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.
Last week I shared about my trip earlier this month to a children’s home. This post will continue that recap…
After visiting the school building, we all went to one of the houses where some of the children live. There was a festive, warm and welcoming spread of hot chocolate, spiced tea, and cookies. It was here that the children would all visit with us and receive their “big” gifts.
We were there for a little while before the kids were released from their classes. As they all slowly walked in the front door, they noticed the huge pile of gifts under and around the tree. The excitement could not be contained and was contagious! After everyone had a chance to get a hot drink and cookies, they all sat around the large living room and waited for their name to be called by the house parent that was handing out the gifts.
Many names were read, and the kids would walk up, get their present, get a crocheted ice skate full of candy, and then go back to where they were sitting and open their gift. Some kids received a few small gifts, some were given one large gift, but each child was so pleased with whatever it was they were given. The people who bought the gifts were given idea lists of what to purchase and there were toys galore! It was so much fun!
One girl, I would guess about the age of 11 or so, stood near the tree as she clapped and cheered for each child as they came up to get their presents. She had one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen! When the last name was read and she had not yet been given a gift, you could see the shock in her eyes. She still continued to smile though. The house parent who had been reading the names turned to her and asked, “Did you not get a present?” She shook her head no. He then said, “Well, you must have been naughty then.” She was handed a crocheted ice skate, and then he walked to the back of the house and out the back door.
She never complained. She didn’t cry. Instead, she walked over and checked out what her friends were given. She shared their excitement, and then sat down to open her candy bag to see what was in it. She smiled as she made an inventory of the candy, and acted as though it was the most wonderful thing she had ever been given. No tantrum, no jealousy, no anger. It was just what it was, and she accepted that.
A minute later, that same house parent came back in the back door with a big gorgeous pink bike. He said her name, and the smile on her face when she turned around was unforgettable. Still clutching the bag of candy, she ran and hugged the man. She then walked her bike over to where she could get a better look at it. I was unable to hold back my tears, I was so ecstatic for her!
I couldn’t help but pray at that moment, “Lord, make me like this little girl. Please. And let more of your people have a heart like hers, also.”
Sometimes God has something for everyone around us, it seems. He’s using them, blessing them, and fulfilling more than what seems to be needed. All the while, we feel forgotten. We start to say “All I have is this” instead of being grateful for what we have. Never considering that instead of whining, complaining, kicking, and screaming that He is actually preparing something beyond our wildest dreams if we just wait. Sometimes, our immaturity and lack of gratitude actually causes Him to wait longer, due to our not being ready.
I’ve been there, have you? Ugh.
If only my phone hadn’t died so that I could have snapped a photo of her walking that bike with that huge smile. It would be nice to have that reminder on my fridge next time I feel like moping instead of waiting… Lord, let me not forget!
I’m not even really sure what the situation was that was going on in our lives at the time, but I haven’t forgotten the conversation my husband and I had. I was sitting in the chair and as he walked by, he said something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about it. It’ll all get better eventually.” And my immediate response came in a mock whiny voice, “But how long does ‘eventually’ taaaaaakkkkkkeeee???”
I’ve thought back on that question several times, because although I asked it in silliness, I honestly wanted to know. I have lots of “eventuallies” in my life and I know that I’m not the only one. So while you’re waiting on your eventually to come to pass and wondering how long eventually will take (just like I am), I leave you with a couple of verses to keep in mind. And don’t worry-It’ll all get better eventually.
“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”- Psalm 27:14
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”- Galatians 6:9
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
~Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
Have you ever been REALLY hungry? Starving? Could eat a horse if you had it in front of you, but you had to wait? Like when your husband is taking you out for a nice dinner and even though you’re hungry at 6:00pm you have to wait for the sitter to arrive at 7:30pm?
You’re tempted to eat. You think, “Just a snack” and so you eat a little something here, a little something there. Then when you sit down to eat, you regret every bite of that snack. Your meal doesn’t taste as good and you’re just not as hungry, leaving half of it to waste. (And it’s one of those meals where it does NOT taste good as left overs.)
Lately, my spirit has been hungry. I need something, anything, from God. He keeps telling me, “Just wait. It’s going to be so wonderful and so worth it.” Yet, I find myself saying, “Please? Can’t I just have a taste of something? Anything?” What my flesh doesn’t understand is when God is “cooking” up something, He doesn’t serve just one course. It’s a full meal. A feast! I have to tell myself to be patient and wait. God has given me all the little tastes that He’s going to give, it’s time to set the table and wait.
And wait some more…
Can you tell I’m not good at this? 😉 So, what am I doing while I wait? Keeping busy with prayer and reading my Bible. Doing some fasting here and there. Listening for the dinner bell. Checking in once in awhile, only to hear Him say, “Not yet, Angie. Just wait. I promise I’m not going to starve you.”
Needless to say, I’m excited.
Have you ever gone through a time that you had to wait for the best instead of settling for just the okay? Weren’t you glad you waited? I know I’ll be.
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Phillippians 4:11-13 NKJV
The above has to be one of my most favorite passages of scripture. In fact, Phillippians 4:13 is my favorite scripture in the entire Bible.
I’ve been quoting these scriptures to myself a WHOLE LOT lately. I’m dieting, starting a business, maintaining relationships, homeschooling a preschooler, and due to our landlord letting our home foreclose: we have to move.
