Patience

The Season for Patience

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In these dark days, we’re not only going to need faith to stand firm until the end. We’re going to need the key ingredient of patience. And patience will only come through an intimate knowledge of God. When we know Him intimately, we will be sure of His faithfulness. And He who is faithful is able to keep us.

 

Photo Credit: Autumn Farm | With harvesting ongoing as we shot. | Martin Cathrae …

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It Ain’t Always Easy

It’s easy to love your kids when they’re being sweet. When my daughter tells me she loves me “more than all the stars” and my son tells me I make him “shoooo happy” and they both shower my face with kisses, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to love them back. But there are days. Days when big sister doesn’t want to share and little brother won’t stop screaming at that impossibly ear-piercing pitch. Days when little princess decides she doesn’t have to listen unless it involves cookies, and little prince decrees the toilet his new waterpark.

It’s easy to love your new puppy when the little furball first comes home and showers you with love. But just wait until she showers your carpet with something else and chooses your best shoes as her new favorite toy. And that cute little stray kitty you found in your back yard? She’ll hypnotize you with those dilating pupils but one day she’ll hack up a fur ball at four a.m. or help herself to that dinner you spent hours cooking.

And what about Prince Charming? He holds the door for you, and you’re walking on air. He holds your hand, and your heart melts. He looks in your eyes, hanging on your every word, and you know he’s a keeper. Then kids come along and doors are forgotten, and who has a free hand to hold? And you pour out the depths of your heart only to watch him turn up the radio to catch the next play of the game.

Love is not easy. Anyone who’s had a pet, or a kid, or a relationship of any kind…KNOWS. The secret is out. If you care enough about someone, you’re in for some hard work. There are times when love is as easy as downing a chunk of chocolate cake, and times when its like scaling a rocky cliff. There are times when you flow in love, and times when you choose to love.

But as much as love is hard, it’s also something else. WORTH IT. For each moment I endure of quarrelling kids, there are thousands more of smiles and hugs and kisses and fun. I’ve cleaned up after my furry friends more times than I care to count, knowing how much joy they bring to my kids and warmth they bring to my home. And my Prince Charming? He’s still my prince, and he’s still charming. He’s also my friend and teammate and encourager and so much more. Beyond the hard work that is love, there are priceless blessings and countless times of saying, “So glad I stuck with it, no matter how hard it’s been.” And it’s been hard. But it’s so worth it.

Source: It Ain’t Always Easy

The Missing Ingredient

Blog_RecipeI was looking forward to preparing a delicious meal for my family until I opened the spice drawer and realized one of the main ingredients was missing. Without it, I couldn’t make what I’d planned.

It’s amazing that just one small ingredient can make or break an entire meal. When it comes to the recipe of faith, there is one ingredient that often gets overlooked: patience. During seasons when our faith is put to the test, this is the one thing that will carry us through.

The Bible is filled with stories about men and women known for their great faith: great—due not to their own merit, but due to the greatness of the God in whom they placed their faith. Such people had an intimate knowledge of God that enabled them to walk with confidence in His promises. They were so sure of His faithfulness that they were willing to wait a lifetime and beyond to see the fulfillment of His Words. Their faith was accompanied by patience.

We will develop the same patience to persevere in faith when we look to “the author and finisher of our faith.” When we look to Him, we are reminded that it is not so much our faith that keeps us, as it is His faithfulness. An understanding of His faithfulness will fuel our willingness to wait for the fulfillment of His promises.

Abraham was promised that he would father many nations, yet he did not see the birth of his son until he was old in years. Joseph was given dreams of how God would do great things through him—but before his dreams became a reality, he endured rejection, enslavement, false accusations, and imprisonment. Moses asked to see God’s glory, yet his prayer was not answered until years after his death when he visited Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. David was anointed as King, but he had to live under the ungodly rule of Saul before he could wear the crown. The disciples heard from Jesus’ own mouth words of the coming kingdom, but they endured severe persecution and even death without seeing the fullness of the kingdom come.

In these dark days, we’re not only going to need faith to stand firm until the end. We’re going to need the key ingredient of patience. And patience will only come through an intimate knowledge of God. When we know Him intimately, we will be sure of His faithfulness. And He who is faithful is able to keep us.

“…imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12)

 

Photo Credit: chilli-con-carne-recipe | deepdarksquid | Flickr

Give Me Patience…NOW!!!

