I have attended a lot of Bible study over the years. My group has been a constant source of encouragement. Following the discussion we go around the group and give everyone an opportunity to share a prayer request. Inevitably, in a group of mothers, someone will say, "Please pray that God will give my patience. My kids are driving me crazy this week and I don't know what to do."
Gasps will fill the air. A kind woman will say, "Honey, you do not want to pray for patience. You do not know how the Lord will teach it to you." I think this response is somewhat superstitious. God is not sitting in heaven with his flaming spears just waiting to teach us a lesson. He is not watching until we need his help to come to our aid. God teaches us with love in the same way we discipline our own children (Hebrews 12:7-11). We should not be afraid to ask him to teach us. He's the best teacher in the universe, don't you think? Certainly, if we pray for patience, we will have it. As a Domestic Warrior this is a weapon I could use!
1 Corinthians 13:4 says, "Love is patient." When I think of patience I think of waiting. I have to be patient when I'm waiting in line at the grocery store. I am patient while I wait for my child to stop throwing a fit. This word is not that kind of patience. This patience comes from a Greek word (makrothymeō)which is best translated long-suffering. I know what your thinking because I'm thinking the same thing. Patience is sounding less and less appealing especially since it has the words long and suffering in it. How long must I suffer anyway? To be long suffering is described in lexical aids as never losing heart. We are patient when we won't give up. When we got married we promised to be patient. We said, "For better of for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." We promised to suffer through all the ups and downs together until the end of our lives. This is long-suffering. I am practicing this kind of patience in my marriage just by standing strong beside my man and being committed to keep standing, no matter what may come.
Long-suffering is also described in the lexical aids "to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles." This is the kind of patience I need when I am dealing with my children. Patience helps us handle the bad habits our children develop. I want my children to stop and stop now! Habits can be hard to break and take time. I can't expect that they will stop in an instant. I am patient when I persevere with them when they are going through a difficult growth period. I can show them love when I stand by my kids even when I don't like what they are doing. I reflect God's Love to them because He is exceedingly patient with us(2 Peter 3:9).
Today as I am unrolling another sock ball before I put it in the laundry(even thought I've asked them to PLEASE turn their socks right side out when they take them off) I will remember to be patient. Learning takes time. I will not feel the slow burn of anger rise inside my chest when my dear husband does not call when he is going to be late. I will try to maintain a joyful spirit. Marriage is for a life time. After all, I am happy to be long-suffering as long as I get to suffer alongside this wonderful man. So Domestic Warriors, lets tighten our aprons and prepare ourselves for battle. I'll need patience to win it.