March 2, 2011

Love is a Choice We Make

{ along the streets of New York near my office }

I’ll just say it.  Being a mother is not easy.  In fact, it’s the most difficult job and role I’ve ever had.  And this is one I can’t quit . . . even on the days I want to.

And yes, that thought has crossed my mind.

One evening after midnight, both my children woke up screaming and crying.  Exhausted, drained, and frustrated, I attended to them but couldn’t help but think how they were infringing on what I wanted most at that moment.  Peace, quiet, and rest.  And then it crept into my head, almost out of nowhere.

The thought, “Wouldn’t my life be easier if I just walked away?

It sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Just writing it makes me feel like a horrible mother and wife.  But the truth of the matter is I know I’m not alone.  Mothers everywhere - particularly those with very young children - wrestle with the “what if …” and spend time daydreaming of another life.  Perhaps one that’s simpler, or more exciting and exotic, or just one that doesn’t involve dirty diapers, potties on the head, washing out food stains, or dealing with inconsolable tantrums.

On the difficult and challenging days when life is just a blur and nothing more than going through the motions, the thought occurs more often than one would like to admit.

But I love my children!  I love my husband!  I could never do that.

Of course we say that, and of course we mean it . . . at least most of the time.  But love is not just a feeling.  It's a choice we make.  Sure, sometimes it makes your heart beat and flutter and feel all warm inside.   But when that fades away or those emotions are absent, then what?  Is love gone?  And then is it time to move on?  Well, that does seem to be the trend these days.

But no.

Love is caring for someone even if it means sacrifice on our part.

Love is choosing to give your heart fully and wholly to someone, even if it means becoming painfully vulnerable.

Love is choosing to be by someone’s side, even if it means carrying the weight of their burdens and struggles.

Love is doing the mundane and seemingly insignificant, because it may mean the world to someone else.

Love is saying, “I will be there with you,” even when hitting the high road would be so much easier.

Love is entering into the deep, dark, difficult places together and walking hand-in-hand toward the light.

Love is seeing all the ugliness of a person and choosing to embrace him or her still.

Love is going through life together, no matter how messy and complicated it gets.

What will I choose?

I'm reminded Jesus had a choice.  He could’ve easily walked away.  And you know, the thought did occur to Him as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me . . .” (Luke 22:42a)

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just get up, silence His assailants, or just ascend to heaven right there and then?  Why go through the suffering and the incredible pain?  Why make the sacrifice, especially for the sake of those who mocked and scorned Him?   Why not take the easy way out?

Because He chose love and obedience.

“Yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42b)

And that is the thing about Jesus.  He never lost sight of the big picture.  Even as nails were hammered into His wrists and feet, and He was mocked with a crown of thorns upon His head, sweat and blood dripping down His face, gasping desperately for breath as He hung on the cross, He was always mindful of His Father’s kingdom, His Father’s promises, and His Father’s love.

On the days when I’m tired, exhausted, and wondering what the point of all this is, I need to focus on the big picture.  God has called me to care for my family.  He has entrusted to me and my husband the care and nurture of two young precious boys, soon to be men before we know it.   They are His glorious creations, and this is the glorious work He has called us to.  He equips us with all that we need and more.

I choose to love.  I choose to trust.  I choose to walk through this complicated, messy, beautiful life with my husband and children.  I choose to say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
                                                                               - Romans 5:6-8


  1. amen. love is a choice. :)

    seriously, your blog posts inspire me so much.

  2. @Junia Thank you so much for the encouragement. This has been a hard week for me, but God is good and when we need Him most, He clings to us. I am sooo thankful for His choice.

  3. :) Love is a choice. It's hard work, but more than worth it. Thanks for bringing in the gospel and sharing the ultimate example of God's perfect love for us.

  4. @Joy Joy - Thank you, my friend. More and more I realize it is ALWAYS about the gospel. How good, loving, and gracious our God is!

  5. What a beautiful and poignant post. I do not know one mother who does not have that thought about once a day!! Love your blog, my mouth is watering as I look at those decadent, gorgeous brownie bites below!

  6. Excellent posting, Rachel! You brought out the real meaning of love beautifully.

    You're a blessing to your family and friends...bloggers and readers.

  7. Lisa - Thank you for your kind words. And I can't wait to try the panna cotta! That is truly one of the most gorgeous desserts I've ever seen (and my husband, fellow Yankee fan, agrees). :)

    Donna - You are a source of constant encouragement. Thank you!

  8. What an amazing post and yes to ALL of it!

    It's definitely not easy being a mommy, especially when it comes to having young kids.

    At times I also feel like just getting away and getting a breather but then when I actually get that time to myself, I find that I can't wait to get back to them.

    Love is not feeling. Its a choice. Just like Christ made the choice to die for us even though at one point He asked if God could take this cup from Him, He still did it and He would do it again.

    Love your blog! Thank you for such a beautiful message :)

  9. Your blog is so visually beautiful. Who did the artwork at the top?

  10. Z - I absolutely love your blog (how encouraging!), and your two girls are just so precious. Thank you for your kind words!

    Molly - Thank you. I just changed the header yesterday and used this gorgeous rose image from stock.xchng ( with permission from the photographer and added my own text. The photographer was thrilled to see it used this way.

  11. I really really appreciate your honesty even if it is raw. I'm glad that you recognize that you are not alone in those feelings. These challenges underscore the difficulty of being a good and strong parent, which I can tell you are.

  12. @Fresh Local and Best Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. And congrats to you on expecting your bundle of joy very soon! Being a mom is indeed a challenge but also the greatest joy ever known.


Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


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