Ten years ago, from July 2000 to June 2001 according to my notes, I lead a women's Bible study back in Düsseldorf, Germany. We worked through the book A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming. It's a little discouraging to realize how little I've changed in ten years, four (or seven, depending on how one counts) children later, but not the book's fault. I don't get angry at spilled milk or broken dishes anymore, anyway, so that's progress, I suppose.
Chapter 8 gave us the assignment to re-write 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 from my own point of view as a mother. Here's what I wrote, ten years ago, with a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a 22-month-old son:
If I spend all of my time with and talking to my children, but have not love and do not speak of God, I may as well put them in daycare.
If I know everything there is to know about child-raising, have read every book and talked with many godly mothers, but do not put anything into practice, I am nothing.
If I'm generous to the rest of the world with my time and possessions, teach Bible study, attend church, and read the Bible, but have no love for my children, I have accomplished nothing.
Love is patient when the children take all of the puzzles out and spread them around the room.
Love is kind when my children interrupt while I'm preparing for Bible study.
Love does not envy K or J. (Interestingly, I no longer have any idea who K and J might be...)
Love does not boast about what one knows, not even about breastfeeding.
Love is not proud, but grateful to God for everything that is good, because it is a gift from Him.
Love is not rude to the children when they need correcting.
Love does not look for ways to keep the children quiet, but for ways to show the children love.
Love is not easily angered by spilled milk, broken plates, uneaten cereal, or talking-back.
Love does not hold against a child today what he did yesterday, but remembers that God's mercies are new every morning, and mine should be too.
Love never says "I told you so" when an accident occurs, but helps the child up and says "I know it will be better next time."
Love always protects without nagging, trusts without strings attached, hopes because of God's promises, and perseveres, knowing that if we "do not get tired of doing what is right, after awhile we will reap a harvest of blessings, if we do not get discouraged and give up." (Galatians 6:9)