When it’s Hard to Love

Most of you know that my husband and I have four children. And most of you know that parenting can be so hard sometimes. Rewarding and amazing, yes… but stressful, challenging, and overwhelming, also yes.

It gets even tougher when you realize that you don’t love one of your kids as much as the others. 

{This is one of those blogs where I peel back a layer of my heart and let go.}

Webster’s definition of taboo is: “not acceptable to talk about or do.”

This might be one of those “taboo” topics… because surely you should never lose love for your child. And if you do, surely you shouldn’t talk about it.

But surely, I’m not the only one in the world that’s ever had a challenging child and struggled to have, feel, or show love for them.

Growing up, there were times when I felt unloved, like an outcast. I was the middle child, and I was angry, depressed, and stubborn. When you’ve felt that you’re unloved, I think it can be easier to project those feelings onto one of your own children. Especially the “difficult” one, the one that pushes all your buttons. 

I’ve often read the person that is hard to love is the one that needs the most love.

As a Christian, and a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids, I’m left with this hole in my heart and a taboo topic.

So I write.

I write for any of you who have ever felt something similar. I write for any of you who want to change, who want to grow in love and experience freedom.

I haven’t arrived, but God has given me some tools in the past few months that I’d love to share with you.

The first one is seeing, confessing, and owning that something is not right. I had to acknowledge: there is a lack of love in my heart for my child, and that is my heart issue – not theirs.

This came to me on February 4th at our Women’s Bible Study. We were watching Melissa Spoelstra’s DVD teaching on Jeremiah: “Staying Spiritually Sensitive.” She shared the verse Jeremiah 31:20…

“Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.” (NLT)

I read this and was immediately convicted of my heart toward my child. I did not love them with this kind of love, nor nearly as much as I love my other children.

It would have been easy to stay here, unchanged, wallowing in a place of guilt and condemnation… but Jesus came to set us free, and God has set an example of a much more excellent way.

So I began to pray for God’s love. That I would receive His love in greater measure, and that I would love others with His love – His perfect, unconditional, unfailing love. (My human love pales in comparison.) I prayed that I would learn from His example as our Heavenly Father.

Then I began to declare truth over the situation. My child is not an inconvenience or a burden. They are a child of the Most High God. I re-wrote the meaning of each of my children’s names – of their identity in who God says they are. And I prayed verses over them, like Psalm 139.

About this same time, I realized that I had been leaning on my husband way too much instead of leaning on the Lord. I needed to start running to God first. In those challenging moments with my child, if I would run to God instead of texting my husband (who was working), in that moment God could help… God could soften my heart and give me strength.

Taking it a step further, in order to stir up love and not stifle it, I’ve tried to be more purposeful in speaking well of my kids to my husband. Yes, we parent them together and there may be things my husband needs to know about that happened when he’s at work, but I don’t need to whine or complain to him. These are God’s precious children that we’ve been blessed to raise on this earth. I can go to God with my complaints, and strive to give good reports to my husband.

My last tip – don’t give up. We will reap what we sow… in God’s perfect timing. Nothing is impossible with God – He is faithful to pour His love into us so we can pour it out onto those around us. Love never fails, it never gives up. Love always finds a way.

Whether it’s in our marriages, parenting, or in how we treat anyone else who crosses our path… there is always opportunity to grow in love.

“Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]…” – 1 Corinthians 14:1a (AMP)

Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire love. What love? The love described in 1 Corinthians 13. We often skim over that chapter because we’ve read it enough or have heard it at lots of weddings. But I challenge you to read it today with fresh eyes, maybe in a new translation or paraphrase. (I love The Message and The Amplified!)

I also love the Greek word for ‘pursue’… it’s diōkō and it means: “to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after, to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal; to pursue, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire” (blueletterbible.org).

Run hard after God, who is Love; earnestly seek to receive and reflect His love. Make it your aim, your great quest in this life… to pursue, acquire, and dispense God’s love. Regardless of whether it’s reciprocated back to you. Even if the person is difficult or seemingly unlovable.

For without love, we are nothing.

“Our greatest struggle is often God’s greatest triumph.” – Melissa Spoelstra

This week’s song suggestions:

One Thing Remains” – Bethel Music

Good, Good Father” – Zealand Worship

 

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8 thoughts on “When it’s Hard to Love

  1. My darling Megan, how blessed was I the minute the Lord put you in my arms. How lucky my grandchildren are that the Lord placed them in yours. I love you forever, Mom

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  2. I prayed just last night as I was going to bed for this very thing- that God would draw our hearts together. Thanks for sharing 💗

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  3. WOW! I love your transparency and openness to such a big issue — I love your heart for all of your children, you are an incredible mother and an encouragement to many!

    Like

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