Though I teach my children to read and write in multiple languages, but teach them not love for the peoples who speak them, it profits them nothing. Though I home school my children and take them to church every Sunday, if I do not teach them to love those who are different from them, it profits them nothing. If I teach my children that there are poor people in this world, but fail to teach them to pray for them or actually provide for the poor's needs (when I am well able to do so), my example and words profit them nothing.
If I feed my children only organic food and grass fed beef, but fail to feed them with God's Words of life, it profits them nothing.
Love is patient when toothpaste has been squeezed all over the floor, the toilet paper has been unrolled and broken into little bits, and a child who has just been fully dressed has a blow-out diaper.
Love is kind when a child throws a temper tantrum for the third time that day about the exact same thing, when your 2 year old looks you in the face and says, "NO!" and even when they write with your favorite lipstick on the bathroom mirror - again.
Love is not jealous of other's children when they behave properly or succeed, love is not boastful or proud of the cleanliness of your home or the fact that you diligently meal plan or your children's behavior on a day when they have been particularly "good." Love is not rude to moms who happen to parent differently than you.
Love does not demand that your child make you look good in public or achieve a certain success or choose your same career path or live out your own unfulfilled goals and aspirations.
Love is not irritable when a child asks 15 very detailed questions in a row before you have even had your morning coffee, Love keeps no record of the "time outs" or the "acting outs" or the number of diapers changed or number of hours sleep that have been missed.
Love does not rejoice in in covering up a child's wrongs, but in exposing and correcting them (with Love, of course). Love never gives up on their child, never loses faith in his or her potential, is always hopeful that they will make the right choice, and endures through every misbehavior, poor choice, pure mistake, or outright rebellion.
Parenting books and homemaking methods and organizational skills will all become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge of mothering is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of intuition reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. (Therefore, I can have compassion on my child). But now that I am fully grown, I put away childish things and embrace mature behavior that I might lead my children well.
Now we see things imperfectly, like smudges and hand prints on an unwashed mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—the Sharpie marks on my favorite jeans, hope that I will once again use the bathroom by myself, and an unwavering, undying, unconditional love for my children that could only come from God —and the greatest of these is love.