Ahhhh….patience. Sometimes just the word itself can give me the heebie jeebies, not to mention the action it requires. Surely I am not alone in this!
I grew up in the church hearing saints say things such as, “I refuse to pray for patience,” or “I will never pray for patience again!” Then there were the holier saints who would say, “Now, Sister, patience is a virtue,” or “God is wanting to teach me to wait on Him so I’m praying for patience.”
I remember witnessing some of those saints that prayed for patience go through trials and tribulations almost immediately. If that’s what praying for patience got you then I wanted no part of it! So I decided to join the first group of saints.
Of course I was a teenager when I made that decision. I have since matured, not only physically, but spiritually. I began to read the Bible to get to know the author and not just to check it off my To Do List. I began to form a relationship with God that became more than just 3 church services a week. I fell in love with Jesus, the Savior of my soul.
In that process of spiritual growth (that thankfully continues daily) I started to look back over my teenage years and see things from a different perspective. I began to study those same saints with a new appreciation. They didn’t just go through trials and tribulations. They survived them! I realized patience and waiting on God made sense and helped them see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt a twinge of guilt for the stance I had taken.
If you’ve never dealt with head lice, bless your soul. If you have, then you completely understand where I’m coming from.
This Mama went through the stages of grief faster than a getaway car at a bank robbery! There were tons of tears while cutting off several inches of thick, tangled hair to ease the process of cleaning it, yet we still weren’t done until midnight. And we can’t forget all the store bought and natural remedies (the smell of mayonnaise in your hair takes forever to go away!), along with endless laundry.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know we aren’t above head lice. That’s not the issue. The issue is the effort you have to put in to getting rid of it! Especially when it does not want to go away. It’s quite costly and extremely time consuming. One might even say it demands…*ahem*…patience.
It was on a Tuesday and she had to miss school the rest of the week. And although I had taken precautions by treating my own hair, my husband still ended up having to clean and scrub my scalp because they had somehow survived enough to show up in my hair anyway. It was a nightmare.
That following weekend, I had more tears of frustration streaming down my cheeks as my husband took the time to comb the nits out of my hair. I looked up into his eyes and said, “This is all my fault. I decided to pray for patience last week.” Then surprisingly, we both began to laugh.
We love the Happy Goodmans and had been listening to Vestal sing “Won’t it be Wonderful There” earlier in the week. At that point I started to sing it, however, I changed the lyrics from “Won’t it be wonderful there, having no burdens to bear” to “Won’t it be wonderful there, having no lice in your hair!” The girls joined in the singing and giggling with us. It felt amazing to have laughter through the tears.
I began to appreciate my spiritual maturing all the more because I was able to see God’s hand, even in the trial. Praying for patience may have opened the door for extra testing, but I believe being brave enough to pray for it allowed us to find joy in the midst of a stressful situation.
That being said, once it was all over and done with and nary a nit was to be seen, I decided to rejoin the first group of saints and no longer felt guilty about it.
I truly believe it was a lesson in which God revealed to me why it isn’t necessary to pray for patience. He showed me two reasons straight from the Bible that are so simple, I should have already known. And I am going to share these Biblical truths with you right now!
Are you ready?
The Bible tells us that we are to be walking in the Spirit, not the flesh. If we are walking according to the Spirit, then we should be producing the fruit of the Spirit, patience included! Therefore, we should already be walking in patience because we are followers of Christ, not having to pray for it to show up.
I don’t know about you all, but my faith isn’t perfect. It is tried quite often, and according to James, that means patience is being produced.
Remember when I said I formed a relationship with God? Remember when I mentioned falling in love with Jesus, His son? Because of that, His Holy Spirit is my teacher and takes me to scriptures in the Bible, giving me understanding. For that I am beyond grateful. It’s freeing to know that I don’t have to pray for patience…instead I am expected to apply the Word and practice it.
Instead of praying for patience, we should be practicing it.
I’m not saying that you should never pray for patience, but to this day when someone mentions patience, Adah is quick to tell them, “If you pray for patience you’re gonna get head lice!” 😉
*Disclaimer– This article is in no way meant to lessen the true hardships people go through. I could never compare the frustrations of head lice to the death of a loved one, divorce, etc. In the grand scheme of life, a week of dealing with head lice was no big deal. However, I do believe that God will see you through even those true hardships and give you joy and peace in the midst of hurt and chaos.
**Author’s note: I was very blessed to have my mom, Ann, and friend, Lynn, help with the process of treating our heads and home during that dreadful week. I would have been insane without them! Also, it was the ONE time in my life I remember being caught up on laundry. I believe God knew I needed to be caught up so I wouldn’t be that much more behind when it came time to wash all the bed clothes, etc. He takes care of even the smallest details.
