God keeps bringing me back to what His love is, what it looks like in everyday life…
”Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails…”
I Corinthians 13:4-8a
For my sake and the sake of those around me, our family is pursuing love. This week, we’re trying to catch each other showing patience. Because my husband and I too easily take back good things as consequences, that stings to write, but it’s honest, I determined these acts need to be written down. Can’t take that back, right? (Yes, we’re horrible. Yes, we’re saving extra for the long counseling sessions they will need as adults)
The jar is on the kitchen table, a reminder to be looking for Love’s virtues. When it’s filled, we are set to read these acts and enjoy a fun family outing celebrating God’s work in our hearts.
Sounds pretty innocent, perhaps contrived, a tiny bit fun? Muhahahaha! Not Really.
Yesterday was a kick in the gut for me. It was one of those Days of Disobedience around our home, when simple directions could not be followed. Any average day, I’d consider myself to be patient with my kids, but now I’m learning something new about what patience is. LONG-SUFFERING.
Love suffers long.
Waiting for someone to see the light while chaos ensues? Not to suggest parents sit idly by disobedient kids but to suggest a focused perspective and remaining calm while training little hearts.
Precisely where I stumble.
The thing is, I didn’t even realize I was failing at showing patience until we officially set out to pursue it. As the day progressed, the flurry of activity, namely disobedience, wasn’t just on my kids’ behalf. Frustrated, I used a “stern voice”. Nope, let’s call it what it is, yelling. Ouch.
Willingness to speak openly and honestly with my kids leaves me very vulnerable. After this roller coaster of a day, my son gave me some honest feedback, “Mom, you scare me when you yell.”
Zing! Straight to the heart!
What parent ever wants to scare her child? (Okay, there are some instances we can all argue, but it’s a different type of ‘scare’.) My eyes welled with tears and my heart broke. (All of which lead to one of those conversations that heal. Beautiful how God uses stings to bring about new life.)
Who was I in this vicious cycle? Sure, my kids were disobedient, but that certainly wouldn’t justify my own disobedience, my own betrayal to raising my kids through God’s love.
Continuing my study of the gospel of Matthew, I’m in awe of Jesus’ long-suffering with His disciples. Continually He demonstrated His deity to them but it took his death and resurrection to fully get their attention. He lived daily investing in lives of people who He knew would leave Him when the going got tough.
He n.e.v.e.r. gave up.
Though He knew His betrayer Jesus’ actions and attitude never changed towards Judas.
Talk about looooong suffering, right?
Practically applying long suffering (patience)…
I show my kids love when I don’t snap after the millionth time they disobey.
The hundredth time they leave clothes on the bedroom floor.
The thousandth time they slam a door in frustration or anger.
Not that these instances are ignored, but are opportunities for me to grow as much as my children. These are the opportunities for me to fully rely on God’s help in my own heart so that He would be glorified in all situations.
The feelings are going to happen. We’re going to feel ready to boil over, and at that exact moment, we must find strength in God to overcome ourselves. When we find ourselves in the moment, it’s time to pause to pray. Be gracious to yourself- it will take time recognize you’re in the moment, but if you’re willing, so is God. He will help you!
Heart Check: What situation is allowing you grow in long suffering? How can you practically apply patience TODAY?
PS- I’m not sure if this piece was written more for the work in my own heart or equally one of my readers. My computer acted up, my reliable internet went down, and I’ve found myself in the moment with a child keeping me up all night; each not normal. So I ask, please pray when you are finished reading this. Please pray for the hopeful work God is doing in hearts right now.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7