Have you ever heard the ol’ Christian wisdom that usually comes from those older in years and in faith that warns…”Don’t pray for patience. God won’t give you patience, He will give you circumstances to be patient through.”
Have you heard it? You know it? Then, friend, where
the heck were you just yesterday morning when I sought out verses to help me be more patient with my kids? Were you sleeping in while I was spending time with God? Gee, thanks.
I have had a loooong week or so. Not bad, mind you, just loooong.
If we are being completely honest
and I always try to be whether you want it or not it has been a loooong last seven weeks. My sweet Ryan has been off from work for that long and so we have been here at home together all day every day since then. Nope, no Hallelujah chorus insert here. Keep on movin’. And like I said, it hasn’t been bad, just loooong.
I am more than thankful for
this pretty much one and only perk that comes from serving in the education field. Most families don’t have the benefit of having Daddy home for so long. We truly enjoyed the time together, we really did. Especially after the year we’d had, we sort of ok, we completely thought we kinda deserved it. But, while it was so much fun for some reasons, it was also just a loooong summer for other reasons. Did I mention it was loooong? Ok, just checking. Ryan had a list of things he wanted to get done during his time off. Both with me, and the kids, and with projects around the house. We cleaned a lot. We organized a lot. Ryan’s idea of fun, by the way. Wahoo. We swam with the kids a lot! But, overall, we just did a lot. And keep in mind, that just a few short months ago, a “big day” for me was showering, doing dishes and folding a load of laundry all in the same day. (I praise you God for how far you have brought me!)
So, this summer was a big summer. And I was thrilled to get to be a part of it. Just. So. Thrilled!!
But, as the weeks went on and on we checked lots of things off our list…like going to Florida for a week to visit Ryan’s 94-year-old grandmother, celebrating five birthdays, completely cleaning out our attic and our garage
I kid you not I had saved every greeting card I’d ever received. Ryan says I’d be on the TV show Hoarders if it weren’t for him. Gosh I’m lucky. J going to four Rangers games, having Ryan’s Mom stay with us for a week, at least 10 baseball practices and 10 baseball games for the boys, completely cleaning out and re-painting and re-arranging the kid’s bedrooms, painting the entire exterior of the house uh ya, Ryan, not me on that one, three weeks of kids in summer “school” fun days, camping trip for the boys and Daddy, movie dates for us with and without kids, two girl’s nights for me praise God! a doctor’s appointment that’s right, friend, just ONE doctor’s appointment for me since like March, again, GOD you get all the praise!, swimming, swimming and more swimming…we we’re just flat out tired. That really does sound like a lot for just seven weeks for anyone, but for me, it’s darn near like running in a marathon once a week for seven weeks. And that’s a lot of running. Really, that’s like hundreds of miles, isn’t it? I don’t even know exactly how many miles are in a marathon which just goes to show you how far away I am from running one, much less seven!
Anyway, I have been tired. But, as we approached what we dreaded but knew would come, i.e. the “last week” before Ryan went back to school, it kinda hit us…”Oh man, it’s over!?! Noooooo!! Have we really enjoyed it? It went way too fast. I can’t believe it!”
Insert a bit of sobbing and acts of living in denial as well
So Ryan asked the boys what three things they’d like to do during the last two weeks Daddy was off. Abigail immediately chimed in “I wanna eat Wendy’s!” Feed our family of five for under $9? Don’t mind if I do, dollar menu, thank you very much. Done. She is easy.
In this way and this way only. The boys said they wanted to go to a Rangers game, which was doable, and a waterpark, again, maybe doable…and the zoo. Ya boys, it’s like 105 degrees in the shade. I don’t even think the animals want to be at the zoo right now. Not happenin’. But, two out of three ain’t bad.
So, after five weeks of lovingly enjoyable, but tiring, chaos, we had two weeks left. So, we planned another Rangers game and a day at the waterpark. Did I mention that we already had a weekend trip planned for my annual family reunion and that Ryan and I also had planned our own little two day anniversary getaway?
Ten years baby, wahoo! God totally gets credit for that one too! It’s a darn near miracle the man didn’t run for the hills after month three when he fully realized what he’d gotten himself into. Ok, week three.
So, we got the dates set and on your mark, set, go we did.
That was last week.
Literally seven days ago we hadn’t got on our anniversary trip, to the waterpark, to the Rangers game, or to the family reunion. Nutso people, it’s been nutso. A great kind of nutso, mind you.
