I want to talk about the fruit of the spirit listed in I Timothy 6:11. Particularly the word PATIENCE. I believe Paul may have misstepped. It ought to read practicing patience, partial patience, painful patience, or panicky patience. I think there were two P’s and Paul only saw one. It is hard because we go on believing that God is big enough to build this fruit in us, as we year after year grit our teeth, trying to be patient. OK, I am done with tongue in cheek! So here’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
My 11 year old son and I are in the kitchen, in training. Melvin has been trained by older siblings, over the last few years and I realized I want him trained by me. Don’t say DUH! Because I get it. : / So we are doing all the meals, and all the clean-up. We are also decluttering the kitchen, replacing broken appliances and tools, and doing weekly and monthly jobs that need done regularly. We finished the end of the 2nd week, and he had survived.
At this point I realized I might not survive. Melvin and I are quite similar, we both forget things, wander, get side-tracked and are sometimes quite scattered. During the second weak ( yes it’s deliberate) I am weak with exhaustion from trying to be calm and train! Trying not to go ballistic, trying to slow down, speak clearly, and BE PATIENT!!! Ah I could see clearly what I had thought of as training up a child, was actually going to be training up Lori. This did not look like such a great idea after all. I began to wonder about patience and the lack I had experienced over the years. Strictly from a physical point-of-view I tried to cram too much in my day and I rushed projects. From a spiritual point-of-view I was impatient with foolishness, and childish behaviour, just generally unpleasant, and I had no clue what God wanted in a day, without spending time asking! I certainly was not going to change this on my own. I work hard on tongue control, this will serve Melvin. Though I still had issues in grumbling and complaining, I had begun to be more thoughtful about what came out of my mouth. I did not tell Melvin exactly what I thought when he was chopping vegetables at the edge of the counter and not noticing them falling on the floor : / or not screaming when things fell out of the refrigerator, because they had been piled on top of one another to the greatest of heights. Now this is not to say I was always calm. One day when a quart of milk came out of the refrigerator in all it’s glory. I unloaded. Many days I failed. Many moments of days, I failed. I pray Melvin is forgiving of his mother’s temper. : (
According to an older sibling, there is less rewashing of dishes. Sometimes he would wash pots and pans better and sometimes he would wash the dishes better, so generally we were moving toward greater cleanliness. Well Praise God, I will take whatever I can. : ) I saw a cheese log wrapped properly in the refrigerator, smaller containers used for storage of leftovers, that didn’t take up a large footprint, and a cooler cleaned out well. : ))
The next problem I came across was harder yet. Another character work. Melvin is the youngest. His work load is light. There is a propensity to not be quite honest. I have disciplined each time I have caught dishonesty. And several times God has nudged me to go check something. This is sad and hard. It gives me good practice forgiving and not breaking relations. I don’t take well to dishonesty. : / I hope we pass through this season quickly. I pray regularly for this young man, who is mighty in spirit.
In training Melvin to excel, in not giving up in utter frustration, God has shown me that I can excel, that I can build good character also. Small bits of patience are becoming second nature, and I do say small bits. There are many days where I tell Melvin, “keep working I’ll be back”, and I go spend time with the One who can change me, re-surrendering, asking for forgiveness. Many meltdowns with great frustration. Isn’t God good? God covers so much more ground than we ever could or would. He has begun a good work in me and He will continue it. He has begun a good work in Melvin and He will continue it. I’m excited for the future, Melvin’s and mine as we walk with God. He’s a good and kind trainer. And He doesn’t get impatient.
If you have this issue, you also can learn patience. Spend time in His presence, the presence of a patient King and he will make you fruitful in patience.
Some names are changed to protect the not so innocent.