The one thing that matters

Every once in awhile, when I get the chance, I like to go up to our church and pray in the chapel.

It’s quiet and warm in there (the thermostat is always set around 72), the air conditioner/heater has a nice little hum to it, and I find it an incredibly peaceful place to just sit and… be still.

In these quiet moments, I often write. Sometimes read. And always pray that I can be exactly who I am meant to be, in whatever capacity that may be.

Today I had a thought that we tend to complicate things. Especially as mothers to young children, as wives, friends, daughters, employees, etc. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything — when, really, there’s only one thing that matters.

It’s not how well we write. Or speak. Or perform. Or clean. Or cook, and so on.

But how well we love.

The other day our pastor read the famous “love scripture” — you know the one, even if you’re not the scripture sort. It’s 1 Corinthians — the one read at all weddings, starting with, “Love is…”

Since we’re all called to love like God — our pastor asked us to replace the word “Love” with our names. “Lauren is patient, Lauren is kind…” And then, he asked, do we live up to it?

Today, while musing on motherhood, I thought I’d practice the same exercise — replacing “love” with a role I love so much: being a mother.

A mother is patient, a mother is kind.

She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud.

She is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs.

A mother does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A mother never fails.

Ah, I thought. There’s the recipe.

I scanned the page.

I spend so much time asking how to be the best mother I can be — and there it is before me. Am I always patient? Am I not easily angered?

I did the exercise again — this time with another role I love — being a wife.

A wife is patient, a wife is kind.

She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud.

She is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs.

A wife does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A wife never fails.

Yikes, I thought. No record of wrongs? Never rude? Not ever self-seeking?

And what about being a friend?

A friend is patient, a friend is kind.

She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud.

She is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs.

A friend does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A friend never fails.

Hmm, I pondered. Never envious? Never proud?

It was a fun exercise to go through — remembering that if I can do all the crafts and bake all the cookies and am crowned the Queen of Pinterest, but am not patient or kind or humble, it doesn’t matter at all.

But the words that stuck out to me most profoundly were at the end in all three — never fails.

It seemed like a lot of pressure.

Then I remembered why I was visiting this warm, peaceful chapel to begin with — because my strength is not in me. My strength is in He who is Love.

And love never fails.

9 Comments

  1. Emily S

    I loved this. Thanks. The kids and I have been studying that passage together. I’m going to go through that exercise with them – replacing love with our names and roles.

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