Over the week and a half between Ascention Thursday and the Feast of Pentecost, the kids and I studied each of the nine fruits of the Spirit. Over those nine days I came under great conviction. I even asked J at the end of an especially difficult day, "Do I have any of these?". To which he reminded me that, because I am a Christian, the Lord is growing these fruits in me. . . even though sometimes I don't display them as I ought.
I started thinking how great it would be -- what a difference it would make in my home -- if I made a more concerted effort to bear these fruits more abundantly in my life and in my home and to instill them in my children and to encourage my husband in bearing them as well. I think our home would take on a completely different feel.
So, I've decided to go through a fruit a month -- this month is love.
The first thing worth pointing out is that the love referred to in the list of the fruits of the Spirit is not Eros or Philio, but Agape -- unconditional -- love. Eros is certainly important in a marriage, and Philio is important in any home; but both of these loves are, I believe, very feelings-based -- they are the easier loves. I need to fill my home with Agape -- unconditional -- love. This is the love that shows itself even when someone is shouting at you because their dress shirt is wrinkled or dirty or their keys are missing and they are late for work. This love shows itself even when someone knocks a hole in their wall with a hammer, lies about smuggling chocolate chips, plasters your kitchen with shortening, or keeps you up with their crying all - night - long. This is what I want to fill my home with.
And it strikes me that the most important part of this is that I show this love to my husband and children every second of every day -- good and bad. That they see my unconditional love for them. Then I move on to phase two -- teaching them what unconditional love is and how important it is to fill our home with it.