Some of you mammas may already know this, but I’m just beginning to learn that part of raising girls is putting up with a lot of screaming. I mean ear-piercing, chandelier-shattering, hitting-notes-only-dogs-can-hear screaming. Also a lot of tears. Sometimes it can just be a little MUCH.
Last week, I lost it. I ugly yelled in a gravel parking lot trying to get everyone buckled into car seats, fingers frozen and fumbling, cursing the hour I decided that leaving the house that morning and going into public would be a good idea. I found myself lecturing myself about all the “should’ves” that, had I done, things wouldn’t have been so crazy. I should have gotten the girls dressed sooner and their pb&j’s made and packed up earlier and not let them watch those cartoons while I wallowed over my cold coffee, feeling annoyed, wishing I could have slept a little longer because they woke up extra early that morning. I should have worn a warmer coat and smiled more and breathed a little deeper and appreciated this cloudless winter day and NOT bribed, threatened or yelled when they acted crazy in public. I should have protected my peace.
We cut our outing short and everyone cried all the way home and went down for naps nearly as soon as walking in the door. I switched the laundry from washer to dryer and listened to the hum of the machine as it drowned out all the screaming in my head. I reheated some leftover soup and I sat in the afternoon sunlight trying to warm my flustered soul.
These children I had labored for, changed my whole life around for, that I loved with all my heart and soul, needed more patience that I was prepared to give them this day and we needed a reset.
God, I needed patience.
Patience is the greater virtue. It is what got me through 27 months of pregnancy. It’s what got me through 46 hours of natural, active labor. It’s what I depend on from my husband and others when I can’t get it together, and it’s what my girls depend on from me. It’s what the bible talks about and I think of that verse in Romans that says “we are to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope” – and I think of birthing my babies and how I know this to be true. We labor in hope and we can mother in hope, too. (Romans 5:3-5) Being patient in trials is the crucible through which we bring forth new life.
- Patience is greater than productivity.
- Patience is greater than put-togetherness.
- Patience is greater than seeing the progress.
I should have handled the obstacles, malfunctions and misbehaviors that morning with a patient spirit. My sanctification in Christ is more important than my children obeying me. And if we ever have to pack up and come home early because I’m losing my patience again (which I’m sure we will), His patience will always, always prevail.
In the mess and the chaos and the tantrums and the crocodile tears, patience is the greater virtue. When the urge to raise my voice at my children out of frustration to just be heard, my God hears me, and His patience is greater. If his patience is enough for an overripe, pre-nap toddler crumpled and fist-pounding on the floor because she didn’t get her way, or banshee screaming on repeat because I stopped her from throwing crayons at strangers in a crowded coffeehouse – take heart! His patience is enough for us all!
This is my prayer today and it can be yours too, mamma:
Jesus thank you for your amazing, unfailing patience. We praise you for being our life-giver, Lord over every moment, teacher, shepherd and friend. Thank you for the suffering which brings forth life and the blessing of children. Redeem my failures of yesterday and be my savior TODAY. I know you are testing and refining me in every moment and I want to acknowledge that and yield myself to your heart. Grow the fruit of patience in my heart and let it overflow for the benefit of my children, my spouse, and others, changing my heart in the process from the inside out. Amen!