Blog_ParkInSpringThe other day my son was begging for one of his toys while on a short drive. “Just be patient,” my hub told him. “I’ll give it to you when we stop the car.”

My son replied with his signature, charming pout. “I’ll be patient if you give it to me nooow.”

I often respond in the same way when waiting on something I really want. “If only I could have it now,” I think. “Then I could really be patient.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how patience works. The very nature of patience involves waiting. And ironically, it sometimes involves waiting for the very patience we need to endure the wait. Ugh.

Patience doesn’t magically emerge when we get our hearts’ desire. Instead, it’s cultivated through a long process of letting go, of releasing our desires again and again to the One who knows what we need and when we need it.

As for my son, he forgot all about that toy he so desired. When the car finally stopped, he saw that his daddy had something better in mind. A beautiful day at the park is enough to make any kid forget a whole pile of plastic toys.

Maybe once we master the art of patience, we, too, will forget what we thought we wanted. In the midst of the waiting, we’ll find our Daddy had something better in mind all along…something far more worth the wait.

 

Photo Credit: Madison Square – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Embracing Change

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If we can look beyond the moment of change to the ultimate outcome, we may more readily embrace it. Faith enables us to see change as a seed, piercing the ground and transforming the soil. Our response is to patiently wait, knowing the seed will transform into something beautiful in its time.

Source: Embracing Change

Do Not Disturb

Blog_WorkInProgressMy butterflies are waiting in their chrysalises, soon to emerge in splendor and freedom. While I wait for their big reveal, I’m doing my best to follow the step-by-step directions that accompanied the butterfly garden kit. And, I might add, biting my nails. What if I do something wrong? Could one mistake prevent these amazing creatures from fulfilling their destiny? Will they die in their cocoon?

This morning, I took the bold step of removing the paper film from their former habitat and transferring the chrysalises to their garden home. Bold, I say, because I do NOT like insects. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the only thing motivating me to care for these otherwise repulsive bugs is the knowledge of what they will become.

The next step shouldn’t be so hard. “Do not disturb.” Although, in a classroom full of curious kids, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The future butterflies are busy at work, though all we see is their hard outer shell hanging loosely from the netting. Our job is to wait and watch.

Sometimes, we get a little eager to see what’s going on with our circumstances. We want answers, and we want them now. If it seems nothing’s happening, we want to intervene. What if we’re not doing enough?

And yet…what if we’re doing too much?

There’s a season for everything. There’s a time to labor and invest. And there’s a time to wait and watch. There’s wisdom in discerning which season we’re in.

If we step in when we should be still, we disrupt the process. Think of Abraham. When he should have been waiting patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises, he took matters into his own hands—resulting in family strife that affected all of history beyond.

When God says “do not disturb,” it’s best to listen. There’s a work in progress. We’re a work in progress. And the results of waiting (patiently!) are always glorious.

“The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

Beyond the Public Eye

Blog_EmptyStageThere was a time when it was okay to be unknown. People sang in the shower without aspiring to idol status. Gifted writers were content when their words served to encourage their friends and loved ones. Iron chefs cooked for the love of food and family.

Now everything’s a competition. A good voice isn’t enough unless it’s discovered. The written word seems worthless if not hailed by the masses. There’s even cooking shows that turn the kitchen into a stage and the well-cooked meal into a shot at stardom.

What drives us to push our talents and abilities into the public eye? Why are we so discontent with obscurity?

Maybe we’re longing for significance—believing it can only be found in worldwide recognition. If the world knows we’re gifted, we’re assured of our existence. We feel validated only when acknowledged by others. Add impatience to the mix. We want immediate gratification from our efforts—likes and shares, comments and accolades.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most enduring works of art were created in obscurity. Many now-famous writers, artists, and composers weren’t recognized for their work until they passed on from this life. Would we of this fame-famished generation be content to know our greatest works will benefit those powerless to build our present-day ego?

I’d rather have my work outlive me for the benefit of a generation I’ll never see than for it merely to endure a short-lived hype. Serving in obscurity ensures sincerity. If I’m using my talent only for immediate recognition, hypocrisy is likely to steal the stage—my works governed by the feeble and fleeting opinions of man. It’s better to flourish in obscurity than to waste away in the toxic waters of fame.