Tuesday, September 21, 2010

growing in patience

Did I tell you I want to grow in patience? Well. Here's the thing.

Last week was one of those weeks. Every night I slept badly, and woke achy with tiredness.

On Tuesday I was standing in the shower, enjoying the first peaceful minutes of a difficult morning, when one of my children came in and informed me, "So-and-so did this to me!". One minute later, another child came in and told me, "I can't find such-and-such!". One minute later, another child came in and said, "So-and-so and so-and-so are fighting!". Each time, my response was a little more shaded with impatience.

By now, I was clinging to the pitiful remnants of my peaceful 5 minutes, standing with my face in the towel, fighting back tears and praying desperately that I would be patient if another child interrupted me. They did. I wasn't. They got the full force of my slowly-building frustration: "I'm in the shower and what do you expect me to do and I'll deal with it when I get out and please just leave me alone!".

God grows me by showing me my weakness.

Last week was one of those weeks. The children fought in the car all the way home from school, and filled the hours till dinnertime with whining, tantrums and bickering. (They are lovely kids. Really. But very human.)

On Tuesday afternoon my tired and hungry son swung into that state where every sentence is a whining demand for this, that and the other, interspersed with hysterical crying. I gritted my teeth and bore it as long as possible, then slammed the microwave door on his cup of warm (as demanded) milk.

The lights went out. The power went off. I ran outside to flick the switch on the fuse board, then back inside to discover that, sure enough, the microwave was blank and unresponsive. My adult tantrum resulted in the (rather expensive) purchase of a new microwave the next day.

God grows me through his fatherly discipline.

Last week was one of those weeks. I was preparing a Bible study on a particularly hard passage, and my quiet times turned into extended battles with difficult verses, which nudged the morning routine out of shape and stole my attention from the kids (contributing, I'm sure, to their bearish behaviour).

On Thursday I slept poorly (again), led Bible study (in a somewhat zombie-like state), picked up the (still arguing) kids from school, and got home prickly with exhaustion, praying that God would help me to be patient with my children. For that one afternoon, I responded with patience.

God grows me by giving me grace.

This is me. This is reality. This is God growing me in patience in the midst of life,

  • as he shows me my weakness
  • through his fatherly discipline
  • by giving me grace.

Welcome to the coalface.

The only way to grow in patience is to walk a path where patience is required.
- Naomi Reed

images are from mdanys, depinniped, noobaru and Mrs. W. at flickr


Tasmanian said...

Yes. Yes yes yes. And I only have two children (and one on the way.) Some nights when I climb into bed, I sigh loudly and melt into the pillow, so glad to finally be resting quietly. And soon I will be waking to feed a baby.

Sarah said...

Thanks for a very real post, Jean.

I will try and remember to pray for you at the same time I pray for myself and my patience.

Deb L said...

When I was living with a concert pianist during my uni days, I learnt something about learning that was different to the type of learning I had always practised. I like to learn things by reading a fact and then knowing it forever more. But that's not how you learn great piano pieces. You learn by playing the piece over and over and over again. Thanks, Jean, for the reminder that much of the Christian walk is learnt by doing....over and over. Must stop reading your blog now and go and practise some patience!

Rachach said...

I really enjoyed this post Jean. I wrote the 3 points on a piece of paper and stuck them up next to some bible passages to remind me.

Jean said...

Thanks, all of you. This was an embarrassing post to write, so it's good to know it encouraged someone(s)! :)