Markus and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and this summer marks our 5th year of gardening. I have fond memories of our first garden. I was very pregnant with our second daughter when we decided to plant a garden full of nothing but sweet corn. I had just gotten a pedicure to pamper my swollen feet but by that afternoon, I had those same feet dug in the soft dirt, walking the rows while planting seed. Markus laughed at me for putting my bare feet so deeply in the dirt after just getting my toes done. He has quickly learned that being barefoot in the garden is my absolute favorite part!
Our girls enjoy the gardening, as well. Especially Adah, who starts as early as cold and rainy days in February to ask if we can please start planting tomatoes! Yes, we’ve added much more than just sweet corn. 😉 We plant way more than we could ever eat alone, but love having all the extra to share with friends, family and neighbors.
As much as I absolutely love having our garden and reaping the benefits, I often marvel at the amount of sweat that has to be poured into it…literally! Now, let me just make sure I put it out there, most of that sweat comes from my husband. He is a strong, hard worker and does an awesome job keeping up the garden while I (Little Miss Puny No Muscles) do whatever I can to help. I appreciate the effort he puts forth on top of everything else he has on his plate— without his hard work, we wouldn’t have a garden at all.
A garden is significantly more than planting a seed and then waiting around for the harvest. If you plant a garden with that mentality, you are in for a rude awakening! A garden must be tended to, and that tending isn’t always easy.
There are weeds that creep up almost as soon as you pull them out. There are animals such as deer and rabbits that seem to think we planted a giant food plot just for them. There are pesky little bugs that will take over the plants if we don’t get rid of them. There’s the fact that outside work doesn’t come with air conditioning and there aren’t always nice little breezes blowing. There’s the fact that you are at the mercy of the weather— not enough rain, too much rain, or my favorite called just the right amount. There can even be physical fatigue or sore muscles mixed with a bit of sunburn and blisters and mosquito bites, oh my!
When the harvest comes, the work is most definitely not over. We have taken to canning, which is blessing throughout the year. However, there’s quite a bit of labor in the canning, too. It’s one thing to pick green beans (among other vegetables), but then there’s the time you have to spend breaking them. At times it seems as though the job is never done, but that’s almost forgettable when I’ve got a mouthful of fresh veggies!
No sir, having and maintaining a garden is no easy task, but a task well worth it. As children of God, we need to realize that our lives are much like a garden. With proper maintenance, we can keep the weeds out of our lives. We can keep away the pests and grow strong and tall. We can weather any storm and produce a healthy crop to share with those around us. It’s not always sunshine and roses, but it is necessary. We may get sore and wore out. We may get tired of dealing with the upkeep. We may feel like no one notices the effort. BUT when we stand before God we can rest assured that He has paid attention to every single detail.
I even pray over everything that’s planted in our garden and I continue to pray for a good harvest each time I’m taking care of it. I believe it’s important that we start praying over our Spiritual gardens, also, because that prayer (or daily tending) can be key to the outcome of our crop.
How is your garden looking? If you’d like us to grab a hoe and get at the weeds (pray for you), don’t hesitate to let us know. We are more than willing to get to work!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
mess- a.) a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition b.) one that is disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant usually because of blundering, laxity, or misconduct
A few weeks ago, a sweet man in our church who used to detail vehicles offered to bless my husband and I by cleaning our car. Now let me just remind you that I have 4 and 5 year old girls. My car was a mess! Do any of you moms know what it’s like to have yogurt (yes, yogurt!) smeared on your car window? Well, I do! :/ I know, I know, I’m the only one with messy children.
This brother from church returned our car and he did an amazing job! It looked brand new! Keep in mind, it has only been a few weeks, and I have 4 and 5 year old girls. Today we’re riding through town and I say, “Girls, I’m very upset with the way my car is looking right now. Bro. Willie just cleaned it and did such a good job. It makes me sad that it’s looking like this.” They had dumped puzzle pieces in the seat, left trash in the floor, had toys that needed to be brought in, etc. I went on to explain to them that when we got home, they were going to have to straighten the car up again.
Adah, my precious 4 year old, replies to my gentle ranting with, “Sorry, Charlie. I don’t know why we’re so messy.”
My first instinct was to just simply shake my head. I mean, how else do you respond to that?? But that’s when I realized, life is all about making messes. As humans, we make one mess right after the other, a never ending cycle. The messes we make, however, are not what matters. What matters is how we handle those messes. Do we let them pile up, higher and higher, with rotten stenches seeping out? Or do we do the best we can to clean the mess up and get it out of the way?
I finally replied, “Sorry, Charlie, but we can’t help making messes in life. That’s why you’re so messy. And sorry, Charlie, but you have to clean those messes up. You can’t just leave them there.”
When we stopped, I got out and helped them clean up the trash, gather the toys and get rid of the mess. I originally intended, to hand them the trash bag and make them do it themselves, but then I decided to show mercy and help. That’s just what our loving heavenly Father does for His children. He understands that we were born into flesh and that making messes is human nature. And just like I, as a mother, expected my girls to clean up their messes, God expects us to straighten up our lives. Even better? If we sincerely turn to Him for help, He’ll show us grace and mercy, too.
