So, I ask myself, "Just how generous am I with my family? What do I have an "abundance" of that I can share with my husband and children?"
- First, as a stay-at-home mom, I have an abundance of time. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty to do; and sometimes it seems as if there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, I do not have to leave my home and family for 8+ hours every day. That is 8+ hours that I have that some women are not blessed with. That is 8+ hours that I have that J does not. What I decide to do with those 8+ hours says a lot about the genuiness of my love for my family. What do I give those hours to? Do I give them to my house, to my hobbies, to the computer? Or do I give them to the tasks that my husband feels are most important, to my children's hobbies and pass-times, to showing love to my family?
- I may not be the most gifted mom around -- I'm not a sewer, crafter, or gardener. . . But God has blessed me with the ability to cook and bake well and to come up with creative ideas and to write. How I use those God-given gifts also speaks to the genuiness of my love for my family. Do I cook and bake to please myself or do I make what my husband and children love most? Do I allow the kids to help in the kitchen; do I take the time to teach them and share this love with them? Do I become a slave to my creative ideas and enslave my family under the heavy bondage of "plans"? Or do I allow my creativity to serve the family, making loose, flexible plans that the kids can enjoy and that J can change if he feels necessary? Do I spend too much time writing on this blog while neglecting home duties and my children's pleas for my attention? Or do I fit in my writing around their schedules and also prioritize time to write journals for them or love notes for J?
- God has also blessed our family. We are by no means wealthy, but we have more than enough money to meet our needs. How do I spend that money? How do I budget out the household allowance? I don't think I spend the money unwisely, but I think it is wise to sit and ponder how the money is being spent. Am I ignoring advice from my husband about where and how to spend the money? Am I making sure that I am spending on things that will nurture and grow my children?
While it is important to share with my family what I have in abundance, it is also important to receive from them what they have in abundance. So, "What do I lack that I can allow my husband and children to share with me?"
- I lack sleep -- no doubt about it. How great would it be to allow my husband to provide me with more sleep? It would make him feel great if I would just give him a solid suggestion as to how to ensure that I get more sleep. I know, based on conversation, that it is a need he wants to fill for me but just doesn't know how. It is a way that he could enjoy showing me just how much he loves me.
- I lack confidence, boldness, and courage. They are just not part of my natural make-up. J, however is very confident, bold, and courageous. Often times these qualities make me embarassed. . . because of how lacking they are in my personality. If I could learn to find peace and rest in these qualities of his, J, in turn, would experience the joy of proving his love for me through his confidence.
- I lack childlikeness. It slowly vanishes as I grow older. And, of course, my children have it in abundance. How they long to share their child-like whims and fancies and loves with me. So often I ignore or put off their requests to share these with me. I tell them that I have to do the dishes or the laundry first or I tell them that mommy is too tired to play. . . But they would experience the joy of showing love to me if I would allow them, and I would probably feel suddenly energized if I would only allow them to share their child-like energy with me.
As I seek to follow the commands of Christ and ask God to fill me with unconditional love for my family . . . and as I seek to put together the entire puzzle of unconditional love . . . leaving no piece out to the side . . . I will also seek to generously give to my family out of my abundance of time, talents, and money . . . and I will seek to receive generously of my family's abundance of sleep and rest, confidence and courage, and childlikeness.