Friday, February 14, 2014

Conversations About Love

Several weeks ago I had thought it would be fun to slowly and secretly plan for a special Valentine's Day party for my kids, but the days and weeks went by and all I managed to complete were a few ideas tucked away in my mind. By the start of this week I had completely abandoned the idea and thought I would settle with simply making little cards. I'm up to my eyeballs in work lately, and a party with many details, cooking/baking, items to purchase, etc. was not reasonable.

But by the end of the afternoon yesterday, I flip-flopped and decided I wanted to do a little more. I knew my kids were hopeful for a little something (one boy suggested no school), and I reminded myself that they would appreciate anything out of the ordinary. After they were in bed, I pulled out some craft paper I've had for years and started cutting out hearts. Between other things I was working on before going to bed myself, I decorated by gathering various items I had around the house. It took me much less than an hour to create a simple surprise waiting for the kids in the morning.

A few years ago I decided I had to stop aiming for perfection. For a long time I felt like everyone else around me did things so well, and with so much creativity, I could never compare. The result was that I didn't do very much; I let many opportunities pass by because of my own ridiculous expectations and pride. No more. At least I try not to be too encumbered by such things. In the process I've learned to find joy in using what I have and embrace the notion that something is better than nothing. The same goes for expressions of love, gratitude, compassion, hospitality, etc. A small gesture, no matter how awkward and uncomfortable, is always better than nothing. And in practicing these things, we become better at loving people, and better instruments of compassion and encouragement.




I'm not very fond of my red polk-a-dot plates and mugs anymore, but they were fun for the occasion. Little white doilies helped, too.





I was thankful for strawberries from my delivery box of produce this morning. Fresh berries always add an extra note of 'specialness' to any breakfast.


 I made crèpes like my mom used to make when I was little, and each person had little jars of maple syrup that I had saved from a hotel room service breakfast.



We talked. There is so much to say and the years are going by quickly. I know I won't ever be able to cover every imaginable thing they will need to know for life, but I am so very aware that there is still much to say. And I want conversations to come easily. The freedom to talk and the ease of opening up won't come easily unless we are talking frequently. Conversations about relationships, marriage, sex, and the like should not be awkward. It's my plan to talk more so that it doesn't become awkward, and I commit to pushing through when it is.



Our conversations this morning weaved in out of seriousness. We started by contrasting the world's ideas of the word 'heart' and the biblical definition. We talked about God looking at the heart and its motives, and about the danger of cleaning the outside of the 'cup' when the inside is filthy. We talked about God transforming the heart and giving us a new nature. We talked about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to love like Christ.

We talked about God's love for us while we were His enemies and about His love demonstrated in forgiveness, a forgiveness that was undeserved.

We talked about God designing marriage to be the closest relationship on earth, a bond, two becoming one. The boys were surprised to discover that their spouse will be the ones who know them the most, even better than I know them now. We talked about the happy aspects of marriage, and the reality that a spouse will disappoint and fail. They need to expect it, and realize that there will always be a great need for grace and forgiveness on both sides of any relationship. Back and for, over and over, grace and forgiveness.

We talked about how God helps us to do this because it is unnatural for us to grant grace and forgiveness when we feel it is undeserved.

This may seem like a lot to cover during the time it takes to eat breakfast (and with boys, that's not a long time!), but little bits here and there will begin to stick in their heart and mind over time. And if they have questions or concerns, I hope they will always feel comfortable coming to us.




The afternoon marches on, and there is always much to do around here. I am reminded even now as I type this post in a hurry that the people, the heart, is always of greatest importance. I hope I remember that in very practical ways this weekend. (I also hope this post makes a little sense-- no time to reread!)

And HOORAY! Jon's plane is landing in a few minutes-- No wait! Just now a text came in saying he landed safely-- and we have late night dinner reservations after the kids are in bed.


Happy Valentine's to you...


~Katherine




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