Don't you think that patience is one of those things that should be innate? We all have good and evil in us, yet most of us, thankfully, choose good. I wish patience could be one of those traits that I just "choose" instead of something I have to constantly remind myself to do.
After spending a week as a "single" mom (Grace and Mercy to all of you out there who do the single-parent thing on a daily basis!), I am ready to run away screaming. Today I tried to brave the grocery store, thinking that a trip out of the house would do us all a bit of good. I was wrong. My daughter didn't like her brother touching the shopping cart, which he was obediently keeping his hand on. He was asked, by me, to keep his hand on said shopping cart after launching his toy necklace across the store and then diving after it. (Cement floor? What cement floor?) By the end of the second store -- and about an hour of shrieking on her part -- I was ready to do anything to make it stop. Snacks? Nope, thrown on the floor. Threats? Empty, useless. Bargaining? Meaningless! ("'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!'"*)
Today is just one of those days. The sky is dark, my nerves are shot, and my patience is thin. The kiddos are sleeping. I am on my third cup of (decaf) coffee, and I've already made it through four Oreo cookies. I opened up my Bible, desperately searching -- but not really believing I would find -- something to give me a boost, anything to make the rest of the day more bearable. Can you believe this is what came up?
"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."**
Some days I find it hard to be "joyful always." I know I forget to "give thanks in all circumstances." (Do you think He really meant all?) And I know that prayer is the last thing on my mind when all I want to do is make it out of the grocery store with all pieces of my mind, body and soul intact. All I want to do is sit and be still, as I am told to do; but so often my life is a race: how quickly can I shower, make breakfast, feed the kids, run out the door, get to _____________ in time to come back home for lunch, naps, and fix dinner. Should dinner be nutritious or delicious? Did they eat enough vegetables today? Why is it so quiet?
I came across a book last summer at a used book sale titled, "14,000 things to be happy about," by Barbara Ann Kipfer. The book is a list the author started when she was in the 6th grade and finally published almost twenty years ago. I love this book. If you ever come across it, please pick it up. You will be happy just owning it, I promise. This little book and the verse above cause me to pause and understand life's little oddities, little idiosyncrasies.
I am thankful for:
my children, who daily keep me gracious & humble
my husband, who provides for us so willingly and unselfishly
my friends, who love me despite my crazy thoughts & moods
my family, who grounds me
books, which take me to my Happy Place
chocolate, which keeps me in my Happy Place
coffee, especially when enjoyed in the company of any of the above
Please don't misunderstand me. In no way do I want to minimize the importance of true thanksgiving. I truly am thankful for all this and so much more. This is where I start, with the little things, for it is the little things I pray for. I pray daily for patience, for grace, for peace which passes all understanding, for mercy and humility.
What makes you happy? What are you thankful for today? In what circumstances do you find it most challenging to be joyful?