Apr 21, 2014

Love Does


I borrowed my title from this wonderful book.  But this story isn't about this book.  Clear as mud, right? This is a beautiful book and very inspiring.  Bennett can't seem to get it out of his head and is in the process of reading it for the second time all on his own accord.  But my story is about how one person in our family has been practicing 'doing love' and how beautiful it looks.

A while back at dinnertime we were all discussing what our love languages are.  Not that we haven't talked about it in the past, but we could tell it needed resurrecting.  Even though a child is the same person as they grow, their emphasis on their love language of preference sometimes changes.  And it's always helpful to encourage your kids to show their siblings love and teach them what that looks like since most of the time it doesn't come natural for them.  Self-preservation and fighting come naturally.

We were especially direct about this with Gavin.  We realized he has only 3 short years left living in this house with us under our daily guidance.  That time will pass in the blink of an eye.  We wanted to make sure he left an indelible mark in the lives of his siblings...that they wouldn't loose relationship just because he's not here 24 hours a day anymore.  That takes being intentional.

Love is not easy, nor does it come naturally for many people.  Gavin, in particular, operates much better if he knows the formula for something.  Once he learned the 'formula' of everyone's love language, it seemed much easier for him to make the formula function.

Ever since our conversation, Gavin has been the first to jump at a chance to show love.  If you know Gavin,  you know this is way outside his comfort zone and what he's normally like.  He doesn't often show emotion.  So this opportunity 'do' love in a 'known quantity' was huge to him.

For example, every night before I take my bath, I wash my tub.  Every. Single. Night.  But guess who asks me every night, "Mom, are you about to take your bath?  Can I go wash your tub for you?"  Or if Chuck gets up do it instead, Gavin races to be the first one because he knows how much it means to me (obviously, acts of service is my love language).   The other day at breakfast I mentioned that I planned on stripping my bed sheets to wash them and before I knew it, he was up in my room stripping my bed and taking my sheets to the washing machine.

And lately, he has actually offered to do the dishes on the night Chloe is scheduled to do them if there are a huge stack of them.  This in particular has shocked me.  He never deviates from the schedule (and yes, we have a schedule of whose turn it is to do the dishes each night).  Never.  Fair is fair.  But twice he has, out of his own volition with not so much as a nudge or look on our part, said, "I'll do the dishes for Chloe tonight."

Stunned.  That is me.  He really took our discussion to heart and I have seen a huge change in his love choices.  It's beautiful and true and I know, very hard for him.  But I see Jesus in him.  Where we are weak, He is strong.  This is the perfect example of that.

So that got me thinking....am I showing him love in the way he needs/wants it?  Come to find out, he's a chip off the 'ol the block.  His love language is also acts of service (and quality time).  So lately I've been ironing his shirts for him (an activity that will never get done otherwise because of his extreme disdain for ironing).  Apparently, this little act means the world to him.  And he feels my love even more than if I were to give him a bear hug (which worked well when he was 5, but not so much at 15).

This won't be the last time we have this conversation with the kids.  It's always a good reminder to love intentionally.  If we can practice on those closest to us, then it will be easier and come more naturally to love those around us that we don't know or even to love our enemies, one of the hardest challenges of all.
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