First Corinthians 13 for Mothers

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Though I may speak the jargon of professors, doctors, and ministers, if I can’t speak so that my own children understand me, then all I do is make educated noise.

Even if I was known as a scholar or a person with mountain-moving faith, unless my children could truly say, “Mommy loves me!”, then I am nothing.

And although I save Campbell’s labels for missions, distribute food boxes to the needy, make a dish for a funeral dinner, give used clothing to the local homeless shelter; even though I carry a signed organ donor card, if I don’t lovingly look to the needs of my own children, all other good works will profit me nothing.

I need to be patient with their immature thinking, stupid mistakes, and know-it-all attitudes; and show kindness in the face of whining, arguing, and pouting. I need to love them as they are, not as I expect them to be. I cannot envy the parent whose child is a better scholar, musician, or athlete than I perceive my child to be. Yet neither should I vaunt my own child’s successes, for to do so would put the burden of proof on my child, who will strive to live up to my sometimes unrealistic expectations, and perhaps never feel good enough.

I should not be rude to my children, even in my own home, where I long to let my hair down, not snap at them when I’m feeling tired or pressured. I need to give them the same respect I give others and be considerate of their feelings, their privacy, their possessions, and even (shudder) their rooms!

I should not keep a tally of my children’s wrongs, and then triumphantly flourish it at a time when it’s convenient for me. To gently show them when and why they are wrong is more effective than harsh punishment that doesn’t fit the crime and serves only to crush their spirits. Insisting my way is the only way will stiffen their resistance, but teaching them right from wrong by example and praying for discernment may someday lead to rejoicing when my children follow the truth.

With God’s help I will never give up believing in them, knowing that He who created them has a wonderful plan for their lives and will complete what He started. Even when they respond to the pull of the world, I will rest on the promise that God’s Word never returns void. They cannot stray so far that my love and prayers cannot follow.

Genuine love outlasts parental sermons that they quickly forget. Even if I was able to understand insurance policies and all the legalese in which they are written, what good would it do my children if I had no love for them?

I must remember that I, too, was once a child. What wisdom and knowledge I have now were acquired with painful experience.

I must remember that God alone knows their hearts. I see only the outward appearance and assume way too much. Someday God’s plan for each of their lives will unfold like a beautiful flower, and I will understand the trials that seem so hard to get through now.

Faith, hope, and love are the foundation blocks upon which I build my relationship with my children. But the strongest, most enduring block of all is love.

Read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 13.

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From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Goody Two-Shoes – NOT!

 The fruit of the Spirit is goodness. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

 It wasn’t my mistake, but I’d be the one to pay for it.

When my credit union changed hands, the new company changed the date on which it automatically deducted a $300 loan payment so that the payment would come out two days earlier.

The problem was they never told me. Never sent me a notice, never called me. Nothing.

So when I received a notice that they were docking my checking account $50 for two bounced checks, I called.

“I mailed a check to be deposited two days before the loan payment was due,” I told them. “It was enough to cover the payment.”

That’s when they told me about changing the date. Long story short, they added the $50 back in my account.

I thought that was the end of the matter until I got a bill from the optometrist for $15—the insufficient funds fee from one of the checks my credit union bounced because they took out the loan payment two days early.

I called the optometrist’s office and explained what happened.

“I’m not paying this,” I said firmly. “This wasn’t my fault.”

You know the spiel. The bank charged them the fee, and they were passing it on to me.

I argued with the office manager.

“Somebody has to pay it,” she insisted. “And we aren’t.”

“I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake,” I muttered to myself after I hung up.

Then I pictured the Son of God hanging on a cross. He paid for all of our mistakes. All of our rebellion. All of our wrongs. And He never did a thing wrong.

I called the office manager back and apologized.

“I get yelled at everyday,” she told me, her voice softening. “It’s not often someone calls back and apologizes.”

I thought about calling the credit union or the bank involved and arguing my case with them, but decided it would be easier to pay the $15 than to run headfirst into the concrete wall of corporate policy. My blood pressure is high enough.

“To be good,” reads my Bible dictionary, “is to do what is right. It is to show, by our works, praiseworthy character and moral excellence.”

I’m no goody two-shoes. I fail every day. I get tired of doing the right thing time and time again—only to get slammed, blindsided, taken advantage of, and treated like I’m a nobody.

But that’s why God gave me His Holy Spirit—to help me to do that which I know is right, especially when it’s hard to do.

And sometimes the right thing is to say, “the buck stops here.”

Dear God, forgive me for becoming weary in well-doing. Give me the wisdom to know the right thing to do and the strength and courage to do it. Amen.

Read and reflect on the following Scripture verses:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. –Micah 6:8 NIV

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

 And let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. –Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.