I’m going to start with an analogy I read in Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, by Rachel Jankovic. Pretend you are a tomato plant and your husband is a tomato plant. You have your first child and it is a tomato plant. You are all happy little plants in your garden. Then a second child comes along and although at the very beginning it has the same green shoots and tiny leaves, very quickly you discover that this child is not a tomato plant. This child is a watermelon. And tomatoes and watermelons really aren’t all that similar.
Should your watermelon try to become a tomato? It’s never going to happen. God created your child in all her wonderful watermelon-ness. No matter how much your child might have your eyes or your smile, she is not made in your image. She is made in God’s image. She is who God uniquely created her to be. And He chose you to be the caretaker of that watermelon. It’s no accident that she is in your garden.
It’s much easier to love our children when they are like us. It’s not so easy when they are foreign to us, when we just don’t get them. Maybe they have an interest, a talent, an outlook on life that is the complete opposite of yours. I’m confronting this in my own life as the personality of one of my daughters develops and emerges more completely. I don’t get her. Yet.
God placed her in my care. And I will admit sometimes I get very frustrated because I don’t see things from her point of view. But she doesn’t need to be like me, to like what I like, or see things the way that I do. She needs to be like God, to have a heart that is full of Him, and the mind of Christ.
I’m still working on this, trying to put myself in her shoes. In the process, I am growing. I don’t love her because she likes what I like or sees things the way that I do. I love someone who isn’t like me. I love her unconditionally. Although I have a long way to go, I’m thankful for the differences between us because God is using them to develop more of His character in me.
Belinda is a regular contributor to Pruning Princesses. She had a pet monkey when she was 8. In a past life, she was an adviser to college students. Now she’s taking an extended sabbatical to focus on her mom job. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters – ages 10, 8, and 5 – and her son, who is 2. She enjoys travel, cooking, hanging out with her family, and the occasional game of competitive badminton. Read her other posts here.