Anyway, why in the world did I go on and on about all this backstory
duh, because it’s me when this post really isn’t about being busy or over-scheduling or anything? Although I have some friends who live like this, and I don’t know how or why you guys do it! I promise I have a point, stay with me.
So, as we have enjoyed these last seven days very much, it has worn us out. And I don’t know about you, but when I get tired, all the ugly comes out. The ugly Mommy looks. The ugly intentions. The ugly voice at anyone and everyone. All the ugly. All the time.
Warning! Warning! I also got a little visit from that repeated monthly woman’s enemy, so that means ugly times a hundred! How many years ‘til menopause again!?!
And then it happened. My folks called us we were on our anniversary getaway to say that, while everyone was “Ok”, they wanted to let us know Benjamin (our adorable middle child) had thrown up twice. Nice.
Immediately the Mommy-guilt crept in like a tidal wave.
“I should be home with him.”
“We need to leave now.”
“This is what I get for leaving my babies.”
And then his sweet little self got on the phone: “Mama, I’m sorry I “frew” up. I really want to “cuggle”
his own version of “cuddle”, too cute! with you tonight, Mama. Where are you?”
selfishly staying at a hotel only 20 minutes from you and sleeping better than I have in years not home, baby.”
My parents assured me that they thought he’d probably just eaten too much and he was fine, and I knew he was. I knew I could cuggle with him tomorrow night when we got home. And cuggle we did.
That, my friend, turned out to not be a very good idea.
The very next day, when we had just barely arrived at my family reunion, I really started to not feel very well. Hmmmm, I must have eaten too much. Then it hit me. Those same words I’d uttered about my sweet BenBen just two days before. Then, those sweet moments of cuggling flashed back into my head. Noooooooo! But, friend, by then it was too late. Waaaay too late. There was throwing up and there was throwing down. I will just leave it at that.
So, here I am in this wonderful cabin in the beautiful tree-filled hills of Oklahoma surrounded by family I only see once a year, and all I wanted to do is crawl under my log-style bed and pass out.
for like a week
Then, it hit our oldest, Jacob. It hit him hard, but thankfully not as hard as it did me. And then came Abigail. She has to be a part of every party. She is my kid, after all. Oh man, this party would have been one I would have wanted us all to miss. After a loooong four hours home
and I will spare you how many changes of underwear for my “potty-trained for a whopping month” 2-year-old, we finally made it home.
Then it hit Jacob
and my walls and my carpet all over again for round two.
Then, my cousin facebooked me and thanked me for that lovely gift we’d given to her family.
And then my Dad called – it hit him too. I swear the man has thrown up like four times in my entire 32 years on planet earth, but this was three of those times.
Then, my sweet Ryan, who had to buck up and start work full time yesterday, actually didn’t. He made it to lunch. Then, he was back home and passed out on our bed.
So, yesterday morning when I spent my time with my God, I knew the day would be hard. I was just barely recovering from this whole deal myself, and Ryan would be gone and all the kids would be cooped up and stir crazy before 10am. So, I prayed for patience.
Stupid, stupid girl.
I even went so far as to look up a verse that I could claim all day to get me through what I knew would be a very tough day. And I found it.
I even went so far as to look up a verse that I could claim all day to get me through what I knew would be a very tough day. And I found it.
Let me see if I can still quote it from memory………Proverbs 14:29 “He who is patient gains great wisdom, but he who is quick-tempered gains folly.”
Ok, now let me check………
“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” NIV
But, as if that wasn’t enough, I even dug a bit deeper and wanted to find out what other translations could teach me about patience…
just call me a glutton for punishment :)
“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” (NLT)
Ok, gee, that makes it sound easy.
And of course, you gotta look at good ol’ King Jimmy…
“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” KJV
Folly “sounds” like a fun word, but I’m thinking it’s not. I also really like the Amplified Bible. It usually adds even more words in parentheses, so you know that’s right up my alley.
“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exposes and exalts his folly” (AMP)
No extra words this time, but still, it showed me that being quick-tempered not only exalts my folly, but exposes it. Ouch.
And then, friend…just for good measure, I looked up The Message Bible to see how it would tell it like it is to me. And, boy did it. Get this one…
“Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.” (MSG)
Isn’t that brilliant?!?
I love it.
And unfortunately, today, I not only loved it, but I lived it.
