I have no idea what day it was. In fact, I couldn't even tell you what month. Motherhood had beaten me down to the point that I had no memory of what kid ate what for breakfast that day...or if I myself had even eaten...and all I wanted was a little solitude. So, I locked the bathroom door that day, something I didn't dare do often because my kids have a sixth sense about locked bathroom doors. It's like they have a radar, and as soon as they sense I'm behind a locked door, the mice go play. And lately, my 2-minute bathroom breaks were quickly followed by major cleaning episodes. During this particular season, it was cleaning up the water from the water filter that my son kept turning on. So, with the full knowledge that a mess was likely to occur, I locked the bathroom door. And that's when it happened. Well, that's when it happened for the LAST TIME. One of my twins (2 years old at the time) had dragged a chair to the kitchen counter FOR THE LAST TIME...and climbed up on it FOR THE LAST TIME...and turned on the water filter spout FOR THE LAST TIME...and let water flow all over the floor through the kitchen...through the living room...and down the hall...FOR THE LAST TIME.
That water filter filled its last cup that day. It met its timely demise on my kitchen floor...with a mighty force. In front of God and all my children, I threw a fit. Literally. Picked up that 18-cup sized water filter and chunked it across the room. CRASH! Piece of plastic and pools of water all over our floor.
I had spent the majority of the last 5ish years slowly leaking. Just as a slow leak in a tire can be nearly invisible and result in a sudden blowout if not caught sooner. I lost it. And that water filter lost its life. There it lay in pieces. Never to filter water again.
And it would not be replaced for years.
My twins looked on in utter disbelief (I don't even know where my oldest kiddo was at the time. See? Drained. Completely leaked out.) as I yelled and scolded and mopped and mopped and mopped. But ya know what? The next day, when I realized I wouldn't ever have to clean that up again, I felt free! I knew that from now on if I chose to lock the bathroom door for privacy, I wouldn't have to deal with water on the floor again! I might have to clean up something else, but at least it would never ever, ever, ever again be the blasted water!
I was tired, yall. Tired as tired could ever possibly be. I constantly felt sorry for myself. And I didn't know how to reach my kids, how to teach them what I wanted them to learn, to become, to feel, to explore, without pounding my message in. Listen! Come here! Stop hitting! Be nice! Show respect! Be good! Think of others! Be a child of God!
Wait...God. God is love (I John 4:8). Love encompasses everything I'm trying to teach my children and everything I need for myself. Patience, kindness, contentment, humility, courage, strength, etc. Love is all of these! (1 Corinthians 13) We need to be love. That's it! BE LOVE!
But yall, you can't just tell a kid to do something and expect it to stick. They have to see it, be given the chance to emulate it, and frequently reminded of it. I had to be love. And that's where everything shifted and "be love" was birthed. I say birthed because it came just like any baby comes--through a lot of effort, time, and pain. To remind ourselves to focus on it every day, we made a sign. A huge sign. And we put it smack in the middle of a very empty, large wall in our living room. For all to see. And we talk about it. Every day. My twins' teachers tell them to "be love" at school, my oldest kiddo (the one who struggled the most with hitting when he was little) knows that "our hands are for loving, not hurting," and my hubs and I can answer every single struggle in and around our lives with this: are we being love? The correct answer, the right decision, the way that leads to success in whatever we do is when we can say "yes, we are." It's our new magic 8 ball. Am I being love? Are you being love? It answers every single question we have. It aligns our hearts with our God. The one, true God. The God of love.
What does "be love" mean to you? I'd LOVE to hear from you!!!