After we completed a quick errand, my ever-predictable Luke asked, "Mom, I don't know if this will be a yes or a no," (his precursor to every question in which he asks for something) "...but is there a place near here that sells baseball mitts?" Unfortunately, due to our time crunch (and my motherly instinct to help Luke with patience), I answered "I'm not sure buddy but we're not buying a glove today." "Ah man, I just really wanted to get one." I told him I understood that, but that he would just have to be patient. He responded so honestly with "I know. That's just hard for me."
His genuine admission of struggle was enough to melt my heart. I couldn't have loved him more at that moment. I shared with him how I sometimes have a hard time with patience myself. Okay, maybe sometimes isn't quite it; I often struggle with patience, in one area or another. But that's not the reason I loved his confession. I loved it simply for its sheer honesty.
Luke likes stuff. Anyone who really knows him knows this is true. Luke also struggles a great deal in times when he has to wait for stuff. And if he gets an idea about new stuff, he prefers said stuff to be accessible immediately. We try to balance allowing the opportunities for developing patience with occasions for blessing and rewarding him.
He had another opportunity to exercise patience this past Sunday at church. I had ordered my older son a hoodie with our church name and logo on it. He doesn't ask for stuff often and I knew he really wanted this (plus the proceeds go to the church Missions Fund). When we went to pick up Jaden's hoodie, Luke was quick to ask for one too. I took him over to the table to look at colors and we placed an order. When the lady helping us told us it should be there the following Sunday, Luke responded with "I have to wait a whole week?!" I said "Buddy, you just have to be patient." He exclaimed "Hey! Patience is our 'bottom-line' this week!" In his children's church class they were discussing patience. I thought to myself, it's about time! (Smirk)
He had to wait for something else that afternoon and it wasn't long before he appeared a bit somber. He brightened later when he told me he had finally come up with the perfect idea for his 3rd grade Consumer Fair project. I watched his face light up as he told me all about his idea...it really is pretty cute! Snow falling fast outside, he asked if we could please go get the supplies so he could get to work right away. Now, mind you, my previous day had felt nonstop as I juggled kids, chores, a recovering sickie, and baking while my husband was at an all-day training (and I am a mama who needs plenty of downtime). This was Sunday afternoon (our day of rest): the baby was down for a nap, and I wanted nothing more than one myself! But this time...this time I couldn't bring myself to remind him to be patient. Here came the time for balance. (And the natural part of parenthood wherein you long to do good things for your children just because you love them!) So away we went! We had a fun time shopping together, just the two of us. We even split a pack of Mentos! We returned home (baby boy now wide awake and crawling with lightning speed toward this tired mama), and my son excitedly shed his coat and shoes and began his project. Because this time, his previous patience had been rewarded!
|Samples of Luke's "Messenger Bird Magnets" for the Evergreen Elementary 3rd grade Consumer Fair|
It has since occurred to me that this is how God deals with us too. Yes, as they say, patience is a virtue! And truly, patience develops character. Patience is a good teacher for all of us. But even God rewards our patience for bigger stuff with smaller stuff. And no, it's not always "stuff" that we are waiting on!
My husband and I have been wanting to build an addition onto this old farmhouse. We are not trying to keep up with the Jones's. I just think life would be a whole lot easier with more than one bathtub for seven people. And a dining room (and table) big enough for our whole family would be super too! It has yet to be feasible. We must continue to be patient. But recently, we sold our wood pellet burner which took up a good deal of floor space in our living room. This enabled us to rearrange furniture and make room for our dining table. Now--hooray!--you can enter the front door and the foyer without running smack dab into the dining room table! I can't fully express just how happy this makes me! I was also able to purchase some small items for our home that have been on my "Want to Purchase for the House" list. My husband was also able to recently purchase enough wood to begin the trim-work for our entire downstairs. These small rewards for our bigger patience are nice.
While Luke had opportunity after opportunity to practice patience, it was a reminder to me of how often I am the same way. Just like a child who constantly wants more. In aiding Luke to practice patience regularly, and then--in an act of simple love, rewarding his patience--I realized how our loving heavenly Father is also gently teaching us. And when we fail to be patient? No worries! We will certainly be afforded another opportunity! But guess what? God is patient with us as we learn to wait on Him!
I'm having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth