When Cookie Cutters Won't Cut It

I stood at the counter, preparing sandwiches for three little lunch boxes.

Ethan, who is six and extremely eager, is my big helper.  And a highly opinionated helper, at that.

"Mom, I really want you to cut my sandwich into a heart for tomorrow."

He opens the bottom cabinet and rummaged through a small, red crate full of cookie cutters.

"Use this one."

He tosses up a Valentine's heart and it lands beside my assembly line.  
"Will you cut the crust off with that?"

"Sure thing."

"Oh, and I'd like a note from you. Will you write me a note, too?  
Will you say, 'I love you, Ethan' or something like that?"

Opening a pencil box full of markers he picks out one red and one blue. 
"Will you write the words in blue?  And draw hearts in red?"

"Yes," I smile. " Anything else?"

"No, that's good."

He scurried up the steps, leaving me to my napkin and crayola markers.

Ethan takes all of the guess-work out of loving him well.  His needs are black and white.  
Heart-shaped sandwiches and love notes go a long way with him.  
But one day it won't be so easy, you know?  
He may grow too big (and too proud) to openly share what makes him feel loved.

My boys are still at the age where a milkshake and a hug can cure anything.  
But I see on the horizon, change is imminent.

My nine-year-old, Grant, he's starting to get tricky.

I've noticed him pulling away quicker when we hug and he walks a couple of feet in front of me 
when step in school.  And  oh, heaven forbid I ever take a cookie cutter to his lunch.  
He might melt of embarrassment.

This is to be expected, I know.  {sigh}  But that doesn't make it easier.

Still, God has given us children to nurture, train and ... love.

And love like crazy.

No one has ever seen God; If we love one another, God abides in us 
and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Stop to think...your children can see a glimpse of God by the love you show them.  Astounding.

We are a vessels of love...and not just any love, but GOD'S LOVE to our children.

So what do we do when napkins and heart-shaped sandwiches no longer cut it?

How do we love effectively when love languages change? 
Or when they outgrow how we've loved them for years?

WE ABIDE.  Yes, keep abiding in Him.  And His love will be "perfected in us."

He will show us exactly what our babies need. Even when our babies tower over us.

God equips us well.  He gave us Himself.

As my Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Abide in my love.  
These things I command you, so that you will love one another.  John 15:9,17

We aren't called to love our children perfectly.  
We are called to abide in Him.  
And watch God's perfect love ... love them like crazy.

One age, He may love with cookie-cutters.  At another it may be a high-five.

But whatever His method...it will be "perfect."

And always age-appropriate.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! My nine year old boy is right there too, and I feel like we do this little dance because what once was a sign of affection is now a source of embarrassment. I'm grateful that at home he's all about the hugs and kisses. But I see changing, I'm reminded of something God spoke to me a while back: the most important thing I can do as a mom is be with Jesus. And let everything flow from that.

    Thanks for bringing that back to my memory!

    1. "The most important thing I can do as a mom is be with Jesus. And let everything flow from that. " Girl. This quote is the stuff. Thank you!

  2. My son is 16 now and has gone through some stages like where I could no longer hug him or this past year where he doesn't really want to go for coffee or movie with me in public in our town (but in the nearest city it's ok). It can hurt but I find that there are always other ways of showing affection and cues they'll give us. For instance, my son loves to poke and annoy me (oh, and sit close and talk my ear off). He likes it when I rough house with him or chase him around to "try" and give him a hug. I can walk by and give his arm or back a gentle touch or quick rub. I can take him to the city and buy him fast food (big hit!) and just spend time with him; read novels simultaneously and discuss them; ask him what foods he'd like me to pick up when I go shopping, etc. And when there are times that he feels more "prickly" I need to not get angry or make it about me but continue loving him, feeding him well, praying for him. Anger pushes him away but if I don't react then he is usually back to his normal self in one to three days. It is healthy for them to slowly separate but this is hard on us mamas :)

    1. Oh Krista! It is so hard! Thank you for your wisdom! I can't imagine mothering a 16-year-old!

    2. Well, honestly it is challenging and wonderful at the same time! Nothing to dread. Watching our sons become young men is quite amazing and I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood :)

  3. Oh my goodness! your son Ethan sounds like such a sweetheart! i hope he truly never outgrows the knowing what he wants and letting people know! but isn't it so beautiful that the Lord will give us the resources to love all the people in our lives the way they need to be loved, if we just ask Him to! :)