This post is for my mom.
Four years ago, during a turbulent season of life, my husband and I moved home to our native state of Michigan. A shelter from life’s storm, my mom and dad were ready and waiting to open their home to us. Fast forward four years, and here we are, still in Michigan, still under one roof with my mom and dad.
Many people look at our situation and wonder how we make it work. God’s grace is definitely part of the equation, but we are also blessed to have a solid and loving relationship with one another. We respect my parents, they respect us, and our girls adore growing up with not just mom and dad but Nannie and Papa too.
For the most part our unique family life runs smoothly, but there are times when stress burdens, pressure piles high, and life spins wild.
It is in these times, that my mom and I have a tendency to clash. This isn’t anything new. My mom and I have lived with these cycles throughout my entire life, but lately, I’ve noticed a spirit of frustration and, impatience in my own heart and mind, that doesn’t seem normal and needs to be dealt with.
I recently had lunch with a friend of mine. A Godly woman, full of wisdom, my friend is in a similar situation only, in her case, she is the mom with a grown daughter living in her home. After listening to a few details about my struggle and concerns she asked me a brilliant question: “What would you say is your mom’s love language?”
It’s a question I never considered before. I think a lot about my husband’s love language, and even that of my girls, but as far as my mom is concerned, I’ve never even asked.
For anyone not familiar with the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, the Five Love Languages include: Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Quality Time. According to Chapman, everyone has a love language(s) which determines their natural bent for giving and receiving love.
When I stopped to consider my mom and what her love language might be, I pictured her at home on a typical afternoon. In my mind’s eye I could see her cooking supper, doing laundry, mopping the floor…it wasn’t hard to come to the conclusion that my mom gives love by serving our family. Her love language is Acts of Service. She’s wired for work, and this is how she communicates love.
Here’s the thing, Acts of Service is soooooo NOT my love language! I’m Quality Time to my core. Suddenly I knew, with the wise words of my friend, that herein lies my problem.
When I feel frustrated and impatient with my mom, what I really want to tell her is, “Stop! Slow down! Take a break! I don’t want muffins for breakfast, or sparkling clean floors, or even clean laundry, what I want is you. I want you to spending time with me and my girls. I want you to be happy and peaceful.”
This is what I want to tell her because I’m viewing her through a heart that is seeking quality time with my mom. What I view as work, work, work is my mom’s way of showing love to our family. When I look at her through the eyes of her love language I understand her heart, and I see the love that is there in her work.
Gaining understanding of my mom and her particular love language doesn’t only help me see how she gives love to our family, but also how I can show love to her. Things like vacuuming the living room or shopping for groceries are things I take for granted, but when I do these things for my mom I’m not just doing household chores, I’m speaking to her heart.
We all have people in our lives that we love but sometimes don’t understand. Do you know what your mother’s love language is? How about your son’s, your daughter’s, your best friend’s? February is a month set aside for giving and receiving love. Why not celebrate this month of love by learning a new language? The sweet and life-giving language of love.
Thank you, mom, for all you do to speak a language of love into the lives of our family and so many others. Love is the only language you know. Chris, Aletheia, Tenley and I are blessed to have you speak love into our lives each and every day. Happy Birthday, you make everything beautiful and I love you.