We have all seen these moms, and let’s be honest, we’ve all been these moms in public—frustrated with our children’s behavior and speaking at them—trying to be gentle for the sake of the darting eyes all around us, but barely having any kindness to give in the moment. Is this just me? Well, I’ll just consider this group therapy then.

Toddler Pushing the Boundaries

Something I’ve been learning for—let’s say eleven years—is that I have nothing to give my children, my husband, or anyone if I am not first letting myself be saturated in God’s love. The truth is, He loves us. It’s a love and respect that we begin to understand more as parents, but then realize how much we really don’t know the more we grow in this role.

One of my favorite (and convicting) verses is Ephesians 4:32 which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When we live from the place of receiving God’s love, then and only then can we function in His love, knowing if we have freely received, we must also freely give.

In our case, as mothers, we have such a great opportunity every day to love these little ones in our care, but it can be hard! Why is that? Perhaps because often the times our little ones need us are inconvenient. In my experience, it’s usually because I’m thinking of myself first—and that’s never a good idea.

Something that my husband teaches from the Bible that always resonates in my heart is the fact that it’s easy to love the lovable—anyone can do that (Luke 6). It’s when it’s inconvenient and the most difficult that it really counts the most. Love is a sacrifice, and a choice, and to love when it hurts the most is when we are truly reflecting God’s love, because He loves us when we are unlovable.

When our three year old is defiantly pushing the boundaries at the end of the day, and I have nothing to give, that’s when it counts the most (and I mess up the most). This is the moment when I must take a breath, look up to heaven, and ask God for the grace He wants to give me. Asking Him to overwhelm me with His love for me, so I can tenderly care for these sweet ones He has called me to love.

It’s vital in all our relationships, and specifically with our children, to remember that God has given us a platform in their lives to love them the way we receive love from Him. It will always be imperfect because we are, but God will always give us what we need because His grace is sufficient, and He specializes in being strong when we are weak.

We can love our children because He first loved us, and we can walk in this love every day as we depend on Him.