I’m so excited to celebrate the birthday of our Savior, who was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. What wondrous love! I’m even more excited for His return… watching and waiting…
Praying that you all have a blessed and joyous Christmas!
Merry Christmas from the McClure Family!
My 3 year old, Adah, started preschool on the 15th. I was instructed by her on more than one occasion to not cry. “Mommy, you’re not gonna cry. You’re not. ‘Member I told you the other day you are not gonna cry.” Guess what? I didn’t. I couldn’t help but smile at her excitement. She just couldn’t wait to go play and have fun.
I was honestly worried. My entire morning’s entertainment was now going to be gone to preschool, and I’m still sad about that. I’d much rather watch Dinosaur Train with her than by myself (no, I didn’t watch it without her being there, geez!). But let me tell you, in her first 30 minutes home, she more than made up for it. She sang for me the songs that she learned (almost word for word) about dinosaurs and fish. She told me that she had “ba-sketti” for lunch and that she got to wave at sissy. She said she looked at a spider with a magnifying glass and she pooted in class. Yes. Adah poots. She thinks it is hilarious and she gets it from her daddy.
As I was getting ready to walk her to the door on Day 2, she said, “I’m so excited! I’m gonna go hang my backpack up!” I had to make her turn around and come back to me so I could give her a hug!
Long story short- Naomi and Adah are having a blast and are learning so much. They are handling it well…..and so is Mommy. I even had time to write without interruption–which is unusual–but I’d welcome that interruption if it meant they were here. Thanks for your prayers! And keep them up because they are working.
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”
My oldest daughter, Naomi, came into my room in the middle of the night about a month ago, and she was hysterical. “Mommy! I had a bad dream!” She was crying and terrified. My heart was breaking. I listened as she explained, “We were eating at a restaurant. You were holding a snake and you kept trying to put it on me!”
Now, I realize this may seem small and petty to some, but she is four years old. As soon as she told me what the bad dream was about, I became livid. At her? Of course not. I began to comfort her, telling her everything was okay and that she knows Mommy would never do that to her. However, I was furious with the devil. As she was calming down, I started rebuking the devil in the name of Jesus and demanding him to leave my child alone. I told him he had no right whatsoever to try and come against my children. Let me be honest here, this momma will not tolerate someone messing with her babies. Especially when that someone is nothing but an insignificant being with no power over the name of Jesus Christ, and especially when through the name of Jesus Christ, I have complete authority over that someone. You better believe I was using it!
I prayed with Naomi and immediately started working on our new verse. Now her and Adah both say it every night after bedtime prayers, but they make it personal. “When I lie down, I will not be afraid; Yes, I will lie down and MY sleep will be sweet.” Any time there seems to be the tiniest ounce of fear, we begin to quote and it helps so much. Besides, God did not give us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), no matter how often the enemy tries to put it on us.
This verse has me thanking God even more for His blessed word that brings peace.
Well, it’s official. My oldest has started kindergarten. I took it better than I thought I would, but I’m still not very excited. :/ Naomi absolutely loves school and learning, and thoroughly enjoyed preschool. She’s the type that wants to do homework. She’s been ready for kindergarten since preschool ended.
I wasn’t this emotional during preschool, but preschool wasn’t all day everyday. AND as Naomi is starting kindergarten, Adah is also going to be starting preschool. This mommy needs prayer!! It was one thing to have one child in school, but now that both will be going (even though Adah’s is only half a day), I’m trying to keep my emotional wreck in check. Adah keeps telling me, “Mommy, when school is over and you pick us up, you’ll still get to see us.” Remind me to remind her of that when she has kids. :p
Naomi did a great job on her first day yesterday, but my heart about broke this morning when I dropped her off (second day). Mommy and Daddy got to walk her in on day one, but not on day two. As I started to pull forward from the drop off, I noticed her pause before she turned to go in. She had this look on her face that said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, Mom!” and I could tell she was starting to cry. It was so hard for me to leave her in the care of the school/staff. Instead I wanted to run to her and scoop her up in my arms and take her back home with me, but I couldn’t. However, I am blessed to have her in a school system with wonderful staff/teachers that called to let me know she got into class fine and was having a great day. I know it’s going to be a wonderful year and she’s going to love kindergarten, but I’m still struggling with handing her over.
That being said, I’m praying for all of you parents/guardians out there who are dealing with these same emotional feelings. Especially you stay at home parents that are used to having your kids around most of the time. You’ll have to pray for me, too!
Even though things are changing, one thing will definitely stay the same- I’m going to keep my girls enrolled in “Mommy School.” Despite the fact that I don’t have a teaching degree, I’m still their most important teacher. At least I can find a little comfort in that!