Before I say another word, let me first say that this is not a post where I’m trying to teach you something. It isn’t like a recipe or craft post where I have learned how to do something and I’m giving instructions. This is more like a journal entry that I’m sharing with you. I do hope it will be an encouragement to those who read it, but I’m writing about these things because I need to learn them. 🙂
I was thinking about Titus 2:4, where the older women are told to teach the younger women. The second thing on the list is about mamas with their children. It doesn’t say, “teach them how to discipline their children” or “how to teach their children”, is says, “teach them how to love their children”. That word for “love” is referring to maternal love and means “to be fond of one’s children“. We already know that nothing we do matters, unless we love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The next verse in 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is. The very first word used to describe love is “patient”.
Yikes! When my girls look at me, do they see a patient person? When the milk gets spilled and the toys are all over the floor and we’re running late, am I patient? When my four-year-old asks the same question again and my nine-month-old reaches for the same forbidden object again, am I patient? It’s so easy to be patient when life is calm, but when it gets crazy (and it will get crazy!), am I patient?
It’s tempting to say, “yes”. I don’t yell, I don’t scream, I don’t throw things and blow-up. Some moms do. Does that mean that I am patient? The comparison trap is easy to fall into, but it won’t get me anywhere. I can compare myself to “better” mamas and feel like a failure. I can compare myself to “worse” mamas and become prideful. Instead of comparing myself to other people, I need to look at what God says.
So, am I patient? Greek words often have a different flavor than what our English translations give us, in my humble opinion, so I like to look at a longer definition.
Definition: to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart, to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles, to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others, to be mild and slow in avenging, to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish, patiently endure.
Far too often, that description doesn’t apply to me. I don’t lose my temper, but my heart is impatient. What do I do? “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalms 119:11. I can be transformed by the renewal of my mind by dwelling on God’s word (Romans 12:2).
When life happens and kids are kids, when things are lost or broken, when messes are made and instructions forgotten… “Love is PATIENT.” God wants to work the beauty of patience into my heart, but I have to allow Him to do it. When my impatience surfaces, that will be my spoken invitation for Him to change my heart. I’ll say it out loud, if I need to.
Love is patient. 🙂