Today I wanted to learn how to love others. And today that is exactly what I learned.
You see I have been looking forward to something for a couple weeks now, and today was the day. I am involved in a group called MOPs, Mothers of Preschoolers. I haven't been to a lot of meetings this year, I'm not sure why, but I was excited to get back at it. One of the things God has put on my heart the past 6 months and especially the past several weeks is to Love God and Love Others. I realized it was going to be hard to love others if I was never around others. So I have been asking God to change my heart and personality and all that imbetween.
So I was planning on going to MOPs this morning and told my husband sometime this past week how excited I was to go. I even invited a couple people from my church and told them all about MOPs. I found out who the guest speaker was going to be and was even more excited. She's such a great motivational speaker and I told her on Sunday that I was excited to hear her speak. Yesterday I received an email from the MOPs group with today's topic: Be Bravely You: Courage to Love People. Hello! I was so excited I just knew this was from God because he's been putting this in my life left and right and everywhere I turned. So I was excited to hear about how to have courage to love people from the speaker.
BUT yesterday we took my son to the doctor because of a rash that had popped up. Yep, it's a contagious one. So I knew we would have to be quarantined for awhile until the antibiotic had 48 hours to start working, maybe even longer. I text with my husband yesterday letting him know that I was sad about not getting to go to MOPs and that maybe somehow it would work out that I still could go? He saying "Maybe I can keep him in the office?" and then "We can figure it out." Wednesdays for a pastor can be a busy day. My husband has meetings all morning, works through lunch, gets to come home for an hour before going back up for our children's ministry and then has music practice until 9. So I didn't want to push it again.
This morning I made sure to wake up early enough, take a shower and have my hair fixed just in case my husband text me saying he could keep Zeke for me during the meeting. Usually I expect these things and for my husband to read my mind and when they don't happen I get angry. Today I told myself, just hope for the best and if it doesn't happen don't get angry. And no matter what time he texts don't say, "it's too late." (I kinda know myself and my wonderful, lovely habits.)
So I spent the next hour reading my book, Love Does by Bob Goff, (LOVING IT) and I got a text from "husband." I instantly smiled, but then found a text asking "How are you?" and then just some other things about the day. Ok.. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he doesn't remember that it's MOPs day, but he will remember at 9 when the ladies show up to start setting up. Maybe he doesn't know how long his meeting is going to last yet. I was choosing to stay hopeful and in a good mood.
My girls woke up and I spent the next 20 minutes reading books to them, but then told them I needed to go fix my hair. (Just in case, I wanted to be ready to go if he came home or text me!)
At 9:25 a white car drove by and I got excited that my husband was home just in time for me to go! Nope, wasn't him.
So at 9:27 I was losing hope and sat down to journal out some of my thoughts. I began writing how I wanted to be selfish today. I wanted to resent my child for being sick. I wanted to be angry that my husband had meetings and couldn't come home. But I wanted instead for God to search my heart and get rid of any sinful thoughts. Today I was going to get to love my family. Sacrifice my wants for their needs.
Then at 9:31 my husband text me, "U coming to mops?" Um.. what?! I asked how I could since Zeke was sick. He said, "I can watch him." I told him I wished he would have let me know that an hour ago, or even 10 minutes ago. But now it was too late, the meeting had already started. I had given up hope 4 minutes ago.
My husband thought he had more clearly said yesterday that he could keep Zeke and it would work out with his meetings just fine. No, unfortunately that is not what was communicated. I had told myself this morning that no matter what time he said OK, that I wouldn't say it was too late. But that is what I did. It's too late. I had given up hope. Plus his text that said, "u coming to mops?" made me cry ugly tears. If you've seen my cry before - there's no hiding that. So I couldn't go now that my face was red and puffy.
Why was I sad? I was sad because I am selfish. I wanted what I wanted. I wanted to put my wants over my family needs. And it wasn't going to work out that way. I was sad I didn't get what I wanted. All I wanted to do was go learn how to love others.
But that's exactly what I was going to learn today. I learned how to love my family.
My daughter came and crawled into my lap and asked why Zeke was crying. I said his owies hurt him. And I'm sad that I can't take them away for him. I told her I would much rather me have owies than him being in pain. She said, "but you can't." I told her how no I couldn't, but that's what a mommy does is sacrifices for her kids. Because we love. And then I told her about Jesus and His sacrifice.
I learned today how important it is to sacrifice over and over again. To never get tired of doing what is right. I learned that when I love my family and sacrifice I am showing them that's what Jesus did on the cross for us. He sacrificed himself to take OUR sins away so we wouldn't get the punishment we deserve. And why? Because he loves us.
I think I would've learned a lot and had a great time at the MOPs meeting. I would've got to see some faces I haven't seen in a long time. I would have had some smiles and laugh and two hours to myself. Which are all great things and not a bad thing to want or get. But today, God taught me a better lesson. While I want to learn how to love others, I can't neglect those in my home.
Love sacrifices. And who better to practice sacrificial love to then our spouse and children?
Jesus tells us what the 2 greatest commandments are: Love God and Love your neighbors. My closest neighbors are those I share a house with. So first I'm going to learn how to love those in my house. And I think that will help me know how to love others. My extended family. People in my church. My next door neighbors. The people at the grocery store. Strangers.
So, my husband. I am sorry. Thank you for coming home and always wanting to talk about what's going on and all of our thoughts and feelings. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I never doubt your love for me and our family. You have spent the last 10 years showing me daily through your love how Jesus sacrifices for us, how he loves the church, and how he loves me. You teach me daily what forgiveness is. How it's for me and how to give it out to others. You push me to be a more Godly, loving woman. I'm thankful perfection is not something expected in our home.
Thanks for coming home to work this out. Yes, I could've been at MOPs during that time. But I am thankful to have gotten to cry with you, talk with you, and love you. I think I now know how to better love others. It really is through the tough times that we learn the most.