Walk in Love and a Saturday Morning Hike

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:2 ESV

This past Saturday our family went on a long long walk. Well, long for us. We traipsed through a forest trail that was two miles in and two miles out. Four miles all together!

As we plodded along, I felt refreshed by the sunshine dappling through the trees (rare this summer in western Washington!), the birds squeaky songs, and that earthy woodsy smell mixed with a hint of flowery goodness. And to add to the peacefulness, we had the trail almost to ourselves. Lovely.

Being a mommy is sort of like a long walk, don’t you think? We’re given incredible joys, like the forest delights, that make the journey refreshing and fun—like when six-year-old Christian stopped his wild Jedi scouting and hung back with me. “I just want to be with you for a little bit, Mama.”

Or when Ben, of his own accord, stopped to help his little sister down a slippery hill. “Take my hand, Abigail. We’ll make it together.”

Joy.

At those times it’s easy to “walk in love.” Not much of a sacrifice to smile, encourage, and laugh with the kids when they’re being delightful.

But the hike on Saturday was the longest I’ve walked since my cardiac arrest, and although I thoroughly enjoyed myself, by the end I was definitely worn out. My legs ached, my sciatica panged, and a sharp pain targeted my right foot (why just the right, I don’t know). All the tummies in our group craved a hearty nibble and sweat dripped from our brows.

Loving the kids can seem like a long journey as well.

  • How many times do I have to tell them to …
  • Do I have to deal with this kid’s bad attitude again?
  • I’ve showed you how to tie your shoes ten times now.

Plus the emotional energy it takes to stay positive, responsible, and a good example. At these tougher moments it’s not as easy to walk in love. I’m sometimes tempted to walk in grumpiness instead, or impatience, or self indulgence, or even anger.

Truth is I often fail, but how awesome is the verse I quoted? Even when my walk is less than loving—sometimes a lot less—Christ doesn’t give up on me. He walked in love perfectly—and he loves me! It says so right there. Not only does he love me, he sacrificed himself for me, even though he knew all about my grumpy, impatient, self indulgent, angry walks. He walks with me, forgiving me, and helping me to walk in love.

Knowing he’s with me and he loves me makes me want to serve my Lord by loving my kids. I think I’ll go give one a hug right now.

How do you show love to your kids? What areas do you struggle with? Any advice to keep the journey a loving one?