Think about the last time you were out and about in a public place, perhaps at the grocery store, park, mall, library, church, museum….. Did you notice any mothers and their children? What were these families doing? What were the interactions like between mother and child or the interactions between siblings? Have you ever found yourself annoyed at someone else’s children? Or annoyed at the apparent lack of mothering skills as you observed children running wild, their mother nearby, but not even noticing?
Or have you ever felt like that mother, allowing your children to do whatever just to get them out of your hair and stop stressing you out? Have you felt disconnected to your children, knowing that you love them, but not knowing how to love them? I know I have. I watch mothers who innately just know how to connect and love, mothers who serve their families with joy and play with their children, and I’ve wondered how that works. The love in their eyes is joyful and exuberant. Many times in the past, I felt my eyes were glazed over when I interacted with my children. Years of depression wouldn’t allow the love to flow. How could I love my children when I hated myself?
I was in a place of “dead love”. I went through the motions of taking care of my family, but my heart was not in it. I did what needed to be done, just because it needed to be done, with very little feeling, no joy, no love, no connection. I see this around me a lot. We take our children to sports, dance, music, giving them many opportunities, but don’t spend quality time with them. We want them away as much as possible, and when they’re home, we don’t interact with them much, and sometimes when we do, it’s not kind. This is “dead love” because it’s still love in that we are doing good things for our children; we are trying. We are performing our duties as a mother, but it’s dead because it is not full of life and love. The joy and purpose are missing.
If you’ve ever experienced this as a mother, chances are you had some amount of pain in your childhood. Those feelings of pain could have been lodged in the heart and the heart began to shut down emotionally. That was my experience, and when I had 6 children, the depression hit. I had lots of pain in my heart, with no solutions. I knew I wasn’t being a fabulous mom; I became more and more disconnected as my children grew. It was not fun.
I’ve spent years praying, healing, and working to overcome depression and self loathing, and I now understand the difference between dead love and Living Love.
Living Love encompasses the joy of life! Living Love is patience and understanding, allowing ourselves and our children to make mistakes. Living Love is learning with life. Living Love is going through the motions of motherhood with gratitude. Living Love is providing opportunities for our children and being their biggest cheerleader. Living Love is being connected in marriage and united in parenthood. Living Love is not perfect, but forgiving, and knows life about progress, not perfection. Living Love is connection to our children and spouse and seeing them for the greatness within. This love is “living” because it is alive and flowing from the heart, the true greatness of soul.
For the next three weeks, I will share with you some ideas and tools to implement for yourself and your family that will help you feel that living love. This is possible for all of us! We exist on this planet to learn about love and to experience life in joy! There is hope for the future. Living Love assures us there is good in the world, and it begins at home in our families. Join me for the next three weeks as we explore Living Love in depth and learn how to bring it home.