When it comes to love scriptures, 1 Corinthians 13 is the gold standard. We can consider the “love is” mantra an in-depth observation of Jesus’ greatest commandment. And while the words are a natural fit for wedding ceremonies, they also illustrate the crown calling of motherhood.

The Message translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is as follows:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Paul’s declaration about love is so right. Not to mention, so hard. Living the Gospel of love is the most challenging simple thing Jesus call’s us to do. Sure we know how to love as a mom. But what about the “doesn’t fly off the handle, puts up with everything, trusts God always” disclaimers?

Aren’t there some days you’d rather add ish to each sentiment? You know, moments when you feel calmish, steadfastish, faithfulish

Well, all I can say is some days close enough is par excellence in my mothering realm. I love wide, long, high, and deep…but sometimes loud, cranky, and emotionally wonky as well.

How about you?

Together, let’s take a look at the famous Corinthians passage through a motherhood lens by replacing the word love with motherhood. Goodness knows we need reminders now and then about what really matters.


Motherhood never gives up
…even if it takes all day to shake a mood

Motherhood cares more for others than for self
…which is why we need to remember the extent of our self-love impacts how we love our kids

Motherhood doesn’t want what it doesn’t have
…except for sleep which is very necessary

Motherhood doesn’t strut
…it’s best to remember sooner than later that parenting is learning school

Motherhood doesn’t have a swelled head
…because living between our ears rarely moves us towards a better anything

Motherhood doesn’t force itself on others
…but presses in gently

Motherhood isn’t always “me first”
…preaching to the choir here, Paul.

Motherhood doesn’t fly off the handle
…the mother lode of all things mother love

Motherhood doesn’t keep score of the sins of others
…because we should be too busy tallying our own

Motherhood doesn’t revel when others grovel
…but chooses mercy instead

Motherhood takes pleasure in the flowering of truth
…humility and grace

 Motherhood puts up with anything
…even irresponsibility, sassy back talk, messy rooms

Motherhood trusts God always
…because that’s the best and only option we have for peace

Motherhood always looks for the best
…because we need to teach our kids not to look for the worst

Motherhood never looks back
…because we can only change how things happen going forward

But keeps going to the end
…the journey is our reward

1 Cor 13:4-7  (MSG)

Thankfully, even when we fail to embody these truths in the pandemonium of life, (I do EVERY DAY) God doesn’t give up on us. He displays what love is to all of humanity no matter how often we forget and fail.  His unconditional example reminds us to start over when we slip up and do our best to live out what motherhood is for our children.


Grace and Mercy.

Let’s be love, crazy Mommas!




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Shelby is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Meditation Teacher (CMT), author, freelance writer, speaker, and love enthusiast who is passionate about helping others ‘change the way they look at things so the things they look at change.’ She has numerous stories featured in the national publication, Guideposts. She also has over 160 featured articles at online publications, including Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Parenting Teens & Tweens, For Every Mom, Love What Matters, and Today. Her book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don’t need to say, “I’m fine.”), co-authored with her dear friend, Lisa Leshaw, recently won the 2020 Publisher’s Weekly Book Life Prize as the finalist in the Inspirational/Spiritual category.