So when I read this, it stuck with me.
How often through my day do I reach for the smack down card. That one look, word, consequence to silence the whining, complaining, arguing, woe-is-me-attutitudes from my four wee arrows which grate, and rub and bump hard against my spirit and perhaps are smoothing down my still-rough edges?
A friend once told me she was cautioned against praying for patience. Because God loves to answer that prayer, this first in the list of love, this fruit of the Spirit. And He often does it through cross-bearing circumstances.
The kind you usually ask Him to change. Or take away.
The kind I experienced last week.
A son who demands my attention because he is struggling to believe he is a lovable boy. A lie the enemy suggested to his 18-month-old self when we brought his brother home from the hospital. And most of the time I feel helpless in how to help him. And often I'm just plain annoyed that he doesn't believe we love him. But love takes time and time-bound me with three other small souls, a house and a husband to tend feels those sands slip away all too quickly.
And another son who reminds me of blind Bart. One who unabashedly, sometimes rudely and inappropriately demands to be noticed by smashing his brothers' Lego creations or pulling books off shelves or leaves out of books. Or just plain yelling. He's three. Grace and wisdom and...patience are needed. But sometimes they are slow in coming.
And even though I heard the warning not to pray for it, I just can't help myself. I have to pray for it.
Because if I don't then there is no hope for these spirit-crushing, knee-bending circumstances. If I do not believe God will grant me patience and is growing me patient then all that is left is despair and smack down cards.
That's not a deck I want to deal with.
On my knees, nose to ground, I search and find these gifts:
- counseling sessions which give us the time and space to practice patience with Reese
- God delighting in hard prayers prayed
- A desire to pray for patience
- helping Ben to find his "inside stopper"
- grace cards and the chance to start again
- that God gave us these children knowing full well we'd mess it up every day
- autumn in the air
- birth of one fresh from heaven to a close friend