The Choice of Parental Love

Dear mothers, hear me out. Whether you found out you were expecting your first yesterday, or you have 23 great grandchild. In any season of motherhood, there is a strong undercurrent that connects us- parental love.

Over the last couple years, God has been showing me a lot about love. Holding baby Christopher and getting the deepest glimpse into God’s Love I have ever had. Realizing how hard it can be to keep a promise made during a time when it was easy to give – to love your spouse for better or worse. Lately, learning how to truly love my children.

I want you to remember a special time in your life, one with a surge of love, happiness, and joy busting forth for your child. For me, holding them for the first time was AMAZING! Do you remember the first time you held each one?

I love recalling the memory of pulling Christopher to my chest, his umbilical cord still attached, while Mark’s voice cracked telling me “it’s a boy!”

That surge of joy, love, happiness and everything else good truly is wonderful. It can even be addicting.

I love that feeling, and seek it all the times. I often have it, when the kids kids wake up refreshed from naps, when they show how they are growing and learning, when they come give me hugs and kisses.

But it is not always there. I am not always overjoyed to see my kids, there is no rush of happiness. I want a break. Then I feel guilty. “Don’t I love my kids? Don’t I enjoy them?”

Yes, I know I need breaks, and try to get them. But I wonder when they refuse to sleep, when they break a glass and scream constantly, where is that surge? What is wrong with me?

I did not even realize I was doing this, but I was interpreting that surge for love- at least partially.

But, those are feelings. I do not want to underplay them. Pride in watching your children grow, is wonderful. Knowing you would die for that child who has been in your arms for 1 second- is love. But, to view that as love is like viewing this as a butterfly.

It is one little part.

Love has such depth to it, I doubt we will ever know the extent of it while still on this earth. Do you ever get goosebumps realizing just how much God loves you?

That he would send his son to die for you? That he forgives you, every time you sin? That he wants us to pray without ceasing?

Often times I feel like if one of my two kids says mom one more time I will scream. God, wants us to pray without ceasing. He has billions of kids, and he wants us to continually pray to him. To have conversations with him. And not only about “important stuff”- but about anything we face.

Love is awesome. Not “totally cool” awesome. Truly awesome. Unfortunately, that word had been watered down but it is a strong word. Awesome – Awe striking – To put you in awe.

photo by KaraEvee 

Love is a choice. 

I do not know how many times I have heard that. Or, how many times I have not given it the thought it deserved, because I already knew it. But, if that knowledge does not translate into wisdom and action, you might as well not know it. In fact, you would be better of NOT knowing it, so that you could learn it afresh.

Well, I have been learning about parental love lately. Not a read it in a devotional and know it is true learning. A plunged into it, world shaken, hit over the head learning.

Colds, sleepless nights, a little boy who has not been respectful, a clingy girl who cries the second she leaves my arms- my patience has been tried. A lot.

The other day I was taking a walk. I was thinking about just how hard motherhood has been lately. How I have really struggling to enjoy and love my kids- both decisions. How much I have just wanted to get away from them. For a long time. And sleep.

God showed me how I had grown addicted to that surge. How I sought it, put it on a high level, and felt guilty any time it was not there. He reminded me love was a choice.

When the kids will not sleep, when they break another glass, scream, when I am weary and tired and Just. Want. A. Break. No guilt needed. I do not always have to have that feeling of automatic joy and happiness upon seeing my kid, because I can choose to love- through Christ who strengthens me.

Love is NOT Natural 

Remembering that time I held Christopher makes me think parental love is natural. So, when it does not “come naturally” it is easy to feel guilty. Well, that is a lie from Satan to poison our view of love. It is not natural. Selfishness is natural. Choosing to love is a decision. To have to make a conscious decision is the opposite of natural.

Think about the verses Titus 2:3-5:

That aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, [to be] sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed:

Did you catch that? Teach to love their children? That means we need to learn. Learn. Learn. Why would we need to learn something that is automatic, mind boggingly easy, or natural? I am pretty sure Paul was too busy of a man to write things of no importance. We need to learn to love our children. It does not come naturally.

Dare to not expect that surge and feel guilty when it is not there, to admit to God sometimes you just don’t want to be around your kids and ask for his strength to love them at all times.

Because, even when it is hard, through his strength we can choose to love.


  1. I have struggled with this for MONTHS now!!!!! And I am at my wits end half of the time…I am finding myself getting Angry now…I from your post where I went wrong…prayer…LOL as simple as that…Thank you Lord for Using this to show me where I need to improve! Thank you Debra

  2. Beautiful post. I’d like to add that love is also not giving in to them every time they cry, whine or ask for something. I sometimes get small doses of guilt heaped on mt by my MIL when I don’t let Little Man do whatever he wants. I do not except that guilt.