Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Patience in Parenting

You've probably heard people say that its better to not pray for patience- if you do, the Lord will surely give you more opportunities than you'd like to exercise it.

The other sure fire way to test your patience is to go ahead and have children. Seriously.

Every day as a mom I am given a gazillion opportunities to exercise patience.

Patience when my child doesn't obey the first time. Patience when the milk is spilled. Patience when everyone is crying for something they need, all at the same time. Patience when a kid is over tired and whining about every. little. thing. Patience in teaching a child new life skills. Patience when it takes them much longer than it would take you to clean their room or find their shoes.

Patience, patience, patience.

Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating. Why won't they just listen to me? Can't everyone be quiet for a minute? Did my toddler really have to make that giant mess that I don't have time to deal with because we are already five minutes late for our doctor's appointment?

Every day, multiple times throughout that day, I have a choice. I can submit to these opportunities from the Lord to grow in grace and patience... or I can kick up against them, grow rebellious as an idolater who just wants my own way, and throw a pity party.

I struggle to make the right choice. The truth is, I yell at my kids and feel angry at God's providences far more often than I'd care to admit. As soon as I boil over in anger at one of my children, there is an instant feeling of remorse and shame. This is not how I want to respond to them, not how I want them to remember me. Which I guess is really just pride- because, hello, aren't I better than that?

Nope. I'm just a really ugly, rotten sinner justified only by grace, on account of the goodness of Christ bestowed upon me. Goodness I did nothing to earn or deserve. Goodness I still fall unbelievably short of every single day, and will fall short of every day until eternity.

But on the days that I'm painfully aware of my own sinful tendency towards impatience... on the days that I remember to pray fervently for God's wisdom and help- those days I am amazed at the amount of patience He provides through every moment that could have been cause for frustration {and aren't there plenty of them?}. Somehow I'm able to keep calm, respond firmly but kindly, and answers for the unruly miraculously pour off my tongue at just the right moment {and I definitely don't come up with them on my own}.

His love knows no limits, His grace is boundless, and I find that yes, where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more {Romans 5:20}. And yes, His grace is sufficient for me, made perfect in my weakness {2 Corinthians 12:9}.

This gives me hope. He will always be enough. He always has all of the answers. He is always offering wisdom, grace, and help if only I look to Him for it. That's it folks- look, and live.

What's guaranteed to us as moms today is plenty of difficult opportunities to exercise patience. There will always be another mess to clean up, another sibling quarrel to referee, another attitude to be addressed, another chance to train them in righteousness.

The good news is that we are also guaranteed His constant help and presence. Praying that by His grace you and I both will persevere in patience today, displaying the steadfast love of God to our children. Pray the same for me?

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