Patient: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity (Merriam Webster)
The other day, my husband and I were sitting around talking with some friends, when I overheard him giving me a compliment. He said, "You know, my wife has the patience of a saint." When I heard him say this, my ears perked up. It was a shining moment for me. 'Wow,' I thought, he really thinks highly of me.' Then I heard the second part of his statement and my heart fell. Unfortunately, his compliment was attached to some strings. He went on to tell a tale that I am not overly proud of. One, in all honesty, I'd rather forget. But as always, my blog is a place I choose to be real, so here is a story of a time when I was anything but patient with my kiddos.
It's quite shocking really. It was a Monday and my daughter had been ultra moody with me all weekend. She'd been quite hurtful saying some not very nice things and just being a stinker all together. So the next day, when my son and I got into an argument, I sort of lost my cool. Walking away from him, I muttered under my breath, "Sometimes I hate having kids. They suck all the joy out of life." Thinking he was in the other room and not paying any attention to me, I proceeded to carry on with my day.
Unfortunately, my son had heard every word. You have to understand that he has a very sensitive nature, so for him to hear his mother say that he was sucking all the joy out of her life was pretty devastating. I didn't know at first that he had overheard me, but later my husband took me aside and informed me that our son was pretty upset. At that point, I was still pretty angry. Rather than being repentant, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Well they do suck all the joy out of life sometimes." What's more, when my husband tried to smooth things over between myself and my son, I repeated my assertion.
Once I'd cooled down, I searched out my son and explained why I was feeling this way. I told him that, as a parent, I sometimes grow weary of dealing with the same issues day in and day out. Issues that never seem to be completely resolved or go away. It makes me feel so tired and weary, and it does feel as though parenting brings more pain than joy at times.
I once said that I never understood God half so well as before I had kids. Kids are tough. They just are and in the midst of the yuckiness of raising two near teenagers there are days when I just think to myself, "And how much longer do I have to put up with these two?" I wonder sometimes, if God ever mutters those same sentiments. Oh, I know God is the definition of patience. I believe that firmly. But surely there must be times when he gets tired of all the messes we as humans manage to make on this earth.
I'm grateful that our God is a long-suffering God - One who is able to love us steadfastly despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. Quite frankly, knowing that God is abundantly patient with me makes me a better parent. It helps me to remember to be patient with my own kiddos, love them and hang in there with them - even on days when it feels like they've "sucked all the joy out of life."
Seriously, though, love your kiddos. Be patient with them the way God is with you. Remember how kind, good and forgiving he's been with you and model that love for your own little ones. There's not a better way to parent than to follow God's example of patience - patience that lasts despite every circumstance. May we love our kiddos as much as God loves us. Amen and Amen.