Friday, February 1, 2013

Creating a Loving Environment

This is February, the month focused on love and Valentine's Day, on heart-shaped pancakes and notes in lunch boxes, on conversation hearts and lollipops.

Yet when our children come home from their Valentine's Day parties, do they come home to houses full of love?  Or houses full of fear, of strife, of anger, of busyness?

When our children are first born, we pour so much of our energy into helping them feel warm and safe and secure.  Yet as they get older and we feel overwhelmed, we can unknowingly create environments that no longer feel loving and welcoming.

This month I am asking myself the question: "How can I create a more loving environment in my home?"

I believe it starts with me.

Am I patient?  Am I loving?  Am I kind?  Not just with my kids, but with my husband? Not just with my husband, but with my neighbor?  Not just my neighbor, but with that person on the freeway?  They are watching and learning from me - and they will only know love to the measure that I model it for them.

Am I creating a loving environment when I'm on the phone?  When I'm on the computer and they're pulling me away for the 213th time?

Am I creating a loving environment with my words, or is my tone filled with frustration that my child is bothering me again?

We can decorate, we can make special breakfasts, we can put cute notes in their lunch. We can make cupcakes for their parties and help them with their Valentines Day cards. We can tuck them in at night, and kiss them on the forehead - but at the end of the day, have we loved them well?  

I am reminded of I Corinthians 13: "If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

It is not easy to love well, to love selflessly - and I have no hope of being that mother apart from Christ. But I can start today to intentionally work towards ridding my home of negative words and actions and replacing them with patience and love.

If you are struggling in these areas today, I'd like to recommend a devotional to you that I have found to be very encouraging.  In it, the author specifically uses the example of a mother trying to overcome anger and frustration with her children, and guides the reader through a 21 day journey of changing the way we think and act. It is one of the best devotionals I have read thus far, and right now it is FREE for your Kindle! Check it out by clicking on the graphic below:

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