Meet Jennifer Phillips, mom and co-author of Unhitching From the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control, (Published by New Hope Publishers). You will appreciate her wit and her wisdom. Enjoy!
Can Love Have a Limit? Please?
Does 1 Corinthians 13 come with a mercy clause?
Asking for a friend.
We’re called to patiently love our children.
I know this.
But… somewhere deep inside me, I want to believe there comes a point when God says, “Oh no they didn’t. They crossed the line. You officially have my blessing to lose it.”
Like when those eyes roll.
Or that mouth runs.
Or they eat crackers on my couch.
Not only do I want a parenting provision that says, “It is reasonable to expect a parent to be patient up until a certain point,” but I also want bonus points for when I exceed said limit with gushing love and kindness. I want extra crowns in heaven engraved with the words, “They talked back, and she kepteth her cool.” If not a crown, then surely a scepter. Gold plated and diamond encrusted.
I was looking forward to my reward one particular night of angst and patience—a certain child’s angst, my incredible patience. This child was melting down in a sea of frustration.
I was oh-so-calm.
I spoke softly.
I prayed for this child.
“You are amazing!” I told myself. “Look at you with the even tone! The sympathetic gaze! The soothing words!” I patted myself on the back and said, “Good for you, girl. You’re putting into practice all those things you learned while writing that Crazy Train book. No wonder they picked you to help write it—you are the epitome of stability and sanity.”
I was literally mid-compliment when this child crossed some imaginary threshold of acceptability, and before I knew it, I catapulted from a zero to a ten emotionally. It was on. Surely God wouldn’t mind? Surely He would understand my need to call off the kindness and instruct this child to go dig his own grave?
Unfortunately, the command to love does not come with disclaimers of, “Love only up to this point. Love only when you’re shown love in return. Love only if people will appreciate it. Love only to the degree that you receive love. Love big, and then demand that others return that love in equal measure.”
If 1 Corinthians 13 did come with a footnote, it would probably say, “Love extravagantly. Love abundantly. Love with no promise of love in return. Step towards others in love even as they step away from you. Look that child straight in their defiant eyes and say, ‘I am still for you. I’m not going anywhere, no matter what you say or how you say it.’ Love out of an unending supply straight from your Father’s heart.”
Are you tempted to withhold love today?
Don’t give in.
Because He first loved us.
And when you fail to love, fall on grace and receive His love anew, the kind of love that gives you the courage to get up and walk towards relationship once again.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 4:8, NIV)
Jennifer Phillips is the co-author of the recently released book, Unhitching From the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control, as well as the author of Bringing Lucy Home and 30 Days of Hope for Adoptive Parents. She is a wife and mother of four, including one precious Chinese daughter. She and her husband Brian have served in Australia with University Impact, a franchise of Campus Outreach but now call Birmingham, Alabama home. For more information, visit her blog at jenniferphillipsblog.com.