Sprinkles & icing covered the floor of the van, remnants of two dozen cupcakes I had just purchased for my oldest daughter’s birthday party. Two of the four kids traveling with me were in the backseat, throwing tantrums because they wanted to eat the remaining party food RIGHT THAT INSTANT. The other two children tried to talk over the noise, just adding to the chaos that was supposed to be a simple errand.
Feeling my frustration rising, I began my mantra for the day, "The Lord blessed me with patience today."
Turning on worship music to drown out some of the commotion, I took deep breaths. “Alright, I’m doing it! I am staying so patient and nice.”
Breaking into the momentary meditation, I heard, “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom… really bad, Mom!”
Instantly, I snapped back to the madness, purposefully driving home to get that 5 year old to the potty before there were any accidents (y’all know that would smell up the van forever!). Again, my patience was being bent like a toothpick under pressure.
“The Lord blessed me with patience today.” I repeated.
I had barely parked the car before jumping out to help the kids out of their seats, and get the 5 year old into the house to get to the bathroom. Immediately, I ushered my two fitting toddlers to their rooms for a few minutes until they changed their behaviors.
I closed their bedroom doors, walked slowly down the stairs with my head down and feeling exhausted from this already demanding day. Everything seemed to be going wrong, and it wasn’t even naptime.
I then caught my young daughter at the bottom of the stairs watching me. I half expected her to need something from me. However, the words that came out of her mouth were anything but needy.
“Mom, you are doing a really good job staying patient. I know it’s hard. They were even annoying me!” she said. “You are doing really good, Mom.”
Whoa. Could this wild day filled with spilled cupcakes and fitting toddlers really do something progressive?
This was a perfect example of my theory of child rearing -
“I am more concerned about the lesson they are going to learn than the one they are being taught.”
I may have been exhausted, but my daughter saw endurance. I may have felt overwhelmed but the Lord blessed me with patience. I could have yelled at the little ones, been angry about dropping the cupcakes, or talked my children’s ears off about respect.
However, the lesson wasn’t for the fitting, tired toddlers. It was for my other daughter watching me put my words into action in a challenging moment. The lesson was also for me, that being love does make a difference and little eyes are watching.
Jenny Allen says in her book, Anything, “Through our love, we display our God, especially to our spouses and those closest to us. And through our radical submission to them, God moves.”
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1-2:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Practically, how can I be more patient?
Stormie O'martian suggests these 6 means of keeping patience in an article entitled,
The Power of Patience:
2. Make a Mental Adjustment
3. Be Thankful
4. Keep Quiet
5. Don’t Give Up
6. Grow Your Faith
I want to invite you today to practice patience with me as we are called to love those around us. As a mama to seven children, it is a daily call to tend and nurture the fruit of patience (and to repent when I lose my cool and sin).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
What ways are you showing love to the people in your life (spouse, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents, etc)? It is often most difficult to love the people you are closest to. If we can radically submit to loving them generously, what would our homes look like? What would our words be? How would we react to others?
See y’all in the Round,
*Scripture Quotations Are From THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 By Biblica, Inc.® Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.