.
My mom, she isn't perfect. None are. But she is a servant.
A servant considers the needs of others to be more important than his own. A servant lays down his life for another. His time. His own pursuits.
Every night while I was growing up, Mom would say goodnight to each of us, beginning with the youngest and ending with me. She would tickle our backs, sing to us, talk with us, answer our questions, and quite often fall asleep while doing so. I don't ever remember this time being rushed...I never thought there was somewhere else she would rather be.
I have three who call me Mommy. And I also tuck them in each night. The days are long...and in all honesty, I look anxiously to the moment my three have been tucked in and the house is the stillest it's been all day. I admit that I am prone to accomplish "tuck in time" as quickly as possible.
I imagine that years ago there were also dishes and papers and bills and time with Dad and conversations with friends that were on her mind. I imagine she looked forward to putting her feet up after a day running after four kiddos. I now realize that all those evening moments Mom spent beside each of our beds were such a gift. A gift of her time. Her gift of service to us.
And I've realized that I want to mimic her attitude in that evening time. I want my children to remember and know that there was no movie or website or craft or household task that was more important at that time than those few moments alone together at the close of the day. I want to love like she loved. Serve like she served.
All those years, I have wanted to be like her. And she was just following His example, all the while, leading by example.
Desiring that we, too, would desire to be more like Jesus.