We had family photos taken the other day. The shoot was on a farm out in the middle of nowhere, and although the scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect, I found myself trying very hard not to get lost on the way there. My husband works relatively close to the studio, so I drove separately with my five-year-old and twenty-two-month-old boys. After spending an hour getting them dressed and ready and trying to keep them from ruining their outfits, we climbed into the car.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, the questions spilled out of the mouth of my oldest. I also noticed the car was on E.
Where are we going? Why? Why are you slowing down? Why are you stopping here? What’s the car in front of us doing? Where’s Dadda? Did he take the blue car?
I wondered why I hadn’t turned on the DVD player. Oh yes, because we created that rule. No DVD player for trips less than an hour. Why did we create that rule again?
The questions continued. At the first twenty or so, I answer with calm. Around question forty I am losing my patience.
Patience. It’s a word I’ve thought a lot about lately. A characteristic I strongly desire to be present as I raise my children. Because not only is it vital if I’m not going to lose my ever-loving mind, but it goes hand in hand with love.
Cocking my head and yelling at him to be quiet, well, that’s not love. Have I done it? Absolutely. Did I regret it? Yes. Have I lost my temper? Yes, all to often.
I’ve heard several women in my life say that they never ask God to give them patience because they know the result will be a trial which tests this virtue. In other words, patience must be learned. And I agree that it is like a muscle which must be stretched and exercised in order to grow. Especially in circumstances when we are waiting on God. For an answer to prayer. For something in our life to change.
But in that moment, I didn’t have time to learn a character building lesson. I had time to mutter two words, “Jesus. Help.”
I turned my head slightly and told my inquisitive boy, with as much serenity as I could muster, that I was trying to find my way to a place we’d never been and needed to concentrate. I told him to enjoy the drive and listen to the music.
To my complete amazement, he did what I asked. He was quiet for the remainder of the trip.
Now, will this always happen? I’m sure it won’t. But can I call on the name of Jesus to give me the stillness I need? You bet I can.
Galatians 5:22 tells us that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Another words, a supernatural ability. One that goes contrary to my flesh. When we receive Christ and are given the Holy Spirit, this seed is planted. Others include joy, peace, kindness and gentleness. The more I abide in him, the more these traits will grow and become evident.
In raising kids, there are times when I need the power of the Spirit right them and there. Sometimes, He simply tells me to step away for a moment if I am able. I know that a minute in the next room will not give my boys time to kill each other.
Other times, stepping away is not an option. And while I know my patience will be tested and grown as I continue my walk with Him, I’m so glad I can call on his name in those moments when my exasperation is at its peak.
“….But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13