I really did pretty well, considering my tiredness and my current state of womanly junk,
twenty-two years-ish and counting… for a good portion of the day. I will spare you all of the 643 things that the kids chose to do to gang up on me today test their boundaries. But, in all honestly, I remarkably made it ‘til about 6:30pm. From then until bedtime, I was stockpilin’ so much, you’d have thought I was getting ready for the stinkin’ Apocalypse.
As I was walking my
completely ornery and mirror-image-of-me daughter to “time out” a safe distance away from me for the fourth time today, I couldn’t even get the verse out of my mouth, I just kept mumbling 14:29, 14:29, 14:29. Maybe that’s why I remembered the address this time!
I raised my voice. I spanked when I shouldn’t have. I spoke out of anger. I gave looks that crush small children. I expected too much. I loved too little. I didn’t show grace. I threw patience
and darn near my child out the window.
I just flat out stockpiled stupidity.
Ever been there, friend?
You have to say yes or I’m not sure we can be friends.
You may be more spiritually mature than I am and honestly not be dealing with this right now, but maybe you can recall a time when you did?
When you looked back at your last few weeks and in hindsight, saw how clearly you could have, should have, and would have…but just plain didn’t?
Can I please get a witness?
It grieves my heart. I mean it, it darn near breaks it, after an hour like that, or God-forbid a day like that. When I went to tuck in those sweet babies to bed, I ‘bout near started bawling because I wanted them to know I much I love them and how very truly sorry I am and how incredibly thankful Mommy is to be upright and well and able to even be playing with them. Why is it that they always look so sweet and precious and innocent and harmless when they are in their jamis tucked in bed with their favorite lovey? Sigh.
It just plain grieves my heart friend, and even worse, I know it grieves my God’s heart.
Ugh, that kills me. I know how desperately He wants me to be like Him. And I know that He knows how many billions of light years I am away from that.
And as I sit here atop my stupid stockpile, with a view so clear from way up here I can almost see that cabin in Oklahoma I didn’t even get to enjoy…I can close my eyes and almost smell a fresh rain coming.
Don’t get excited local friends, not real rain!
The best kind of rain one can feel. The rain of His pure mercy.
Then these verses came to my heart…
Lamentations 3:19-25 “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
Great is Thy faithfulness. So true.
I mean, c’mon people, that was even a hymn!
Have you felt it before? Oh how I hope you have! The feeling of His mercy, His compassion, His grace, just rain all over your scrawny neck? When I was looking up some of the other verses that used this same root word for “compassion” (or mercy)…so many of them were about mercy being given to those that just honestly didn’t deserve it!
Um, ya, that would be big, fat me: aka “The Stockpiler”
But, I do love that my mind recalled the same thing that the writer of Lamentations recalled. How cool is that?!? We both were reminded of the HOPE we have in Him. Because of His great love, we are not consumed. I am not. You are not. We are not. He is my portion and I will wait for Him.
Maybe your stockpiling has been going on for years and someone needs to turn you into that Hoarding show
with me, apparently. Fine. So be it. God can (and wants to!) wipe all that junk out and it only takes one single drop of His mercy. Maybe you are dealing with something not as serious as I am, but still, you stockpile all the same. Whether yours could fill a few shoeboxes or a few stadiums, it matters not. What matters is that you go to Him every single day and repent of this awful choice.
For some of us, it really needs to be more of an hourly thing. I’m just sayin’
Let us remember the manna, here, shall we?
In Exodus 16, those good ol’ Israelites
who I can, unfortunately, relate to way too much! were given manna from heaven and it was fresh and new every day. But, they wanted to store it up. They wanted to do it their way and not God’s. Let’s face it, friend, they just flat out didn’t want to have to depend on God every day. Ugh I hate that I am that way.
Well, friend, I
really don’t hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t work that way.
He designed you to, desires for you to, and actually looks forward to you COMING TO HIM EVERY SINGLE DAY!
For…fill in the blank.
Don’t let the enemy of your soul (1 Peter 5:8) tell you that your stockpile is too big, or too dirty, or too anything. It ain’t true. It just takes a drop, friend. Just a drop.
Let’s just put our big girl panties on and join SA (Stockpilers
not-so Anonymous) and let Him work on this thing, shall we? Membership is free for you. Jesus paid it already. (Matthew 20:28)
“Hello. My name is Caroline”
“And I…am a stockpiler….but, not…for…long!”
Amen and amen!