Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Love with Busy Hands (Acts of Service: Motherhood and the 5 love langauges)

It’s children’s sermon time, and they’re all up front around the Vicar’s knees. He asks the children about serving our neighbors:
“Who here helps with the dishes?” some hands are raised. 
“Who here knows how to make your parents a cup of coffee?”
Thirty kids sit, only six raise their hands. Every one of them a Cook kid.
Adults turn their heads and find me and we laugh.
Yes indeed, all of my kids know how to make coffee, though not one of them can stand the stuff! And every single time they do it for me (even if they do need help) it fills my love tank.
Acts of service
Talk is cheap for the acts-of-service lover. She speaks her love with her busy hands.
Little man notices when daddy fixes his bike, and he tells everyone all about it as he races around the park.
Sister shoos the other sister out of the room so she can make both of their beds.“Surprise, I cleaned the whole room for you!”
Mom does “sewing surgery” on a stuffed animal that she’d rather just pitch.
“Would you mind if I organize your Tupperware drawer?” (This question was really and truly asked of me by one who just “loves!” to organize! Thank God for these people!)
Simple, daily things like help with homework, cooking meals, laundry, help with chores, and so forth. This is love, spoken with the hands.
“Why can’t you just sit still and be with me?”I have spoken that sentence, and I have had it spoken to me many times! It is easy for a task-oriented person to get so swept up in the tasks that she doesn’t even notice that her loved ones are aching for a different flavor of love. (Quality time, perhaps?)
This is why the love language concept is so important. It is good for us to learn to speak all of the languages, and learn to hear them as well! True love learns to compromise, and is willing to stretch beyond what comes naturally to ask and answer the question, “What best serves my neighbor right now?” Sometimes, it’s matching socks. Sometimes, its sitting down on the couch and watching a movie while they crawl on you.
Acts of sabotage
If you “do” love and “hear” love through service, what does that mean for lack of service? When you want help but do not receive it? What about the opposite of service- when people actually make more work for you?
The sock in the lawn was left on purpose. I should make them do their own laundry because they obviously don’t care.
The pile of clutter in our bedroom is proof that nobody cares what I do around here.
The toothpaste on the toilet seat was a deliberate trap for me.
The sticky floors, mucky boots, sloppy windows, and moldy towels are all part of a conspiracy against me in which the entire family is involved.
An empty shampoo bottle? A diaper in the washing machine? Grounds in my coffee? These things are nothing less than deliberate, premeditated, sabotage.
Ridiculous? Well, maybe. But honestly, I have to talk myself down from these feelings at times, especially if I am overwhelmed or running on an empty tank!
Acts of service and children
“Thank you for finishing my chores for me, mom!”
This statement would not have been possible if the child did not have chores in the first place. My husband and I are trying to teach our children that the work of this house is to be shared by all. That’s what it means to be part of a family. We serve each other with our hands, whether we feel like it or not, and even if we didn’t make the mess.
And we fill in the gaps when necessary. The biggest child cooks dinner when I’m feeling sick. I finish loading the dishwasher when my son runs out of time. The girls do their own laundry, but sometimes I fold it for them. Brother helps the other brother look for the missing shoe. All of these little things are acts of service that communicate the love we have for one another.
How can I serve my neighbor?
Is there anything helpful you can do for your child today? Making dinner counts, by the way. And there’s nothing wrong with drawing attention to your act with your words (and maybe a hug too!) “I made you lasagna tonight because I love you!” (shoulder squeeze) Become multi-lingual for the sake of those you love!

Dear God,
You love us first, and Your love looks like sacrifice, and suffering, and willingly setting aside your own comfort for us. As your children, help us love as you love, with our hands, words, and time, always seeking the good of our neighbor. Forgive us when we fail, and help us when we misunderstand each other. Draw each one of us closer to you in love, and let your love overflow on to others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Acts of service: Love with busy hands
What does it look like in your home?

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