Part 5 – “Patience”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience . . . “
Patience has never been easy for me. One of my top five strengths is Activator which means that I am usually on the move. I have a deep down and very strong desire to make things happen, or not happen, in my own timing. However, over the years I have learned that my timing is not God’s timing and when I try to control things my way it rarely works out in a way that I anticipate. This is especially true when I have tried to fix, control, or motivate my children.
As Christmas Day approaches the now familiar, but still painful, question of whether my son will show up to spend time with the rest of the family comes to the forefront of my mind. It has been years since he came and spent the day with the rest of us, although he will sometimes stop by for a few minutes early in the morning . . . before he starts drinking. Last year he didn’t come at all and even though he lives in the same city, I have only seen him about 3 or 4 times all year. There are times that I miss him so much I feel like I can’t breath and if I allow my mind to go there, the guilt and the questions of “what if” and “if only” start to creep in and threaten to rob me of peace and joy. Thankfully, God has taught me a lot over the course of my years as a Hurting Mom and I am able to immediately surrender my son and my guilt to Him. I am learning to be patient and trust Him even as I wait for my son to turn his life around.
It hasn’t always been that way. In the past when he didn’t show up or when Christmas didn’t turn out in the way I hoped for or anticipated, I become stressed, exhausted, and angry. There have been many years when impatience and disappointment over the holiday set in so that when it was over, I was left with an empty bitterness that sometimes took weeks to shake off.
As a believer in Jesus, I know that patience is something that I should have a handle on. In fact, it is one of the attributes, or fruit, that manifests in our lives as we follow and strive to become more like Him. But how does it happen? How can I have patience when my journey as a hurting mom never seems to end? It took a while, but I learned to recognize that my impatience was something I had absolutely no power or control over. The more I tried on my own to be patient, the more impatient I became. Over time, I came to understand that if I tapped into the unlimited power of God, I was able, through Him, to find the patience that Galatians 5:22 talks about. The patience I was seeking.
In Colossians 1:11 it says,
“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.”
This verse says by all HIS glorious power – not by my own power.
This year I’m approaching and anticipating Christmas with a joyful heart. I don’t know if my son will show up or not, but with God’s help, my holiday is not going to be defined by the disappointment I will surely feel if I don’t see him. I’m choosing to remember why we observe Christmas and I’m going to put my focus on and celebrate the birth of my savior. I’m going to enjoy the people in my family who are here for the holiday and not allow my expectations to get in the way of experiencing the love, joy, and peace of the season.
Consider what it says in Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
My prayer this Christmas is that Hurting Moms everywhere will be able to tap into the supernatural power of God so that they can have patience even as they wait.
by Cathy Taylor