“I am so tired of always being late because you are never, ever ready!” This is a statement you will hear often in my home. My youngest daughter, bless her heart, can really teach you how to be patient. I don’t care how early she gets up, she’s always the last one ready for school. If I give her 2 hours notice that she has to get ready because we’re leaving “in a few minutes”, we will still have to wait for her. I’m generally at the door with my keys, checking the time on my cell phone. And I’m usually exasperated.
My oldest will clean her room, eventually. It just might take several days. Every time I walk past her room and grimace, she points out some progress she’s made. It’s usually nowhere near what I’m expecting, so again, I become exasperated waiting for her to complete the task.
I’ve prayed often, asking God to help me figure out why they both seem to be oblivious to the wants and needs of others. He recently reminded me of Romans 12:12. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” My first thought was, “What does that have to do with anything?” But then I began to consider that maybe it has everything to do with how God wanted me to handle my daughters. That’s when Romans 12:12 became my patient parent recipe.
Patient Parent Recipe
• Joyful in Hope – One day my youngest will master time management and will be ready on time. My oldest will clean her room and it won’t take four days. Either of these outcomes is going to bring joy, no? So I can be joyful, knowing that there’s hope in this and other trying situations after all. And perhaps, just hoping for something better will help me stop focusing so intensely on the small stuff and just be thankful they bother to try.
• Patient in Affliction – Affliction is pain and suffering. I’m not really “suffering” in the truest sense of the word when I have to wait for them. There are worse things. And I’ve endured much worse with my girls. Patience comes in knowing God is working it out. He’s been faithful to see me through every situation, big or small. It brings peace. For instance, now I try to engage in another task when I’m waiting for my youngest. Or I just ignore that pile of clothes while I wait for my oldest to transfer them to hangers and drawers. When I do this I really feel the peace of not being frustrated. Patience is kind of cool!
• Faithful in Prayer – Where would we be without prayer? Praying for patience and a good attitude (see above) are what allow me to not get down every time I have to practice patience or endure a hardship. It also helps me to extend grace, which we all need. In my opinion, teenagers need it abundance. They’re in an awkward time of their life. They’re no longer really a kid but they’re not quite an adult. They’re trying to figure things out and really don’t know how. They need a lot of grace. I don’t think to consistently extend it on my own, but through faithful and consistent prayer, God gives me that little nudge when I need to offer it.
I’m always trying to find ways to be a better mom. I can read a million books and ask a million moms how I can be patient with my kids. Asking the advice of others is great and I believe, necessary. But God is the perfect parent. We can learn so much from how He parents us. And when we partner with the Lord, the job of parenting doesn’t feel as hard. He’s patient as He tries to teach us through His example and the Bible. We can use the recipes God has left for us and cook up some wonderful mommy moments..