Patience

Motherhood is fertile soil for cultivating patience. Food needs to be prepared… again. Laundry needs to be cleaned… again. The dishes need to be washed… again. Not to mention the particulars of parenthood like bathing children, checking homework, playing games, tucking into bed again and again and again. Patience is doing it again. The mundane. The everyday. Motherhood is fertile soil for cultivating patience because doing “it” again is our normal.

I admit, hands on play is not always my thing. I’m not big into board games, I don’t enjoy sticky play doh, and being outside is not one of my favorite pastimes. I will read them books and snuggle all day, every day. But the constant hands on play is draining for me and pushes open the door of resentment and impatience. This is not fair to my children who learn and feel loved through play. My impatience towards them is not due to any sin issues in their little hearts, but due to sinful selfishness in my own.

Galatians 6:9 has been shared in this space many times, but it is a necessary reminder every day (and why I have it framed prominently above my favorite chair- where I’m sitting right now). “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Motherhood is fertile soil for cultivating patience. We may pray for opportunity to practice patience in our homes… and then more quickly pray for less opportunity or for easier life stages or for more obedient children. The harvest of patience is ripe and plentiful, but we are hesitant to allow these roots to spread and flourish in our own lives.

The language of children is repetition. This is why in motherhood we become slaves to routines. This is why we continue to sing the ABC song across generations. This is how motherhood becomes seemingly mundane. What are we teaching our children when we faithfully do it again? We teach them endurance. We teach them reliability. We teach them to make the right choice. We teach them work ethic. We teach them patience. How often do I tire of repeating my instructions, reminding of household rules, or filling and refilling water cups? How often does “again” seem like one time too many and our weariness threatens to overpower our patience? In these MOMents, we must practice patience and do the next right thing because in every MOMent we are teaching our children.

Motherhood is fertile soil for cultivating patience. But what happens when we hit our limits? What happens when we try to speed up the process? What happens when we get lazy in tending to our soil? I said I do not enjoy hands on play, but that doesn’t mean I never play with my children. I can happily sit down for 20 minutes to play nicely with my children because I love them. I pat myself on the back for such a strong display of patience and then turn to perfect my social media scroll or read my novel or drink my tea. Do I embrace the request to play another game? Do I look at it as a joyful opportunity to do it again? When I wash the dishes in the morning and by dinner time the sink is full because five humans use a lot of dish-ware, do I thank the Lord for the “again”? The Lord uses these simple everyday MOMents to teach me patience so when the bigger, more frustrating MOMents arise I am well practiced. When my children put a dent in the wall, when another glass item gets broken, when my children look into my eyes and willfully disobey I am well practiced in patience to respond in gentleness and not react in anger. So when we feel like we hit our patience limits, let us remember that practice makes perfect and tackle the “again”.

James 5:7 says, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” Just as the farmer waits patiently for the fruits of his labor, so also we mothers wait patiently for the fruit of the Spirit. We wait patiently by cultivating our soil so that as we practice patience we grow in capacity and understanding. Patience is not one lone choice in any given situation. Patience is a lifestyle that grows and blossoms as the early and late rains wash over us. We are called to do it again and again and again so that when a greater measure of patience is required we have plenty of practice. Motherhood is fertile soil for cultivating patience. Are you cultivating or complaining? Are you practicing patience or sitting in selfishness?

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