Contentment; Rather tricky, isn’t it? As mothers, we are always busy. There is always something we need. There is always something we want. A lot of the time, these things aren’t even for ourselves. Maybe they are for our family or loved ones. But regardless, there is always something.
I would love to be instantly skinny after 2 weeks of dieting, have a gorgeous home of my own, new clothes, my hair done, my family well dressed, my kids rooms full of fun toys, and my son to want to sit down and be still for 10 minutes every day during circle time. But the Bible says whatsoever state that I am to be content.
Paul was clearly never a mom. Ever. But he’s right. So I’m reminding myself: I am healthy, I have a roof over my head, I still have hair, my family & I have appropriate clothing, my kids have plenty of toys (trust me!), and my son still learns even if he is jumping up and down the entire time we discuss the day, month, weather, scripture, etc.
The rest of the stuff will come if and when it is God’s will through prayer. You know why? Because I can, in fact, do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Not some things, all things. Until then, I’ll be content.
What about you? What are you content with today, and what will God give you the strength to do?
I know some ridiculously, faithful, procrastinators out there!! One of them is very dear to me, but I won’t tell ya’ll who it is. (I hope my sister doesn’t read this! Lol) They wait til the “last minute” is passed before actually being motivated enough to do what needs to be done.
I am NOT like that. I am actually, very impatient, in many areas of my life. When I know something has to be done, lets get it done and over with, like, yesterday! Mark that thing off of the to-do list!
I don’t like dragging around. If we’re gonna do something, let’s do it. If we need to go somewhere, let’s go. If something needs to be started, not only start it, but finish it! If we have to leave by such and such time, late is not an option.
Unfortunately, not everyone cares if you are like that. Their time is not your time. They enjoy the much slower pace of life. “It’ll get done when it gets done” mentality. They don’t only stop to smell the roses, they have to caress it, pluck surrounding dead areas, tell everyone how good it smells, and encourage others to smell it… oh, come on! Stop the insanity!
Clearly, patience is the vitue that I lack in abundance. I don’t think that I plan on prayin’ for it anytime soon either. I guess I have to keep in mind that “it takes all kinds”. There would be alot of pile ups if we all were in a hurry…
Definition of PATRON3: one who buys the goods or uses the services offered especially by an establishment
Ever been in a line at the store or sitting in a restaurant when suddenly you hear a customer being down right rude and mean to the employee helping them, or worse, another customer?
What about not even really acknowledging the person helping you, but just treating them as a gateway to get the stuff you want/need NOW?
Maybe you’re on a phone call with a customer service representative and they anger you, so you rip into them?
Sadly, it happens. We’re human, so naturally we make mistakes. We get sensitive or angry about something and we want to blame someone and throw a tantrum until it is fixed. But what kind of message are we sending out as Christians when we do this?
Think about it, what is the person on the other side going through that day? What if it’s a new job and they are just learning? What if it’s a single Mom working 3 jobs just to support her children and ill parents? I mean, yeah, sometimes the other person is just a jerk and could care less… But shouldn’t we show even them our love? And what about those who are with us when we act this way… We are humiliating our friends, family, & setting a poor example for our children. For some, we are the only Bible they will ever read. What if their idea of a Christian is skewed because of our bad temper?
So, how exactly can we minister? How can being a patron be a calling? Well, it’s actually not difficult at all. Here are a few tips:
I won’t lie, this was hard for me to write. I, myself, have a problem with this from time to time. I’m GUILTY! YES! I said it! And if I’m the only one that learns from this, that’s okay… Because I needed to be reminded.
Thank you for reading! God bless! 😉
Okay, first of all: We’re all mommies here, so we all know that to call motherhood a “simple” calling is really kind of a joke. Being a mom is one of the most difficult and most rewarding jobs one can ever have. But my point can be explained here.
Some of us knew from a young age that we would one day answer the call. We played with dolls, dreamed of having a family, and played “house” every chance we got. Others? They had no idea that motherhood would be a part of their life’s journey. Either their perspective changed or it “snuck up on them”, so to speak. At the same time, some of us came about it very easily and for others it was a full on battle to acquire.Regardless, the call is still the same. In reality, it is not simple at all. We are responsible for a new generation that will take over after us. The future is literally on us. The morals that the next generation will have or not have are in our hands. Should we not do our best to bring them up right, we will be the ones who have to answer. Like I said, far from simple.
Let me stop right here and point out I am NOT an expert. I don’t even consider myself an amazing mother. I do my best from day to day, and pray that God leads me to what he wants me to do in this ministry to my children.
So while we are not leading millions to The Lord, we are making a big impression. What can we do with this ministry? Well, here are just a few things, in no particular order…
Yeah, I know this all looks great in print but another story in reality. Trust me: I have 5 kids, 2 of which I do not have full time physical but only joint legal custody over. In addition, my other 3 that live with me are all ages 3 and under. I definitely know. Some of this that I’ve listed are really things I’ve only learned recently. Others, things I’m learning right now. Some, I knew from the beginning. But ALL are a challenge.
Once again, motherhood is not easy. But it is call of God. Never think otherwise. Do your best, as it’s all you can do. Before you know it, our babies will be grown and have babies of their own… and we’ll miss this. Deeply.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
A very special THANK YOU to Diania for her insight on this post… You’re the best!