How does your teen receive love?
Does she need it spoken over her?
Or does she long for it to be gifted to her?
Maybe it is your time devoted to listening to her that communicates love the most thoughtfully?
Possibly, she is waiting for the one little thing you do that reminds her, “I am loved!”
It’s not a surprise that our children will receive love in different ways. And it isn’t a shock that we’ll often have to work at showing our love to them…especially in ways that remind them of an even greater love.
I confess. I often stink at being a vessel of God’s love because my self-serving nature gets in the way. My warped perspective doesn’t help, thanks to my upbringing on romance novels, daytime television, and string of unhealthy relationships relationships with guys during my teen years. While this life of mine lived on the other side of my salvation, however, has opened my eyes to a love from God that is pure, never-ending, and always faithful, I still struggle to love others well and to expect it in a way that is realistic.
It’s all to easy to fall into the trap of believing that my children should show me love in the ways I want to receive it, and especially because of all that I do for them. I know I’m not the only momma that gets stuck in this elementary school mindset: If I push you on the swing today, you should push me tomorrow.
Yes, of course, we all want to be loved by our children, in equal measure to how we love them, but the fact of the matter is that they will fall short in their ability to love us because they haven’t fully comprehended what true love looks like, feels like, and does for others. They lack maturity and experience, preventing them from fully knowing a level of intimacy that comes with being loved by their Creator God.
If our love tank is awaiting for a filling from our children, we might as well accept that fact that our tank is going to hoover around “empty.”
We need to shift our focus from expectation to delivery. As their moms, we are so perfectly positioned to be the one that paints the picture of God’s love for them. When we embrace God’s love, He fills up our tank to overflowing, and the splash factor upon our kids can be amazing.
But if you’re like me — a redeemed woman learning how to receive the love of God — that fill up from the Lord may not be as rich and flowing as it should be.
We don’t love others as God has designed because we still have so much to learn about love…and the act of loving others. However, if we dig into the Scriptures to find our identity in Christ, we’ll uncover a Creator God who loves us, made us, and calls us to be His own. The God of the Universe receives us as is, loves us as is, and calls us to be so much more than as is. Is this not a picture of how we are to love our children, and yet also the very reason why our children can never love us like our Heavenly Father does?
God’s love must be source of my love for others, but in order to know His love fully we need to know who we are in Christ. When the Lord reshapes our identity through receiving His Word as truth, we will find that our hang ups with loving others diminishes. He turns our “I love you because you love me” mindset into “I love you because I’m so loved.”
So, moms, will you join me in embracing our identity in Christ today as the foundation for knowing God’s love for us? And will you overflow those identity truths and His love onto your children, too?
It’s a priceless gift of love we can give our children.