If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and teach my children Latin conjugations, Chinese, and Portuguese, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, and no matter what I say, they will not hear me.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know my children’s bents and God’s plan for their lives, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and am the keeper of the teacher’s editions and solutions manuals, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and even keep up with my giant piles of laundry and dishes, but do not have love, I am nothing, even if all the people at church think I’m Supermom.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and my formal dining room gets turned into a schoolroom, and our family vacations look more like educational fieldtrips, and if I surrender my body to be burned, never having time to get my nails done, put makeup on, or even take a bath, but do not have love, it profits me nothing because all my family cares about is the expression on my face, anyway.
Love is patient with the child who still can’t get double-digit subtraction with borrowing, and kind to the one who hasn’t turned in his research paper. It is not jealous of moms with more, fewer, neater, more self-directed, better-behaved, or smarter children.
Love does not brag about homemade bread, book lists, or scholarships, and is not arrogant about her lifestyle or curriculum choices. It does not act unbecomingly or correct the children in front of their friends. It does not seek its own, trying to squeeze in alone time when someone still needs help; it is not provoked when interrupted for the nineteenth time by a child, the phone, the doorbell, or the dog; does not take into account a wrong suffered, even when no one compliments the dinner that took hours to make or the house that took so long to clean.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness or pointing out everyone else’s flaws, but rejoices with the truth and with every small step her children take in becoming more like Jesus, knowing it’s only by the grace of God when that occurs.
Love bears all things even while running on no sleep; believes all things, especially God’s promise to indwell and empower her; hopes all things, such as that she’ll actually complete the English curriculum this year and the kids will eventually graduate; endures all things, even questioning from strangers, worried relatives, and most of all, herself.
Love never fails. And neither will she. As long as she never, never, never gives up.
(* you can find this as a poster print in the shop!)