I’ve had several more people than I’ve ever expected comment on my patience. I don’t know, perhaps because my anger triggers are different than theirs. Or perhaps they see that I have four children and discover that I am homeschooling them and think that an impatient person would never have chosen that craziness (the truth is probably more like the Lord knew how much I needed to develop patience and He chose this life for me). But most likely people see patience in me because they are present. I still have a long way to go in the patience department. This was made abundantly clear to me this morning.
It was shaping up to be one of those days. My toddler was particularly destructive, my daughter, particularly whiny, and my oldest, particularly exasperating. Even without the three aforementioned provocations, I was particularly grumpy. I grumbled through the morning, and when I yelled loudly at my toddler for tearing off the cover of our library book, I knew I needed to do something about my heart. So I sent them outside, gave them a snack, and sat down at the table with my Bible. I prayed and asked for wisdom to know what verse or passages I needed to meditate on to apply to my particular heart issue today. The Lord brought to mind Psalm 145 (one of my very favorite Psalms since early high school) and the verse in James about being slow to anger. Traveling between those two passages, I happened across a passage I have memorized- but definitely needed reminding of- Hebrews 12. I wrote them on a card and thought about them as I did dishes (and the kids were still outside!).
Psalm 145:8-10 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Thy works shall give thanks to Thee, O Lord. And Thy godly ones shall bless Thee.” This was a good reminder that our Heavenly Father is patient with us. And obviously, His patience, grace, mercy, and kindness do not depend on our deserving of them. So it doesn’t matter if my children deserve my gracious patience with them. And since the power of the Holy Spirit resides in me, I can ask Him and He can bestow grace and patience upon my children through me. That is how I, a godly one sometimes only in name, will bless the Lord.
James 1:17 “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” My children are good and perfect gifts from the Lord, who is good and perfect Himself. I really am so thankful for them.
James 1:18-21 “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the Word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the firstfruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” Believers are set apart for His purpose. To be an effective witness for Him, we must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. How many times have I sized up a situation with my children-or anyone- quickly, made assumptions, issued judgments and commands, only to regret my words when I discovered more about the circumstances. What a blessing to us if we develop the habit to be slow to speak and slow to anger and quick to hear.
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross… Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.” Fixing my eyes and heart on Jesus would be the only way I could get through this day. The only way I would not be weary. The only way I could avoid losing heart.
So by lunch time, I really was a much more joyful person! I went outside with the kids and we enjoyed the flowers that were blooming on the bush by the swing. At lunch, we discussed how I had been grumpy and that I read a Bible verse and God had worked in my heart and changed me! The rest of the day really was wonderful. The kids were particularly good at Michaels where we went to purchase sketch books for our nature journals. We completed a page in our nature journal and my oldest son was particularly kind and sweet. My older children were happy and cooperative during our school time. They picked up their room and the living room cheerfully. God transformed the whole day when He helped me change my attitude.
His Word is truly very powerful and very effective. All His works shall give thanks to Him!