I have been learning patience lately. Much. Patience. I thought I was fairly patient when I had Jovi. I even surprised myself at times at how calm I was in certain situations. Now that I have two kids, both in diapers, both very needy, one that cries and that’s the only way to communicate, the other that whines and cries because her communication through sign language isn’t seen half the time because I am tending to Joshua. And, not to be negative, but to be real, whining is really annoying to me. I feel bad because she doesn’t understand.
Being a 17 month old is hard thing in the world of a mom with a little baby. But I find myself getting very annoyed. Very angry. Sometimes I speak out of anger or annoyance. Sometimes I feel myself getting so very angry on the inside, but controlling it on the outside, but because I feel so angry or feel so annoyed, I am discouraged still or feel as I am a bad mom because I feel this or that towards my babies. I have to remember the hope of the Gospel. One, that a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is patience, along with others of love, peace, gentleness, and self-control, etc., and I have been abundantly blessed with that gift since I believed and surrendered my life into Jesus’ hands. I can often utilize patience but not feel good despite being patient. I have quickly learned that patience is not a feeling at all, it’s an action. It’s a state of being despite feelings, kind of like love is an action and not a feeling. Another is the hope I have in Jesus, that He forgives when I may act out of my frustration at times, and I need to confess to Him, as well as learn to confess to my children when I sin. I am learning that starting trends now, such as acknowledging my sin towards my kids to God and to them, will lead to good habits in the near future. They may not understand my words but they will soon. Another thing I have to think about is why I am getting frustrated or angry. Sometimes it is because Jovi has spilled her raisins all over the floor for the sixth time. And teaching a toddler how to pick up little raisins and put them all back into her cup can take up to half an hour depending on her own patience and mood. Sometimes it is because Joshua won’t stop crying despite all my efforts and I find myself dropping my activity and nursing him on the couch again. Sometimes it is because I am feeding Joshua and Jovi is persistently whining because she wants a snack, or her water that is on the table across the room, or wants a toy that got stuck under the couch, but I can’t help her in the moment, and she won’t stop whining. (Have I mentioned how much whining annoys me?)
But if I think about following Jesus and my role as a mother, I need to remember that I gave up my rights to my own ideal, comfortable life when I started following Him. I can often get caught up in certain things. For example, Jovi and Joshua are finally napping at the same time. I decide to clean the kitchen. I am getting stuff done, even get a load of laundry on (out of the three hundred forty two loads that need to be done this week), but Jovi has been teething. So she wakes up in fifteen minutes crying and wont’ go back to sleep. I get frustrated. I’m finally getting to clean the kitchen and she has to wake up! Ugh! I go into her bedroom and pick her up, viewing her as an inconvenience in the moment, rather than the fearfully and wonderfully made creation God has made her to be, rather than the toddler who is hurting who needs comfort, rather than the child who needs an example of Jesus’ love right now. I have no right to have a perfect home, or a quiet evening relaxing, or a clean floor, or whatever it is. I am here, one, to follow Jesus, which means giving up everything. And in that, He has called me to be a mom, which means disciplining myself as much as (if not more at times!) my kids to learn how to live their daily lives and follow Jesus. That’s a messy life. Jovi was born into sin. She has no knowledge of patience or self control. Joshua was born into sin, and he is a baby. He has no understanding at all of waiting or self-soothing right now or how to be alone. I am training my children up into the world to be Christ-like. That’s not easy. So… patience. I have to be patient. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself why I am here. I have to act out of love and peace and gentleness. And also remember that I am working to bring God glory. If my kids grow up seeing me get angry all the time, act out of frustration, speaking rudely, then I am in no way reflecting God’s image. We were made in God’s image, then we broke that image, but now, because of Jesus’ sacrifice to bring us restoration with God, we can walk in Him to be righteous image bearers of our loving God and Savior. And when we mess up, because we for sure will, we have His amazing grace to cover us, remove that sin when we confess and repent, and start over being His beautiful image bearers again, to our children, and to the world.