Jack came home from school yesterday, walked in the door, and immediately realized he had forgotten his science book. His shoulders slumped and he got instantly upset (with himself, I’m assuming). He moved on though, set his book bag down, and started to unload it on the dining room table to get going on his other two assignments that he could complete. Then he realized he forgot his social studies book as well. That was too much for him. He walked away from the table and went straight into his room, shutting his door.

I sighed. I’ve seen this scenario play out before. I’d say at least once a week or so, he forgets something he needs to get his homework done. So, I let him stew for a little bit and then went over to his room and knocked on the door, asking if I could come in. Silence. Can we talk? Silence. Okay, then. I love you and I’m sorry and I’m praying for you. Silence. So I walked away.

Another 45 minutes later and I tried again, but with a different tactic. (Plus, come on…45 minutes?) I wrote a note that simply said “I love you” and slipped it under his door.

He wrote back within seconds. There was a stick figure of a boy with tears flowing down, and words that broke my heart. “It won’t help!” Whoa. We kept the note-writing/note-slipping for a few minutes until I was finally allowed entrance.

But really…whoa. And really, he was right. My loving him wouldn’t be able to help much. Because here’s what my love can’t do. It can’t miraculously get his two needed books in his hands. It can’t wave a magic wand and get his teachers to say, “No big deal, Jack.” It can’t take away his sadness. It can’t make him remember something. It can’t change his personality, make him more organized. It can’t make all the kids like him, make him taller, make him feel less insecure. Though I probably would do all of those things with my love if I could.

But here’s what it can do. Because love really is a powerful thing. My love can listen. My love can write a note and slip it under the door. My love can rub a back gently. My love can hand out Kleenex. My love can whisper some advice. My love can whisper a prayer. My love can believe in Jesus enough for the both of us when he doesn’t still know yet if Jesus can be trusted. My love can laugh at his jokes and let him teach me dance moves from gym class and play the game of Life for the umpteenth time and pack a lunch and make a breakfast and remind him as often as I can that my love for him is real and that Jesus’s love for him is even bigger and better.

Some homework got done last night. Most of it did not. My love couldn’t do anything about that. But it drew him out of his room and helped him to come up with a plan for today, and even helped him laugh a little bit. My love could do that.

If this post helped you, “Moving On as a Christian Single Mom” is for you, found here.

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