I'm pretty sure I've lost my writing mojo, but am hoping to find it again. I keep writing and writing and writing, but nothing seems to be coming out the right way. Maybe this will help.
Lilly asked me to braid her hair and as I was braiding, I asked, "Do you feel loved in this house? What do I do to make you feel loved? What do you need more of?"
Her first response was, "Why do you always ask us that?"
Because Lilly, I want to love you well. When you tell me what you "love" I can remember to do more of that. I can make time for things that are important to you, if you'll let me know what's important.
So she started with her list....
"When you do my hair, buy me stuff, when you let me stay up later than the other kids to watch TV, when you take us fun places, when you clean my room for me.....
What about a pony? If you bought me a pony, I'd REALLY feel loved. And a puppy! But I want a pony MORE than I want a puppy!"
"Those two things probably aren't going to happen Lilly, I guess if we won the lottery, they'd be possible."
What makes you feel unloved?
"When you make us wash dishes and load the dishwasher and clean our rooms."
"Should I stop doing that?" (Not that I would) But her responce was, "No, I need to learn how to do all those things and all of my friends have to do those things, too." (Thank you to the other momma bears who do the same!!)
I finished up her hair and she went on about her business.
Last Sunday I brought her home some socks and other small things that she needed from Wal-Mart. She thanked me time and time again for getting them for her. When she says "Buy me stuff," she mostly means taking care of her basic needs, although she'd gladly accept a pony as a gift if anyone has horse they want to get rid of. She doesn't seem to think our neighbors 2 feet away would mind! HA!
I write all of this to you as encouragement to ask each of the kids living in your house, "What makes you feel loved? Unloved? If our goal is to Love well, we should make asking others these questions a priority.
I think that if our kids do not feel loved, respected, and valued in our home, nothing else we do matters.
In Mark 12 someone asks Jesus, "Of all the commandments, which one is the most important?" and I'll sum up his response quickly, Love Me and love your neighbors as yourself. My interpretation of "neighbor" is all the people around me. Certainly the people that I share a home with, which coincidentally are sometime the HARDEST to love!
If I want to love the people in my house well, I have to take the time to ask:
Do you feel loved? What makes you feel loved? When do you feel loved? When do you feel unloved? What do you need more of?
Mike hurt his back and was down for about a week. The very next week, strep throat took me out. Life throws us all kinds of curveballs to hinder our loving others well. From the amount of crying that has been coming from Little Ella this week, you better believe she feels like she isn't getting her fair share of love. As I was putting her down for her nap today, she asked, "When is Meemaw coming back?!?!?" She was letting me know, I hadn't been getting the job done for her.
I fail all the time at this. I get busy doing my own thing. I get sick. I get distracted by all the wrong things. I can be lazy. I get it. It's hard to keep our head in the game all the time, most would say impossible. But, these simple questions will be a great place to start. After a few rough weeks at our house, I knew I needed to be reminded of how to love well.