4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. (I Cor. 13:4-8)
Thanksgiving 2013, my mother-in-law came to visit our family. During the 10 days that she was here, I developed stomach pains. I realized that the stomach pains were anxiety that I was experiencing with my mother-in-law living at our home. I was anxious about many things.
I was anxious about how she was interacting with my 2 year old son, Whitaker – how she was feeding him, playing with him and watching him. I was anxious about our interaction together – would she try to tell me what to do, disagree with the way I do life and God forbid tell me one more time not to drink ice water, only warm water?! Our time together felt like two strangers trying to dance together for the first time. We were stepping on each other’s toes. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one experiencing anxiety.
January 2014, I was 8 months pregnant with my second child. Due to complications, my doctor ordered bed rest. Bed rest and chasing around an active 2 year old do not mix well. Therefore, we needed help. Options were to pay a gazillion dollars for a full-time nanny or to have my mother- in-law live with us until I delivered my second child. Initially, the thought of my mother-in-law living with us for a month or more made me want to hurl. I wasn’t sure that I could control my anxieties but at the same time we really needed help. So I prayed and asked God to give us wisdom and to speak to me about the situation.
The Lord was quick to answer my prayers. He revealed to me that my anxieties stem from a fleshly desire to control my mother-in-law. I wanted her to selfishly do things my way. I was more concerned about how she was going to serve and bless us rather than how I was going to serve and bless her. I was not loving her well. As God revealed this to me and I started to let go of control, there was peace that surpasses all knowledge and understanding and freedom that lifted my anxieties.
I started praying that my mother-in-law would feel free to be herself as she interacted with Whitaker and our family. I prayed that she would experience Jesus’ love through our family as she is not a believer. I prayed that I would die to my pride and let her do things her way as long as it was not hurting anyone. My heart’s desire changed from desiring to be blessed to desiring to bless.
My mother-in-law left yesterday morning after 6 weeks of living with us. There was not one day of stomach pains and upon her departure, there was sadness that she was leaving and gratitude for her. She expressed to us that she thoroughly enjoyed her time with Whitaker. She also expressed great pleasure in her time with our family and wanted to visit again soon. We were delighted!
Love, indeed, never fails. I never thought choosing to love would birth such freedom. Who is God calling you to love today? ~Edna Lee